Career Advice – Is MBB really worth it?

Weighing a couple of options for a first job out of school. As of now I have a merchant banking offer at a middle market firm (read: Piper Jeffery, Rothschild) and also have a final round with an MBB. If I get MBB, which would be in a less desirable city, so which would be a better career option if I'm interested in working in PE (maybe) or being c-suite at a middle market company down the road? Also I like the idea of going to B-school and I know MBB kill in terms of placement, but I'm not sure if I should take a first job just for that if I find the other work more interesting. Really like the idea of merchant banking, but don't know if it would be silly to miss out on the "prestige" of an MBB. Fire away, folks.

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Comments (11)

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Oct 9, 2019 - 8:58pm

Prefer not to say, not a BB more of a MM. Don't know how MB stack up, but above Piper Jeffery and probably around/ above Rothschild.

Most Helpful
Oct 9, 2019 - 9:57pm

Are you in the US? Pretty sure this is applicable anywhere, but I'm based in the US. Merchant banking is a cool field. Piper Jaffray and Rothschild (in the US) aren't the most competitive firms though. Whereas MBB is the top of their field. That being said, theres different tiers of less desirable cities. Obviously NY, Chicago, Boston, etc. are the most competitive. But then there's less desirable like Atlanta and less desirable like Detroit. Atlanta is less competitive than NY, but it's still a competitive city. For something like BCG's Detroit office, who the fuck wants to live in Detroit? It's still competitive, but significantly less than NY.

For me, regardless of the exits, it's a no brainer to choose MBB. I'd only be hesitant if it were a Detroit-like city. PE exits out of MBB will be at a much higher level than at PJ or Rothschild. And C-suite viability will be significantly higher. Banking doesn't lead to C suite exits for the most part, whereas McKinsey is known as the CEO factory.

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Oct 9, 2019 - 10:39pm

Thanks for the reply – definitely very helpful. MBB would be a kind of DC/ Atlanta/ Philadelphia level, while merchant banking would be NYC. I think I'd like work at a merchant bank more, but don't want to make a no brainer mistake. Also, which merchant banks would you think are best?

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Oct 11, 2019 - 10:57am

Agreed, they're pretty decent cities at all three MBBs. Worst case, you might be able to transfer internally or whatnot...

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 11, 2019 - 11:51am

Definitely go MBB. Those places are insanely prestigious and have incredible exit ops. Merchant banking at a 2nd tier firm does not even come close to stacking up.

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Oct 11, 2019 - 12:11pm

How would you rank IB at a mid-tier BB and tier 2 consulting (OW/ATK/LEK) in this mix?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 11, 2019 - 1:22pm

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