Commercial Banking--> Leveraged Finance

Hello monkeys. I've accepted a job as a commercial banking analyst at a MM firm upon graduation with hopes of eventually breaking into lev. fin down the road, likely post-MBA. Is this is a feasible career path and what would be the best way to approach?

Without giving too much away the bank I'm joining is a MM leader that is involved in a lot of PE deals and the role is known for being more modelling heavy than most commercial banking positions. I also have the opportunity to join either a debt capital markets, loan syndication or financial sponsors group following the initial training period and am curious as to what would best prepare me for breaking into lev. fin. Thanks in advance for any advice

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Comments (26)

Jan 20, 2016 - 11:17pm

As do most people to be honest, it's definitely a unique program. Essentially I've been hired as an Analyst in their Commercial Finance division which includes several industry coverage groups, one being financial sponsors, as well as the Loan Syndication group and a Capital Markets Group that works with the various sector teams.

The bank is sort of different than most in that they are technically a commercial bank, however they offer advisory and origination services in certain groups hence the existence of a Capital Markets Group. They focus primarily on senior debt transactions but do list "Leveraged finance insight, guidance and intelligence" as a another service in the description.

Best Response
Jan 16, 2016 - 5:01pm

To me, its not obvious that syndicate would transfer itself well to lev fin, the skills are very different.

Sponsors, likewise. It could be that its a team that will structure debt on behalf of sponsors, but the chances are that it is a commercial bank coverage team that deals with the relationship side of PE, thereby deferring to lev fin for the structuring side. If its the latter, i wouldn't have said you would get the required experience in order to be picked up from Lev fin.

I think with DCM, if they have a high yield franchise, that may be a bit more similar (in that you'd be looking at HY debt), but truth be told, it is still more market oriented, and the roles are very different.

However, I would say, all of those opportunities are excellent in their own right. Syndicate is a very interesting space, you work heavily with the investors, you're feeding back to teams like lev fin on the pricing of debt, and the appetite for certain debt.

DCM, is also fascinating, if you're investment grade the deals are big. If you're HY its still HY debt, still levered companies. Both DCM and syndicate move very quickly.

Where I used to work, we did hire people in from commercial/corporate banks, and usually they would be people from "structured finance" teams. In this teams, there are parts of them which work on mid-market sponsor deals, so are still structuring debt, still doing the cash flow modelling etc. I think if you have a team similar to that, that would be a good place to look.

BUt do remember, your career will almost certainly not go in the direction you think it would, so be open to opportunities, be flexible, and if you aren't where you want to be straight away get your head down, work hard and demonstrate the aptitude and capabilities to move to where you do want to be. Or vote with your feet.

Good luck!

Mar 2, 2016 - 5:02pm

Corporate/Commercial Banking => Leveraged Finance at I-Bank => Private Equity? (Originally Posted: 09/08/2010)


So I was wondering how feasible this career path would be:

Corporate/Commercial Banking at large lender => Top 15 MBA => Leveraged Finance at BB =>? MM Private Equity?

Is this reasonable, or would it be a long shot?

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Jan 16, 2016 - 6:25pm

Thanks man, I really appreciate it. I've spoken to a few current analysts and they've said the financial sponsor group does pretty much exactly what you described. The firm doesn't have an official IB division which apparently means you end up doing more cash flow modelling than you otherwise would at the corporate/commercial banking arm of a BB.

Jan 16, 2016 - 7:43pm

No problem at all, mate.

For what its worth, when I was in Lev Fin one of the areas I was most interested was Syndicate. It really felt like they were the pulse of the debt markets. Perception is always different of course, but they're a very interesting group.

You'll be fine though, mate. Sounds like a great opportunity!

Mar 2, 2016 - 5:03pm


People tend to think life is a race with other people. They don't realize that every moment they spend sprinting towards the finish line is a moment they lose permanently, and a moment closer to their death.
  • 2
Mar 2, 2016 - 5:04pm

Commercial Bank at WF -> MBA -> IB Lev Finance (Originally Posted: 05/11/2012)

Does this route have any chance at all?

Got accepted their corporate/commercial bank lending group. Think you can jump from this to IB lev finance straight or through mba?

Mar 2, 2016 - 5:05pm

What is WF?

"I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."
Mar 2, 2016 - 5:09pm

Corporate or Commercial Banking for LevFin? (Originally Posted: 10/11/2013)

Hi all.

I am fortunate to have a two offers with a BB for corp/commercial. I would like to lateral into a LevFin/high yield DCM role in 2-3 years, so which path would be ideal for this?
Ideal track for me: Corp/Comm --> LevFin/DCM---> Credit PE

Corp Banking in the east coast (major city, not NY nor Boston)
Commercial Banking in Charlotte


Mar 2, 2016 - 5:13pm

Can you clarify more on the program. I am in Corp. banking and we do leverage finance but obviously it varies between the banks.

Mar 2, 2016 - 5:14pm

Commercial Banking to LevFin (Originally Posted: 10/16/2017)

Hey everyone, I'm a first year commercial banking analyst at a top BB firm from a non target school (top business school in the south) looking to lateral to LevFin. My division deals with large-upmarket deals which makes it relatively exciting, but clearly see it is not the career path money/trajectory wise.

I see LevFin (not Corp B) as the natural next step up for anyone who has half a brain. I realize LevFin is one of the more sought after groups (especially for PE exit ops), but feel like commercial banking knowledge is actually very transferable. By the end of my first year, I will have over 3 mos of credit/modeling training.

Any suggestions on if this is a reasonable lateral pre-mba? If so, how and when to go about doing so? Appreciate the help.

Mar 2, 2016 - 5:16pm
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