Centerview vs. Moelis

boutiquebanker's picture
Rank: Chimp | 7

Had offers at both. Really disliked the culture at Moelis NY. They are hiring way too many way too fast and several of the current analysts and associates I spoke to are put off by the excessive aggression and hated their lives. Felt the Centerview culture was much more tight knit and boutique like. Both are growing though Centerview focuses a little less on headcount but more on executing deals. In the end I went with the people I liked more at Centerview.

However, it seems to me that they are pretty obscure, even at my school (Wharton). People seem to put PWP and Moelis ahead of Centerview even though Centerview has had much better deal flow than both of those places.

Now this is not another "my d**k is 2 centimeters longer than yours" thread. I can care less about prestige and people's reaction when I tell them where I work. But how does the prestige factor come into play for PE recruiting and B-school? Does deal flow and what you do in those deals matter more?

Thanks for your input.

Comments (34)

Nov 21, 2009

moelis

Nov 21, 2009

depends who you work with; but moelis has the slight edge in terms of PE placement...be forewarned though...its a sweatshop for junior people...apart from interviewing, you will not see the light of day...they're top heavy, but light on the other layers

Nov 21, 2009

Interesting. Another thing that pushed me away from Moelis besides the bad culture was the high turnover at Moelis from both a junior and senior perspective. It is very unusual for senior bankers to join a firm only to leave after a year, but it happens at Moelis.

For PE placement, what exactly are the driving factors? I always thought quality of PE and M&A deals worked on is the number one thing PE firms look at. For example, if I work on a sell-side PE deal, produce quality work and communicate effectively with the counter party (i.e. Blackstone, TPG), wouldn't that be a good way to get recognition for PE recruiting? Both firms definitely have worked/are working on some serious PE related deals (1+ bil) with mega funds - so what makes Moelis better for PE recruitment? Is it just a more recognizable name for the top headhunters?

Nov 21, 2009

centerview is a great shop and people in finance know about it, and if PE is what you want to do, then I would go with the place you like better. At the end of the day, you will be working a lot and enjoying the culture will allow you to live through to years. If you hate the people and the place working in banking, you won't last.

In terms of PE recruiting, name brand matters but experience matters the most. Name brand will get your foot in the door but you need to show you know your shit in interviews. Besides, Centerview is a good name and people in finance will know it.

Nov 21, 2009

Another reason for better placement might be the opportunity to work on M&A and Restructuring as a generalist at Moelis.

Nov 21, 2009

People definitely know Centerview and anyone who calls it MM doesn't know what they're talking about. IMO, you definitely made the right decision.

Nov 21, 2009

boutique,
supposedly the last years analyst class at Moelis all got placed into the TPGs etc of the world. Part of it is due to reputation of Moelis in LA (former DLJ)...people know analysts get crushed there; and thus learn a ton...you'll learn a ton over there....both restructuring (which helps with distressed investing and any sort of 'cap structure' intensive investing) and M&A are key skillsets and in this environment, I think having the restructuring experience gives you an edge as all PE shops are doing distressed now (if not portfolio mgt) and its a skill very few have....

regardless, both are great choices and you'll be getting crushed at both places...yes moelis overhired; but that shouldn't affect you too much (ie you'll be getting worked regardless; but the quid pro quo is in two years you'll be at KKR or BX)

Nov 21, 2009

supposedly the last years analyst class at Moelis all got placed into the TPGs etc of the world

is just flat out false for ny. as far as i know, one got tpg growth, the rest didnt get megafunds from their first class. the great placement ppl talk about has been for one class from the la office, where all but one got megafunds.

its just crazy how overhyped moelis is on these boards. you made the right choice.

Nov 21, 2009

Hey you definitely made the right choice. I know kids at Wharton, and they don't really know what they're talking about half the time. Moelis' HR has been doing a phenomenal job at marketing themselves on campus, and so that's what kids know/think. Anyone that really digs down and does their research will know that Centerview is an amazing firm.

