Leaving IB for PE Analyst role

Hi Monkeys,

I am an A1 at the usual corner sweatshop. For the first half year, I have not been enjoying my experience of IB to say at least, mainly due to pages re-shuffling and non-interesting staffings that require only quarter of the brain to complete. Somehow, I still managed to get good reviews so far and got a decent reputation in the team. 

I received an offer to join a PE firm as an Analyst, however, the condition is that I start there early, meaning I would need to repay my banking sign-on and would not receive the summer bonus. I asked the PE and they are not willing to compensate for that. That being said, it is quite a good fund imo and I would see myself staying there for a few years (many people in fact do stay as they have decent WLB and pay is above the street). Would you take the offer or rather wait 1 more year and recruit for Associate roles in PE?

Note, this is for Europe/UK, so there is no on-cycle recruitment where I could have secured an Associate role in PE in my 1st year of monkey misery.

Comments (7)

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Jan 26, 2022 - 7:29pm

It's your choice, no one can tell you what the right call is. Some thoughts based on my friends, their experiences, and what I've seen:

  • Unsure the PE fund or their history. It could be a bait and switch and you will fail to understand execution, spending most your time sourcing or doing portfolio admin tasks that result in you failing to understand a deal process. There also might not be as clear an upward trajectory as you are hoping at which point it will be very hard to find an alternate role when competing against those with more traditional backgrounds. This is why most experienced professionals would agree, starting in PE might not be preferable for a majority of situations. This is counterintuitive, but makes a lot of sense once you have seen both sides. The fund matters a ton for whether this move makes sense. On another vein, I have a friend who went to an unknown family office that had better hours and better deal exposure than almost any IB analyst or PE analyst and stayed there for 6 years, with his MBA completed and paid for, before making a move (think a Michael Bloomberg type family office right as it got going). If you can find a great situation it might be worth it-it's just very risky and hard to know.
  • Where are you doing/ supposed to do IB? Big difference between a random boutique and an evercore offer or something.
  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Jan 26, 2022 - 9:16pm

With that id then just say 2 things:

  • Grass isn't always greener-you might lose a situation where you are regarded highly and have other peers around you for a situation where you get worked like dog around assholes, who don't think you are good at your role.
  • You will be sorta trapped once you move. You mentioned people said it had good culture-call people who left the firm and ask why and what you should do. 

If people that left the firm say-great culture/ makes sense to make this move. Make the move and don't look back-but also acknowledge you will burn bridges and it might result in the same situation.

For context, had a friend leave a top BB for kkr/blackstone/ TPG after a year and they regretted it because they felt they left for the prestige and brand and as a result torched the relationships at their old shop and in the long run they would have just stayed an extra year to maintain those relationships for life. It's an individual decision that should just depend on how much you hate your current gig and the info you are able to gather on what you are leaving for.

Most Helpful
Jan 26, 2022 - 7:37pm
FellySmart, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Generally a red flag if they're recruiting people in banking but not willing to cover the bonus if you left. Do you wanna work for a place that will cheap out like that, idk. Ask if they will pay out a full year bonus and have it in your contract. Singing bonus kind of understandable they don't cover, but are they covering moving or having their own signing?

I noticed a few words bait and switch in the comment above without reading much. YES. People and recruiters bait and switch for all kinds of things on all levels all the time.

If you're at a good spot and have good reviews, you're in a place of strength for negotiating. Why give that all up at the first bone thrown at you?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 26, 2022 - 7:59pm

They pay their own sign-on and full year bonus is mentioned in the contract. 

Understand the point of the first bone being thrown at me, but I think that this is one of the places I'd consider also for Associate role - there is no guarantee that I would get something better than this in the future. While it is not BX/KKR/Apollo, it is still a good place in my view (people from BB / MBB consultancies exit there).

Jan 26, 2022 - 10:15pm
Incoming cfa level 1 charterholder, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Here is a lesson I learned after many years..

Chasing prestige is a trap. You are already in a prestigious field, it's unfair you will give up a bonus for a cheap fund. Look at how much your bonus is, think about all the hours you worked for it. I promise you, especially in this environment and with the mass exodus of talent from this industry, you will find a place that will pay your sign-on bonus. Don't settle. Think about it, how long are you going to chase prestige for? That 50k pound bonus you're about to forego is life-changing and you'll never get it back.

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 27, 2022 - 5:12am

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