Big4 or Boutique M&A

I'm currently non target undergraduate student (target MsC next year) and intern in a FO role in AM at a regional bank.

I'm trying to secure an IB internship for January 2021 but i'm afraid that i cant't make it. I have offers in an Boutique M&A firm and financial Audit in PwC.

I would like to know, witch experience would better place me for 2022 IB recruiting ? And generally speaking, what are the experiences (except IB) that are the most regarded by recruiters ?

Comments (16)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 5, 2020 - 5:46pm

What exit opps are there for boutique M&A though other than trying to lateral up to a major player? At least at the Big 4 M&A platforms, you have the ability to lateral to a top MM or a F500 firm in a junior manager role after a few years.

Aug 6, 2020 - 4:22am

OP mentioned they had the offer for FS audit, not the M&A team. Of course there is potential scope to move but it's not necessarily that straight forward a move. It really depends on the firm and the office location

My caution against FS audit is because I am someone who currently works in banking audit and it's horrendous. With the hours, you probably just clear about minimum wage.

M&A, regardless of whether it is boutique or not still has good exit opps IMO. I don't think the OP will be forgoing anything .

Aug 5, 2020 - 2:30pm

Thanks for the comments !

You guys think, i should try reaching out PwC RH and directly ask for opportunities in their transaction/corporate division ? Would it be a better option than boutique M&A ?

(I will still have one internship opportunity with target MsC in 2022 so the plan is to get EB/BB IB next year and full time after it)

Aug 5, 2020 - 2:36pm

Some things that come to mind:

  1. Going with B4 gives you a very recognizable name brand on your resume. When you apply to B-school, provided your other credentials are decent, it shouldn't be too hard to get into a good B-school and make your way into traditional IB through MBA recruiting. It also gives you a transferable skill set that can be applied to other disciplines should you decide to switch to corporate finance/accounting. Downside here is pay and muted career progression (in terms of salary)

  2. Going with boutique can give you an entry into the investment banking space and it isn't uncommon for these analysts to lateral to a larger name brand firm after a year. Problem is, if you don't lateral to a larger firm, you're stuck as a blackbox to future employers. Chances are most people don't know the name of your boutique and don't really know how impressive it is/how good you are which can make finding a new job difficult.

I think TAS at EY or DCF at Deloitte or similar groups at PWC are the best middle ground and probably what you should angle for - know plenty of ppl from this background that go to great firms.

Aug 5, 2020 - 2:55pm

Thank you so much !

Exactly the piece of advice I needed. Boosted my motivation :). I will keep grinding offers and networking and maybe get some new opportunities (+- 130 CV sent ).

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