Moving from Asset Management into IB / PE

abt7786's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 20

I just finished my first year as an analyst at an institutional Asset Management firm (e.g. PIMCO, BlackRock, Vanguard) in New York. I'm on the front desk side, where I work in commercial mortgage-backed securities portfolio management.I graduated a year ago from a top ten school with an Economics major (my school didn't have an undergrad business/finance program). I wear a lot of different hats at my job. I've traded CMBS, assisted with new issue syndication for ABS, written macros to streamline various processes, looked at credit quality in new issue CMBS. I really like the people I work with, and I'm definitely learning valuable skills, but I have two main concerns. First, I don't think I'm particularly suited to a career in markets. It requires the ability to read quickly, absorbing massive amounts of information and synthesizing it--in short, a large working memory--and that information shortly becomes irrelevant once the market reacts. I've always been more of a problem solver (hence the Econ major) I enjoy the continuity of process-driven work (work that produces an end product, e.g. a model ). Second, we had rotations our first week on the job, and I was placed with the structured finance desk. This is also a concern because issuance parts of this market--namely, RMBS and CMBS--has largely died out since the glory days of 03-07 (think $30bn a year in issuance now vs. 500bn /year during that time period). In short, I'm worried that I'm learning structured finance-specific skills that will be irrelevant in a few years.

However, I've gotten to work on a number of opportunities for our hedge fund strategies. Most of these have involved me building a model from the bottom up, which I've really enjoyed. I liked the chance to get to know every aspect of a new business, and I also thrived on the variety of it.

This has brought me to the conclusion that I'd like to move away from financial markets into the private, dealmaking side of the industry. This will give me a modeling skill set and also prepare me for a management role later in my career, if I so choose. I did a boutique banking internship summer before senior year (didn't lead to an offer but it wasn't expected to). I interviewed with investment banks senior year, had a couple superdays, and got 2 offers from solid, smaller regional banks (think SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Morgan Keegan, EdgeView) in locations like Charlotte or Atlanta. Ultimately, I chose a more prestigious firm as my first job rather than focusing on job function. While this may have been a mistake (i don't think it was...I've learned an incredible amount here), here I am.

Sorry for rambling, but the point of my post is this question:

How, and more importantly when, do I leave asset management for the private side, namely investment banking or PE? (probably IB, assuming PE firms typically hire IB analysts). I've thought about it, and I have the following options.

  1. Try to network my way into a bulge bracket firm right here, right now. I could also leverage my commercial real estate experience and excel/VBA skills and I'm confident that if I got an interview I'd be fine. I'd also spin some of the private debt deals I've worked on (e.g., mezzanine off-balance sheet financing). There is a risk of pissing a lot of people off at my current job (they trained me for a year and then I left...it's not really a 2 years and out program), in an industry that is pretty small. But if I really do want out of AM I guess that shouldn't be an issue.

I guess if I choose this, should I go before campus recruiting starts? also wondering if I'm being realistic....Ideally I should have posted this when I was applying for jobs senior year, but I was too busy doing other things (drinking).
I currently have a ton of friends in the industry so getting my resume under the right nose would be easy if I called in a few favors.

  1. Sometimes you have to step slightly backward to move forward in another direction. I could apply for boutique banking jobs in New York. This may be helpful because I'd still get the experience and skill set of being able to understand a company from the bottom up. Since I don't necessarily want to stay in banking long term (I'd love to move into VC or PE but those types of companies typically look for a banking background). I could also apply for ones that focus on industries I'm interested in (tech, real estate, etc.)
  2. I work at my current job for 2 more years, then apply for an MBA program. I then use the MBA program's on campus recruiting connections to apply for jobs in VC or PE (or IB first, then transfer to VC/PE later. The benefit of this is that I will have had a great deal more responsibility in my current role (I will have my own book,etc., and have tangible results to show for my work), even though it's in an industry that doesn't really interest me long term.

What do you think?

Questions/comments are much appreciated.

Comments (34)

Aug 1, 2012

Only read title, but all I can say is that I did AM -> IB SA so it's definitely possible.