The placement from the Moelis NY office last year was good but not great. Albeit, some of it was probably the economy, but it's not like these guys were going to any of the huge funds (I only spoke with 4-5 analysts though). I can't really confirm anything on exits from Centerview. I would imagine it would be something similar to Gleacher Partners (given the size of the firm and type of deal flow), but that's just a complete guess. (btw Gleacher's placement was GREAT).

In terms of your life... which is kind of important, you definitely made the right decision. At Moelis you will work till 1-2 am almost every night. I know that at Centerview there is no face time, and while you may occasionally have to pull the all nighter, there will also be nights that you leave at 8-9pm.

Nov 21, 2009

Thanks guys. Restructuring wasn't something that factored into my decision because I was more interested in M&A - but I knew they were killing it in M&A, check 2008 league table. CoreAsset, you are absolutely right in your Gleacher comparison. Centerview is a unique firm. They are similar to Gleacher in terms of size, Greenhill in terms of culture, and Evercore in terms of M&A dealflow - on a per capita basis.

As for Moelis. The great placement was UBS LA's last class. With the bulk hiring they are doing now, not sure if the quality will still be intact.

Centerview hasn't graduated a whole class yet (3 year guaranteed analyst program) but one person left early to go to a pretty good fund (THL/TA Associates/Summit) and 2 went to HBS who were legacy UBS/Wasserstein Perella guys.

Nov 21, 2009

one more thing you need to note about moelis: their ny class this year is going to be at least 15 people, which is huge for a boutique, especially compared to centerview. that firm is growing way too fast.

Nov 21, 2009

I agree with most of the recent posts here. Moelis is a strong place but not as amazing as some people make it out to be, and their LA office attracted a very strong class a few years ago (hence their strong placement).

I work at GS/MS/JPM and I had to decide between boutique and BB. I ultimately chose BB because I found that most people claiming how great boutiques are were the people working there. Some place into buy-side very well and you learn a lot but I think it's important to make sure you are getting unbiased opinions (which is obviously hard to do on a forum like this).

That said, I think everyone agrees that BX/Laz/GHL are the top boutiques (based purely on word of mouth), the same way GS/MS are top BB's. Rankings are often dumb, but if thats what your looking for, then Moelis and Centerview are both good places to work. You should make your decision on culture fit and not based on whehter people talk up Moelis because their recrutors market it well on college campuses.

Nov 21, 2009

Go where you like. Bearable people and culture are are important. You won't do well in a in a PE interview if you're a cracked out resentful mess.

PE is the new black.

Nov 22, 2009

Centerview has fantastic dealflow, an interesting client base and focus and some huge hitters. I don't think you can go wrong there.

Nov 30, 2009

Agree with the recent comments. Centerview is an amazing firm with strong deal flow and should be considered a top "elite boutique".

Feb 11, 2014

CV for career IBD. Moelis for buyside exits

"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be"

Feb 11, 2014

^ this thread is 4.5 years old + Moelis NY not where it was now

Feb 11, 2014

What's with people digging up 4+ year old threads?

Feb 11, 2014
BradyisGOAT:

What's with people digging up 4+ year old threads?

Lack of attention to detail. Ironically there seems to be a great number of people who lack this skill on a site called wallstreetoasis.

Feb 11, 2014

Probably Moelis LA. centerview has a 3-year program and seniors really want junior bankers to stay, so i'd assume recruiting isn't nearly as open as it would be in Moelis LA. both will definitely have great exits, but I'd take the 2-year program

    • 1
Feb 11, 2014

raymundo is correct; Centerview wants folks who are in it for the long haul.

Still, I'd kill to get into Centerview.

Feb 11, 2014

One of Moelis' strongest selling points is how supportive they are of recruiting. They do not by any means push you out, but they love to brag about the fact that they have incredibly well-regarded seniors (they poached so many guys from BBs that were underperforming between 2008-11) who will literally pick up the phone and get their juniors placed in PE and at funds.

Centerview is known to love the idea of a career banker. They have a 3-year analyst contract, expect to promote vertically, and offer big signing bonuses ($20k last year, $50k this year), salaries, and year-end bonuses at the analyst level to get people in the door and committed to remaining there.

It isn't really a direct comparison. Moelis is known for the challenging, rigorous workload and strong exit opps. Centerview is known as a career banker shop with pay well above street. You should make your decision off of the defining factors of the respective places, not some arbitrary idea of which is "better."

