IB Associate Lateraling Troubles

I have found myself stuck at a no-name boutique investment banking industry coverage group. The deal flow is actually not that bad, but every deal we get has a .1% probability of actually happening. In my few years of being here, I've got some pretty nice size deals on the resume out of the >100 deals I've worked on (it's a numbers game right?). Overall, every year we pull a rabbit out of the hat to keep the lights on, but I don't see the long term strategy working there, and ultimately, most deals we do are not repeatable business because our bankers don't really have a clue what they're doing which leads to extremely bad habits on the junior front.

Over the past 2 years, I've been hitting the pavement trying to find a lateral associate opportunity at a reputable bank. I come from a non-target with a GPA in the low to mid 3's, but I believe I have solid deal experience and can hold my own with anyone out there at my level. I've been able to get in the door with a few bulge brackets and elite boutiques, making it to the final round super day, but ultimately can never get over the final hump to land an offer. It's always something, whether they stump me on mental math questions or they just don't have confidence that my non-BB background will cut it. One bank actually told me I was over-qualified and they were looking for associate MBAs with no banking experience (I guess to rough up).

I'm in my late 20's and feel like I am getting a little long in the tooth here. Feel like studying for the GMAT may be the only option at this point. Any recommendations appreciated.

Comments (8)

Mar 29, 2019

What size deals are you currently working on at this boutique? Have you looked at MMs?

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Mar 29, 2019

No downside in studying for the GMAT since the application cycle takes a year and the GMAT is good for five years.

Is your funnel wide enough? Seems like there would be lots of MM banks that have enough turnover to warrant a slot. If you're location agnostic then perhaps expand to e.g. some of the Chicago-based banks that have huge offices.

Your story might need more polish. Like a good MBA application essay, essentially your story should convey a confident move that isn't borne out of desperation (even though 9/10 MBAs really are just trying to parachute out of their current situation). Connect your prior work history and skills to convince interviewers that this particular bank/team is absolutely perfect for your long term career goals. If your story is solid, your presentation (physical, speech, confidence) may need work. If your story and presentation are solid, your technicals may need work, and so on.

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Apr 15, 2019

Thanks for the advice here. I actually just got an offer from a consulting firm trying to build their IB practice. They are a world renowned consulting firm, especially in restructuring, so the brand is there, and they are trying to leverage the consulting relationships to bring in deal revenues. They are actually making me a senior associate rather than going back a year.

I accepted the offer but am still having reservations. The pay is market, but I am just concerned that if the deals are not there, then it will be a waste of time and I will be farther back from where I am now. On the other hand, if the deals are there, then could I leverage that into an elite boutique a year from now? Of course if the deals are really there and I am on the ground floor making a ton of $$, then these questions answer themselves. I'm just highly pessimistic and fixated on working on marquee deals that will raise eyebrows to get me to the next level.

Apr 15, 2019

Fti?

Apr 15, 2019

Can you share the group? These are notoriously unsuccessful endeavors at these kinds of firms as they run into conflict of interest issues left and right.

If its FTI as the other person suggested feel free to PM me

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Apr 15, 2019

As @KingCudi mentioned, a lot of these firms ultimately fail and fire a ton of people. One of the big four audit firms rescinded incoming offers a couple years ago in their "growing" IB department. Can you share the firm?

"If you ain't first, you're last!" - GOAT

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Mar 29, 2019

Hitting the ceiling is a common issue. If you want to make that dream change, you got to roll the dice to make it happen. Taking a risk on an MBA will put you in line for $150k+ base jobs with room to grow significantly over time. You could end up at a BB/EB or if not, consulting has tremendous upside too. You can never discount the value of a strong alumni network as well. If you're super serious about reaching the upper echelon of business, I think that's a real option. With banking experience, chances are you'll stand out in the field against other candidates.

If you were to successfully lateral, I doubt it'll be the game changer you're looking for. Good chance that whatever job you get post MBA, it will be a game changer if you try/work hard enough.

KC

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Apr 20, 2019
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