ER at DB vs back office at MS?

mehrling's picture
Rank: Chimp | 7

(first post please be gentle)

general profile: >3.6GPA, top 20 US university, studying economics, history, and anthropology (eclectic mix for finance I know)

I recently got an offer at DB for their grad program in Jacksonville, which places recent grads into IB, S&T, and ER positions based on desk placement interviews in the spring. If I took the offer, I would be gunning for ER, and the recruiters I talked to seemed to believe that is the place I would be most successful.

I also did the SA program at MS in New York this past summer, and got a return offer. I was in the back office (think compliance/ops/finance), and I did well, and I told HR that I didn't see myself there long term, but I can't make internal lateral moves until 18 months on the job. Worse pay than DB because back office, even before regional cost-of-living adjustment.

Given how DB is doing and the non-target location, which would be better for general exit opportunities? I'd like to be doing some sort of research (macro, ideally) at GS/MS/JPM long-term, which would maybe require grad school. It's a toss-up between contributing more meaningful work and not being a cost center at a worse firm and working for a firm which is definitely headed in a good direction, but in a position which is not respected in the industry.

Any recommendations on what will provide the best exit opportunities/long-term career goals?

Comments (9)

Most Helpful
Nov 5, 2018

Boils down to what you want to do.

If you see yourself in a back office role, and everything that entails, take that.

If you see yourself in an ER role and everything that entails, take that.

My advice is don't focus on the firm. Focus on obtaining the skills you want. The thing about working in the back office is, though you're at MS, you're not really that closer to other people who don't work there who are trying to land front office. I always say it's like baseball. Would you take a job actually playing short stop for a team you don't like, or taking a job working at the finance office for the Yankees. Someone in that situation shouldn't take the Yankees job and think they can "work there way up" to playing shortstop.

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Nov 6, 2018

@ironman32 thanks for the feedback! That makes a lot of sense. MS tries really hard to sell internal mobility and I know a nonzero number of people in ER there, but as far as the skills I see how people in the back office really are constrained by having a granular view of a process to execute rather than able to take what they're learning and bring it to a front office role.

Nov 6, 2018

Never take a job based upon where they said you can move in the company unless you have a hard date in writing.

Think about it from a company perspective. They just want things done, they don't care who does it. If a FO position opens up, will they really want to move you to a new position and bring in another person and have two people learn two new jobs, or just have one person learn one job.

Nov 6, 2018

If you take the back office gig, you belong there.

Nov 6, 2018

Name checks out.

Nov 6, 2018


Nov 6, 2018

You only gotta make front office once, kid.

If you got an offer as a personal assistant at Goldman would that be in the debate too?

Nov 6, 2018

DB grad program. You get an opportunity to join a front office role. If, knock on wood, the firm makes cuts and you lose your job, at least you've gotten relevant experience on your resume and look for something similar elsewhere. For MS back office, there is no meaningful incentive for them to give a BO candidate a lateral IB or ER opportunity because they'd much rather hire someone that has those "proven" skill sets. And by "proven" I mean, using their similar or relevant work experience as a proxy.

If the case where an internal and external candidate is very similar, they'll give it to an internal. But groups want to hire whoever fills their need. Unless a firm has a very developed, proper rotational or placement program that is used to internally train people and provide them with mobility, I wouldn't just go assuming BO roles open you up to front office roles.

Nov 6, 2018
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