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 30,2017

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.

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Best Response
Jun 30,2017

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 30,2017

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.

 
Jun 30,2017

Lazard Middle Market is MM. But that's pretty much an entirely different firm and really isn't even top in MM. Actual Lazard (what people refer to when they talk about Lazard) is 100% an EB that works on some of the largest deals and competes with BB banks.

 
Jun 30,2017

Should've clarified, my b.

 
Jun 30,2017

Huh? How it not even a top MM if it competes on pitches against HL, WB, Baird, etc.? It finished 3rd in the U.S. and 2nd Internationally in Mid-Market Advisory in Q1. It has some strong coverage groups (Food & Bev) and weaker groups (Business Services), but isn't a group of dudes sitting around working on "fake offs".

 
Jun 30,2017
 
Jun 30,2017
liberal.arts.recruit:

To what firm are you referring?

Sorry, should have quoted, Lazard MM.

 
Jun 30,2017

I've already got a PE shop in mind, definitely not top-tier PE but up the alley of the industry group in which I'd like to focus. From what I've read on glassdoor, salary is better at this firm than most BB and it's a quickly-expanding firm (moving up market from what I'm seeing).

 
Jun 30,2017

IMO, I don't think compensation between banks should be too much of a factor unless you're in dire circumstances. The after-tax difference will be pretty small anyway.

If the bank is focused on a sector you really like, then you should go for it. Given that it's a MM (I assume it's actually a MM bank and not a boutique expanding from 1 office to 2), you'll still get good looks for PE recruiting.

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Jun 30,2017

Depends on if your school gets any recruiting

 
Jun 30,2017

Edit: Take the MM internship, any IB SA is better than none. And unless you have >75% confidence you can land one at a BB I would hesitate to forfeit this great opportunity!

"It is not our circumstance that controls us, but our thoughts that control our circumstance." -James Allen

 
Jun 30,2017

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

 
Jun 30,2017
 
Jun 30,2017

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 30,2017

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?

 
Jun 30,2017

I think you should take the MM SA offer. If you can convert to an offer, you'll have a bargaining chip when you recruit for BB FT offers. Or who knows, you might love it and just want to stay there.

 
Jun 30,2017

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 30,2017

If your qualifications all stack up like you say, then I echo this recommendation. People like to make FT recruiting sound easy but you can miss the boat on it really fast since the timelines are super murky and condensed, the amount of spots available isn't guaranteed like summer internships, and top BB banks don't have all that much respect for people who summer at MM firms. You'll have better odds now with OCR and can always mention the offer you received.

It's a risk for sure, but I've seen it pan out for many who've even turned down accelerated offers from lower tier BB's to give the top BB's and EB's a shot. They were stressed af during the whole thing when they didn't convert their first few interviews, but it worked out it the end.

 
Jun 30,2017

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

 
 
Jun 30,2017

Was going to comment this exactly. If OP likes the culture and whatnot, I don't know why he wouldn't go for it

 
Jun 30,2017

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

 
Jun 30,2017

Anyone want to share their thoughts on this? Thanks!

 
Jun 30,2017

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).

 
Jun 30,2017

A bread in the hand is worth two girls with a bush

 
Jun 30,2017

yeah but those girls best not be eating carbs....

 
Jun 30,2017

You answered your own question. Congrats and realize the first gig ain't the last so make the most of it. Cheers!

 
Jun 30,2017

Would you mind telling us how you got an offer already?

 
Jun 30,2017

take your Piper Jaffray offer in minneapolis and never look back. winters are rough but the beer more than makes up for it.

 
Jun 30,2017

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.

 
Jun 30,2017

Hey OP - message me if you'd like. I had to make a similar decision last year and I can provide some insights.

 
Jun 30,2017