Centerview vs UBS vs WF

After going 0/5 on SDs through spring and summer, I managed to go 3/3 over the past week and as now have to decide between CVP, WF, and UBS for SA 22. I'd greatly appreciate any input or help on which offer to take, and have listed my thoughts below.

WF

Pros: Can end up in Charlotte (I absolutely hate NY and love Charlotte unlike most people on this forum), great culture, super friendly people, growing bank, balance sheet bank (very interested in LevFin so this is a pro for me).

Cons: Name brand not on par with the other two banks, group placement can still be unpredictable.

UBS

Pros: BB name, liked the people I talked to there

Cons: Group placement unpredictability, offer is for NY, platform as a whole is well past its glory days and may be on the decline.

CVP

Pros: EB name, comp, really liked the culture and people, no group placement

Cons: Offer is for NY, independent advisory firm so no exposure to debt.

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Comments (68)

Oct 7, 2021 - 1:32pm

That is wrong centre view is one of the biggest advisors in the world doing deals valued at a total of 3 trillion dollars last year alone.

  • Summer Associate in IB-M&A
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:25pm

Thought this was a dumb question with a clear answer of CVP but with further context it actually seems pretty tough. First and foremost, how much do you hate NY? NY is the mecca of finance but I can definitely see why people wouldn't want to live here. If you really can't stand NY, then honestly I'd go with WF, because you will get burnt out by the NYC lifestyle. Also, how much do you value exposure to debt products? I'm at an EB and I'm generally pro-EB, but one of the biggest cons of my experience has been the lack of diversity in products I've been exposed to. If you really want to work with debt and get the balance sheet bank experience, I'd go with WF.

That being said, CVP will set you up far better than UBS and WF will, so if the thought of living in NYC is anything less than unbearable for you and if you're willing to trade the full-service bank experience for a far better platform for future optionality (PE recruiting, lateral recruiting, B-school), I'd easily say CVP.

Funniest
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:29pm

Not clowning on you OP since this comparison is clearly not as clear-cut as it may seem with your preferences but damn we may be seeing the first time in history someone turning down CVP for WF.

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Sep 3, 2021 - 12:50pm

There are times in this job where I would definitely pay $50k for improved level of happiness, even if it's still in banking. I totally understand not wanting to be in NYC, and it sounds like OP is interested in FIG/LF, so is there any other opportunity in the US - much less available to OP - that would be better than the WF offer?

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Aug 30, 2021 - 2:32pm

Group placement is pretty straightforward at WF, unless you mess up you're pretty much guaranteed to get your top 2 groups and top location (especially if you're opting for CLT)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:37pm

Went through it. Didn't get any of my top 10 choices. Networked pretty hard. Ended up in a city I didn't want and in capital markets. I know a lot of people that got screwed over from wanting NYC and getting placed in Charlotte.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:43pm

Didn't find out about Lazard CLT until after the application deadline and Jefferies/WB rejected me so I didn't really get to make that decision lol.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Aug 30, 2021 - 3:09pm

yea honestly much easier to choose those 3 over Centerview if you wanted Charlotte but WF simply isn't strong enough

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:41pm

I'd actually vote for CVP here. Your circumstances and preferences make this decision far more nuanced than most posters on WSO would make it seem OP but as a general rule it's always far easier to "trade down" than to "trade up". CVP is a much stronger platform than WF and UBS, so I'd highly suggest you take CVP for SA 22, spend the summer in NY, and decide whether or not you can see yourself living there for the long term. If you can't stand NY/really want the BB/Balance-sheet experience afterwards, you can always recruit FT and it's far easier to recruit for Charlotte MM/BB/WF banks FT with CVP on your resume than the other way around.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Aug 30, 2021 - 3:37pm

OP this is the best take. Just finished my SA stint in NY and felt pretty burnt out by the city too. My staffer always said the best thing about the summer internship is that it ends. Spending 10 weeks in NY at one of the top banks is a very low-risk and high-reward way for you to try out the city and provide yourself with much more options if you want to go to Charlotte FT. With CVP NY on your resume I doubt it'd be hard to move to Charlotte FT if you really want

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 31, 2021 - 11:06pm

I second this. You don't have much to lose from 10 weeks in NYC, and it will keep your options wide open - even if the result is you ending up hating it and re-recruiting to Charlotte. That shouldn't be much trouble, unlike the other way round.

