MM IB vs. Big 4 Infrastructure

rikipu's picture
Rank: Chimp | 7

Hey everyone, I've been a long-time lurker of WSO and finally mustered the courage to start my own thread. Fresh grad from Australia, don't have a great GPA (we go by % and I'm sitting at high 70%), but currently returned home to Malaysia to begin my career. Have always aimed for BB IBs in Singapore and Australia but wasn't able to secure a summer internship in my penultimate year; given my situation, I've only recently overcome my stigma (never liked audit) against Big 4s and started seriously considering them as an alternative.

I've been offered a stint with a Big 4 Infrastructure team in Kuala Lumpur (KL) that I'm due to start with middle of this month. After interviewing with some directors of the division, the gist of the work sounded very much like consulting, except focused on the power, utilities and infrastructure industries. I was also promised opportunities to travel around Southeast Asia. Other interesting things are that this division is relatively new, has a small team, and is headed by the team in KL.

On the other hand, I have a very strong chance at securing an IB position with a local MM IB.

So here lies the dilemma: whilst I have been aiming for an IB job throughout my uni degree, I'm worried about the deal/transaction volume that I would be exposed to at the local MM bank. As of now, the Malaysian economy ain't doing too well either, which doesn't help. Right now, all I care about is learning as much as I can with any firm. Salary at the MM should slightly exceed the Big 4 but in the grand scheme of things, my starting salary isn't the biggest concern to me. If it helps at all, my 10-year plan is to end up in private equity across the bridge in Singapore, after completing my MBA.

Which job will teach me the most stuff?
Which job will teach me the right skills for PE?
Which job would you choose?

After doing a bit of digging, it's come to my attention that there isn't too much information on the Big 4 Infrastructure departments on the forum (or online for that matter). If there's anyone working in an Infrastructure division at a Big 4 or other boutique firms, I'd love to hear about your experience. Thanks for reading!

TL;DR - want to end up in PE eventually, which do I pick now?
Infrastructure: sounds like consulting work, promised lots of travel and client facing opps, potential to pigeon-hole myself, what exit opps??
MM IB: weak Malaysian economy, not sure how robust deal activity will be, worried about not getting enough exposure.

Region: 
Australia
Other APAC
Singapore
All Asia Pacific

Comments (2)

Apr 3, 2015

My personal opinion:

Big 4: Sounds like a good experience, lean team so you'll gain more exposure to all facets of the job, the potential to travel and gain insight into different economies. Keep in mind, a LOT of people who work in IB came from the Big 4 track. You could always leave, scoop your MBA, and then recruit for BB's/PE that way.

MM IB: sounds like an overall shitty experience, if the deal flow is slow you run the risk of having minimal experience to put on your resume, which hurts you for buy side recruiting. I don't know the MM in question here though and how they recruit, however.

You said you want to learn as much as possible, and in my opinion the Big 4 opportunity seems like a more valuable opportunity from a learning perspective, but take that with a grain of salt.

Apr 7, 2015
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