Pros and Cons of IB in LA, SF, Chicago, Houston?

If a bank asks you to make a preference for different regions like LA, SF, Chicago, Houston, etc

What are the pros and cons of each? e.g., is SF better for people interested in healthcare and technology industries, etc?

Just wanted to learn about the different regional characteristics (hard to grasp from their websites).

Thanks.

Comments (31)

Dec 13, 2009

Houston= Pro= Energy(if you like energy)

Con=Not the hottest sector right now

Dec 13, 2009

SF:
great deal flow in tech and healthcare.
people are nicer (subjective, but I think this is true)
weather is amazing
more responsibility as an analyst if you work in a smaller office that does its own execution

Dec 13, 2009

Chicago:
Pro=like SF but better
Con=biting cold

Dec 13, 2009

Houston is dirty cheap to live. SF is quite the opposite, but then again SF also has the mission.

Dec 13, 2009

Houston Pro: Energy and nat resources focus
Houston Con: Not much else, southern city is ehhh
Chicago Pro: If you like the city? Large city.
Chicago Con: Not specialized in any group, no real focus aka Chicago's not known for any IBD groups to do well in
LA Pro: Good amount of banks, celebrities sometimes, way hotter girls than any of the other cities (including nyc)
LA Con: Killer hours reputation, lots of poor people/celebstalkers, lots of areas aren't as flashy as the TV/Movies area of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Laguna Beach, etc. Also, being a banker isn't as cool as in other cities since a rich ass celeb is always > banker.

Favorite: SF
SF Pro: Healthcare, Gaming, TMT (usually you should be in SF for this), and Sponsors/Lev Fin. Great people, culture, and best place for VC and probably 2nd best for PE along with LA.
SF Con: Expensive, but grab some roommates and 1k can be fine. Gays... which can be pro or con since I get laid easier in SF than I did when I was working at GS in manhattan. Girls are hotter than nyc, but goes for cali in general (see LA)

There's a reason why most who go to the West Coast don't want to leave, it's a great region and basically Cali is a different country imo. Try SF and LA for size (I prefer SF for banking). I made the move there from NYC and I loved it.

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Dec 13, 2009

I would say this depends on how you roll.

Chicago: Basically its NYC in the midwest (or likes to think so).
-Pros: Its a walking and public transportation type city with lots bars and restaurants. Cheaper than any option except Houston. Good for Industrials, Chemicals, regional transactions, and just generic stuff.
-Cons: Very generic groups, colder than NYC. There is no real clubbing scene if that's your thing and people are very midwest and don't really like bankers.

Houston: Its Texas
-Pros: No income taxes and a cheap cost of living. Good for energy and nothing else. If you like Texas, you can roll like its nobodies business on basically no bank.
-Cons: Its Texas and only good for energy.

SF: Fairly similar to Chicago in the combination of walking/public trans/car usage.
-Pros: Good for tech, M&A, Healthcare and if you want to be on the WC long term.
-Cons: Hard to move from WC to firms in the rest of the country. Time lag to EC sucks majorly for deals and markets. People in SF (for the most part) will not understand what you do, won't care, or will think you are capitalist scum.

LA: Very typical WC, Hollywood, Plasticy city.
-Pros: Places good into WC and Asian shops. Girls look like barbies (if that's your thing). Lots of clubs and what not. Tends to do own execution and have smaller offices than EC.
-Cons: Its LA so you will have to drive and valet everywhere. The girls are plastic and bitchy. You will never compete with industry types at clubs. Sometimes you wind up with Tier II deals.

Pick a city you like and you won't do poorly.

    • 1
Dec 13, 2009

@PowerMonkey, regarding LA, What do you mean by "you will never compete with industry types at clubs?"

Also, having been to SF I find the girls quite ugly here, much more than other places. Don't know much about LA

Dec 13, 2009

he means chicks would rather screw a casting director...

Dec 13, 2009

Lets hope its not too hard to find girls that dont necessarily fawn only for Industry Types

Dec 13, 2009

The Hills and Laguna Beach baby.

Dec 13, 2009

hollywood > finance in LA, you should know that

Dec 13, 2009

Go where you have friends etc... and where you like the work. Nothing sucks worse than pulling 100+ hours and then going back to spend the weekend by-yourself b/c your only friends are those form work.

Just saying.

Dec 15, 2009

Pro You have a Job
Con You're in LA SF Chicago or Houston

Dec 15, 2009

SF is a really classy city.

LA has its pros and cons. But I really wouldn't recommend it to someone that does not have a group of friends here to get plugged in with. It will get lonely very very quickly.

Dec 15, 2009

pokersliar: I'm gonna guess you are joking because SF/LA are great places for banking and are no "less" than NYC. For example, where else would you go for TMT/Gaming besides SF and Energy for Houston?

