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 :)

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Best Response
Oct 4, 2017 - 7:55pm

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.

Nov 5, 2017 - 4:37pm

Is JPM, GS and MS all structured the same (wth regards to IB)? (Originally Posted: 04/21/2012)

At first I thought that a job in IB meant that you specialize within one division, like M&A, Equity Capital Markets, Debt Capital Markets, Leveraged Fin., etc. You would eventually have to choose one of those areas. For example, you choose M&A and work on all M&A deals across all industries. But, I just talked to a JPM guy and he says he actually specializes in an industry, and does everything related to that industry (i.e. he works in Healthcare, but does M&A, ECM, DCM, etc. all within Healthcare).

Is this how it is at all the BB investment banks? You actually specialize by industry coverage, and do everything related to your industry? Any additional info is also helpful.

Nov 5, 2017 - 4:40pm
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:

Nov 5, 2017 - 4:39pm

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 - 4:43pm

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.

Oct 5, 2017 - 3:54pm

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.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
Oct 6, 2017 - 1:05am

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.

  • 3
Oct 6, 2017 - 12:21pm

It's a cliché, 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 - 1:19pm

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