BB Corp Banking -> Boutique IBD -> PE?

IBBD's picture
Rank: Baboon | 145

Hello everyone,

I'm at a crossroad in my career right now and would like the opinion of those on this board! I've been working at a BB Corp Banking division for a little under a year right now. I had a good experience so far and learned a lot about the banking world, how to analyze the fundamentals of a company, their credit quality, and build a full 3-statement financial model. Even some experience with leveraged transactions. Despite this, I still think I fall short a little if I ever want to recruit for the traditional IBD exits, like PE/VC/HF/Corp Dev. I think the reason is that I just don't have the same transaction experience that M&A/lev. fin. analysts would get. Also, I have a hard time soliciting attention from recruiters because a lot of them think I just process loans all day and then go home at 5pm.

I started exploring outside my group a while ago and right now I have a few boutiques that are very interested in me joining them. I was wondering what do all of you think of going from a BB corp. bank to a boutique firm (MM deals. Would this help my chances at exiting in something like a lower MM PE firm? Should I stick with my current firm, or maybe I should hold out for a BB IBD role?

It's been really difficult for me so far trying to break into BB IBD. Their recruiting is very structured and they rarely post lateral hire positions online (and when they do, it's usually filled by an experienced IBD candidate). Lateraling within my own firm is very difficult as well because my group is not supportive of me leaving without fulfilling my 2-3 year analyst tenure. I'd likely get fired if work gets out that I'm trying to leave.

Comments (4)

May 4, 2014

If they want you to finish out the analyst stint, doubt they would fire you if you told them you were interesting in moving on to something else.

Anyways, is the only reason you're looking to move just because you think your exits are limited? Have you tried to reaching out to lower MM PE firms? Recruiters only want the golden-stamped kids (not always, but why would they risk spending the extra time with you when they can get XX GS/MS/JPM IBD kids?)

I've just never liked the idea of having to run the long way around something when a shortcut might be possible.

May 5, 2014

Yes, your best chance to get into PE would be to join a boutique that caters to the market you're looking at (lower mm). Yes, it will be next to impossible to break into a BB IB position at this point.

However, realize that it's not a guarantee that you'll get into a PE fund. It's very competitive overall and there's a risk that if you work for a tech focused boutique that primarily deals with smaller tech co's, you'll get deal experience but it won't be with a lot of PE-the goal of a lot of valley companies that hit that ~hundred million+ valuation (or whatever definition of lower MM is) is to be bought by Google, FB, Apple, etc, not necessarily a PE fund. And there aren't a ton of PE funds that are active in the smaller tech space typical of Valley companies that would be considered lower to MM. It's tough to get leverage in tech companies where valuations have little or nothing to do with rev and cash flow and the aforementioned strategic buyers can blow any financial sponsor out of the water. And the founders of these companies would rather sell to google and go work for them than Gordon Gecko. However the boutique IB may help you get into a better bschool and may open up some possibilities (I'll be honest, I skipped over bschool so that's just conjecture on my part) but if your goal is to get to PE pre MBA or to just skip an MBA altogether, it's not a guarantee because your best way of getting into PE at that size will be networking on a professional level-as in "I'm a banker and we sold you a few deals, you've seen me work, give me a job on the buy side."

That said, being an Ibanker at a decent boutique in SF/SV isn't that bad. Really active market, you're working on deals that people read about in the non-biz news, you tend to get to work with interesting younger people (sure, some are dbags who think the next social network app/game is the most important game changing idea in the world) the weathers much better than the NE and there tends to be a little more life/work balance. You can also score some interesting exit opps in terms of getting into a good tech co or starting one BC you'll have made those contacts and have your ear to the ground in the tech world. And, I know it's all the rage to be in PE over IB, being a banker ain't bad in general. PE seems great-you're gonna get carry and retire at 40 and buy an island- but it's a tough game that takes a few fund cycles to make real money and if you invest in a few duds you can get fired and it's tough to rebound from that. In IB at the upper levels you need to bring in deals/clients but unless you do something illegal, it doesn't much matter what happens once a deal closes. And you can do more deals per year and generate decent fee income.

Just my opinion.

May 5, 2014
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