Received offer for boutique IB west coast for post-grad, aiming for BB's for SA 2018, but not sure about career path, thoughts?

This is somewhat long, so bear with me...


  • I'm a junior at a non-target, 3.6 overall gpa, finance major, have experience with on-campus stuff, a startup, boutique ib internship sophomore to junior summer, BB pwm internship that I'll be starting this winter part time, applied to BB, MM, and beginning to apply to boutique ib internships for summer 2018. Also, looking into S&T.


Not sure where to focus my efforts on interning next summer/ if I should just go back to my boutique and apply to the same firms full-time. Would appreciate feedback on what seems like the best path forward.

Other Info

  • After interning at an investment bank between sophomore and junior year I got a full time offer (verbal) for post-grad at a boutique on the west coast that pays street w/ a great bonus structure - team is awesome. The work is tech focused M&A and capital raising. While I really enjoyed my time there, I'm not sure if I want to work in banking long term, however I can see myself doing two years there and lateraling to another firm.
  • I've considered exploring a career in trading and have been networking with an investment bank that has an outsource trading arm (one of the largest on the west coast). They're well known in california and the team is really strong. My thoughts here would be to intern with them next summer and start full-time post-grad; my contact started as an intern in the early 2000's and is now a VP of equities trading.
  • I networked with probably 50-60 different bankers in my area and sent out 500+ emails, I developed some great relationships and have guys willing to go to bat for me during FT recruiting at different MM and BB firms, but in terms of my SA prospects, it's either looking like I'll land at BAML TMT or if I'm lucky one of the handful of other boutiques I've applied to.

So I've somewhat outlined where I'm at here - I'd say what I'd like help with is getting feedback from you guys on what seems like the optimal path forward.

My solution

I'm torn between trying to stake it into in PWM, sticking with the boutique investment bank and going that route, OR jumping into trading. My goal with PWM would be to build a book and make a career out of it, with IB it'd be to make the jump to VC, and with S&T it'd be to land at a hedge fund.

Comments (16)

Oct 31,2017
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Oct 31,2017

The boutique? Why do you say that?

Oct 31,2017

Because as of now the only offer you have (correct me if im wrong) is from thr boutique IB. And if the pay is on par with street and you like the people there seems like an easy choice.

If you manage to land an offer with another EB/BB feel free to take that instead however seems like most of these firms are done recruiting so the odds of you landing one of this is slim.

Also if you want to do IB stick with IB instead of going into S&T.

Nov 30,2017

I want to do VC. I also want to work in S&T. My thoughts were do the S&T internship summer 2018 and if I enjoy it, do that FT. If I don't, work at the boutique IB for a year or two then lateral over to early to mid stage VC (I'd be working with earlier stage companies at the firm so there'd be transferrable skills to early to mid stage VC).

Nov 30,2017

Right so it only makes sense that you take the boutique offer if you want to do VC.

Also, once again (correct me if I'm wrong) the only offer you have is from this boutique, most of the BB/EB/upper MM are finished recruiting so therefore it would naturally lead to one choice which is take ur boutique offer that you have.

Nov 30,2017

I'm a junior, so I'd be starting at the boutique in 2019 post grad. I was thinking of pursuing the S&T gig this summer and if I don't like it, starting at the boutique when I graduate. If anything, it'll look good on my resume having PWM, IB, and S&T, plus I'll figure out which one is for me.

Nov 30,2017

The way you've presented this is completely retarded and quite frankly isn't filling me with a lot of confidence in your ability to impress interviewers.

But if I understand correctly, you have an offer two years out FT at this boutique IB as well as an offer for next summer in trading? And you're ultimate goal is to end up at a better IB group post-grad so you're wondering if you should take the S&T SA position and try for FT recruiting, take the S&T job and then take the return from the boutique, or do something else entirely?

If that's indeed the situation you're in, then I think you should see if you can go back to the boutique for the summer and eschew the trading shop all-together (S&T is becoming disintermediated because of technology and with perpetually low vol because of passive investment and without a repeal of the Volcker rule the business model just isn't all that profitable anymore). Trading internships don't always play super well for IB recruiting. If you go back to the boutique for the summer again, you can better assess whether you'd want to stay there and with more IB experience you can pound the pavement for FT IB positions.

Nov 30,2017

Yeah my thoughts here are pretty scrambled - definitely see how there's a lack of clarity in the information provided. I'd disagree with you in terms of impressing interviewers as I got pretty positive feedback from the BB superdays, but that's neither here nor there. Essentially what I'm saying is I'm interested in both S&T and IB. I did a sophomore to junior summer banking gig this past summer at a boutique and got an offer for when I graduate in two years (not in writing, expressed to me by MD and VP).

