EB Ranking/Comparison

Just wanted to create a post to gauge the strengths of the different EB's (namely EVR/Moelis/PJT/LAZ/PWP/Centerview/GHL).

What are the best groups at each? Where have you seen the banks trending in terms of market share/ability to win big deals etc?

Also, in terms of pay and exit opps at the analyst level, how do these compare and where have analysts typically went?

I know this might have been done before, but wanted to get updated thoughts as I begin to consider some of the opportunities ahead. Thanks in advance for the insight!

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Comments (80)

Sep 10, 2019 - 1:29am


To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 10, 2019 - 3:32pm

1st=>2nd yr Analyst from top target here. Here's how the EBs from your list are perceived from said target, which is a combination of culture, exits, prestige, etc. the smartest kids (who don't do buyside) go in this tier order. Tiers not ranked within each other

T1: PJT RSSG, EVR (both), Moelis LA
T3: LAZ, Moelis NY, PWP, GHL

Yes you read Laz correctly. Their perception has shrunk for a while and from what I hear continues to fall. That being said all of T3 are stellar and will land you good opps. Your list is also missing a few well regarded boutiques.

edit: once again, the ranking is based on numerous factors and reflects where the smartest kids decide to go. each tier is a level of consideration. does PWP have the same history and recognition that LAZ has? maybe not. but they'll be looked at the same and the quality of kids are around the same.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 10, 2019 - 3:49pm

Quality of PJT M&A and CVP is similar, although I think generally given an offer from both most kids at my target would pick PJT simply because of CVP's three year commitment thing

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 10, 2019 - 9:46pm

Not sure what you're basing that on, the cvp analysts I've met all complained about recruiting being frowned upon and resented the third year (the ones going to PE that is) but to each his own

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 10, 2019 - 11:08pm

Disagree on both. PJT M&A doesn't carry anywhere near close the same reputation as RSSG in my top target. Kids there are good but not top tier.

EVR isn't the same situation as PJT as both M&A and RX consistently get looks from top shops. Lots of my younger peers even weigh RX>M&A due to more technical work and optionality into both distress and PE.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 10, 2019 - 11:14pm

PJT M&A doesn't get looks from top shops? Have you been living under a rock at your "top target" (thx for reminding us)? Latest exits included BX, APO, Carlyle, TPG, CB, and a couple top HFs

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 11, 2019 - 5:56am

Also attended a target but that shouldn't really matter. Idk why people use that as a line of credibility as if your school gives you distinctly more insight than other non-targets or even other targets.

T1: evr m&a, PJT rx, laz rx, Moelis La
T2: evr rx, CVP, PJT m&a, laz m&a
T3: PWP, Moelis NY

First, I'm going to put significant weight on firm wide deal flow since that generally tends to increase prestige, lead to better exits and result in worse culture. I would also split Laz in to M&A and RX to give same treatment for EVR and PJT as you did.

Based off that, if you think Evercore RX is really two tiers above LAZ RX, you're on crack. And if you think PJT M&A is a whole tier better than Laz m&a, you're still wrong. Laz RX is tier one, I'm not there and I still know they've been on a tear. Laz M&A is probably tier 2, lowest pay but makes up for it with strong dealflow and good exits.

You got me good with Greenhill, unranked. As in my greekrank days, Greenhill is upper-mid at best, mixes with good houses but never has and never will break into the top bucket.

Moelis LA is probably the most savage, but analysts there are lights out and it's in LA so points for originality and spunk.

CVP Is tier one in terms of pay and dealflow. Only thing that relegates them to two is unsupportive exit culture and 3 year analyst program bonus structure. Saw that and was like nope.

If you weighed pay more heavily, then it would prob be PJT, EVR, CVP tier one, but pay really isn't everything. A lot of bankers don't go to high finance after their two year stint and Laz still has the best name brand along with EVR outside of finance. An extra 20k a year at CVP means nothing to me if I can't place at a good PE firm in 3 years and no one outside of finance has heard of this weird regional bank I worked for so they won't hire me. I can promise you that Lazard doesn't give two shits if it's recruiting class is only 90% as talented as it used to be because 95% of those analysts leave the firm after two years anyway.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2019 - 9:44pm

"An extra 20k a year at CVP means nothing to me if I can't place at a good PE firm in 3 years and no one outside of finance has heard of this weird regional bank I worked for so they won't hire me."

