elite boutique = top groups at GS/MS/JPM?

So my impression from reading a lot of posts on this forum is that the exit opps/prestige of elite boutiques (Moelis, Lazard, BX, Perella, etc.) is more or less on par with that of top BB groups (GS TMT, FIG, MS M&A, JPM Lev Fin, etc.), and arguably better than an average group at these BBs as far as PE exits go.

Can people who have worked in the industry or are in PE comment on this? There definitely seems to have been a shift towards boutiques at my target school, with places like Moelis and BX attracting a lot of the top students.

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Comments (10)

Feb 7, 2011 - 6:23pm

Check: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/former-ms-ma-kkr-here-to-field-questions

The guy posted (this is a data point from just KKR, other PE firms might have slightly different preferences)

"Appreciate it, god only knows how much filth is spewed in this forum. I've been a reader for quite some time and can't begin to explain how much misinformation is shared on this website. The elite boutiques are good for megafunds but the top groups are as follows:

GS TMT far and away #1
GS FIG / BX Restructuring

After that, it's good to be in any of the major M&A groups (or other industry groups at GS/MS), merrill's legacy m&a group which is now in BAML is pretty good, citi M&A is pretty good, the boutiques are also good (Lazard and BX M&A are terrific although Greenhill and evercore are a step behind in recruiting, moelis also does well since UBS LA had a strong track record of placement on the west coast at tpg and kkr west coast). The fact of the matter is, if you are not in one of these groups, it is an uphill battle. If you are in one of these main groups that I've mentioned, recruiters contact you, and all you do is submit your resume, and the rest is history. I never cold called a fund once, nor do they particularly want you to call them. They know what groups they generally want to reach out to, and they go back to them year after year. Again, is this fair? No. However, it is generally a good way to fill up a class if 8-10 people because on average the kids at GS are smarter than the kids at CS and so on. It's just a fact of life. Kids from non targets absolutely do occur, but they will need to do more networking through their own senior people, or through winning the ear of headhunters. Like anything else though, once you get an interview, the playing field is fairly flat. KKR's not going to take some bumbling fool from GS tmt over some stud in UBS just because he's from a better group."

Feb 7, 2011 - 7:34pm

Some kids here would give their left nut to work at Moelis LA. Exit ops look really good at many of these elite boutiques, maybe better than what an average GS analyst can get. I think a lot of that has to do with smaller analyst class so you'll get more attention from headhunters than if you were just one of dozens of analysts at a BB.

The pay looks good too...saw on another thread that Blackstone paid their first year analyst 85k bonus? I think that's above TOP bucket at BBs. I've heard hours varies, but Moelis/Lazard/BX will work you pretty hard

I'd say the top groups/boutiques in terms of PE recruiting are:
GS TMT/FIG, MS M&A, Blackstone, Lazard, Evercore.

I really doubt there's any significant difference between them since the headhunters will reach out to you as long as you're at any of these places. GS TMT/FIG, MS M&A appear more represented, but that's probably because they're bigger groups than a lot of the boutiques.

Feb 7, 2011 - 6:37pm

I think Moelis and Perella are really overblown on this board, but EVR, GHL, LAZ and BX restructuring and M&A (these are not put in any particular order as I'm not looking to start a stupid prestige war) all place comparably to top groups at BBs. With that said, GS TMT, in my eyes, still has the strongest cachet and their analysts do place the best, but it's really not that significant. By being at any of these places you have some amazing opportunities and I think they're a better choice than any mid-tier group at GS or MS.

Feb 7, 2011 - 7:00pm

Agreed, LAZ and BX are probably on par with top groups at GS/MS in terms of PE exit opps. The rest might be slightly below however they all place good into megafunds and the like. I think you cant go wrong with the above named places and might get more out of your experience than at an average group at GS/MS. But I mean it depends on you as a person, which environment you thrive in and how you get along with everybody. There will be a marginal difference between working at LAZ M&A or MS M&A in terms of pay, hours and exit opps.

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Feb 8, 2011 - 1:19pm

I don't think there's any substantial difference between some of the elite boutiques and top groups like GS TMT, etc. As long as headhunters recruit at your firm, it's really just up to you whether you get the job.

This is like debating whether going to Harvard or Wharton will give you better "exit opps" into banking. As long as you're at a target, it depends on the individual and not the firm/school.

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Feb 8, 2011 - 1:23pm

When it's Centerview or Qatalyst. I think it's reasonable to take an elite boutique over a top BB (GS, JPM, etc.) if you are getting paid significantly more and aren't being badly positioned for exit opps. Centerview and Qatalyst are the only elite boutique that qualifies because they pay analysts WAY above the street and offer great exit opps.

Feb 8, 2011 - 1:24pm
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