LA Banking Scene - Reputation & Culture

LABanking123's picture
Rank: Monkey | 57

Hey everyone,

Background: Looking to enter investment banking post b-school in Los Angeles (strong ties to the city). I'm a 1st year getting my MBA at a school outside Los Angeles but with a strong finance program, slightly outside M7.

Question: Which banks/groups in LA are best in terms of reputation but also culture? Ideally looking for somewhere with less of a focus on facetime and more on being efficient with time in the office. Associate recruiting, as stated above.

I've found some dated info on the forums and I know the basic info (HL RX, Moelis, GS WRA) but looking for a bit more info about the following banks in regarding to reputation/culture:

GS, MS, Moelis, HL, JPM, CS, Citi, BAML, Barclays, Lazard, WF...any others?


(Created a throwaway as my regular user name would give away too much identifiable info.)

Los Angeles: Investment banking on the west coast

The major differences between LA and other regions are probably exaggerated. Pay is usually standard for all geographies, especially for bulge brackets. Culture is largely dependent on the firm and group. However, industries covered will likely be gaming, lodging technology, and healthcare, As far as disposable income, Los Angeles is only slightly cheaper than new york (besides SF which may be more expensive). Another difference is the is the ability to own a car. You'll probably need to own a car if you live in the city of angles or a surrounding suburb.

Working in high finance won't necessarily give you any clout. The big industry out there is, of course, the entertainment industry. Going out will probably be the same as going out NY cost wise.

from certified user @Cruncharoo

I saw an analyst from LA sign their email with "ciao," so that is acceptable out there to give you an idea of the culture

Comments (12)

Oct 22, 2015

PE scene is better, pays more and work fewer hrs..what school? LA for some reason looks highly upon SC which IMO is garbage b-school...the only good B schools in CA are, by order of quality: stanford, haas, ucla

usc/pepperdine/uc irvine/ucsd = waste of money

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Oct 22, 2015


Say it's Haas. Any thoughts on the banks in LA?

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Oct 22, 2015

UCLA/Berkeley: Crammed into unventilated dorm room with three superstudy asian kids, ugly girls, dorks
USC: chill experience with hot girls and good sports/weather

Nov 5, 2015

I wipe my ass with SC resumes, and as does anyone with good school backgrounds.

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Oct 22, 2015

My focus is in retail and RE PE so can't comment much on the banks but i will say UBS and HL are notoriously bad cultures, everyone i spoke to at HL LA office said the culture sucks and they were glad to get out. If you are interested in healthcare IBD, check out Hammond Hanlon, they are pretty strong (came out of Cain Brothers) but are exclusive to healthcare and real estate

Also apart from the bulge there is a littany of middle market banks in and around LA/SF and to some extent SD...also apparently denver is starting to see a larger IBD market not sure why but there are quite a few MM decent shops based out of there...

Oct 24, 2015

Culture at HL is group dependent. Generally more relaxed than the other offices across the country. HL RX works tougher hours compared to IB (corporate finance).

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Apr 20, 2018


Oct 25, 2015

Not one of the groups that I hear horror stories about often.

Nov 4, 2015

Other banks in LA you've missed on your list include Guggenheim, Greenhill, Lincoln International.

In general the culture is much better in LA versus NYC.

All offices get great deal flow but not all treat analysts well. Barclays, WF, Lincoln, and Greenhill treat interns the best. Moelis and HL are sweatshops (keep in mind that Moelis and HL are "headquarters" offices). Citi, MS, and BAML similarly treat summer analysts poorly (get yelled at, no respect). GS, CS are in the middle. Can't comment on Gugg, JP, or GS.

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Nov 24, 2015

Great info! What about at the associate level for the banks that you mentioned?

Dec 3, 2015
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