Do you HAVE to start in New York?

There is this general feeling at my campus that you HAVE to start on Wall Street if you want to do IB or you will always be a second-tier banker. At the same time, I have a lot of people from the industry (although they are mostly MM bankers and consultants) telling me that sometimes it could be a blessing if you start in a small firm where you can actually have agency over the project and lead. 

So which one is it? NYC or hell vs. you can start wherever as long as you work your ass off?

Thank you so much everyone...

Comments (13)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 3, 2021 - 1:33pm

Are you kidding? With today's lateral market and interviewing over Zoom, exponentially easier these days to lateral to NYC if you want to move there after starting out in other city. 

Most Helpful
Dec 3, 2021 - 3:29pm

This gets asked like 5x a week... you don't HAVE to do anything, any way you look you'll see 1000 outliers who went on to be incredibly successful despite not following the tried and true paths. The difference is statistical likelihood... you're more likely to be successful if you go to a highly ranked school, intern at a bigger name, start in a group with lots of deal flow, work in the city where your industry is most concentrated, etc.

NYC tends to see the biggest deals, have the most visibility to senior executives, have the most access to major exit ops, etc. so there are a lot of perks to starting there (and there's a qualitative benefit when moving from a major city / employer to a smaller or regional spot). But you definitely don't have to do it, I know former analysts at regional banks in the South who have gone on to be extremely successful, or associates at $200M PE funds that are now principals at that same shop deploying out of $1B funds. 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 3, 2021 - 3:41pm

My former co-worker was in the same non-NY/SF/Houston/LA/Chicago satellite office, and he made the jump to MF PE. The truth is, NY makes it much easier for finance networking and recruiting, as NY is the finance capital of America. However, you don't have to start in NY, as long as you are willing to make the logistical sacrifices during PE recruiting or lateral recruiting.

  • Analyst 1 in Research - Other
Dec 6, 2021 - 10:59pm

Id take it a step further than NYC being the finance capital of America- its the finance capital of the world.  Not a ton of things that you can pinpoint one city being far and away the best at

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 3, 2021 - 11:09pm

I'm assuming your asking this question because you don't want to start in NYC. In that case your best bet is to focus on doing deals in industries that aren't centered around NYC.

I would look into ADG. Firms usually have offices in Charlotte and DC and the culture of the groups will likley be more..rustic than those found in NYC or SF which I tend to like. If your goal is MF then ADG to Carlyle is always a nice goal to have.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Dec 4, 2021 - 5:06am

Seem's like he's a fucking Canadian who's going to start in Toronto because of H1B shit

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Dec 5, 2021 - 4:53pm

If you're a Canadian and have visa issues like your last few posts suggest, go work in Toronto. The H1B situation is tricky right now, many banks just will not hire people that need visas at all because they can't stay very long and some get denied. You'll generally do smaller deals in Toronto, but if you work at a BB for a few years and ask to transfer to the NYC office or any US office, your bank will help with the visas.

In IB it's generally better to start off at a BB because of the strong training and brand name - you can go to any company and they'll know GS or BAML have vetted you and trained you, versus a small firm your experience isn't really backed up by the same brand. Also, as an analyst you will never really have that much agency, might as well go work for a name that will get you farther. If you can land a BB, EB, well known MM take that over a small firm.

Dec 6, 2021 - 8:09am

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