I'm going to give a quick background of myself for context: 1st year analyst at a very small regional boutique not in NY. My shop is about 20 people.
So, I'm going to try to keep this short: Small regional boutique shops are super underrated on this site and I have a few reasons as to why: Hours, pay, and work culture.
Every time I get on this site, I see an analyst posting about how much he literally hates his fucking life because is VP asked him to change the theme of a CIM 15 different times resulting in him working 120+ hours for 5 weeks straight. In my experience, I consistently work less than 70 hours week to week. I do go over that frequently, but not by an insane amount. During a slow time, I even got away with under 60 hours in a week. Work-life balance is a real thing for me. Plus I rarely work weekends, and if I do it is maybe for 2-6 hours.
Yes you would have guessed correctly, the pay is not as high as the Street, but hear me out. In my research (which is totally up for discussion) I have seen that what I currently get paid, adjusted for cost of living, is the same or more than someone getting paid in NY. Additionally, even if my pay did turn out to be less even when adjusted for cost of living (which it very well could be), I think I would still be okay with it due to the difference in hours.
3. Work Culture
This is exactly how it sounds. The culture is what seems to be so much better than at BB or EB. My VP is more like my friend than my boss. The MDs are a little bit of a different story, but I still don't feel intimidated or talked down to. To add to that, my superiors respect me as a real person and not just a machine, yes they will ask for menial changes here and there, but it is never something that is completely outrageous to obtain (usually). They don't want to burn us out since their employee turnover is so low and they have limited amounts of people who can get the work done. Superiors are much more willing to help out rather than just order people around.
I respect the hell out of the guys in NY or other parts of the country working at BB and EB that do what they do; this thread was not intended to be a dig at the guys working at those shops; they are grinding harder than me, and in return they will get better exit ops as well. For me PERSONALLY work-life balance is a lot more important than the prestige of a BB or EB.
Just my two cents on the subject, I'd love to hear what people have to say about this. To clarify: This thread is not meant to be me swinging my dick around like my life is so much better, it's just meant to be a discussion of the underrated-ness of smaller firms outside NY.