This is just blatant bias. CVP a regional bank is absurd, and while its true they prefer people to stay the three year stint: they don't claw back the whole bonus, analysts get looks at any and all funds they want, and management is increasingly supportive of recruiting even when people leave early. And those that wait until 2nd year to recruit get lots of support.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2019 - 9:53pm

I disagree with CVP placement. Based on unrivaled pay, excellent culture, and ridiculous deal flow it is clearly a tier one place to be a banker.

People always bring up the 3-yr program as this huge deal breaker and claim exits aren't as strong but I call bs on that as well. All the analysts I know from there that didn't end up at MF/UMM PE was purely self-selection. Why go work worse hours for less pay and basically work banking 2.0?

Some still went MF but a lot went HF/Family Office instead, VC, Growth Equity, and even startups. But, everyone that wanted one got a look at pretty much any firm.

With such early recruiting, more and more are waiting to recruit until 2nd year anyways.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 12, 2019 - 6:36am

Would largely agree with this, feel like from a pure prestige standpoint highly accurate for Wharton at least.

  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 11, 2019 - 10:14am

They're a boutique, not an elite boutique. They only do tech. Similar to why Qatalyst isn't on here and they're arguably the highest paying IB there is at the junior level. Elite boutique doesn't necessarily mean that they're better than the boutiques at everything but that they specialize in general M&A advisory on mandates where they would be competing against BBs.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 11, 2019 - 11:43pm

The three year thing everybody talks about is the signing bonus clawback if you leave before three years (massive bonus tho). Occasionally hedge funds will persuade analysts to leave early and "buy out".

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 12, 2019 - 4:08am

Picture this -- it's 7 years from now -- you've long burned out of banking and work in corporate development at a mid-sized startup.

You find yourself on a Hinge date with a hot french chick. You tell her you used to be an investment banker at Lazard Frères & Company.. oh wait.. or was it someplace called PJT.

..At least that's how I made my decision you nerds.

Sep 12, 2019 - 7:05am

I always find these things kind of silly but I'll bite, why not.

Tier 1: PJT RSSG, Laz RX, EVR M&A , HL RX, Centerview M&A
Tier 2: PJT M&A, Laz M&A, EVR RX
Tier 3: Moelis, PWP, Greenhill

FWIW Lazard bumped up their bonuses by $20k this year. They were 45/55/65/75 and now are 65/75/85/95 (with a 85k base, 10k signing). Which means if you are bottom bucket still make $150k. Something to keep in mind since Lazard isn't the "lowest paying boutique" anymore and now more on par with the other boutiques

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 12, 2019 - 8:38pm

I almost never comment on WSO but Greenhill definitely isn't an EB

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2019 - 9:10pm

I'm sorry but I just disagree with this list. Here's my list based on pay, exits, culture, and prestige (ordered within tiers):

Tier 1: PJT RSSG, EVR M&A (now places into groups, much larger class size), PJT M&A (been killing it this year, small class size, etc), Moelis LA (stellar shop but harder to get to NYC funds)

Tier 2: Centerview M&A (3-year commitment), EVR RX, HL RX.

Tier 3: Laz RX, Laz M&A (been going downhill lately, small deal size), Moelis NY, PWP

Tier 4: Roth (probs tier 1 or 2 in EMEA), HL, Greenhill, anyone I'm forgetting?

I have also based these rankings on the 1H 2019 M&A tables as I find them to be a good indicator of progress and caliber.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2019 - 9:32pm

Not sure what the argument for PJT M&A above EVR RX and HL RX (or in tier 1 at all) is here - both groups place lights out into both HFs and MF PE/SS and have class sizes around 10 in NYC. I think most people with any knowledge of RX put EVR and HL right up there with PJT RSSG. Know several people at my top target and others who have chosen RX at these firms over EVR M&A and certainly PJT M&A as well.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2019 - 9:47pm

