Is Public Finance that bad?

How is Public Finance compared to the traditional product/coverage groups in IB? Looking through some old threads, it seems like PF is in a similar situation to DCM/ECM where it's not really traditional IB. PF seems to give limited modeling experience and working with just governments is niche so exiting to PE seems like it would be very difficult. However, hours and pay are still great. Unless you are really interested in public policy, is there any reason to choose PubFin over traditional product (M&A/LevFin) or coverage (FIG/TMT/HC) IB groups? 

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Comments (19)

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 23, 2021 - 10:42am

I use to work in Pub Fin and here is my take:  Are you probably ever going to get recruited to go to PE from Pub Fin, Probably not - your best exits are probably going to another internal group. 

Granted I will say from my experience Pub Fin is a group that has great WLB, there are probably some late nights, but most of the time you are going to be out of the office by 7pm.  That being said you are not going to be comped like M&A, but I found the Comp was very fair and good for the position.  If you can stick it out, I think Directors were probably making close to 300-400k and probably working 40-50 hours a week. Top MD were probably clearing 1-2mm. 

And the work was actually exciting. I know some people may not think debt is that exciting, but generally overall looking at RFPs was actually somewhat fun for me.  

If you don't get to caught up in the prestige game, you can actually do really well in pub fin.  

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Nov 23, 2021 - 1:09pm

What are common exit ops since none go to PE? Do analysts leave as much as traditional IB? From what you describe, retention seems like it would be higher because of better WLB.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 23, 2021 - 2:29pm

Some of the Exits I have seen include: Government positions (usually in a budget office), Some DCM exits,  Some S&T exits, Some Coverage Group exits,  MBA, One Med School,  Various other Corporate roles. Seen very few exits to PE Credit and PE Infra.  

I don't think retention is higher, but the people who do stay seem to be happier with more WLB.  

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