Big 4 vs "no name" Boutique M&A

Marty McFly's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 100

Hey everybody,
I'm currently applying/interviewing for M&A internships (in Frankfurt, since I am in Germany). Would you guys prefer a Big 4 (M&A, not TAS) over small rather unknown boutiques or vice versa? I want to do the next internship at least in a Tier 2 IB, rather BB/EB. Big 4 probably has a higher deal flow but the deals are really, really smallcap.

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Comments (8)

Nov 14, 2016


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Dec 5, 2016

Cheers on the new bump

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Nov 18, 2016

Hey Marty!

So I recently accepted an offer at a Big 4 M&A and had three outstanding (two from BBs and one from STRH). I really, really think that it depends on what you want out of it, if you are here to just come and then transition into PE, then a Big 4 will likely have better placement than an unknown boutique (unless this boutique is known for placing into BBs). I personally loved the team and that was easily the biggest reason for me. I also really enjoy working with sole proprietors and c suite level executives and working with smaller deals will give me that exposure.

If you have to chose, Big 4 > No Name. I believe having a "brand name" is really helpful during the recruitment process.

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Nov 19, 2016

Thanks! The boutique also does mostly smallcap, so Big 4 would probably be the better choice

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Dec 2, 2016

Why take the risk and only apply for positions at the Big 4? I think you should recruit for both and see for which positions you can get an offer. If you can get a position in the M&A team of a Big 4, take it and don't look back. The "brand name" will help. If you don't get an internship at a Big 4, then that's not the end of the world either. It will also depend on how "no-name" the boutique really is and in which geography you'd like to work in. You'd be surprised how many German boutiques are actually quite well known within Germany. You'll still have to focus on networking for your next internship. So try to rock your interviews and secure those internship offers! Good luck!

Why would you prefer doing your next internship at a Tier 2 BB?

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Dec 2, 2016

Hi, thanks for your reply. I have accepted a boutique offer by now :) I think it has quite a good reputation in Germany.
I did not mean tier 2 BB. My first preference would be BB/EB, then followed by Tier 2 IB!

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Best Response
Dec 2, 2016

Awesome! Congratulations! I am sure you'll get a great experience and fine tune your skills :) If you want to, you can send me the name via PM and I can (try to) tell you its reputation in Germany/how no name it really is.

That's my bad. I have been having a lot of late nights lately and my eyes skipped over that. Either way, now with the offer secured, I would start my networking, reach out to alumni and that kind of stuff! Viel Erfolg!

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Dec 2, 2016
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