Culture at Houlihan Lokey vs Lazard & other boutiques?

I have read and heard a lot about Houlihan Lokey's culture and that they have the best culture on the street+everyone there seems very excited about working at this growing firm+cool people working there. However, I have also heard that some people are snobbish and that culture is like Lazard's-very competitive and antisocial. So was wondering what is really true and if they are really happy to work there because of the culture and people or because of their salary, which apparently is one of the highest at HL ;). And because of that they tend to get praise for their "culture"?
Has anyone met people from Houlihan or can provide more information about the firm and mainly about its people/culture ?

Comments (44)

Feb 4, 2012

Having interviewed at two of their offices I can say that everyone I met there was awesome. People seemed to really enjoy coming into work and being surrounded by their groups. I guess you kind of have to because they are supposedly one of those banks that has consistent 100+ hour weeks.

I've posted about this before, they are just a very cool group of people. Told me how they enjoy going out after work (when they get the chance) to grab beers & call each other up on weekends. The midwest office seemed much more big ten oriented but I kind of liked that.

Feb 4, 2012
ProspectiveMonkey:

Having interviewed at two of their offices I can say that everyone I met there was awesome. People seemed to really enjoy coming into work and being surrounded by their groups. I guess you kind of have to because they are supposedly one of those banks that has consistent 100+ hour weeks.

I've posted about this before, they are just a very cool group of people. Told me how they enjoy going out after work (when they get the chance) to grab beers & call each other up on weekends. The midwest office seemed much more big ten oriented but I kind of liked that.

Big ten oriented= BB oriented?

Feb 4, 2012

From a professional culture point-of-view, I have heard on the M&A side that they are focused on providing fairness opinions and less on pre-deal advice (could just be hearsay), but obviously one of the top restructuring practices out there

Feb 4, 2012
mccommander:

I have read and heard a lot about Houlihan Lokey's culture and that they have the best culture on the street+everyone there seems very excited about working at this growing firm+cool people working there. However, I have also heard that some people are snobbish and that culture is like Lazard's-very competitive and antisocial. So was wondering what is really true and if they are really happy to work there because of the culture and people or because of their salary, which apparently is one of the highest at HL ;). And because of that they tend to get praise for their "culture"?
Has anyone met people from Houlihan or can provide more information about the firm and mainly about its people/culture ?

Is this an excerpt from the Vault guide?

Feb 4, 2012

I interviewed with them as well and the people were really cool, but also appeared to be very driven (most people I met where from UPenn, Harvard, Cornell and other top schools or had some kind of leadership position in the past). Like prospectivemonkey said, they tend to hang out outside of work if they have the time. That's why I do not think their culture is like Lazard's. But to be accurate, I think it also depends on the team and office you are at HL. From a friend who worked there I was told that their working hours were usually quite long which is not surprising if you want to really work in M&A or restructuring. And yes, in regards to his colleagues at other investment banks, he was one of the best paid at HL. However, it should be mentioned that Lazard also pays very well, I have heard.

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Feb 4, 2012

What is the Vault guide? I generally prefer to network and talk to people from the industry, instead of going to career centers or reading guides. Thanks for the feedback so far. HL seems like a great place. Has anyone actually worked there or is currently working there and could provude some feedback?

Feb 4, 2012

Big Ten = athletic conference, refers to a less cutthroat, collegial atmosphere.

Feb 4, 2012

everyone in banking is antisocial at first

Feb 4, 2012

Interviewed at HL. Met multiple people and alums of the office. I can say that they all were extremely relaxed and friendly. The office I interviewed at has a weekly happy hour at a neighborhood bar and they consistently try to go out together. I generally got a great feeling about the team.

One thing the director told me is that employees tend to like HL a lot because they don't really care about the face-time nonsense you see at other banks. Where at a lot of firms analysts/associates stay in the office longer than they need to just to show they are there, HL doesn't care if you leave, as long as your work is quality and you get it done.

Overall they generally seemed like really down to earth people.

Apr 14, 2013
Emics19:

Interviewed at HL. Met multiple people and alums of the office. I can say that they all were extremely relaxed and friendly. The office I interviewed at has a weekly happy hour at a neighborhood bar and they consistently try to go out together. I generally got a great feeling about the team.

One thing the director told me is that employees tend to like HL a lot because they don't really care about the face-time nonsense you see at other banks. Where at a lot of firms analysts/associates stay in the office longer than they need to just to show they are there, HL doesn't care if you leave, as long as your work is quality and you get it done.

Overall they generally seemed like really down to earth people.

The culture you mentioned- is it for the Chicago office?

Mar 4, 2012

Would be interested to find out more about Lazard's culture. Is it just me, cause on campus I haven't heard the best things about their culture. My roommate also interviewed with HL and she said people were friendly. @ mikebrady, why do you say that everyone is anti-social at first?

Mar 8, 2012

HL guys at a lower level do seem to be awesome but I've heard at a senior level the MDs can keep to themselves and offer little in feedback or direction. From what i've been told this leads to a more monkey style role as you have less visibility of the deal as a whole and it's progress until you get told to re-do some numbers.

In contrast to this, LAZ's structure is top heavy and so you tend to get more exposure to seniors, which you'd assume would result in a better learning experience.

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Oct 24, 2014

A Houlihan vp and analyst came to my business school yesterday to host a valuation workshop. The vibes I got off the two were very positive, especially when put against other banks. I will also say that being willing to teach undergraduate students pro bono after their classes says a lot about culture.

Best Response
Oct 24, 2014

Imagine taking a 10 inch dildo and shoving it up your ass.

    • 3
Oct 24, 2014
SirBankalot:

Imagine taking a 10 inch dildo and shoving it up your ass.