Again, I included pay and prestige. RX is a very specialized field which only very few go into. The pay at HL is def not on par with PJT/EVR and neither is their prestige. I must admit I am not too familiar with Evr's Rx practice, so you might have a point, but I def don't hear about it as much as PJT's. It seems like you have a personal vendetta against PJT M&A or something since you seem to cling onto that group and put them down, but a quick search will show you EVR and PJT were the only EBs in the top 10 global advisors list and EVR is about x2.5 larger than PJT. PJT M&A also did AbbVie Allergan and T-Mobile Sprint. I really don't understand your reasoning.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2019 - 9:42pm

Sorry! my bad, thanks for commenting, I meant to include Qatalyst too but decided not to and forgot to delete that part lol

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2019 - 11:38pm

Seems as though this comment was SB'ed 20 times in less than an hour - just your typical Thursday night activity spike on WSO

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 13, 2019 - 7:51pm

A much stronger group has some of the best opps and deals, only issue is that geographically they are at a disadvantage for NYC recruiting (mind you they still manage to land them).

Sep 13, 2019 - 11:27am

Moelis LA is good, but not tier 1 good. Agree that EVR M&A is tier 1, even with booming class sizes. You are right that PJT M&A has done well this year but (historically) they haven't landed as many mega deals as EVR/Laz/CVP, so not sure if tier 1 is justified. Also you have EVR RX above Laz RX? I question that, Lazard is much more established and wins a lot more mandates.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 13, 2019 - 7:54pm

Yep I agree with your comment, but again, the whole point of this ranking is to give a snapshot in time imo... so I base my ranking off of most recent data (pay, exits, deals, reviews etc). It is true that Laz Rx might be a bit more established but due to their brand not being as strong anymore Evercore's brand makes up for the marginal difference in Rx in my view. I agree that judging solely by M&A league tables is wrong, but the fact that only EVR and PJT made it to top 10 advisors really does tell you something.

Sep 13, 2019 - 12:19am

I don't have a lot to say here - all of these places are good places to work. You have some forum vendetta against a few firms and others seems to be hyped more than they should

Just to give a data point based on company websites YTD


deals: 23

Largest deal: 47b

deals above 1bn: 8


deals: 42

Largest deal: 50bn

deals above 1bn: 23


deals: 43

Largest deal: 25bn

deals above 1bn: 8


deals: 39

Largest deal: 8bn

deals above 1bn: 9


deals: 78

Largest deal: 5.1

deals above 1bn: 12


deals: 111

Largest deal: 90 Ben

deals above 1bn: 24


deals: 175

Largest deal: 48bn

deals above 1bn: 53

I don't have number of bankers but based on this I would say the top EB's are Laz, Evr and CVP as they consistently take business from the BB's in high volume

Based on deal flow and exposure I think it would be hard to really distinguish between pwp, ghl, Guggenheim and Moelis with Moelis seemingly being on more, but smaller deals and Guggenheim in fewer but more huge mandates.

No numbers from PJT so I will not comment

Sep 13, 2019 - 1:59pm

For analyst exits, it is definitely true that Lazard has lost its standing with respect to PJT and arguably EVC. However, you have to think more holistically than that. Lazard (far more so than any of the other EB's) is cluttered with absurdly powerful people in one way or another. Type of place you walk into the elevator and notice you're sharing a ride with Al Sharpton and Felix Rohatyn. The people at the top have bigger things to worry about than what their analysts who will indefinitely leave after fulfilling two years get paid, exit, experience, etc... This does make for somewhat of a difficult and often insincere environment, but if you realize the incredible presence of the organization you're working for (although will most likely never understand the broader issues Lazard / affiliates work on) it's pretty fascinating. To be less long winded - powerful people respect it immensely. That's not because they used to be a better bank (as some people are mentioning on here), but because they are an organization filled with employees, clients, and advisors with enormous amounts of power. (Tried super hard not to sound like someone with an economic interest in The Last Tycoons and promoting it with cheesy clichés...)

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
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Sep 15, 2019 - 1:53am

Is it just me, or is this one big dick measuring contest?

  • 2
Sep 15, 2019 - 2:40am

Brother, it seems that you are new to this forum

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

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  • Summer Associate in IB-M&A
Sep 16, 2019 - 6:35pm

How is London landscape comparing? Seems like Lazard, Rothschild have much bigger presence compared to US?

Sep 16, 2019 - 7:09pm

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 27, 2021 - 2:53am

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