I'm very fortunate to be in a decision where this is a choice I have to make, but I'm wondering what the best choice here is in terms of learning and exit ops.
I have an offer from GS AFG, which although it's in their IBD, there's not really M&A exposure (except levfin), so that might make PE recruiting tough. On the other hand I could take an offer from a CS/UBS/DB, which is much less prestigious (for whatever that's worth), but offers much more exposure to M&A.
Another point to consider is that I'm not totally sold on jumping to PE, and I find HFs, A2A, & even switching to a buyside role in the bank all as attractive options.
Lastly, I'm thinking that maybe GS AFG is better for HFs, since you're always interacting with the markets, as opposed to M&A, where you can be a bit removed from the markets and really only focus on a couple deals at any one time.
My question is, which is better in terms of exit ops for HFs vs PE, and is the Goldman brand worth the lack of exposure to M&A?

Comments (16)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 4, 2020 - 11:52am

This is for SA 2021, so I haven't interned at either one yet

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Aug 4, 2020 - 12:48pm

Goldman IBD is definitely a top gig no matter what. But also, not sure CS belongs in a group with DB/UBS if that is influencing your decision. While less prestigious than GS, it certainly stands above the other two banks by a decent margin. CS is way closer (if not matched) to the prestige of Citi, Bofa and Barclays than it is UBS or DB.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Aug 4, 2020 - 1:39pm

For PE exits and better experience, a top group at CS would definitely be better than the GS name. But also, you could maybe recruit into a more favorable group at GS for FT or even at other banks.

GS financing still > than UBS/DB imo

Aug 4, 2020 - 2:54pm

Do you have an opportunity to place into one of the stronger AFG groups or is it more random? If I recall correctly, there are something like 10 groups within AFG, which are all quite distinct and include certain derivatives desks as well. Goldman's LevFin is relatively soft in terms of modeling / technical work, for whatever that is worth.

If it is UBS or DB, I think the Goldman offer makes more sense given relative brand strength and very limited strong groups at either at this point in time. CS on the other hand, if you have an opportunity to be in a coverage or M&A group would probably be preferable to GS. From a sheer breadth of exit opportunities perspective, coverage and M&A is going to give you a whole lot more. And while you might think working on the markets side would set you up for HF roles better, I've hardly ever seen someone from a financing team move into a HF role, with the exception of LevFin moving to distressed / credit shops. I.e., you don't see someone from an ECM team moving to a L/S fund just because they work in equity markets. At the junior level most of the HF roles are very modeling intensive, so M&A or traditional IB will be much preferred.

To summarize, get a sense of how your group placement would be at each of the firms. What you wouldn't want to happen is to choose CS over GS and then end in DCM at CS (am not familiar with CS group placement process and if markets are separated from traditional IB).

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 4, 2020 - 3:47pm

Please pick CS.

Firstly, Lev Fin is very competitive to get within AFG. Secondly, even within Lev Fin, a lot of the groups don't model. Furthermore, based on my experience in PE/ HF recruiting all the GS kids were from classics.

CS is great for pe recruiting (assuming you get coverage or M&A/sponsors/ lev fin). No question here imo

Aug 13, 2020 - 1:12pm

GS Lev Fin is a stellar opportunity, esp if you land into one of the stronger industry coverage groups within LF (i.e. Industrials or TMT). There is potential that you could end up in one of the weaker financing groups, so you should definitely do your due diligence and network with people in the groups you are targeting so you are on the map so to speak.

And even if you don't get Lev Fin, there's always the opportunity to move around internally to either Lev Fin or a classic coverage group, but that's definitely a gamble you'll have to weigh the risks of.

Either way, evaluate the risks of your decision here and make sure you speak to analysts / associates at each group so you have a better understanding of what each group's experience has to offer.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Aug 4, 2020 - 3:53pm

Agreed, take CS. However, when I was there, it was possible to get placed into cap markets roles in the generalist pool for IBCM. If this is no longer the case, and you will will get coverage / M&A / levfin, then CS all the way. If possible to get cap markets, talk to HR and alum / other connects and try and least ascertain that you will not be in cap markets (there should be some leverage here). If not, and you still think that you'll have a great chance at coverage / M&A / lev fin, then still take CS I say. If its likely you're in ECM at CS, then you would have been better off at GS

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 4, 2020 - 4:37pm

true-- good point. But I think the upside potential of getting M&A/ sponsors, coverage is much better than the off-chance OP gets GS lev fin (which in itself is inferior to p much any coverage group at CS aside from maybe RE/FIG/Power)

Aug 5, 2020 - 12:43pm

If you're even a little thinking about A2A, will want to consider that GS mobility process is very friendly - in that if you wanted to move to a classic M&A group after a couple years in AFG you could very easily do so for your associate promote.

Also AFG really has quite a diverse set of groups within it, not like you're necessarily going to be in DCM or something super markets based.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 13, 2020 - 1:36pm

GS all day. You shouldn't even be breathing the word "Goldman Sachs" in the same sentence with these BB wannabe banks. Think long term - the opportunities are endless coming from the most prestigious company in the world, compared to going to CS which is unheard of outside of finance and sounds like some shitty knockoff credit card company. Forgot CS even still had IB, thought they divested of that a while ago....

Edit: Monkey shit me all you want but if you are going to let some trolls convince you to take a Swiss bank offer over IB at Goldman fucking Sachs then you don't deserve the offer sorry...

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 15, 2020 - 9:45pm

Thank you all for your advice! Truly a big help. Couldn't guarantee coverage/M&A in the other option and networked with some capital markets ppl there who pushed for me, so figured GS was the better bet given the internal mobility potential and that GS cap markets > other option's cap markets. Can always count on wso to pull through, thanks everyone!

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