Big 4 FDD vs Big 4 Corporate Finance

Tour's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 237

Not a question of what's what but rather deciding what is the better move here.

Offer 1:
Big 4

  • Major city (Most jobs are in this city - makes networking a lot easier)
  • Commute is 1 hour door to door via train (allows for studying while commuting)
  • Job is FDD, although, Corporate Finance is housed in the same group and there may be the opportunity to get some exposure, but that's not guaranteed
  • This is the main team of 30+ M&A Advisory people which will handle all the largest deals

Offer 2

Other Big 4

  • Smaller city, about 45-60 mins outside of the above major city, makes networking/interviewing elsewhere tougher down the road
  • Commute is a mess, an hour driving or nearly 2h commute via public transit - would probably need to purchase a car or rent a place
  • This is the corporate finance arm, so MM IB services, but given the size of the team it is probably boutique-like
  • Main corporate finance team is in the major city, this one is only 4-5 people large, so not sure the quality of deals/dealflow
  • That being said, small team is likely to lead to more meaningful work, but I'm not sure how transferable it would be to a large bank


  • Enjoy doing CF-type work more than just FDD, and transferring to a pure CF role would be my ultimate goal whether it be pre or post MBA (ideally at a larger shop though)
  • Comp is exactly the same between the two offers
  • This is Canada, where moving out of FDD to CF/IB does not seem that uncommon

Right now I'm leaning towards Offer #1 and trying to hustle to get some CF exposure within the same firm. The commute to Offer #2 sounds rough and I'm not sure how valuable the work experience would be for lateraling from a shop with only 4-5 people, even though the brand name is undoubtedly stronger than most other tiny boutiques of that size. In my mind if Offer 2 was in the big city, it would be a no brainer.

If anyone has experience working at a regional B4 office in the CF arm or anything similar and are willing to share what kind of work you did that would be much appreciated. Also glad to hear any other opinions/words of wisdom.


-Recent Grad


Comments (8)

Best Response
May 3, 2018

Congrats on your offers. I would preface this with the fact that Big 4 TS/M&A aren't looked down upon as much in the banking world as much in comparison to the US. Canadian banks actually hire a considerable amount from the Big 4 TS teams.

I'll start with offer #2. Most of the Big 4 M&A groups outside of Toronto/MTL/Calgary aren't that busy. The fact that the group you interviewed for only has 4-5 people speaks to this. While the work you'd be doing here is more comparable to that of a traditional investment banking analyst, I would really question the quality of deal flow at this office. Last thing you want to be doing is churning pitches all day.

The work you would be doing on the FDD team isn't as comparable to banking, but it does give you exposure to the largest transactions. The Big 4 are always on the marquee transactions you'll read about in the news, which is the tradeoff.

I've seen people make the switch, and the x-factor in hiring off-cycle is networking and knowing the right people who can push your resume when a seat opens up. Despite not doing banking work, I'd argue that your odds of lateraling to a bank in Toronto/Vancouver/Calgary is much higher if you take offer #1.

May 3, 2018

Thanks for the response. I had more or less the exact same train of thought - basically a trade here between the relevancy of the work and the location.

May 5, 2018


May 5, 2018

Couple other things to consider: which one can u get a CPA designation from? Can u work at the cf for sometime and transfer to Toronto? While fdd to ib is not that uncommon most people who do it have a cpa and experience in audit while you do not. It qualifies their experience. If you go to CF right away, your work is more similar to ib

May 6, 2018

I think the better choice would be the Big 4 CF job. Few Reasons:

1) Idc what anyone in any group at any Big 4 says, transferring groups is NOT easy. It's a bunch of red tape and anyone who does it basically has to threaten to leave first. Why's that? Because if you're good, your old group wants you to stay put and if you're bad, no one wants you coming over. So throw out the "FDD, and then move over" plan.

2) Think about exit opportunities. What do you think it's easier to do? Move from a TAS role into CF? (at any firm) or the other way around? TAS is NOT a watered down version of IB, it's far more similar to Audit. (which is why they usually take auditors who have 2-3 years of experience). Your skills in CF will be similar to what you get at a boutique IB, so even if you aren't working on large transactions, you'll still have a more desired skillset should you leave. Although, I'm curious - what are your long term goals?

3) Don't worry about the commute, focus on the experience. After a few years, you can decide if you want to move somewhere else, stay put, etc.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

    • 3
May 11, 2018

1) Agreed - but the idea is that the Offer 1 group is integrated CF & FDD, I assume there would be red tape but I also think that since the groups are supposedly integrated, getting enough exposure to CF to at least talk about in interviews would be there as well, especially if I'm accumulating it over the course of a year or two.

2) I agree with this again but my concern is whether or not the skill set is viewed upon favorably enough that I can then apply online for IB interviews and receive them without significant networking - being an hour outside of the city will make networking extremely difficult. I'm not sure if you're in Canada but from my thorough LinkedIn search CF does absolutely feed into big bank IB, but TS does at a fair clip as well - I'm not sure how heavily the TS experience is discounted by recruiters compared to CF, and if the location mitigates that.

3) You're right, the commute is a minimal concern.

May 11, 2018

Transferring groups at Big 4 is super hard to do. Also, if you like CF then FDD is going to be super boring to you I think. I think to me it's a no brainer to go into CF. Easier to get into IB if you've already done it. I really do not think you will like FDD.

edit: I have no idea how it works in Canada, I just think if I had to choose I would absolutely avoid FDD at all costs. I did Audit and I would NEVER go back to something similar.

    • 2
May 11, 2018