Recently left BAML (product group / ivy league) for a buyside opp, so thought I'd share insight on groups. BAML is an excellent bank, but thought I'd be REALISTIC with those looking for advice. M&A and LevFin usually have the largest intern and analyst classes, with the coverage groups trailing in size. FSG always have the smallest with 5-8 analysts per class. *RE is not included in the list below, but is one of the top 3 RE IB groups by RE exit opps
PE placement is highly reliant on the individual. Just being in a product group alone will not guarantee you PE, just as being in a coverage group will not exclude you from PE. The groups help make the doors appear, but it's up to the person to unlock it.
1. FSG has the best culture, work-life balance, and placement with most placing at UMM/MF
2. M&A places ~half the analysts in UMM/MF or HF. Rest leave to LMM PE, strategy/corp dev, etc
3. LevFin used to place quite well, but only ~third of them place now in MM funds (MF is rare, but still doable). The rest either accept associate promotions or leave to credit funds, etc
Breaking into MF PE is going to be extremely difficult, with UMM being hard and LMM seeming more possible because most of the modeling is done by product group analysts and as a coverage analyst, you will spend your time in PPT on industry slides for mostly pitches or live deals. If you do use excel it will be mainly for spreading comps, occasional light modeling (for pitches), and reviewing the models from the product teams. However, with the adequate prep, your excel skills should be enough to pass tests.
4. HC (Mediocre PE placement, but deal flow is lagging due to senior exits)
5. C&R (PE placement is lagging; strategy/corpdev is the common exit)
6. TMT (Used to be worse, but got significantly better)
7. FIG (Decent placement in FIG PE)
8. GIG (Harder to place in PE)
9. NR/E&P (Harder to place in PE)