Better Name VS. Better Experience

mexicanmonk's picture
Rank: Chimp | 8

Hello! I've recently received two full-time offers from a no name boutique (5 man shop) and sort of an "in between" (think RBC, wells fargo, nomura, etc.) I was curious as to what factors people take into consideration with a) lateraling between IB groups and b) when you're making the move onward from IB. Usually the choice would be clear cut but there's a bit more nuance in this decision.

The "Nomura" is known to get wrecked in hours even for banking, and they don't get the heaviest deal flow, a point that they went out of their way to make sure that I understood throughout the process. On the flip side, the no name boutique actually has some pretty legit deal experience and pretty regularly bats out of its league due to strong relationships that the MD has with some pretty big clients. I haven't heard the greatest things about retention for the larger group ("overworked, underpaid, don't close deals, very high turnover") and would not be surprised if I end up trying to lateral after a year to a group with better culture / deal flow. However, I imagine that this would put me in a better position to lateral than going to the smaller shop would - I'm just trying to decide if I'm down to hate my life for a year before doing so.

My question is this: Would choosing the "Nomura" over the smaller shop really put me in a substantially better spot to lateral given the difference in deal experience I would get at both places? And how would things play out in terms of exit opps if I take the smaller shop and stay there for 2-3 years?

Thanks for your thoughts in advance let me know if I can add any more information.

Comments (12)

May 7, 2019

Bump

May 7, 2019

I think the better experience / deal flow would win out, frankly. People can lateral from tiny places if they have good experience, but it's tough to lateral from anywhere if you don't have deal experience.

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May 7, 2019

If you're trying to lateral to a bigger bank I would go with the bigger name. Nomura or well known MM to JPM is more likely than no name boutique to JPM

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May 8, 2019

Sounds like no name is probably the better choice. Pay similar?

A lateral is gonna be a bitch either way. There will be plenty of other EB and BB analysts who are looking at the same openings as you that want to leave bad groups or cities. If you're getting better deals, avoiding work for the sake of work and the pay is the same, you're still in a similar position when competing for a BB analyst opening. Others will say the name is more important even if the role sucks and you don't do anything. I think best career move is no name. In terms of your immediate goal, depending on the interviewer, they might want name brand or they might want someone who has more transaction experience and knows his deals cold. IMO life's too short and you'll get an at bat for a bigger bank through networking either way.

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May 8, 2019

I have been in banking 5 years, all of which at JPM / MS type of bank, in 3 different countries and I have never ever seen a lateral from a no-name Boutique while I saw plenty of people from Nomura.
So it is sad, but name matters.

Also, we really never interviewed people that were not from established boutiques at best.
With regards to experience, you are moving out in a year or so and people will be happy with you if you are proficient with ppt and xls. They are not looking for a rain maker.

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May 8, 2019

Gotta agree w/ choosing the "Nomura" in this situation as well. Just way too hard to gauge no name boutiques generally.

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Funniest
May 8, 2019

Wells fargo and RBC are really good banks, thats all I have to say.

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Most Helpful
May 8, 2019

I would go for the brand name. Plenty of kids make the jump from those types of banks to BBs/EBs. The path of no name boutique to BB/EB is less trodden

Even at a RBC/WF/Nomura type bank that is a pure pitch-mill, you still pick up a lot of "valuable" skills as a 1st year analyst which are transferable to any BB/EB bank. Small things like a proper global analyst training program, knowing how to use FactSet/Capital IQ/Bloomberg, knowing how to grind out profiles and share prices graphs, knowing how to use excel/ppt, how to put together a quick and dirty valuation based on public disclosure, how to pull research, how to navigate office politics, working with a diverse set of personalities and working styles.

At a no name boutique, the deal experience may be great, but how is the analyst experience?Are all those deals top-heavy in terms of involvement (i.e. negotiating transaction terms, approach tactics etc)? How much analytical and modelling experience will you get? Is it the type of place where the rainmaker will bring in one or two huge deals and then coast for the rest of the year?

As a lateral recruiter, I rather take a kid who has worked on 10 active pitches with proper analytics and book structures in a more standard banking culture than a kid who has shadowed their seniors on a few multi-bn mergers without doing anything analytical or technical

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May 8, 2019

I agree with taking the brand-name over a no-name boutique. OP is in a good position to choose either or. If the goal is to make it to a BB/EB then for sure go for it. Depends on what you're looking for long-term. Others might not have the luxury to choose unless they killed it in recruiting (non-target or target). However, cant speak for all analyst at boutiques, there still is a heavy emphasis on execution and seeing a deal from origination to close if you are on client calls. The analytical/modeling varies depending on how complex in scope the deals that MDs bring in the pipeline are and if the client has any business acumen or sophistication whatsoever. So yes you dont have the "traditional banking experience" and its more or less an apprenticeship model of shadowing senior bankers but at least it gives you scope on deal making and doing "almost" the similar kind of work you would at a bigger shops. This is the caveat with respect to analytical with it comes to running quick comps, PPT presentations, modeling, building CIMs etc. But yeah not to go on a longer tangent. Take NOMURA and never look back..

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May 9, 2019

Brand name, no question.

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May 14, 2019

Always take the brand name.

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May 14, 2019
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