In a massive dilemma - need help!

notbad4aquant's picture
notbad4aquant - Certified Professional
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 738

To keep things real short and straight to the point:

Been working at a no name boutique for under a year now straight out of college. Attended a strong target with a 3.0 GPA and had various internships, one of which led to a grad offer at a Big 4 CF. I loved my time there and the team was solid as hell. However, I accepted another offer to join this boutique and it hasn't been the best of times.

Work flow is slow (albiet picking up slowly), chairman is erratic and stingy, quality of mandates are poor (EV <$15m) and training is pretty much zero. Pay is below street but bonuses (which due to stinginess are not as was promised in my interviews) are meant to make up for that.

Question is, should I jump ship back to Big 4? My FT offer still stands (cos it was a year in advance) and nobody would be the wiser to the fact I had accepted two FT offers. I always wanted to be in IB, but I feel like my current shop is barely IB due to the poor quality of mandates we accept. Would Big 4 CF be better or should I stick around this current shop? I've been promised a significant pay rise and a promotion by EOY but I've been dicked around before so I'm not sure...

Please help, and thanks guys.

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Comments (13)

Oct 29, 2018

Do you mean CF as in their advisory group (~IBD) or their internal CF department? If it's the former, I'd probably switch to Big 4 (Assuming they actually do deals). Have there been other analysts at this boutique? What have they gone on to do?

Oct 29, 2018

Agreed Big 4 CF is definitely not a bad place to be in and certainly a good spot that you can lateral over into another bank after, if your Big 4 CF job was Deloitte then that's a league of its own and is a relatively strong MM player in IB given their acquisition of McColl Partners in 2013

Oct 29, 2018

CF as in advisory. Pay is substantially lower (50k all in) when you factor the bonuses I receive from my current shop.

I'm on the fence since at my current shop I'm given autonomy and can originate deal flow (due to flat heirarchy). My firm is well-known in the LMM of the sector we operate in, and we mainly do M&A work. At the Big 4, I'm guessing I'll just be a cog in a mammoth mechanism. That's partly why I'm so conflicted.

Analysts have had mediocre exits from this shop. Some went to Big 4 M&A, very few went to consulting firms, most exit into nothing. I think in terms of exit opps, Big 4 CF would be better.

And just to clarify, Big 4 CF is an 18 month rotation in different areas within advisory (think FDD, Valuations, M&A etc).

Oct 30, 2018


Oct 30, 2018

$50K all in? Naw naw

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Oct 30, 2018

$50k difference all-in or 50k all-in comp?

Oct 30, 2018

$50k all in comp at Big 4, $55k base + ~$10k bonus + fee split % at my current shop. I'm being promised that my base will be bumped to around $70k in a few weeks but I'm skeptical.

Oct 30, 2018

50k all in is rough.

Is it a true FT IB position in one of the Big 4's Corporate Finance divisions? A few of my friends work in a Big 4 CF and its all street level comp (85k base), albeit bonus is slightly lower than BB/EB.

Oct 31, 2018

Its a rotational offer across other spectrums of the CF division, including FDD, valuations, M&A and some other niche advisory areas (real estate, infra etc.). There's not going to be a bonus from what I've been told by a few seniors there.

Don;t get me wrong, money is hella important to me, but I feel like my education and obtaining a strong foundation with my company investing in my training is equally as important this early on in my career.

Company I'm at now pays more but zero training/education/support. Big 4 will offer lower comp but invest in my training, and I'd imagine exit opps would be better from a brand name company as opposed to the boutique I'm at now (which outside the sector we operate in, is unknown to the general market).

Most Helpful
Oct 31, 2018

from former Big 4 M&A Advisory Manager / current BB IBD Associate....

Big 4 CF 100%, do not pass Go, do not collect $100 Come on, you can make an entire career inside the Big 4 across a bunch of different teams (and even locations around the world), you'll get a ton of training, support for qualifications (CFA, CPA), a global network, professional platform and technology, access to 100k+ current employees and even more alumni, a globally recognized name on your resume... who cares about the 1st year comp difference? You can always try to lateral later, or go back and get an MBA to break into IB but maybe you get on a track at the Big 4 and want to stay. You would be absolutely insane to stick it out in a tiny unknown group that you don't fit in at.

The only reason I changed jobs is because I was moving countries and it was my last chance to go to B-School before becoming practically too old, and thought I might as well try for BB banking. Could have easily stayed in Big 4 and would have been happy as well.

    • 2
Nov 1, 2018

Wow that's great input man. Definitely make some good points and has gotten me thinking about steps ahead. I appreciate it!

Happy to hear more feedback from others...

Nov 1, 2018

No worries. Happy to connect via PM as well if you'd like me to share more personal details / give more targeted advice.

A great way to objectively figure out which firm has the future potential you are looking for is to look on LinkedIn for alumni of that company/office and see what they are doing now / what they exited to after that job. So first do it for your boutique, find out where their ex-Analysts went, and then do a search in your city (wherever that is, not sure you mentioned) for alumni of that Big 4's advisory practice and see where they went.

PS Another thought that I didn't mention above is you get real vacation days in Big 4 compared to boutique banking...

    • 1
Nov 1, 2018