^ this ^

I talked with Analyst from BB whose buddy worked at Lazard. The life of that buddy was indeed pretty miserable. He worked 100+ hours/week even during slow time (no major deals)

Oct 24, 2014

Long. Formal. ?. No.

Oct 24, 2014

fuck it

Oct 24, 2014
DontMakeMeShortYou:

I'm guessing you have the MS and GHL offers? LAZ final rounds just happened.

Lazard: I would say that it's the most elite of the three. On a pure prestige basis, I would only take MS M&A over Lazard (this is just my opinion, others may disagree). Unfortunately, the culture isn't exactly the most appealing. The people tend to be very elitist and the hours can get pretty brutal. It's the kind of place that cares about what high school you went to and where you vacation.

//www.wallstreetoasis.com/comment/reply/74691/185395...

Oct 24, 2014

Lol @ SirBankalot!

Oct 24, 2014

Wow is it really that bad? I don't understand why firms have that sort of culture. Nobody likes working with assholes.

Oct 24, 2014

I have a couple of friends that work there and just like any other bank, the culture of the group is something you really need to look at. It also has a very European feel, so you'll find some groups more open-minded than your standard / typical banking group across the street.

Best to figure out which group you're most interested in and go from there.

Oct 24, 2014

The problem comes from the fact that they are really understaffed. The hours are pretty brutal, but on the other hand you learn a lot!

Oct 24, 2014

Lazard has a reputation for a cutthroat and impersonal culture, coupled with horrible hours.

Oct 24, 2014

I think Lazard culture is great. A very elite good bank.

Oct 24, 2014

What makes a trader (i'm assuming from your name) have knowledge of their culture? Care to explain?

Oct 24, 2014
ultratrader89:

I think Lazard culture is great. A very elite good bank.

aw that's cute. go back to your junior year in college and let the big boys give useful feedback. good luck getting that internship you wanted!

Oct 24, 2014

I'm a former Laz associate. The reputation is accurate. No matter which group you are in, you will be worked very, very hard. On the other hand, you will be trained by some of the brightest bankers on WS.

Oct 24, 2014

I agree with the comments that have been made. The impression I got from Lazard was that they were very intelligent, hard-working, impersonal with even a slight cruel streak.

Oct 24, 2014
macro:

I agree with the comments that have been made. The impression I got from Lazard was that they were very intelligent, hard-working, impersonal with even a slight cruel streak.

well put

Oct 24, 2014

They also win the award for having the darkest circles under their eyes.

Oct 24, 2014

i left Lazard's on-campus recruiting presentation in the middle of the keynote speech by an MD.
the guy admitted that he cares nothing for his analysts and wants to squeeze every last drop of sweat out of them. "if you're not in it for the money," according to the MD, "don't talk with me."

needless to say - most of my friends and i did not drop our resumes.

Oct 24, 2014
rasputin2518:

i left Lazard's on-campus recruiting presentation in the middle of the keynote speech by an MD.
the guy admitted that he cares nothing for his analysts and wants to squeeze every last drop of sweat out of them. "if you're not in it for the money," according to the MD, "don't talk with me."

needless to say - most of my friends and i did not drop our resumes.

A far cry from Bruce's "Dare To Be Great" speech, that's for sure..

Oct 24, 2014
rasputin2518:

i left Lazard's on-campus recruiting presentation in the middle of the keynote speech by an MD.
the guy admitted that he cares nothing for his analysts and wants to squeeze every last drop of sweat out of them. "if you're not in it for the money," according to the MD, "don't talk with me."

needless to say - most of my friends and i did not drop our resumes.

As horrible as that sounds, I would have at least talked to him...seems like an interesting guy.

Oct 24, 2014

mo money mo problems

Oct 24, 2014

Why is Lazard's culture perception so bad? I understand you work way long hours but is there anything more?

Oct 24, 2014
john119h:

Why is Lazard's culture perception so bad? I understand you work way long hours but is there anything more?

If you read the above, you've got a pretty good idea of the culture. They're known as being very cold, impersonal, and cut-throat. It's the type of place that cares where you went to high school. If you need more background on the firm, read "The Last Tycoons"

Oct 24, 2014

Gotta at least give credit to the MD for being straightforward.

Oct 24, 2014

Impersonal: It's the type of place where you get a "hello" in the morning and a "goodbye" at night, but not much more in between (e.g. no "how was your weekend?" or any other semblance of personal talk) from superiors. That said, you can find plenty of good folks to talk to and hang out with within your class.

@Drexelalum11 - you are spot on. In fact, I was asked by the group head at one point and various MDs at other points, where I went to high school and what my parents did. Pretty much everyone there has some sort of connection to someone at the firm or who is in some way important in the world of wealth, business or finance.

Hours: The hours are longer than elsewhere because the deal teams are much leaner. It is a boutique and therefore the number of analysts is fewer than at a bulge bracket and also, you cannot borrow analysts from a less busy group because every "group" (and it's not really that broken into groups) needs their analysts whether busy or not. Further, it is fairly "top heavy" which means the analyst/ MD ratio is lower than at most bulge brackets.

Regarding the final point about hours, the advantage of this once upon a time when Lazard was a private company is that it translated into bigger salaries/ bonuses for employees, even at the junior levels, relative to bulge brackets on the street. It no longer translates into bigger salaries/ bonuses for junior level people, though I'm not sure if it still translates into bigger salaries/ bonuses at the more senior levels.

Oct 24, 2014

doesnt HL sponsor vault? Friend was a summer there, worked 9-1am 7 days a week. With an all nighter once a week.

Once the person left at midnight and they got all pissed, hadnt been doing any work since 6 ish.

they are NOT a top 10 bank, and they are a sweat shop

--
"Those who say don't know, and those who know don't say."

Oct 24, 2014
Comment
Oct 24, 2014
Oct 24, 2014

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.