Barclays vs. Citi SA?

Besides just looking at league tables which is better for opportunities?

For example it seems that Barclays is known for having a higher return rate and opportunity to do M&A within groups with a strong culture. I have heard bad things about Citi in regards to culture.

Can anyone shed light on pros and cons on both of these options?

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Comments (49)

May 20, 2018 - 1:41am

Hey ngreenbanker2, I'm the WSO Monkey Bot and I am sad to say, but this thread is lonely, so thought I'd post in here to try and help out. Some potential topics that might help:

If we're lucky, the following pros may have something to say: Char fanglinfinance @kathryn-walsh"

You're welcome.

May 23, 2018 - 12:51am

sorry i dont have an answer but i'm curious as to what you've heard about citi's culture?

May 23, 2018 - 4:23pm

I am interested in M&A but do not have any connections at Citi (alumni meaning), I am open to any group honestly.

I heard that Barclays allows analysts to do M&A within coverage groups, do you know about this?

Does citi also allow this?

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May 23, 2018 - 5:55pm

Congrats on the offers.

You're going to be fine either way, but I'd advise you to pick Citi. Both have relatively high return rates and are bulge bracket banks, but in terms of group placement risk, I'd say Citi is a much better option. Because you are interested in M&A, Citi is a lot less risky since you cannot be placed into groups like ECM/DCM (whereas with Barclays, this is a very real risk). And the fact that Citi has a dedicated M&A group does not mean you will not get any M&A experience in the coverage groups. Sometimes it just depends on capacity and which MD sources the deal. Just my two cents.

May 26, 2018 - 12:43pm

While I take your point that the OP risks placement into capital markets at Barclays, I don't think s/he will have much of a problem if they have as strong (or even just decent) of a network they say they do. SAs aren't directly placed into a group upon getting an offer so they get plenty of time to network into a group they actually do prefer.

OP, I recommend going with the culture that makes the most sense for you as the whole placement process works itself out via networking process. Better fit = higher likelihood of a return offer.

May 26, 2018 - 12:54pm

Culture is definitely important (and I understand what you're saying), but I personally think that it is tough to make a choice between two banks based on rumors/hearsay about "culture." If the choice were between two specific groups, then that would be a more concrete decision to make, but within each bank, the culture between various groups can vary greatly. Also, culture is inherently subjective. The only way to be 100% sure about culture is to work with those people. You can be somewhat certain about the culture in a group if you have met and talked with a lot of the people in the group, but in my experience, even someone who you can get along with may not be someone who you'd enjoy working with.

Moreover, both Citi and Barclays have extremely high return offer rates. I don't think return rate is a significant enough of a difference to matter.

May 23, 2018 - 11:07pm

Is it because it was more of a fratty environment which is often said on WSO? Were the guys who left less of the party type?


May 23, 2018 - 8:15pm

Have you spoken to Barclays CEO/top executives or just read an article in Financial Times? Not fighting if Citi is better choice or not but giving people any piece of advice based on press rumours is like saying "You have to leave GS now, Blankfein is gonna retire this year and I heard they will go down". See the point?

May 23, 2018 - 10:23pm

Yeah I see your point but if you're looking at long term stability, you know that with the info available, Citi is a safer bet. While the merger talks might be rumors, at least some level of doubt about the business is out there.

May 23, 2018 - 11:07pm

Is it because it was more of a fratty environment which is often said on WSO? Were the guys who left less of the party type?


May 26, 2018 - 1:59pm

I see your point but personally I disagree. Barclays IB is closer to competing with UBS, Nomura, SocGen than the other BBs. While All of S&T is being threatened everywhere, Barclays is especially bad at it. So you have a BB that has a weak Investment bank and Markets division. On the other hand you have Citi which has one of the best M&A deal flows, is arguably one of the strongest banks across US, EU and Asia, and every year kids choose Citi over firms that (often) are considered to be more prestigious. I highly doubt anyone is going to take Barclays over GS.

Finally, while it is relatively unimportant at a junior level, Jes Staley is incompetent like no other BB CEO

May 26, 2018 - 3:00pm

You're assuming everyone who gets into Citi IB is going to be in M&A which is not true. According to speaking with IB analysts at both firms, analysts at Barclays seem to get more M&A exposure then those in coverage groups at Citi.

May 26, 2018 - 3:40pm

Not really doing any assumption as to placement, I'm simply stating the fact that Citi is not only a much better run organization but can point to a number of strengths (Geographical exposure and M&A) while Barclays really has no strict advantage, throw all the MS you guys want, I don't work for either and I'm just trying to help the kid decide what place is best

Most Helpful
May 24, 2018 - 1:56pm

Personally, I think Citi has the edge in terms of deal flow and general momentum versus Barclays but I also suggest reflecting on who do you think you had a better experience with during your interviews/where you might fit in better culturally.

I've had friends on both the IB & S&T side of Citi leave early solely because of how much they hated the culture, but also have met individuals who've genuinely enjoyed their experience. I don't know if there's a right or wrong decision here and Citi has dedicated greater resources towards expanding its IB platform, but I think the points on culture others bring up are important to consider.

May 25, 2018 - 2:26pm

Pick whichever bank you have made the best connections with. Deal flow will be similar unless you're in the best/worst groups at each. Culture differs a lot but will depend on how you fit in and your own personality.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
May 25, 2018 - 2:52pm

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