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

Aug 1, 2012

most people tend to move the other way IB -> AM. I think you have an advantage here.

Aug 2, 2012

Honestly, stay where you are. IBD is getting killed right now. Also, the ONLY reason most people do IBD is to get to AM/PE, so focus on PE....and yes, it's possible.

Aug 2, 2012
UFOinsider:

Honestly, stay where you are. IBD is getting killed right now. Also, the ONLY reason most people do IBD is to get to AM/PE, so focus on PE....and yes, it's possible.

Even though my current role isn't directly relevant to a PE job? The thing is I'm not picking up a PE skill set right now.

Sep 6, 2013

hey so how did this go?

Sep 6, 2013

edit: just saw the title. Even a tiny VC or PE shop would be better for IBD, but I'd be surprised if you could find a place that would let you work during the school year.

Sep 6, 2013

no name over am. anyday.

Sep 6, 2013

The kind of AM firms you've mentioned will be all sales and if you really want to do AM you'd benefit more by doing PWM at a place like UBS or ML. no-name VC/PE > PWM > Fidelity, Putnam, etc.

Sep 6, 2013
turtles:

The kind of AM firms you've mentioned will be all sales and if you really want to do AM you'd benefit more by doing PWM at a place like UBS or ML. no-name VC/PE > PWM > Fidelity, Putnam, etc.

this is wildly backwards. pwm is more sales than almost all pure sales jobs. and this is coming from someone who spent a summer+ interning in PWM. it gives you 0 skills that are in any way transferable.

the big AM firms look so much better on a resume than some rando PWM job at one of the thousands of retail branches of UBS or ML.

Sep 6, 2013

i gotta disagree... Everyone here has to get the notion that there is only one path to IBD out of their heads and accept that you can get there by other means. If you're working at a big name Asset Management shop that is respected across the street, it depends on what you'd be doing and how you would spin it. Sometimes something that may not look like the "right choice" really offers a better option than you might expect.

Sep 6, 2013

PE > AM for IBD. turtles is right, they're gonna have you doing sales.

Sep 6, 2013

I would definitely try to get a PE internship over the asset management spot if you're interested in IB.

Sep 6, 2013

well heres the thing, I've already done banking and equity research at boutiques. The only reason I want another internship is to add some decent brand names on my resume to counteract my nontarget school name.

do you think, for the sake of getting through initial screening, would having something like fidelity / wellington / babson be better than adding a another no-name boutique in PE/VC/ER?

I've done internships at no-name IBD and equity research boutiques. I've also done a VC internship (twice) at a great fund that isnt very well known outside of their industry focus (and I am not as interested in that industry as some others).

Sep 6, 2013

If you are currently a PM (not a junior PM), then I would imagine at the VERY least you'd come in at the VP/Senior VP level. Otherwise, I'd question whether it's worth your time.

Sep 6, 2013

Yes, 3 years as a PM, the 2 years before as a jr PM/Analyst and 2,5 years before that Analyst (and about 10 months prior to that, Private Equity).
I lack the transaction experience, though, and clients. Wouldn't that preclude me from going straight into a VP role?

Sep 6, 2013

Why leave to go to IBD?

Sep 6, 2013

Anything in the realm of finance will help you land a summer internship for IB junior year. It's all about how you spin it.

Sep 6, 2013

Does anyone have any advice?

Sep 6, 2013

Bump, just moved this to the IB discussion board.

Sep 6, 2013

Bump

Sep 6, 2013

In a very similar situation. Nothing to add but very interested in the answer.

Array

Sep 6, 2013

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Sep 6, 2013

manfred123, hey, look at the bright side, at least you didn't get a ton of monkey shit thrown at you...here is my best guess on threads that might be helpful:

Or maybe the following users have something to say: @jdmorris" @muratore" @buckeyefever007"

You're welcome.

Sep 6, 2013

why do you want to move from asset management to IB? it seems like a lot of people want to do the opposite esp at a "top tier AM firm"

Sep 6, 2013
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Jun 13, 2020