Analyst Offer: Mid-tier BB vs. MM buyout

Looking to pursue career in PE, preferably at UMM/MF. Would love to hear thoughts on two full-time analyst offers below:

  1. Mid-tier BB (BAML/Barclays/Citi/CS), assuming top group placement
  2. MM buyout shop, most recent fund at ~$3bn

Perhaps the banking route could offer better PE placement via associate recruiting? Happy to provide more details.

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Comments (8)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 10, 2021 - 10:37pm

Under the assumption of top group placement, then it'd be easier to go UMM/MF coming from IB, especially if you went to a target

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  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Oct 10, 2021 - 11:10pm

How much do you like the MM fund? Are they viewing it as a career track, and do you like their investments/mission? I'd only go this route if you really believe in the fund/team and can see yourself staying there for a while. It used to be very difficult to move upstream as a PE professional, but in the last 2-3 years I've seen a surprising number of people go from MM to UMM/MF, so it's not an impossible route at all.

Barring some huge reason you resonate with the MM fund, I'd lean towards the BB - always good to have a solid name and some time in IB on your resume. and you will have more options in on cycle. MF recruiting from IB is a complete crapshoot though.

Oct 11, 2021 - 10:37am

Really appreciate your thoughts. Senior leadership, team culture and industry focus all point to an excellent fit. Former analysts are now principals at the firm and internal mobility remains strong. B-school placement is second to none. I like this MM fund a lot, but I also haven't had exposure to many funds so it's hard to tell where it stacks up for me. In total, I've only recruited at two funds (both $3-4bn). I worry that I don't have a clear view of my options and that I may be forgoing a potentially better fit down the road.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2021 - 11:03am

All of your points make this seem like a solid fund. I really don't think you can go wrong with either of these choices.

I'd also ask why you want to do IB. Is it for optionality, skill development, prestige? I wouldn't turn down an excellent MM opportunity solely for the possibility of recruiting UMM/MF. It's hard to get the exact fund you want, and on cycle is a really terrible place to assess fit from your end. 

Do you have any connections in the same industry as this fund, either IB/PE? See if you can take them out for coffee. Doesn't need to be an MD, even a senior analyst could give you insights on who they talked to during recruiting (and whether those funds are of interest to you) if that helps you feel out the unknown associate recruiting portion of this. 

Oct 12, 2021 - 8:14pm

I'm looking to do IB primarily as a path to private equity. Quite frankly, I don't see it as anything other than running through the motions to set me up for an investing career.

I've been reaching out to junior and senior people in IB and PE and I've noticed a pattern: junior guys tend to suggest the IB route while the more senior guys recommend hopping right into PE. This MM fund retains its talent very well, and many of the associates who've left are at HBS/GSB or UMM/MF. That gives me confidence that if the fit isn't right, I would probably have solid options elsewhere.

Given the uncertainty involved in on-cycle recruiting and the strong fit at this fund, I'm leaning towards the PE opportunity. I think the prospect of doing banking almost exclusively for private equity recruiting would frustrate me a lot, especially if my options aren't significantly better than they are at this firm. Plus, technically there is no guarantee of top group placement at the bank, but odds are very high.

Once again, I really appreciate your thoughts. I feel like I'm taking the less conventional path so the advice is really valuable to me.

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Oct 12, 2021 - 7:17pm

Would do mid-BB but expect to still end up at a MM firm - on cycle is such a crapshoot. If you get an UMM or MF offer treat it as gravy.

The fact of the matter, though, is that $3B latest fundraise would probably be on the lower end of offers available to you, especially out of a top group - so I like your odds.

Oct 12, 2021 - 8:20pm

Thank you for weighing in. The appeal of this MM fund is that there's strong internal mobility. There's a proven path from analyst to principal, for instance.

Second, they strike me as having a very lean team, so I imagine the economics work out very well as you climb the ranks. Out of curiosity, how many investment professionals would you expect at a fund with latest flagship fund raises in the $3-4bn range?

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Oct 12, 2021 - 9:01pm

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