Deciding between GS, MS, and JPM

Edited: made my decision and am very happy with it. Appreciate all the helpful comments on this post and hope it might help someone else in the future :)

Comments (49)

Oct 4, 2017

You have to tell us which groups...

Oct 4, 2017

Unfortunately, they were all generalist offers, so can't say much more on that front.

Oct 4, 2017

No as in Capital Markets, Classic, Financing, etc. Are they all IB/Classic?

Oct 4, 2017

I got placed in FIG. They give generalist offers??

Oct 4, 2017

for SA offers GS and MS do generalist within IB. So like IB Classic SA offers or MS IBD offers, again without a group. Placement is done in a couple of months time through internal networking. JPM does group specific I think.

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Oct 5, 2017

Can you confirm the process at JPM is group specific? Haven't heard that and I have an interview coming up there.

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Oct 5, 2017

I know that for FT they definitely give group specific offers, but I think for SA it's a generalist offer. That generalist offer includes some CapMarkets groups though, so you could get a generalist IB offer and end up in ECM or DCM for instance, though. At least it was when I did it a couple of years ago.

Nov 5, 2017

.

Oct 4, 2017

Classic for GS, general for both MS and JPM (edited for clarity)

Best Response
Oct 4, 2017

I know this sounds rote but just take GS. Their return offer rate is a little lower than MS or JPM, but it's not terribly bad, and if you got offers at all 3 you're probably more than capable enough to get a return.

The culture at GS is a little bit cut-throat and competitive, but it's Goldman and being there will open more doors down the road all things being equal. Also, the Classic offer guarantees you won't get stuck in Capital Markets groups, unlike JPM. And since their M&A is done mostly by the coverage groups, you're much more likely to get quality M&A exposure than if you didn't get M&A at the other firms. Also, the building and area downtown is much quieter and nicer than midtown, especially MS which is right in the middle of the Times Square cesspool.

MS has a very bro-ey, athlete culture and isn't doing as well lately in terms of deal mandates, overall performance, etc. Obviously still very top, but isn't giving GS/JP/BAML as much of a run for their money as they typically have.

JP is cool, good firm in general. Some groups have amazing culture, some have absolute shit culture with asshole MDs who have a stick so far up their ass I'm surprised it's not coming out their mouth. But idk, GS is better in pretty much every way unless you really want to be at a big universal bank.

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Oct 4, 2017

Really appreciate the thorough insight! I didn't know MS might place me in Capital Markets. I applied for IBD, so I assumed GCM was a separate application. GS's return offer rate does worry me a little, given how difficult it is to recruit FT in this environment. I come from a liberal arts background and feel like I'm lagging behind technically. Either way, thanks for your measured response. Any chance you might be willing to continue this conversation over PM/phone?

Oct 4, 2017

Yeah PM me for sure. MS won't put you into GCM sorry, that's only for JPM I think. Was a typo haha

Oct 4, 2017

The MS IBD SA (for New York) description says placement is either into M&A or a coverage group. If I am not mistaken, GCM is a different application.

Oct 4, 2017

First off, I would go with GS at analyst level assuming two and out is your goal. However, I just pulled up M&A league tables and GS is 1 with 457 Bn / 256 deals and MS is #2 with 446 Bn / 254 deals so not sure what commenter above is talking about. Citi is 3 with 364 Bn / 177 deals. This is Bloomberg.

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Oct 4, 2017

This is YTD

Oct 4, 2017

Thanks for your comment! What are your thoughts on exits from GS, given its new A2A structure? A couple stories out there about people getting fired for recruiting, and definitely seems to be a disproportionate number of analysts staying on.

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Oct 4, 2017

Not at GS so can't comment, would defer to guys at bank. But given their analyst place well, I'm sure there's a way and it's been figured out. Best of luck and congrats, can't go wrong here at all but if I had your options at your age would go GS for the brand / options.

Oct 4, 2017

Thanks so much! Appreciate the insight!

Oct 6, 2017

The new A2A stuff is both a pro and a con. In general, you are supposed to stay absolutely silent if you are recruiting for your first year. Around March of your second year, they start the 'choose which group you want to be in next year as an Associate' process, and at that point, you either have to opt out of the A2A program (essentially, you let everyone know you will not be staying on), or if you haven't found a new gig yet, you go through the selection process. However, if you participate in the lottery for which new group in the A2A process and then don't take it, you don't get your bonus even if you are still at the firm come July.So it's a clever way for them to have a sense of headcount numbers ahead of time for the Associate promotes.

It's also a bit competitive in that, for many industry groups, they give out the Associate offers on a rolling basis throughout the analyst program. So after the first review cycle in Dec of your first year, they give out ~20% of the promotions (for an Associate role in 1.5 years). Then in July they give out another 20%. Keeps everyone on their toes to not be the last ones to get the offer (most get offers to stay).

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Oct 4, 2017

We're talking apples and oranges. Those numbers aren't fees earned, they're just total transactions advised on, plus they're M&A only. Looking at total deal value for a BB like MS is stupid because often they'll be on a deal in a minor role because they're helping with financing. Fees are what matter. Also, if you're in a product group it's smart to look at total revenue, not just M&A, because a lot of what you'll be doing won't be straight M&A. With that said, MS is in 5th and not close to GS/BAML for the top 3 spots. Not saying they don't have a great business, just saying their momentum isn't great right now and compared to GS/JPM they have slipped a bit.

