Hi everyone! I'm currently in the position of deciding between an SA offer for ECM at a top BB (GS/MS/JPM) as well as a generalist offer at a solid MM (RJ/HW/Stifel/Baird). I just had some questions about which role would be better for:

1) Optionality down the line. I honestly don't know what I want in the future whether it's to stay in banking, go to CorpDev, jump to PE, or otherwise.

2) Lateraling FT. While it seems very premature to think about switching firms down the line and chances are I'll really enjoy my MM bank if I take the offer (heard great things about culture there), I want to keep my options open, once again. Which offer would put me on a better footing for potentially re-recruiting for a BB or EB for FT?

Comments (15)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 13, 2021 - 10:26am

If you want to position yourself well to switch banks for FT recruiting I'd heavily suggest you go for MM IBD. A lot of people will say do BB ECM for two years out of college and then lateral internally to coverage but I've found that to be much harder said than done at a lot of BBs.

Aug 13, 2021 - 10:37am

Obviously if it's a summer analyst role you go with the big name. Those middle tier banks you mentioned don't really impress anyone.

If IB is your true passion, it's easy to move around a firm as an analyst once you get your foot in the door.

Obviously a lot of users here are at these second tier shops and will try to say culture matters or some other nonsense, but that's not real life. They are just sensitive about where they ended up. There are nice people and jerks at all banks and as a youngster the most important thing is experience and name brand.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 13, 2021 - 10:42am

I see. From your observations and prior experience, how difficult would you say switching banks from SA to FT is? The BB offer is at a bank where I really don't like the culture (talked to a lot of people across coverage/product groups) so I think I'd rather lateral than move internally if I SA at the BB while the MM has great culture but if I summer at the MM I'd definitely want to re-recruit up FT for another BB or EB.

Aug 13, 2021 - 11:06am

Look, your talking about a summer analyst role, not farther down the line where you start to narrow your options. People love to say things on this forum that prestige is over rated, pedigree doesn't matter, blah blah blah.But you live in the real world right? There's a reason everyone in the world knows what Harvard is and no one cares if you went to Trinity College.

At such a young age, have a stellar name on your resume can open opportunities for you. And every bank I have worked at (some European banks and two major US bulges) allows analysts to move around.

I'm not saying people don't make good livings working at places like RJ and D&P and Baird. But why set your sights so low when just starting out?

When I was leaving my middle tier banks I couldn't land any good interviews. I had two Ivy League degrees, had risen consistently through promotions, but no one cared cause it wasn't a stellar bank. I took a stop gap job at a major us bank for a role I didn't like. But with that name on my resume, I began to get those same interviews.

All else being equal, people will always want to interview the kid from Goldman and not the kid from Baird. Think about it man.

I'm not saying you're ruined if you do the IB role at a weaker bank, but as a summer analyst I would want the Goldman type pedigree on my resume.

Most Helpful
Aug 13, 2021 - 10:57am

Someone mentioned to "go for the big name" which makes sense but depends on the context. If you want to be in IB and maybe down the line switch to BB IBD, then go with the MM offer. ECM to IBD regardless of the name is always tougher and at least at the MM place you will actually have experience in IB. Also, make sure to consider culture. Some people have large egos and always look for the best name brand place and don't consider their enjoyment of the people. If you interviewed and really enjoyed the people you interviewed with, then take the MM offer. You will be more happy to work at a place that cares about its employees then at a behemoth of a bank that just looks at you as a number. Hope this helps and congrats on your offers!!

Aug 13, 2021 - 5:31pm

Personally know a few people from my school / friend group who went to MS ECM and switched to coverage after 2 years and then got to MF PE / MM PE. Very anecdotal though

  • Intern in IB - CB
Aug 14, 2021 - 3:04am

If it wasn't for the culture problem I would say take the big name. However FT recruiting while not impossible is a bit of a shit show. If the cultures are really that drastic and you want to stay in IBD for a long time, maybe consider the firm where you can see a future in. Tbh I would take the BB because I think that the name will open up more opportunities and I don't care about culture too much but everyone is different and tbh for most people (especially with experience), culture is the most important thing. Just my $0.02

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Aug 14, 2021 - 5:09pm

Probably going to get MS for this, but I knew someone who worked at one of the MM IBs you mentioned, and the work seemed far worse and less relevant than BB ECM. Essentially they were just like the 15th bookrunner on crappy equity / debt offerings. Given how irrelevant they were in the syndicate, most the work was just compliance and checking the box. Might as well have been an ECM gig on a team doing mediocre transactions with little responsibility. 
Moving from ECM to IBD after two years is pretty common at MS. 

  • Intern in CB
Aug 14, 2021 - 11:25pm

Choose the BB every time. Interned at JPM this summer in their CB arm. Got interviews at JPM & GS for IB. Also worth noting I go to a non target. Brand name of firm goes a long way.

  • Intern in CB
Aug 15, 2021 - 12:27am

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