    • 1
Feb 11, 2014

Both shops are well respected and going to get you where you want to be, although you should understand that coming from straight advisory firms like those, Hedge Funds are mostly going to be looking at you as like a credit analyst that just reads 10-Ks all day as opposed to being a "trader" in the classic sense.

The downside of working at those sort of boutique pure advisory firms that WSO seems to have a serious hard on for is that you're not going to be exposed to the financing/capital markets side of trades because your firm has no balance sheet. And while I think it's pretty obvious that the consensus among the WSO hive mind is "short capital markets work / long advisory" because capital markets is somehow less sexy I suppose, in my personal experience on the buyside, for whatever that's worth, how trades are booked and funded is of first order importance, as in it makes or breaks the trade, and you're not going to build a sophisticated skill set in that area at a pure advisory shop.

Those are both great shops where you'll learn a lot about iBanking and corporate finance, and I don't know what kind of role you're envisioning at a HF, but it will to some extent prepare you for a certain role.

But let's be real for a minute - if you feel like you had an equally good connection with the Moelis guys and the Centerview guys, your choice isn't really between Moelis and Centerview, it's between LA and New York. I mean... That's a big difference. Don't you have friends and family that you want to be near? Prefer east coast to west? I mean... If you can't make your mind up about what side of the country to live on, you got serious fucking problems my friend. Shit that nobody on WSO can sort out.

It's your life, you know? Pick the city you prefer.

    • 1
Feb 11, 2014
NYCbandar:

Both shops are well respected and going to get you where you want to be, although you should understand that coming from straight advisory firms like those, Hedge Funds are mostly going to be looking at you as like a credit analyst that just reads 10-Ks all day as opposed to being a "trader" in the classic sense.

The downside of working at those sort of boutique pure advisory firms that WSO seems to have a serious hard on for is that you're not going to be exposed to the financing/capital markets side of trades because your firm has no balance sheet. And while I think it's pretty obvious that the consensus among the WSO hive mind is "short capital markets work / long advisory" because capital markets is somehow less sexy I suppose, in my personal experience on the buyside, for whatever that's worth, how trades are booked and funded is of first order importance, as in it makes or breaks the trade, and you're not going to build a sophisticated skill set in that area at a pure advisory shop.

Those are both great shops where you'll learn a lot about iBanking and corporate finance, and I don't know what kind of role you're envisioning at a HF, but it will to some extent prepare you for a certain role.

But let's be real for a minute - if you feel like you had an equally good connection with the Moelis guys and the Centerview guys, your choice isn't really between Moelis and Centerview, it's between LA and New York. I mean... That's a big difference. Don't you have friends and family that you want to be near? Prefer east coast to west? I mean... If you can't make your mind up about what side of the country to live on, you got serious fucking problems my friend. Shit that nobody on WSO can sort out.

It's your life, you know? Pick the city you prefer.

great post

Feb 11, 2014
NYCbandar:

Both shops are well respected and going to get you where you want to be, although you should understand that coming from straight advisory firms like those, Hedge Funds are mostly going to be looking at you as like a credit analyst that just reads 10-Ks all day as opposed to being a "trader" in the classic sense.

The downside of working at those sort of boutique pure advisory firms that WSO seems to have a serious hard on for is that you're not going to be exposed to the financing/capital markets side of trades because your firm has no balance sheet. And while I think it's pretty obvious that the consensus among the WSO hive mind is "short capital markets work / long advisory" because capital markets is somehow less sexy I suppose, in my personal experience on the buyside, for whatever that's worth, how trades are booked and funded is of first order importance, as in it makes or breaks the trade, and you're not going to build a sophisticated skill set in that area at a pure advisory shop.

Those are both great shops where you'll learn a lot about iBanking and corporate finance, and I don't know what kind of role you're envisioning at a HF, but it will to some extent prepare you for a certain role.

