Sanford Bernstein reputation in NY?

ratul's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 601

Hey folks,
I'm chatting with the boys at Sanford Bernstein in equity research - any comment on their reputation in NYC? I'm moving to the london office but wondering what the rep is like at Sanford? Is it as good as a bulge bracket? How are the exit options? I would be coming in as a post-MBA associate. Any and all thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Comments (22)

Jan 13, 2009

A friend of mine has a sibling that works there, pretty senior guy (I believe he made partner). Anyway, he pulls in probably a million a year, if I had to guess. From what I've always understood, he really likes the job. I'm not sure about exit opps, but a million bucks a year is pretty solid.

Jan 13, 2009

Sanford's ER is top notch. I've chatted with a VP trader there that says their volume is up due to their agency only approach and their premier research product. This is probably one of a few places where ER Analysts can be directly credited for bringing in commissions.

Jan 13, 2009

Interesting a million seems in-line, so nothing special. The independent model is appealing but I think the SB name is only restricted to New York.

Jan 13, 2009
ratul:

Interesting a million seems in-line, so nothing special. The independent model is appealing but I think the SB name is only restricted to New York.

Ha, I wouldn't call a million "nothing special." And don't reply with some dumb shit like "well, banking MDs at BBs make like $10 million a year!" cause that's irrelevant to the topic, you coward.

Jan 13, 2009
TheKing:
ratul:

Interesting a million seems in-line, so nothing special. The independent model is appealing but I think the SB name is only restricted to New York.

Ha, I wouldn't call a million "nothing special." And don't reply with some dumb shit like "well, banking MDs at BBs make like $10 million a year!" cause that's irrelevant to the topic, you coward.

haha, you're calling me a coward for something I haven't said.

1 million in ER is in-line with the street pay for ER anywhere, so it's not like one would be going there for the money. In fact, a senior analyst could make a reasonable bit more by working at a bulge bracket.

Ladies and Gentleman - here we have the dumbest man in the history of time. No hyperbole. I promise.

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Jan 13, 2009

Apparently they are also super academic and there is little buzz on the research desk, compared to other houses where people make trades on nonsense monthly sales numbers.

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Jan 14, 2009

Their ER is def on par with BB research teams on the street. I worked in BB research and they were one of our competitors so to speak. The building in midtown is also really nice.

Jan 14, 2009

their ER has a really great reputation from what i know, definitely on par with BB...just see how often they're quoted in the wsj.

Jan 16, 2009

From the research that I've read, SB ER > BB ER.

Just my 2c.

Just my 2c.

Feb 15, 2010

anyone know of the pay for a first year associate?

Feb 15, 2010

TheKing you don't deserve that star next to your name.

Mar 5, 2010

According to the most relevant rankings, SB is better than all the BBs.

May 13, 2010

Hey ratul,

What finally happened to your conversations with the folks at SCB? I am in a similar boat - interested in getting your perspectives on the exit options, and how it all worked out.

Thanks in advance

Cheers

May 13, 2010

they

May 13, 2010
kleiner:

hey all: I recently spoke with a Bernstein Research representative, and I really like this firm. what is their interview process like, what are they looking for (different than BB?)? can anyone shed some more light on this firm for me, thanks

Very focused on raw intellectual ability. Don't be surprised if you get asked for GMAT and SAT quant scores.

May 13, 2010

for independent research, obviously, they are considered to be among the top places.

May 13, 2010

bump

Mar 14, 2019

I read WSO comments on Bernstein before deciding to accept a job there. I am no longer there (joined buy-side) and wanted to offer my two cents for anyone who is considering joining:

If you graduate from HSW, be careful. Good news: they will hire you at all cost because they just want a token from the top schools, Bad news: it feels weird to be hired as a token.

  • Macro - sell-side is dying. Everyone tries to jump to the buy side. All associates/senior associates at Bernstein secretly interview for buy side jobs, regardless of their tenure there.
  • Bernstein has a good reputation from the outside but at the end of the day non-terrible sell-side firms are not that different. Bernstein doesn't have the resources to cover all sector and all company as JPM for example.
  • Work: My biggest issue with sell-side work is it is hard to be intellectually honest. More often than not, you already have a buy/sell rating and you just collect evidence in the report to support it. I think >70-80% of sell-side reports are buy rating at Bernstein? I think there is benefit working for the analyst because they are usually the industry expert with real knowledge, so if you take advantage of that and the analysts are nice people, you can definitely learn. Just be mindful that most analysts are subject expert but are not good stock picker. So you should rely on them on their expertise but you still need to practice on your own for your modeling, pitching, market sense, marco and all that.
  • The culture is highly political and competitive. I know they say it is academic and humble culture in the propaganda video but that is not true. The director of research in charge of junior associates and senior associates is especially manipulative. She will play tricks to let you and your analyst owe her. An example is she will tell your analyst that you dislike the team and she will tell you that your analyst is unsatisfied with your work. And then she will step in as the helpful person to help balance the relationship between you and your analyst. But if you compliment her enough, she might like you more and she might help you getting into third or forth tier buy side firms 4 years down the road.
  • Your fate depends on your analyst: there are some great analysts at Bernstein who are both kind and knowledgeable about the industries they cover. There are also analyst who are really tough to work with, for example, IT Hardware. The analyst is top ranked but his team has the toughest schedule, you might need to work till midnight quite often.
  • Internal transfer to different teams is possible if the associate director or research likes you. I never tried or was able to get her to like me so I cannot offer any advice here.
  • Pay: check h1b salary database (just google it and pick first link), it has the exact salary they pay for junior and senior associates each year. It is def below management consulting for post-MBA. Bonus is not very good, don't get fooled by glassdoor data because there was a few huge data points that skewed the range to 300,000 all in? That is FAR from reality.
  • Exit opp: Rarely do people get promoted to analyst at Bernstein. That is a good thing and their key value prop to the street. People do make it to the buy side but it is an uphill battle. There are just equal number of people give up either because of their analyst or because of the toxic culture instilled by the associate director of research that they jumped to other sell-side shops continue to be an associate. Jump to the buy side is definitely possible. Will you have a better chance because you work at Bernstein? No. Will you have a better chance because you work hard on modeling, industry knowledge and stock picking? Definitely yes.

In summary, I am biased because I really disliked my experience there. I think the company can be so much better without the toxic culture and placement stress created by the associate director of research. But she is probably there forever. So if you want to work for the buy side and Bernstein is the only relevant offer, take it. If you have other options, I would consider carefully. If culture factor is not important and you are great at dealing with difficult people, Bernstein might be right for you.