ECM, DCM, or LevFin at MS GCM?

Hello,

I'm looking to intern at Morgan Stanley in Global Capital Markets.  I would love some advice on whether I should try to place into Equity Capital Markets, Debt Capital Markets, or Leveraged Finance.

I know the teams on DCM and LevFin teams the best.  If I do LevFin, I feel quite certain I will get a full-time job.

I would likely enjoy each of these three.  However, my established passion is figuring out what is going on in the secondary equities market and managing portfolios.  I'm very good at this.

I have no real experience modeling and valuing beyond a couple of my Wharton classes.

ECM and LevFin are supposedly the most competitive groups to get into.

MS is known as an equities shop.

DCM may be slightly less hours/week than the others.  ECM may be the most.

What do I want?  I'm not sure.  However, in the broad sense, I would like to do these things in approximately this order of importance:

1.  Make money.

2.  Get a remote job (hopefully a few years into my career).  Alternatively, get a job in an area that's cheaper and less urban than NYC.

3.  Work in the markets - I'm good with this, so this might also help me make more money.

4.  Work fewer hours.

A few separate questions...

Most LevFin people seem to transition into PE if they do transition to something else.  Going into IB also seems to be an option for everyone to some extent, although it's more common from LevFin.  What are the exit opportunities for ECM and DCM?  Could I go from ECM to HF or a pension fund?

Thank you for any advice you may have!

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Comments (7)

  • Intern in HF - Other
Sep 14, 2021 - 9:41am

*figuring out what is going on the markets more broadly - most of my applications thus far have been equities, but this could apply to debt/credit very easily as well, and I would still find that quite fun I think.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 14, 2021 - 10:37am

I work in ECM and can only answer these questions based on my experience. I hate debt so I didn't look into DCM.

1. Make money.

You can make money in any of these groups. If capital markets are under IB, you might have gotten the big paybump.

2.  Get a remote job (hopefully a few years into my career).  Alternatively, get a job in an area that's cheaper and less urban than NYC.

The problem with ECM is it's a smaller group and most teams sit in New York. ECM does not have a clear exit like most banking groups. Most people lateral (for lifestyle and pay reasons, at a certain point you can go down stream and it doesn't matter) or they exit the industry entirely. Some go into investor relations. You don't learn how to model so lots of career paths are off the table. With the MS or any other bank name, you could exit to any random F500 finance or audit but that's a big paycut.

3.  Work in the markets - I'm good with this, so this might also help me make more money.

- You don't do any trading. You follow the market but unless you are on the syndicate desk, you aren't really working in the market.

4.  Work fewer hours.

This is super duper group/vertical dependent and depends on your associates and how many dumb pricing updates they want. If you're under a hardo associate you can get screwed over pretty fast. Hours have gotten worse with the record year. Avoid Spacs if you want few hours (or whatever the next big thing is)

A few separate questions...

Most LevFin people seem to transition into PEif they do transition to something else.  Going into IB also seems to be an option for everyone to some extent, although it's more common from LevFin.  What are the exit opportunities for ECM and DCM?  Could I go from ECM to HF or a pension fund?

Exits are lateral to another bank, switch to coverage, IR, or exit the industry entirely (teacher, nurse, mba, etc)

Sorry this wasn't more helpful. I love ecm but I'm thinking I'll stick it out for the long run and quit at a mid senior level and find something new to do with my life. 

  • Intern in HF - Other
Sep 14, 2021 - 11:25am

Thank you, that's actually very helpful since I've talked to very few people in ECM.  I've got to say, though, that's a pretty bleak picture you paint.  I'm a little surprised (and disappointed) by the lack of exit opportunities.  I would have thought that hedge funds, at least, would appreciate the experience.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 14, 2021 - 12:29pm

Yeah, I painted a pretty bleak picture based on your questions. But the thing is there is a trade off between exit ops and free time. For me, I value my time over money and exit ops. I average about 4 hours of weekend work and work closer to 60 hours. Will I work at KKR or a tiger cub? No, of course not but I only need to check my email 3 times a day on Saturday and know that I can make plans on Sunday and be fairly confident I can attend them. We all take at least 10 days off during the year. I've certainly never experienced the shit some of the coverage and M&A guys have been posting on here recently about how they can't take it anymore. And I still make 100k. My view is what's the point of making a bunch of money is you don't have the opportunity to enjoy it.

  • Intern in HF - Other
Sep 14, 2021 - 1:45pm

Do you work in ECM at MS?  I've heard the hours are closer to 70, and that ECM tends to be among the worst for hours (marginally at least), not the best.  I would agree with you, though, that free time is more important than exit opportunities if you're making good money (which of course you are) and you're working less than other divisions.

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  • Intern in HF - Other
Sep 14, 2021 - 11:22am

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