I usually use our Reuters Eikon data, but this public FT table tracks that with a minor lag so should give people a good idea: https://markets.ft.com/data/league-tables/tables-a...

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Oct 5, 2017

Agree wallet share is what matters. But no public source is going to be a reliable estimate for that, especially FT. we literally have a guy internally whose job is to track it, and even then it is likely incomplete given volume.

I could be mistaken, but WSO seems to tilt m&a vs debt/equity. I'm that case, would really be a JP/BAML/Citi with the financing role, MS balance sheet is small and I haven't seen them play well on the debt side given this.

Agree to disagree, but congrats again OP. CU out.

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Oct 5, 2017

@cipranis Go with GS. It will play the best if you don't get a return offer and it's the best place to go FT when that offer comes. GL.

Note: other shops are very very good and you may get a better overall experience. But that's not really the point at this stage.

Oct 4, 2017

Both are generalist positions

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Oct 4, 2017

How did you get a generalist offer? I got placed into a specific group at one of them and I really don't like the group

Oct 4, 2017

How did you get a specific offer? Did they let you know over the phone? They didn't specify anything on my end.

Oct 4, 2017

Wtf I wish I have a generalist offer. My offer says Financial Institutions

Oct 4, 2017

All three of these firms hire generalist for NYC

Nov 5, 2017

They're not. JPM and MS both have separate M&A product groups. The coverage groups do get to do some of the M&A and offerings in their industry, but they work with the product groups (M&A, capital markets) to execute the deals. GS does not have a separate M&A product group, meaning M&A is all done in-house in each industry group.

Oct 4, 2017

My offer says FIG

Nov 5, 2017
moneymogul:

They're not. JPM and MS both have separate M&A product groups. The coverage groups do get to do some of the M&A and offerings in their industry, but they work with the product groups (M&A, capital markets) to execute the deals. GS does not have a separate M&A product group, meaning M&A is all done in-house in each industry group.

Yes, it seems that MS has its ECM, DCM, Lev. Fin. in one unit (called Global Capital Markets), and then the rest of its IB activities in another (called Investment Banking). But then, if you click on the investment banking unit, they talk about "underwriting of equity and equity-related transactions, corporate debt issuance". But isn't that what ECM, DCM, and Lev. Fin. does?

Here is the link:
http://www.morganstanley.com/about/careers/ourbusi...

Oct 5, 2017

Some BBs do FIG and real estate specific IB recruiting. the rest of the groups are in a different pool but I know jp has separate interviews for FIG

Nov 5, 2017

So, for MS and JPM, M&A has its own division where they do all M&A across all industries, and then they have coverage groups for the rest of their IB activities like ECM, DCM, etc.? What does coverage group do then?

And just to clarify, GS does do what I thought, above? They have industry groups that focus on one industry such as Healthcare that does everything IB that relates to Healthcare, right?

Nov 5, 2017

They also break down coverage differently. It's subtle, but could be substantial based on where you want to go. For example, JPM covers chemical companies out of Natural Resources, but at MS/GS it's out of Industrials I believe. Little things like that.

Nov 5, 2017

Even though JPM and MS have M&A groups, many groups still do their M&A in house. For example, FIG at JPM and M&T at MS do their own M&A.

Nov 5, 2017

Everyone will tell you they do their M&A in house on their coverage group.

From what I have heard, most of the times the reality is that (in the case of a platform with both M&A groups and industry coverage groups) they both share the work, with M&A taking the lead of the execution and the coverage group managing the client relationship.

The degree of execution that the industry group will handle depends on the workload of the M&A group at the moment of the transaction.

Nov 5, 2017

This is true.^

But I know what Mossy said about MS M&T is true as well. Some industry groups actually do their own M&A 100%. Things differ by bank and group so you're best off asking directly.

Oct 4, 2017

GS, JPM and MS keep saying they're the best but GS doesn't even care

Oct 4, 2017

Damn man, congratulations on getting all 3 offers... that's insane

Oct 5, 2017

Whichever keeps you closer to industry/advisory rather than financing. There isn't that much of a difference in compensation, but there's a big difference in content.

Oct 5, 2017

GS TMT OR BUST !!!11

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Oct 5, 2017

don't go to Chase or Mitsubishi... go to Warren Buffett!

Jokes aside, I would reach out to groups you are interested in at each bank. See if you will fit in well, then pick your offer accordingly.

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Oct 5, 2017

I agree that you should probably just take GS. The whole idea of seeing which groups you get along with doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. I don't think there's that big of a difference and frankly think you'll find it difficult to differentiate in such a short period of time anyway.

Oct 6, 2017

It's a bitch to recruit out of Goldman. You really got to do the whole repeated doctor appointments or family illness thing

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Oct 6, 2017

All I can add is that as a former GS employee, it does make a difference. I started there out of college, and people are more interested in that than in any other career stop that I've had, and I left GS in 2004. As an entrepreneur I get asked about my background all of the time so it comes up pretty regularly.

Oct 6, 2017

It's a cliche, but I'd recommend that you go for the group with the nicest people. Assuming all else equal, GS continues to hold the best brand value, and so I'd go for that.

Congratulations on your offers and best of luck.

Oct 6, 2017

Nicest haircut than Bateman

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Oct 8, 2017