Big 4 audit or Corporate Banker if I want to break into IB later?

Aaxel22's picture
Rank: Chimp | 8


I get my MSc in BA and econ in 2 months from a non-target Scandinavian school. During my studies I have been working at local branch for a tier-1 Scandinavian bank. The job was deputy client executive, mainly assisting client executives administrative stuff, preppin for credit memos and assisting in transactions. Customers range from revenues of $10m to $100m. I have now been offered a FT job as client executive after graduation in this medium sized city. I have as well been offered a Big 4 audit position within financial services in the capital city.

I aim to first break into some sort of transaction service department within 2-3 years at a bank, boutique or big 4. After this I try to transfer from TS to IB.

Im getting cold feet about my first step in the career. Corporate banking (retail?) or FS auditing at Big 4?

Please give me some advice guys!


Comments (6)

Apr 3, 2019

I'd probably try big4 audit - kill it for a year and try to switch groups internally to FDD or some sort of valuation role. Some smaller IBs do take kids from audit, but its tough.

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Apr 3, 2019

I would honestly choose any accounting or finance role over audit.

Audit you get paid terrible, don't gain valuation or modelling experience, and get treated like crap.

Unless you want to get your accounting designation, I would run for the hills.

Your offer sounds more like commercial banking than corporate banking.

Apr 3, 2019

retail banking, commercial banking and corporate banking is all different. The amount of modeling exposure at each tier varies. I can only speak from the structure of a U.S. BB. I have seem some corporate banking deck with similar modeling as IB coverage. And, many credit and debt modeling are also used in DCM / Lev Fin. To be on the safe side, I will take the big 4 offer, because I have seem many transition from big 4 to IB. However, it also varies by region.

Apr 3, 2019

All big-4 have valuation or transaction services groups that you could transfer into after a couple years. Plus getting a CPA or similar designation would be helpful if you ever want to be a CFO for a large corporate later in your career. A transition into IB would be easier from valuation or transaction services (anything where you are learning how to model cash flows and value enterprises). You probably won't get that experience in either retail banking (especially in a client executive or sales role) or audit.

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Most Helpful
Apr 3, 2019

Overall, you will probably be better positioned for your career goals if you start in Big4 audit. I did the transition a few years back from audit to advisory in London, and could see more doors opening up on the IB side after I moved.

Some have commented above on the benefits of a role in corporate banking (for large clients), which I agree would be closer to an IB role than audit. However, from what you say, the role is in a local branch of a big regional bank, in a mid-size city in your country, dealing with small and medium size clients (10m-100m of revenue). That sounds more like commercial banking in a high street bank branch (please correct me if my understanding is not right). So you would be far removed from the IB team running larger transactions for the bank, and the work might not include much complex credit modelling.

Although the work may be more boring in audit, Big4 audit provides a good pipeline of well trained finance professionals, which most employers know about.

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Apr 3, 2019