MBA Associate: Which Industry Groups to Target? 

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Many of us first year MBA students are starting to ramp up recruiting. Part of that process involves narrowing down a list of groups to target during the networking period before interviews. To avoid the discussion on Coverage vs M&A (for which there are already a number of helpful threads), please assume that the student has already decided to pursue industry coverage groups (incl. Sponsors). 

 

For those that have been in our shoes: Which group did you choose and why?

For anyone working in IB coverage group: Which industries do you think are most interesting to cover/analyze? 

 

I am aware that this can be very bank dependent (for example does coverage do M&A in house, how strong is deal flow, etc.). I'm mostly just hoping for some broad opinions on industries.

 

It can be difficult to find this information online, especially on a forum that is focused more on the analyst level and therefore prioritizes exit opps over long term banking careers.

Comments (12)

 
  • Works at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Oct 18, 2020 - 11:55am

Which group did you choose and why?

Levfin: I knew m&a and the top industry teams would be super competitive to get into and also knew a lot of people didn't really know much about levfin, so I picked them as my #1 and got it. Happy with the choice.

Which industries do you think are most interesting to cover/analyze? 

This one is tougher to answer unless you personally have a strong interest in one sector. For me that sector is financial services. I think they are the most interesting companies. There's also a lot of subsectors within the field which makes it fascinating in my opinion

 
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 18, 2020 - 12:42pm

 

Which group did you choose and why?

Levfin: I knew m&a and the top industry teams would be super competitive to get into and also knew a lot of people didn't really know much about levfin, so I picked them as my #1 and got it. Happy with the choice.

Which industries do you think are most interesting to cover/analyze? 

This one is tougher to answer unless you personally have a strong interest in one sector. For me that sector is financial services. I think they are the most interesting companies. There's also a lot of subsectors within the field which makes it fascinating in my opinion

Did you weigh Financial Sponsors vs. Lev Fin? If you were interviewing at a bank whose Fin. Sponsors does the modeling

 
Oct 18, 2020 - 2:11pm

The groups are really not that comparable to be honest. Lev Fin is much closer to DCM than sponsors.

Sponsors is a coverage group... The modeling and focus areas for an M&A transaction will obviously not be the same as a debt issuance, even if the types of companies you look at are similar. 

Array
 
Oct 18, 2020 - 6:49pm

Your rationale makes sense, thanks for the explanation. 

If you don't mind me asking, how highly ranked was your school? You mentioned that coverage/product teams were extremely competitive. From what I've seen the "banking" M7s (Wharton/Booth/CBS) will place nearly 100% of their prospects into product/coverage groups. 

 
Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 18, 2020 - 2:20pm

I think it's an absolutely terrible idea to target industry groups based off what's stronger at which bank. Same with based on who does the modeling - if you're coming in at the associate level, does it really matter?

This leads you to have to keep a number of different stories straight (i.e. lie to every bank) about your interests, leaves you less well prepared than your peers as you get spread too thin. Also, the first year associates lead the initial rounds of recruiting and all know their school teams across different banks. People gossip about candidates - if you tell Goldman you're super interested in Tech and JPM you only want healthcare, you'll look like an idiot.

Most people choose industry based off of your pre-MBA work experience as it makes the story easier to tell and more believable. Those that don't choose an area where they have an interest and some tie to it - (maybe your uncle's dog sold medical supplies so gained a big interest in healthcare...)

If you have no idea, industrials, healthcare and tech generally have a lot of M&A and interesting trends going on in the sector. If you have no preference, would generally steer you towards industrials given lots of M&A and less popular. 

 

 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 18, 2020 - 2:50pm

Definitely agree with everything you have said, especially with teams talking to each other across banks (during my networking calls some guys knew about me and how I was before I even spoke to them). But, I would say that it's not very difficult to prepare for different groups in terms of stories and some technical questions. I mainly interviewed with 3 specific coverages across the different banks and ended up with an industry group at a bank that is at the top of the league tables for that coverage. I think there are multiple stories that can be crafted from one resume so one should make full use of it. But, I agree with the risk of one team talking to another and thus being found out. Just wanted to put this out there, though.

 
  • Business School in IB - Gen
Oct 19, 2020 - 10:55pm

There are also soft ways to figure this out. At my school, if you're interested in a particular sector then you're probably very involved in that industry club on campus.  If the second year students don't know you and you don't go to those events, the insincere interest can be sniffed out pretty easily.

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