But let's be real for a minute - if you feel like you had an equally good connection with the Moelis guys and the Centerview guys, your choice isn't really between Moelis and Centerview, it's between LA and New York. I mean... That's a big difference. Don't you have friends and family that you want to be near? Prefer east coast to west? I mean... If you can't make your mind up about what side of the country to live on, you got serious fucking problems my friend. Shit that nobody on WSO can sort out.

It's your life, you know? Pick the city you prefer.

great post

Feb 11, 2014

If you are leaning in any meaningful way towards going to the buy-side, then I would avoid Centerview. They are very up-front about their expectations regarding a commitment to the firm -- and honestly, this is a strength in my opinion for a number of reasons. But, if they do take these expectations as seriously as I suspect, then I imagine it's in neither their nor your interests for you to consider them.

Feb 11, 2014

Moelis for the brand. Centerview for proximity to HFs.

Ordinarily I'd say Moelis, no brainer but the West Coast isn't exactly HF country. It also nice that Centerview pays a fuckload more than most banks on Wall Street (although Moelis is up there too).

Hedge funds don't give a shit about your knowledge in how a trade is booked and funded... unless you're looking to work in operations at a hedge fund.

Capital markets (banking) experience is overestimated for a junior analyst at a HF. The capital markets vs. advisory comes more into play in the S&T vs. banking discussion. You're not exactly breathing the markets working in an M&A capacity at a bank with a capital markets function and the experience you'll gain working at a bank with a balance sheet is largely focused around going through the committee approval process (i.e., drafting memos, diligence etc). As an advisor, the firm isn't doing their own diligence. That being said due diligence at an investment bank is largely superficial and its just done to say that you kicked the tires on this one and its pretty solid.

No HF is going to look at you as "a trader in the classic sense" because you're coming from Credit Suisse as opposed to Centerview. You'll largely be interviewing for L/S, multistrat or activist HFs. Don't buy the BS vs. non-BS bullshit... that debate also doesn't make much sense considering your question is Moelis LA vs. Centerview NY.

Feb 11, 2014
Marcus_Halberstram:

Moelis for the brand. Centerview for proximity to HFs.

Ordinarily I'd say Moelis, no brainer but the West Coast isn't exactly HF country. It also nice that Centerview pays a fuckload more than most banks on Wall Street (although Moelis is up there too).

Hedge funds don't give a shit about your knowledge in how a trade is booked and funded... unless you're looking to work in operations at a hedge fund.

Capital markets (banking) experience is overestimated for a junior analyst at a HF. The capital markets vs. advisory comes more into play in the S&T vs. banking discussion. You're not exactly breathing the markets working in an M&A capacity at a bank with a capital markets function and the experience you'll gain working at a bank with a balance sheet is largely focused around going through the committee approval process (i.e., drafting memos, diligence etc). As an advisor, the firm isn't doing their own diligence. That being said due diligence at an investment bank is largely superficial and its just done to say that you kicked the tires on this one and its pretty solid.

No HF is going to look at you as "a trader in the classic sense" because you're coming from Credit Suisse as opposed to Centerview. You'll largely be interviewing for L/S, multistrat or activist HFs. Don't buy the BS vs. non-BS bullshit... that debate also doesn't make much sense considering your question is Moelis LA vs. Centerview NY.

You don't think HF give a shit about how trades are funded? I don't think you're thinking about it very hard. I suppose it would depend on why you're trading, but as far as what I trade leverage is pretty important, so structuring the funding side of the trade is important. That's not ops bucko, that's trading. Are you really going to try to argue that knowing how to lever your trades isn't important to HF? I would agree that it doesn't matter for S&T people at dealers, but on the buyside it's important.

Not to mention the fact that if your funding vehicle falls apart, your trade falls apart.

Feb 11, 2014

Hasn't Centerview sent some guys to pretty impressive buyside shops in the last year? Someone can correct me if I'm passing along false information. I would go Centerview in a heartbeat- better lifestyle, much better pay, and if you want to recruit after your 3 years I think you could likely do so as strong as most top groups at other banks. The downside is that you are there for 3 years. I don't know a whole lot about the Moelis LA office, but I do know that their NYC office is not a place I would encourage anyone to join into- pretty brutal hours, little respect for personal lives, you know the rest.

Feb 11, 2014
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Feb 11, 2014