Public Finance vs General IB

Hi All,

I received a summer analyst offer from Wells Fargo in their Public Finance Group, which is in their IBD. However, I'm worried that later on down the road, exit opportunities into HF/PE will be limited, in addition to the fact that Public Finance is specialized/niche as compared to some of the other IBD groups.

Thus, if I were to receive an offer from a lesser known, but still large bank (specifically KeyBank or SunTrust Robinson Humphrey) in their general IBD SA program, would that be a more attractive option than WF, even if the name is less well known?

Thank you all, really appreciate any insight or feedback!

Comments (26)

Nov 10, 2017

I would stay away from public finance.

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Nov 10, 2017

Thank you for your response! Really appreciate it. Any particular reasons why? Or is it mainly because of the reasons I already listed above?

Nov 10, 2017

Well regardless of exits, the work isn't going to be as interesting IMO. Depends on your interests, but underwriting municipal bonds doesn't sound that fun to me. Clients will be bureaucratic and lacking finance backgrounds i.e. highly regulated utilities. Project finance deals can be interesting to model though.

Nov 10, 2017

I see, that makes sense. Thank you!

Nov 10, 2017

bump

Nov 10, 2017

Before you worry about exits, work on getting a FT offer -----> moving to a better group------> moving to a better bank ------> maybe PE/HF..

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Nov 10, 2017

IBD. You'll get very good, transferable skills. The switch from IBD to PubFin is easy, the other way around isn't.

Nov 10, 2017

While I'd be working the on full deal process at the low MM IB, I'm concerned that I'd be missing out on a big name and much larger deals on my resume with the BB Public Finance group. Not to mention a larger salary/bonus structure.

Since the other place is a no name, would a top business school and PE be harder to get into?

Nov 10, 2017

If you want IB, take the "no name" MM. You can always lateral after six months to a year. Like you said, public finance is nichey, which will affect you come time for PE recruiting. Brand name is not everything- job experience is.

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Nov 10, 2017

Realistically, how difficult will PE recruiting or top MBA admissions be from a micro-boutique? I wouldn't say the firm is terribly small in headcount, they just focus on small deals.

Side note- I'm coming from FLDP with corp dev experience, about 2 years out of school.

Best Response
Nov 10, 2017

Pub fin gets a bad rap on here. If you aren't dead set on doing the traditional IB>PE>BS>Grab the World by the Balls route that everyone believes to be the be all-end all, then pub fin with a top BB would still generate a ton of unique opportunities for you.

End of the day, IB is essentially a professional development program. Yes, the technical work you'll do in pub fin is less attractive to a certain segment of the finance world than M&A, but the professional development component is not. You'll still be working with highly intelligent people and inherently the intangible, professional side of you will see considerable growth. Having worked at a no-name, I can tell you first hand that while you'll be getting more relevant experience, there's a strong chance you will lose that professional development component.

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  •  Nov 10, 2017

PF usually falls under IB, but the work is substantially different than corp fin analysts. your clients are anybody who can issue tax-exempt debt (municipalities, states, utilities, airports, in some cases corporations, etc)

Nov 10, 2017

Is there a compensation difference or do you get the same salary?

Nov 10, 2017

And is how significantly different is the work? IE: What do Public Finance analysts go into upon completing their tenure?

Thanks!

  •  Nov 10, 2017

at my firm there is no salary difference at the analyst level. exit opps are generally the same for PF analysts-law school/business school. might be a little tougher to branch out into hedge funds/PE, but I don't think it would be impossible.

Nov 10, 2017

What type of ?'s should be prepped for a PF analyst interview...

Nov 10, 2017

I know a guy that worked in PF at Lehman. He didn't really have anything great to say about it. I would think it would be boring as all hell.

Account Inactive

Nov 10, 2017

yeah i agree. i no some guys in PF and they are not fond of it

Nov 10, 2017

It may be an opportunity to get into sales/trading of municipals. There's some good cash to be made there brcause of the size of the market.

Nov 10, 2017

5$ a bond difference, corporate takedowns have been pretty consistent while munis have tightened because of lack of supply causing firms to bid down takedowns just to get business. Healthcare higher ed are the "best" due to p3 opportunities and more complex transactions and things they can do

Nov 10, 2017
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