I fully understand that you prefer Charlotte and there's nothing wrong with that. Prestige isn't everything and those nuances are often ignored or even mocked in online forums like this one. Fuck that. That said, let's ignore the fact that your bullpen cubicle looks the same everywhere and you won't have much free time in either city. Let's assume you have a blast in Charlotte for 2 years. Then what? Want to do PE? Hello New York. Want to do AM? Hello New York. Want to do HF? Hello New York. Yes, there are great gigs in other major cities but by refusing to live in NYC you would essentially rule out the vast majority of exit opps ex ante or, if you eventually do come around it, will have put yourself in a considerably worse position. I did not come here to shit on WF. It's not a bad place to be at. Be my guest in ignoring the prestige jerking contest on this forum. I couldn't care less about anyone here fighting about whether CS or Citi is "more prestigious". But the gap between WF and CVP is very, VERY real and noticeable for recruiting and you need to be aware of that no matter what your ultimate decision may be.

One last word since you mentioned debt. I am not sure if you've had any exposure to capital markets, but debt is a commodity. Yes, there may be some value in understanding how and why banks decide to underprice an already low-margin product and what pointless regulatory and internal documents have to be prepared for the bank's internal credit committee. But the value isn't nearly as high as you seem to think it is. Besides, it's not like you'd have zero exposure to debt at boutique banks - the difference is that you would generally focus on capital structure decisions that will lead to your client choosing a particular debt instrument instead of executing the actual debt issuance. Of course there's nuance to that, but my point here is that there's absolutely nothing that would prevent you from recruiting into distressed investing, private credit, or any debt-related group at a BB from CVP.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 1, 2021 - 3:53pm

There are PE opportunities in virtually every major city.  My advice is man up and take the CVP internship, get the full-time offer and do your two years.  You can get a PE job in any city you want after that.  The difference between CVP and UBS / WF is just too large to ignore.

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:47pm

Prospect in IB-M&A

Cons: Offer is for NY, independent advisory firm so no exposure to debt.

Thought this was a troll when I first read it.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:58pm

I would say the posters above have good points, but if you want WF Charlotte, it's no slam dunk you'll be able to swing it full time if you do CVP SA. I would take WF if I were in your shoes. I know someone who wanted CLT and got it very easily and if you can swing CVP I think you can get into a top group at WF that relates to debt, or whatever your goals are easily. Having the privilege to know what you want is great and I would think very hard about whether what would lead you to take CVP will make you happy if that makes sense

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:59pm

Agree with most of the others above. The combination of the CVP name, comp, client set and overall experience is just too much better than the others (and at the top of Wall Street in general), plus since it's just an internship, you can trial run the NYC lifestyle. If you absolutely hate it, you can always move down-market full time. 

One thing important thing to note is that if you like debt, CVP is fully generalist and does restructuring and bespoke financings -- both of which will give you that exposure. It won't be traditional capital markets, but in my opinion, it will give you an even better technical skillset than just normal lev fin or DCM.

Aug 30, 2021 - 3:00pm

This is a pretty funny debacle all things considered, but my advice would ultimately be to opt for CVP.

This is like someone asking about Harvard vs. Penn State. Even with everything lining up against Harvard and for Penn State, there's simply no way to twist it that any of us can advise Penn State in good faith. In 5 years if you go with WF you'll almost surely regret not going to CVP, or at the very least be left wondering "what if". Life is about risks, and as bankers we tend to minimize that factor, but if there was ever a risk to take, it's going to CVP in a place you don't prefer, over WF in a place you do. Absolute worst case scenario, you lateral after a year and land in any shop in the south that you want. Best case scenario you recruit for PE and end up in a top-tier southern shop that would have required heavy competition coming from WF. Once you go to Wells, all those doors are closed. Just like you can't put "Accepted to Harvard" under Penn State on a resume, you can't tell anyone "Yeah I went to Wells but I could have gone to CVP". Is that a door you're really comfortable closing at this point in your life?

Aug 30, 2021 - 4:31pm

Former Wells employee and someone who really likes Charlotte here. There is no way I could advise you to take WF over CVP. The optionality that CVP provides is so much more than WF can. Much easier to go from NYC to Charlotte and from working on advisory and m&a to working on debt than the reverse. Take CVP and don't look back.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 30, 2021 - 3:25pm

Agree with the above. As much as I'd like to say WF fits your interests more and you'd be happier at WF, I cannot in good faith recommend you turn down CVP. Call me a prestige whore, but the CVP name is just too strong to turn down for WF.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 30, 2021 - 3:52pm

Yo I got WF offer too how'd you get UBS? And CVP? Are you a target or diversity? Major congrats btw. I personally would go CVP because it's easily the best bank out of the 3, but it seems like you really hate NYC. What specifically do you hate about NYC? Are you sure you couldn't deal with it at all? So I'm guessing you ranked NC over NYC in Wells survey?

