M&A KPMG vs Commercial Banking

AidenJacobsen's picture
Rank: Monkey | 33

Hi, I currently work at a large UK Commercial Bank within their graduate program which is ending in January. I am exploring my options for when the program ends and I have recently been invited to an AC for the KPMG graduate program for their London M&A team. Realistically, I don't want to be a commercial banker and so I am looking for exits into an entry position in IB and I am struggling to see which option, commercial banking or KPMG, would be better suited to my goals. If I were to stay at my current bank, I would likely become an associate with the Large Corporate coverage team where I would mostly write credit analysis and play a supporting role in capital markets and syndicated loan transactions. I would probably stay there 18 months and then try to network into an entry level IB role. KPMG, on the other hand, would provide me with more relevant experience but I've been told to avoid this route as I will spend all day making powerpoints and without being challenged, supposedly. My understanding is that the work at Big4 M&A is more or less identical to the work I would be doing as an analyst in IB and therefore I would be in a good position to transition into a MM or Boutique bank.

I would really appreciate any advice on this, am I overestimating this role at KPMG by thinking it will be more or the less the same as an IB analyst role (albeit much worse pay)?

Many thanks.

Comments (12)

Most Helpful
  • Summer Associate in IB-M&A
Nov 21, 2019

I worked at KPMG London M&A. If you want to exit to M&A at a Bank this is the route to go. It is directly comparable to normal Analyst work albeit a bit less technical.

Myself and many others have done that path and gone to reputable Banks in London or straight to buy side.

You should be conscious that they will enrol you for ACA / CPA which will limit is hen you can leave (depending on whether you care to pursue the whole qualification)

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Nov 22, 2019

Thank you for the response, really appreciate the insight. I'm slightly conflicted because I have spoken to someone that worked at KPMG CorpFin who said "people in CorpFin at KPMG end up having to stay there because they don't have accounting experience and banks don't want them" and that "M&A work at KPMG even to manager level is purely powerpoint and chasing business on merger market, there is no financial modelling - and only partners pitch deals. You'll have 3 years of time there and no experience". I find it confusing how two people could come out with such different opinions. The key for me though is the financial modelling piece, will there be a lot of financial modelling in the role?

Lastly, I see that you're currently an IB summar associate - is the KPMG -> IB route usually through an internship or do people exit directly into analyst roles?

Once again, thanks a bunch for the help so far.

Array
  • Summer Associate in IB-M&A
Nov 23, 2019

I don't know who you spoke to in KPMG, but that is not at all what my experience is. Corp Fin has some other teams in it, not just M&A (e.g. Valuations), where the situation may be different.

No-one who wants to leave ends up staying, the churn rate is incredible high. Lazard, Greenhill, Rothschild all have dedicated intakes for people from Big 4 M&A. Others have also gone to PWP, Evercore etc. recently too. A simple LinkedIn search will show you that.

Yes, the work is less technical and you will spend more time in PPT than Excel, but that doesn't mean you get no experience. KPMG are I think leading the league tables in volume of deals worlwide or in Europe so there is plenty to learn. Modelling you will have to teach yourself to some extent, you do some but nowhere near as at a Bank. However, I think this is easier to self teach than the soft skills that you learn from other aspects of the deal that you will get at KPMG.

My title is wrong. I am an Associate. Most people who do 3 years and get the ACA exit to a Bank at the A3 level and get promoted in 6-12 months.

Nov 24, 2019

It's a no brainer- KPMG

Nov 23, 2019

I was at KPMG Corporate Finance in Europe and I saw several colleagues moving to banking after 2-3 years.
In my class, one went to Nomura, one went to a strong MidCap M&A firm and one went to Permira after 6 years.
That said, in my former group at GS/JPM/MS there was only one person, plus me, with a Big 4 background so it is not super obvious. My case is a bit specific as I did intern for that bank before KPMG and they called me back once they had an opening.

In general, if you are in a BB bank in a commercial role, maybe you can investigate whether you can move to IB (eg DCM) at some point and that would be the best entry point without losing much seniority / starting all over. If you are not in such a place, or you want to be on the buy side in 2-3 years, probably KPMG is better although it would be mid market.

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Nov 24, 2019

How much was your class though? Because I heard stories about strong exits, but is that is 3 colleagues out of 100 then that's obviously very different to 3/10.

I have been sitting down with the recruiters for the different IB desks and I would have to come back through the graduate program, which I am happy to do. But if I am unsuccessful then I will need to decide between my current commercial banking role or KPMG.

Thanks very much for the help.

Array
Nov 24, 2019
AidenJacobsen:

How much was your class though? Because I heard stories about strong exits, but is that is 3 colleagues out of 100 then that's obviously very different to 3/10.

I have been sitting down with the recruiters for the different IB desks and I would have to come back through the graduate program, which I am happy to do. But if I am unsuccessful then I will need to decide between my current commercial banking role or KPMG.

Thanks very much for the help.

10 people roughly

    • 1
Nov 23, 2019

PowerPoints are a big part of job in IB. Good skill to learn while you can at a big4.

Nov 24, 2019

Yeah perhaps I misunderstood what was important. My assumption was that anybody can use powerpoint and therefore it's not really a marketable skill, whereas modelling is more of a hard skill and what you would need to develop to transition into IB. But perhaps being able to create pitch book and understanding the deal process is as important as being about to the do the financial analysis underpinning it.

Array
Nov 23, 2019

I would definitely pursue it. It is incredibly close to what you would do as a bank and the experience would be useful for lateraling - if needed.

Nov 23, 2019
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