MBB in Asia vs BB Structuring in London vs Everything else

I'm a senior in a top school in Asia graduating in 2016. I've grinded through school, networked like crazy and completed internships in consulting, VC and Asset Management. I have an MBB offer in Asia (think Singapore/KL/HK) and a BB Equity Structuring offer in London.

I need to decide between the two by end of January, and would really appreciate any advice on the pros/cons of either. In the long haul, I would like to end up in PE/value investing - where there's a mix of operational understanding and finance. The positive for MBB is the operational experience, but most of MBB Asia's exits are industry roles, not PE/VC. Another con is that this may pigeon-hole me in Asia. The BB job comes with better pay and a fantastic location, but isn't really the kind of work that excites me, and not very relevant to my long term goals.

Moreover, I know that I'm in a strong position (as a fresh college grad with a strong CV and good offers) and wanted to see if you think that there is something else I should be gunning for - VC/PE/HF/MBB outside Asia etc. If there is something you believe would be a significant step up from either offer, I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

P.S.: Please feel free to PM me for any help that I can offer - how to break into either role, working in Asia etc. Always happy to help.

Thanks a ton!

Comments (13)

Nov 29, 2015

Was quite curious on whether you did try apply to investment banking/pe/hf that do value investing. You are also right about the point of exit ops for MBB in Asia as well.

    • 1
Nov 29, 2015

I did. With IB, most 'English-only' roles were filled by members of the Summer Analyst class, with only language specific roles remaining open. I scouted around all BBs in Singapore and London (H1B issues in the US market).

With PE and HF - there is a clear divide in the responses I'm getting. The mega-funds which carry brand value all say that they only do experienced hires, especially in Asia. They would 'love to talk to me after 2 years in banking/consulting'. Boutiques are very open to talking to me, but they have no/very little brand value to them, which would handicap me with B School applications if I decide to go down that road.

Would you view a no-brand value PE/HF over MBB/BB?

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Best Response
Dec 6, 2015

On the topic of mega funds, they do hire people out of undergrad but its mainly in China. In addition, they have much lesser openings in Asia and sometimes do prefer to take IBD hires from outside of Asia due to the exposure they had compared to those in Asia. Based on my observations, its more common for people to switch over to the buyside after 3~5 years (that is if they get in given the limited amount of slots) rather than the 2 year norm you see on WSO.

On your last question on the no name PE/HF, I just it depends on whats your definition of "no-name". There are quite a few large funds in Asia but are equally unknown to the majority of the finance people in Asia. I do hope that your offer is with Bain though, as it provides you with a chance to get into Bain Capital. It probably has the highest chance for you to get into PE among the 3, although it will still be an uphill battle given the amount of bankers you need to compete with. I am not exactly sure about your group placement within the MBB firm but I heard that the PE practice teams are quite small and would be difficult to get into as well.

Hope it helps.

    • 2
Nov 30, 2015

Once again, thanks a ton, @Woozy

On your points:

a. You're bang on about the MBB exits in Asia. I think a lot of folks use the MBA as a reset button to change geographies or roles. I think that would be a reasonably comfortable road to go down on - i.e. do Asia MBB for 3-4 years, go to B School in the US, and then take up work in US/London in MBB/IB etc.

b. That's a positive from my perspective - I've heard back from almost all BBs in Asia - they only have local language based roles. So it seems like I'm not missing on the sharpest learning curve by missing Asia IBD

c. I hope to not be in Asia in the long haul - once I break into value investing. Again, focusing on London/Europe for value investing roles as of now, and the US later on.

d. Totally agree - Business school becomes important because I certainly want to use it to change geographies (if in Asia prior to B School), and maybe change functions.

e. I understand. Makes a lot of sense. I connected with multiple mentors over the weekend, and the unanimous opinion was that Asia MBB beats BB Structuring given my long term goals, my personality type and my core competencies. They all agree with you! So that's one off the to-consider-list. I'll rally my efforts into applying to IB and semi-branded and up buyside firms, and then reconsider in March or so.

Thanks so much again. I'll sure to keep you updated!

Nov 30, 2015

I would love to hear more thoughts on this - and would greatly appreciate any opinion around the options. As of now, I'm holding the Asia MBB offer as to-go offer between the ones I already have.

Beyond IB and branded buyside firms, is there anything else you think would be interesting? I would love to use my position now to maximize opportunity!

Thanks

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Dec 2, 2015

Bump!

Dec 7, 2015

Have you considered quality equity research into value investing? Just a suggestion

Dec 8, 2015

Thanks for the input! Do you mean getting into equity research and then transitioning to value investing?

Dec 8, 2015

Exactly, with the focus on producing good research content since the end-goal is to move to the buy-side, and coverage matters less than the right market valuations. Just throwing out a possible suggestion.

Dec 31, 2015

BUMP!

Glad you made your decision but I am actually in a similar situation. Like you, I also want to exit to PE/HF. Just curious, if instead of your BB London role it were a decent BB (e.g. JPM/BAML/Citi) in their M&A team versus Asia MBB, would your decision have been different?

Dec 31, 2015
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