I'm doing a PWM internship at a BB in the winter as well (paid/academic credit for the internship). The two career paths that I'm interested in are S&T and early/mid-stage VC. I've thought about private banking, but not sure if it's for me - I'll probably have a better idea once I finish the winter internship.

I know the banking gig could land me in VC a few years out, but banking is definitely not something I'm super passionate about - it's a means to an end. Whereas S&T is something I am passionate about and can see myself really enjoying in the long run. Regarding the S&T gig - I applied for a position and have networked pretty heavily with some of the traders there (it's an outsource trading firm on behalf of hedge funds), but have yet to start a formal recruiting process (they don't start until mid to late november). My thoughts with them are either do a SA gig there next summer and work with them full time, or apply to FT S&T positions at BB's. This would assume me pursuing S&T as a career.

Lastly, I have a superday at JPM private bank tomorrow for a SA gig.

Hopefully that cleared things up a bit - appreciate the info.

Nov 30,2017

Okay yeah this makes sense now. Let me just say that I understand if banking isn't for you, it's not for everyone, but going into S&T, especially at a non-household name, is a really, really bad career move. You can try to get an internship at a VC firm (they pay shit and all you're doing is cold-calling but it looks good) or a MM PE shop or something to get buy-side experience if your goal is VC, but ultimately VC firms are populated with guys with consulting and banking backgrounds. Have you looked at consulting?

As I mentioned above, the medium term prospects for trading desks are bleak. Technology is disintermediating the business more and more, and headcount is already declining and set to plummet as AI continues to become more capable. Even if tech wasn't such a serious existential threat to the business model, low vol with persist for the near term with passive investing and the business model is not nearly as sustainable with fees grinding lower and lower and the Volcker rule limiting the ability of the bulge brackets to generate their own upside. I've spoken to a lot of senior guys about this and there is a strong consensus that in 20 years almost nobody will be working in trading. It's a dying industry. All of that presumes you want to stay in S&T. But if you want to leave, then S&T will leave many fewer doors open in IB, CO, CorpDev or even VC type stuff than IB or Consulting or other businesses that are considered more strategic and analytical. It's just a bad move.

PWM is a strong industry and will likely continue to become an important driver of growth for the bulges. Being at an elite PWM firm like JP can really help you if WM or AM are things you're interested in, and there are certainly plenty of good opportunities there if you like it. Not going to play great for VC but a very different path if it makes sense for you. One of my parents is an MD at Merrill WM so I know a lot about the career trajectory if you're interested.

Nov 30,2017

Thanks for the feedback. So I got a SA offer from JPMorgan Private Bank. Would definitely like to hear more about your thoughts on the industry/your parent's experience. I talked to some of the junior people on the team and all of them really love it (SF office). One of the more senior guys I talked to said he routinely brings new trade ideas to some of his clients and he's consistently up on changes in the market. I feel like this could be a great opportunity given the ability to trade on behalf of clients without being in a S&T role while also doing more client facing work and ultimately building a book. I have a few weeks to commit, but I'm leaning towards a yes. Worst case scenario if it's not for me I can return to the boutique IB post grad.

Nov 30,2017

Congrats. Yeah feel free to PM me but I would say that the JPM opportunity is a much better option than the trading shop. PWM definitely does involve a lot of market tracking and you do learn to think like an investor, especially at the lower level where you're not as involved in bringing in new business, but instead are more focused on helping existing clients manage their portfolios.

Again, if you're set on IB or buy-side then I would still urge you to explore opportunities more in line with that focus only because there's a little bit of an IB stigma in terms of people who've worked in PWM.

Nov 30,2017

Before you make this decision, make sure that you have a written offer from the boutique. Even though it was stated verbally, since there is no written proof that they sent you, they could easily decide to go with someone else.

It's better to be safe than sorry.

Nov 30,2017

Chiming in here. I'd say you have a high probability of being a bad performer wherever you go since you seem to not have any commitment. Life is hard, decisions are complex but you are overthinking it. Optimize on what you want out of the next 2 years. Being a VC is overrated and way harder than you think. IB is hard and long hours, pay is above average. S&T is a dying industry career. It's like saying you want to be an Equities Research Analyst right before that became a commodity. Take your best offer; and work your ass off. Learn a ton. Pivot after you learned all you can in your current job. Good luck.

Nov 30,2017

Thanks for the feedback - appreciate it.

Nov 30,2017

I'm not showing commitment because I'm weighing my options and exploring what I'm truly interested in? Hmm, that's an interesting point of view.

I accepted a SA offer at JPM private bank - the team seems great and I really got along well with the people. The work seems like it'll be right up my alley too. Optimistic for the summer.

Nov 30,2017