Middle Market IB vs. Bulge Bracket IB

Was just offered Summer Analyst position (rising Junior in Liberal Arts school) at MM bank, would like to end up there full time but want to be exposed to BB bank eventually as well. It is an exploding offer, and most of the BB recruiting happens in the fall.

If I decline this offer I will likely burn my bridges with them, but I want to eventually end up there because I get more exposure to MDs, client facing meetings, etc. It's a reputable firm that I admire a lot but don't know if I'm making my mind up too soon. Any thoughts?

Comments (38)

Jun 12, 2017 - 1:42am

Congratulations on the offer! It seems like you just answered your own question.. Assuming it's a top MM (Lazard or the like) you're bound to have plenty of exposure and have a great experience, as well as opportunities to transition down the line if you want BB exposure. Or take your chances with BB recruiting if you believe you have a 100% shot of making it there, and take the risk of your bridges burnt, and most likely not ending up at that MM.

Change your username on WSO. I've already found you online, which is something you want to avoid, especially given the nature of this post.

EBITDA rules everything around me

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Jun 12, 2017 - 8:41am

Just as an FYI - Lazard is not a MM. Lazard, Moelis, etc. are typically referred as elite boutiques (you can argue that they've out-grown the boutique title). MM firms are banks like Piper, Harris Williams, William Blair, HL, etc. who do a lot of middle market deals and not many of the multi-billion ones that are typically reserved for the BB's and EB's.

As for the OP, it depends on what you want out of banking. Do just want the best exit opps and disregard everything else? I'd say go BB. If you want a - potentially - better experience, MM is probably the way to go. Plus, MM analysts can still place really well but it requires more leg work.

FWIW, I'm at a lesser-known MM and have had a great experience as far as client exposure, responsibility, etc.

Jun 12, 2017 - 10:55am

I would disagree with you on Lazard.. Fully confident that it's a prominent MM. Moelis, an elite boutique, I agree with that.

MM has a benefit in more exposure for sure, you see more as you must take on more responsibility than at a BB. It all depends how you play it.. Each side has its pros.

EBITDA rules everything around me

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Jun 12, 2017 - 10:53am

The rising senior internship is the SA internship that she's already received the MM offer for.

EBITDA rules everything around me

Jun 12, 2017 - 12:02pm

Depends on a few things:
1. The school - what other recruiting opportunities do you expect to see
2. Your resume / networking ability - chances that you can secure other interviews/offers
3. The MM bank - MM is a very broad set of banks and some are way better than others

If you could provide a bit more color on those, may be easier to get helpful advice. If you have a really strong resume at a target school and it's a lower-tiered MM bank, not a terrible idea to give the BB recruiting a shot. If you've got a middling resume, non-target school and strong MM bank, you'd take it.

Jun 12, 2017 - 9:27pm

I've got all three of those: good target school, great resume and networking ability, and solid MM bank (top of the middles). In the end, it would be more of a personal choice and the culture fit. The MM bank has a great culture and people. Did a small externship there and can say that I love the environment.

Can't really give BB recruiting a shot because I have an exploding offer before the BB recruiting starts in the fall. Thoughts?

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Jun 13, 2017 - 9:47pm

If the MM is your top choice bank and it is exactly what you are looking for then by all means accept. I'll give the contrarian answer though in case you are looking to hear it.

Decline the MM offer (kindly) and recruit for BB. It's much easier to go from BB->MM after SA then it is the other way around. If you were able to snag an offer this early chances are you are a pretty good candidate who should have as good a shot as anyone else at getting a BB offer. You said your school is a target, so I assume all the banks will come to campus and if you're confident in your interviewing abilities (which your post above seems to indicate you are) I think the risk is worth it.

You can even tell people during recruiting/interviewing that you had an offer at the MM which is infinitely better than all the kids who just list off a bunch of banks they are interviewing with.

Honestly, it's just so much easier to recruit now for BB and change after than regret it and try to move from MM for FT.

Jun 14, 2017 - 6:39pm

Middle Market IB vs BB IB (Originally Posted: 08/22/2017)

If you're interviewing at a bank that targets mainly Middle-Market and they ask you why you want to work there instead of at a BB, what would you say?

Are there any aspects of working in firms targeting Middle Markets that could possibly make it more attractive then working at a BB?

Jun 14, 2017 - 6:45pm

I summered at a MM IB, I would say that the environment is a lot more close-knit, you get to work within smaller teams and work more closely with your MD's and directors (at least in my experience), have more responsibility, and also get much earlier client exposure (I met the CFO for one of our clients as an intern).

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Jun 14, 2017 - 10:56am

Take it.

Given the current environment, you have a slim FT BB chance with the internship but none without it.

Take it, get the offer, and plan to lateral after your first bonus season.

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Jun 14, 2017 - 11:32am

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