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 30, 2021 - 3:58pm

Thanks man - target non-diversity, and got CVP through OCR and UBS through the non-target process (apparently our school isn't a target for them). I actually lived in NYC for about 5 years before moving out, and I just found that I didn't like how it was such a concrete jungle. I felt like the city was just suffocating with how dense it was, and I definitely felt like it was just very hard to escape the "city" part of the city compared to other large cities. I'd say I'm definitely a lot more of a Southern type of person, and I'm definitely very relaxed/prefer a slower pace of life outside of work, and the people in NYC are the opposite of that, where they're all very young and very ambitious/professionally-oriented. And yeah I ranked NC over NYC for Wells lol.

Sep 1, 2021 - 1:20pm

At least in my circles, I've found when everyone was 0-3 years out of undergrad, almost everyone was ambitious and insufferable.

But after a few years, people seem to chill out a lot more and realize that a job, no matter how well it pays, is still a job.

Of course depends on what circles you float in, but generally you should see things getter a bit better the older you get.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 30, 2021 - 6:36pm

The idea that you don't get debt exposure at a boutique is false. Especially generalist programs where you can do restructuring. Levfin teams at BBs will handle the levfin. I'd probably just do CVP for a summer in NY. Charlotte interest makes sense but it's just an internship and you can always leave NY.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 30, 2021 - 6:41pm

I would definitely take the CVP offer. I originally didn't want to be in nyc for banking either, but i've started to fall in love with this city. Plenty of restaurants, museums, and cool things to check out. If you don't like living in nyc you can definitely recruit elsewhere for ft

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 30, 2021 - 6:53pm

Think of it this way, while people before you from UBS & WF have landed in MF PE and SM elite hedge funds in the past, the path from CVP to either of those destinations will be infinitely easier.

If you stay in finance for your entire career, you will always think "what if" should you end up only landing a less than ideal MM PE offer, or LMM etc. Whereas with CVP on your resume the only reason you get dinged is because of your poor interviewing skills, never because of the pedigree of your IB resume

You can also take CVP this summer and then recruit for other offices at BB's and EB's and have a fairly easy time compared to someone from WF trying to do the same. 

This is like advising someone on whether they should pick Columbia over Tulane

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Aug 30, 2021 - 7:53pm

Wells IBD associate here…I completely understand your situation and why it is not as simple as it would appear to be at face value. That being said, CVP will give you more career optionality and you should strongly consider it. I don't want to tell you it is a no brainer because if you hate living in NY then you're going to…hate living in NY.

If you hate NY to the point where it is going to throw off your performance at work and create problems in your personal life then I do not think it is the end of the world if you go to WF. People here trade up banks pretty often, latest I've seen was GS, Rothschild, and PWP. It's not going to end your career or anything like that. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 30, 2021 - 9:13pm

Look, if it was literally ANY other bank but CVP with your preferences, I would have said just take WF. Culture really does matter. But, it's fucking CVP dude. Take it, seriously no question. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Aug 31, 2021 - 2:50am

I like how no one is arguing against that UBS is in decline or cheer them up after they lost their entire tech team.

Can someone at UBS provide insights and is your life better than DB analysts?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 31, 2021 - 3:09pm

Well UBS shouldn't be in this convo. If its between that and CVP in NYC, OP should go with CVP for the best in street comp and platform. UBS is certainly not in decline if you're comparing it to the past 10 years of performance, quite the opposite really. UBS losing MDs in a satellite office also has no impact on its NYC operations outside of its TMT group. 

  • Intern in ER
Aug 31, 2021 - 9:22pm

Pretty sure many people would consider WF a lower tier BB at this point which is growing. 

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
Sep 1, 2021 - 1:40pm

CVP - I work at WF and have friends at both CVP and UBS. WF is great if you couldn't land at an EB or your classic BBs. I've enjoyed my time at WF, but there are very clearly better firms out there. Buddy who worked at CVP loved it and spoke very highly of the culture.  UBS is a sweatshop - have a friend there who's getting crushed (and got fcked on comp this cycle). 

Feel free to reply w/ username and I can DM you w/ more specifics. Good luck and congrats - all solid firms. 

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Sep 1, 2021 - 2:43pm

It's just an internship. I think you should try CVP in New York to truly see how you like working in the city. It's the strongest brand and will set you up far better. Would be smart for you to work in Charlotte down the line, though, since you like it and the cost of living is low. Plenty of opportunities will stay open down there if you start in New York. This forum tends to solve for retained optionality + perception so keep that in mind.  

Sep 1, 2021 - 6:57pm

CVP > UBS > Wells

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Sep 2, 2021 - 8:53pm

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  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 4, 2021 - 11:49am

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