Brand Name or Great References - What Matters Most?

Deciding where to sign a full-time IB offer--choosing between an EB and a top BB (GS / MS). My end-goal is MF PE. I go to a non-target.

I SA'd at the EB--which has a a mediocre track-record of sending analysts to MFs--and ended the summer on great terms and would be walking into full-time with great relationships with senior bankers who would likely be willing to make calls for me.

Compare that to the BB, which has a superior brand name, but at which I have no existing relationships. I'd be relying solely on the brand name (which would be offset somewhat by my non-target degree) for PE recruiting.

Which would you guys pick?

Comments (17)

Aug 14, 2019

I would go with the BB. You will be able to make relationships.Brand name over reference.

Aug 14, 2019

Brand

Aug 14, 2019

Even with PE recruiting happening ~two months after FTs hit the desk? Seems like an awfully short time to build meaningful relationships with seniors, especially if there are a bunch of kids who SA'd there returning with preexisting relationships

Aug 14, 2019

I think you are overweighting the influence that seniors have on on-cycle buyside recruiting - it's first about access (gs ms have the best) and second about YOU

If the EB is one of the best (eg Evercore, Lazard, Greenhill, etc) then the brand is already there

    • 2
Aug 14, 2019

Do the senior bankers at your EB have strong relationships with higher-ups at any of your target MFs? The references will carry the most weight if there is an existing relationship between firms.

Aug 14, 2019

Yes, at some MFs but not all of them

Most Helpful
Aug 14, 2019

Sounds like Moelis. This depends on the office, but if you are talking about Moelis NYC, you are correct - they don't send many people to MF's (one or two per year).

I would also note that the attitude and mirage of companionship many senior people in banking give during the summer internship will change dramatically when you start full time. Hard truth, but many bankers are very good at posturing and there is a high likelihood they're just sweet talking you so they can invite you back next summer to bone you (and they won't buy you dinner first).

References in most circumstances are a check the box thing unless one of your seniors has a very close relationship (they come between the final round interview and ultimately they offer, so the PE firm will have likely made up its mind before bothering to call your reference. This is a pretty rigid reality.

I would take the best brand with highest track record of sending to MF's (if this is what you want to do). Was never my cup off tea, but that's off topic; just make sure you fully understand what you're getting into and the cost / benefits.

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Aug 15, 2019

Why do you need a MF? Honestly curious as to what is so alluring about megafunds. What is wrong with MM PE? Is it just all about ego?

Aug 15, 2019

Ego definitely plays a role, but MF provides better option value for exits, better comp, better chance at H/S for b school, access to a larger network than a MM shop, greater deal-flow, ability to work on larger deals, greater industry variety in some cases, etc. If you're 22 years old and trying to optimize around those parameters (and you're willing to get crushed with hours for 4 years), a MF is likely the answer ego aside.

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Aug 15, 2019

Echoing this and adding less chance of a variable experience and more certainty around what you'll get out of your program.

Aug 15, 2019

BB

Aug 15, 2019
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