And do you think Moelis and the old UBS LA were bad places as well? They probably were arguably #1 for exit ops into megafunds that beat out any NYC shop. I'm sure GS TMT doesn't mean anything to you but guess what, I know a lot of them in SF and they are doing fine, which is an understatement.

The bankers who try to come to the west coast even have a hard time as there are single digit spots open, whereas usually 90% of the spots are in NYC hq and even the most competitive east coast kids (aka wharton) have a hard time getting into the BB offices here.

PS: Esp when you said before "This is for almost ever BB
TMT - go to SF / Menlo
Nat Res - go to houston:"

Dec 15, 2009

SF's an awesome city. I really loved it last summer, but then again I had some friends there. The thing about SF, everyone's been right on this, nobody cares (relatively) what you do; which can be nice if you work at certain MM that gets made fun off often, cough Jaffray, and Mr. Goldman doesn't have a comparative advantage anymore w/ chicks. There's actually a lot of hot girls in Houston if you know where to go. Know nothing about Chicago (are there any girls there?). Fuck LA. Additionally, here's a glimpse into prospective bar chicks thoughts when you drop:

You:"Yeah, I'm in finance..."
Chick:"Oh cool, I took micro in school, what in finance?"
You:(Proudly, chest slightly puffed)"Investment banking,"
Thinking to self-
(NYC)Chick: If I get talked into another Citi sympathy fuck I'm going to hang myself.
(Houston)Chick: ...DING, that'll work, easily get 6 carats outta this one, hope he likes Lubbock!
(Chicago)Chick: Doesn't this idiot know my husband's on of his analysts?
(LA)Chick: Shit, I'm killing Taryn, she knew this wasn't Wilmer Valderrama.
(SF)Chick: Oh my god, Thomas Pink? Give me a break. Oh well, haven't been laid in two days.

Dec 15, 2009

I agree, SF is probably best place on west coast for banking, and especially TMT and VC's. There's a reason why BB's like BoA, Citi, WF, CS, UBS, etc. have offices in SF and LA.

Why do people keep saying houston chicks are hot by the way?

Dec 15, 2009
1styearBanker:

I agree, SF is probably best place on west coast for banking, and especially TMT and VC's. There's a reason why BB's like BoA, Citi, WF, CS, UBS, etc. have offices in SF and LA.

Why do people keep saying houston chicks are hot by the way?

Well, it's complicated, you see. The reason is: because they are.

Dec 15, 2009

Any location is better than HK or London

Dec 16, 2009

Houston girls are textbook southern girls. They take care of themselves and tend to be nicer/more feminine than girls from the north. Also, making $120K in Houston (especially out of undergrad) goes a long way so that always helps.

Dec 16, 2009

i think sf is very flirty, which is cute. if you want to get laid, from easiest to hardest for guys would be sf>nyc>chicago

Dec 16, 2009

The main characteristics of these cities are fairly self-evident.

SF: quirky, liberal, berkeley, pseudo-intellectual, hipster, treehugger, etc.
CHI: big ten, sports fanatics, throwback to blue collar culture, all girls looks the same (jennifer aniston wannabe)
LA: flashy, attention-whores, everyone has a nice car, nice weather, ethnic diversity, subtle racial tension
HOUS: ten gallon hats

It's tough to say that one is better than the other, each one has its unique aspects that will appeal to certain people.

Dec 17, 2009

We're talking about banking, not some laymen tourist's guide to the city kinda thing. Previous posts already labeled where you should be for certain groups and exit ops. That's about it.

Dec 17, 2009

Characteristics of the city are relevant, because firm cultures are heavily influenced by their surroundings. But don't worry, I don't think you're a greenpeace girly-boy just because you're from SF.

Dec 17, 2009

Any thoughts on doing i-banking in a Boston office?

Dec 17, 2009

Macro: If you went through my history you would know that I started off with PWM at GS and I've experienced a lot of the cities to compare with.

All you've done is state highly prejudiced one sentence stereotypes. You basically just kept writing synonyms over and over without adding anything new, and certain things don't even make sense such as "berkeley" and "ten gallon hats". Is that supposed to be relevant to banking somehow or mean something?

Furthermore, I was born in NYC and had a great time at GS at 1 NY plaza and I vote Republican, so suck it. Firm cultures are more influenced by the firm. GS TMT and Moelis is no less brutal in SF/LA (in fact NYC looks "laid back" comparatively) and Barclays in NYC is still pretty chillax compared to other peers.

Dec 17, 2009

NYC is tops for networking.
Chicago is a great city that isn't as expensive.

Dec 17, 2009

No matter what you chose those cities are large enough to find your own niche. I would chose the office that you got along with the people the best considering those will be your primary social contact.

Dec 17, 2009

Haha I was assuming the tongue-in-cheek nature of my post was rather obvious but it looks like you are mighty serious about this whole city business.

Dec 17, 2009
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Dec 17, 2009