Buy side to Sell side - can it be done?

Alright, lets start with some background info.

I'm a 3rd year business student at a non-target Canadian school. I've got some experience under my belt with working at a large AM firm as an equity analyst this past summer, and now I have an offer at a PE firm.

Moving on.... I've always wanted one thing, investment banking. My GPA isn't the best (B-) but I've been able to land some pretty decent internships. I've been able to get interviews at banks (corporate banking) but not for investment banking. Can the switch be made? Is the switch worth it?

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Comments (14)

Dec 10, 2017 - 8:29pm

Yes PE SA to IB FT is doable - in fact, a PE internship at a reputable shop is one of, if not the best, position to have to try to lateral into banking full time. As I'm sure you know, PE firms are bankers clients, providing them with tens of thousands to millions of dollars in fees (depending on the type of firm). This should mean for you that, even if you get stuck doing stupid grunt work this summer (cold calling, administrative work, coffee, etc..), if you could get your employers to really like you and refer to the banks they hire, you should be able to at least get first rounds.

Imagine telling someone who pays you shittons of money that you cant even look at a resume they sent over?

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Dec 11, 2017 - 3:01am

From what I see, it's more common to see the opposite, from IB to PE. It's rarely from PE to IB, because the skillset that you learn in PE is more in-depth technically with more operational flavors (from the portfolio companies), kinda of good if you wanted to learn more about building a business and learning how to dispose them at an optimal price.

Dec 11, 2017 - 9:55am

The Sell-Side Job Description

Simply put, the job of a sell-side research analyst is to follow a list of companies, all typically in the same industry, and provide regular research reports to the firm's clients. As part of that process, the analyst will typically build models to project the firms' financial results, as well as speak with customers, suppliers, competitors, and other sources with knowledge of the industry. From the public's standpoint, the ultimate outcome of the analyst's work is a research report, a set of financial estimates, a price target, and a recommendation as to the stock's expected performance.

In practice the job of an analyst is to convince institutional accounts to direct their trading through the trading desk of the analyst's firm and the job is very much about marketing. In order to capture trading revenue, the analyst must be seen by the buy-side as providing valuable services. Information is clearly valuable, and some analysts will constantly hunt for new information or proprietary angles on the industry. Since nobody cares about the third iteration of the same story, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to be the first to the client with new and different information.

The Buy-Side Job Description

In contrast to the sell-side analyst position, the job of a buy-side analyst is much more about being right; benefiting the fund with high-alpha ideas is crucial, as is avoiding major mistakes. In point of fact, avoiding the negative is often a key part of the buy-side analyst's job, and many analysts pursue their job from the mindset of figuring out what can go wrong with an idea. (Learn how to generate higher returns while keeping the same risk profile, see Adding Alpha Without Adding Risk.)

On a day-to-day basis, the jobs do not look all that different. Buy-side analysts will be reading news (though more of it is from sell-side analysts than the sell-side analyst would read), tracking down information, building models, and otherwise going about the business of trying to deepen their knowledge of their area of responsibility – all with an eye toward making the best stock recommendations.

Dec 12, 2017 - 4:02pm

Thoughts on going to sell side from buy side ? (Originally Posted: 02/28/2018)

Currently work at a HF that is pretty much going under in next 6-12 months. I've been offered some sell side jobs, one in equity sales, one in ibanking, both at a MM (think Jefferies)

I graduated and started on the buy side so haven't had 100% success in moving roles to another buy side fund..

Should I take the training program in IB or try my luck with some buy side opp (consider though that the Hf is not top tier fund like citadel or anything).

The IB rôle is really a stepping stone to another HF or potentially PE should I do that

Dec 12, 2017 - 4:03pm

Would you be going into IB as an analyst or associate? I would say if you enjoyed your HF experience but don't think you can get another HF job with this sinking fund on your resume.. might not hurt to take the L and spend some time in banking rebranding.. that being said - you'll be off cycle and I have not clue what recruiting is like out of MM like Jefferies...

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