HELP! Jefferies operations summer internship or unpaid boutique IB internship??

hopinggtsgy's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 522

So I have a choice to make here:

I have an Operations summer internship offer at Jefferies and also have an unpaid IB summer internship at a true boutique. Now I don't know how to choose.

Jefferies: looking good on resume?(according to my campus career service center) Although the internship is non-IB related, but maybe more networking opportunities with their IBD or other front offices once I am in there? It's possible to get return offers from them and then internal move to their IBD via networking, if that's possible?

Boutique: Unpaid(I could support myself during the summer so that's fine..) But it's a true boutique with only a few people, and I won't be able to get a return offer, they claim they could help me with "recommendations" to BBs. If I go with them, what I have is IB internship experience on my resume and potential "recommendations."

I am not sure which one I should take? I definitely want to do IB upon graduation, I am still at school(will graduate in the summer of 2017) and would love to hear opinions from those who are already working in the industry.

Thanks!

Comments (28)

Mar 22, 2016

No brainer - go with the boutique. Perform well and try and leverage their connections at other banks. Continue networking throughout summer and re-connect with past contacts to provide updates. Assuming that you are a junior, a return offer in ops at Jefferies will not give you an opportunity to internally transfer to IBD.

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Mar 22, 2016

I agree with optimisticmonkey this is a no brainer. Skills you will learn at the boutique will out weigh any type of operations job.

Mar 22, 2016

Thanks guys! But I am not a junior, I am a first-year graduate student (in a master of science in economics program..) But I don't have any previous full time working experience and will graduate next summer. So I guess I fall under undergraduates category..

I was worried that IBD doesn't take any master students so I was thinking maybe it's easier for me to try to network/transfer internally from operations to front office than going with the boutique path.

Mar 22, 2016

Operations to FO is very difficult. From what I have heard it is much of a long shot. I say you roll the dice with the boutique. Worst case scenario is that you end up with banking on your resume and still on the job search. If you want banking do banking. If you go operations who knows where you will be in 3 years....

Mar 22, 2016

Why does everyone think these decisions have binary outcomes? Regardless of what you choose, each option will present its own challenges. If you choose the FO role you will have no brand recognition. I know MD's who actually put more value on brand recognition than actual job function (especially since summers don't know anything and are generally useless moldable puddy in the first place). Conversely I also know MD's who rather you work for business broker XYZ because they think the work experience is a better fit. Either way, you are still trying to reach for something higher than the position you are at and it is going to require some selling and packaging on your part. Good luck.

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Mar 22, 2016

Thanks! @Mephistopheles If you were me, what would you choose?

Thank you.

Mar 22, 2016

I'm not you and I don't want to take responsibility for your decision.

That being said, If I were in your position I'd go with Jefferies and network my ass off. That's just me picking my poison.

Mar 22, 2016

@Mephistopheles raised some good points. As an analyst, however, I would respectfully disagree and take the boutique IB internship. For me, personally, when I am looking at resumes, I always pick the resumes with "no name" boutique experience over the ones with brand-name non-IB experience. As @Mephistopheles pointed out, there are obviously some bankers who care more about brand name, but if the goal is to parlay this experience into FT at another bank, I think that boutique experience will give you a leg up on a competition and also something to talk about during interviews. In my experience, it is very painful to interview a candidate for FT when that candidate has no IB experience.

Just my two cents. As you can see, there are obviously two sides to this decision. Good luck.

Mar 22, 2016

Well there are other things that make me point him to Jefferies. Knowing it is unpaid with no hope of a full-time offer is a bad fact pattern. I have talked to several people with these types of internships. A) They gained zero relevant experience (like not even resizing logos, literally getting coffee/answering phones/etc.) B) This promise of BB introductions is bullshit, if someone has real connections they can afford to pay their interns. If it were a boutique where they paid below market and you had the opportunity for a FT offer my answer would be opposite.

Mar 22, 2016

I've had unpaid boutique internships, and will confirm that what you are saying is 100% correct. What I did, though, was to finish all the grunt/non-relevant work and then try to get involved on something deal related. There is definitely a large downside to these unpaid internships, so I completely see your point.

Mar 22, 2016

The problem is that full time recruitment is extremely hard for anyone who doesn't do a MM or BB investment banking internship. Using Jefferies' name for full time isn't going to help you and I doubt you'd get very many looks. Recruitment for full time roles isn't the same as intern positions where you can more likely skate by on a variety of experiences at brand name and unknown companies.

I went to multiple superdays for FT recruitment for middle market and bulge bracket banks and can tell you that almost everyone I met had IB, S&T, ER, PE, or HF experience, mostly from name brand name places but a sizable number were from random shops. The middle market banks had more kids with experiences from random firms. However, I didn't meet one person ANYWHERE who spent their summer in ops. If you go with a boutique you can at least make the case for relevant experience.

The other favorable aspect that the boutique provides is the title "Investment Banking X". This line opens up every possibility in terms of careers involving corporate finance analysis - the academic definition, not simply the term for FP&A. Often times you'll see that junior and entry level openings will list investment banking experience as a prerequisite. Operations limits you to only other operations roles, most likely at other financial firms. Moreover, if you fail securing a full time banking job, Jefferies is not going to really help you secure other roles outside of the financial services. Jefferies isn't Morgan Stanley or J.P. Morgan and doesn't offer a "career hedge" if you will. The boutique doesn't provide you with a name brand either, but at least you have relevant experience that offers career optionality.

Mar 22, 2016

Boutique IB unquestionably. I recruited for summer roles with one on my resume and ended up with a top tier bank in IBD.

If you hustle they let you expand your work beyond the dumb stuff. Eventually got to work on financials, PowerPoints and memos.

Mar 22, 2016

Thanks, I was a bit curious as to what other internship experience you had besides that boutique one?

Mar 22, 2016

Little bit different for me since I'm in an MBA program. I quit my job in business development and did this internship for two months prior to b-school. Anyway, the boutique gave me a lot to talk about in interviews.

Mar 28, 2016
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