Summer Intern: Boutique IB (but probably not too much banking work) or UBS WM?

Hi guys,

So I've been given this opportunity to intern with a boutique IB in LA this summer. I'm a sophomore and I'm aiming at junior IBD internship in BB next year. If it were not for the job function I got to know from my interviewer, I'd definitely go with the boutique - just that he mentioned they would launch a new website and there'd be much writing work for it. Also I'd be writing a lot for industry research / economic outlook. I'm afraid I might not get enough hands-on modeling stuff, so what do you think I should choose, UBS or boutique given that the job functions are both not much banking-emphasized? Or maybe I'm wrong somewhere in my thought?
The interviewer did mentioned that they need someone with very good writing skills and experience in social media / blogging would be a plus. But I'm hoping that in the long summer maybe I can get a chance to work on DCF stuff in the end?
Any inputs will be appreciated!

Comments (33)

Apr 19, 2011 - 4:12pm

Choose the Boutique, do the shit they give you and then go in on the weekend and model the shit out of every deal they're working on. This way you can still pick up the skills you'll need and be able to write 'Investment Banking Analyst' on your resume.

Fuck UBS, you'll just be hitting the phones all day and it's a complete bag of shit anyway.

Apr 19, 2011 - 11:28pm

Thanks for the comments!
I'd do exactly the same had I didn't feel so weird at the interview - it was actually short, they just mentioned need someone to help with the new website, have good writing skills and social media experience. Also there will be a lot of writing on reports. If they seriously need an intern to do modeling wouldn't they be more prudent and ask me some finance questions at the interview (but this one is unpaid so I guess that's the difference, they just make me fill in any project & role)? What if I go with the boutique but end up being like a social media editor?
While I'm not sure about what it is like in UBS, but if all I get is dirty work wouldn't UBS be better?

Apr 20, 2011 - 11:00am
Ok fine you seem to have made up your mind...have fun at UBS bro.

I really sounded like that... it's just I feel like the boutique will give me a lot of writing work for the website plus research report. Jeff, mind sharing a bit more with me why you suggest there?

Apr 20, 2011 - 11:33am

I don't understand why people come on here and ask for advice, but they've already made up their minds. Anyway, if you do the UBS pwm internship you'll be screwed come junior recruiting. Like people have already said, everyone does PWM. Take the boutique IB experience, learn modeling on your own, and when you interview junior year, talk up what ever little deal experience you did get and back it up with the modeling you learned yourself.

Apr 20, 2011 - 11:33am

So basically, it's brand name vs experience.

Being a sophomore, I haven't really got any brand name under my belt, and this summer internship will be my first step into the industry. That said, a more relevant experience will be preferred. Problem is it's like UBS WM vs. Boutique researcher + social media editor, so that the experience may not be that solid. That's why the choice can be hard. The boutique is waiting my answer within 36h, and I have 2 more interview opportunities waiting, one with a corporate bank, one with a venture capital firm. You may say that I can take the spot first, but if I break the contract I will pay quite a big sum of money.

Input appreciated!

Apr 20, 2011 - 11:42am

Honestly I would prefer the boutique to UBS, but I know quite a number of bankers here in HK and they just feel UBS will be better. I'm thinking is it becuz things are different in the two places?

HK SA positions are getting more and more popular, but I'm still wondering when you guys say everyone has done WM before SA recruiting do you mean NYC / London positions?

Best Response
Apr 20, 2011 - 12:55pm
so you guys would take boutique internship (probably research-related work, not modeling work) over a BB pwm gig for sophomore summer?

Yes. A BB PWM gig will not likely give you any substantial "finance" work and everyone has one on their resume. If by BB PWM you meant something like the official SA program for JPM Private Bank then that could be another story, but a regional BB PWM internship isn't all that impressive/useful. Better than nothing, but a boutique internship is far more ideal.

Apr 20, 2011 - 1:04pm
so you guys would take boutique internship (probably research-related work, not modeling work) over a BB pwm gig for sophomore summer?

The thing is, even if you don't get modeling work you can write "Investment Banking Summer Analyst" on your resume which goes a long way in demonstrating interest, some level of knowledge of the field, and an implicit understanding that you have done that type of work before. Even if most of your time is spent on the website, if you can spend 10% of your time on a pitch or a deal, or do some type of comp analysis or valuation that can go a long way.

That said, I'm not sure of the boutique vs UBS brand name - I'll defer to the guys on here

Apr 20, 2011 - 2:31pm

Jesus dude, you need to sack up and make a decision already. Everyone's said the same thing with compelling evidence going one way. If it makes you feel any better, I chose boutique IB over UBS PWM my sophomore summer and I'm going to an elite boutique this summer from a non-target.

Apr 20, 2011 - 2:55pm

Thank you guys for providing compelling insights. I would've made my decision already if I'm only choosing between the two spots.

However, let me give more details and what's my concern about it:
I'm invited for the first-round interview at a venture capital firm, which is like a dream place to me and they pay me.
At the boutique and UBS, however, I not only don't get paid, but will need to pay an agency several thousand grand.
In fact, UBS hasn't begun their interview yet, but I just know I stand a good chance (5 out of 20 candidates). If I turn down this boutique in my hand by the end of tmw, I will be interviewed by UBS next weekend, which gives me more time to wait for my dream venture capital interview result.

Major conflict: Turn down the boutique, try UBS and wait longer for VC, OR
Take the spot, still go ahead with VC, if get the offer, break the contract with the boutique and probly still pay the agency a large sum of money - just to make sure I wouldn't get nothing in the end.

Make sense?

Thanks in advance for your insights.

Apr 20, 2011 - 3:24pm
You had to pay an agency to get an unpaid boutique internship? Ouch...

Things are different in HK. Student networking is much less powerful than in the States, fewer firms, and almost no chance for sophomores (I know the best students there) to find a decent internship (in HK ofcuz). All three choices will stand out from my peers.

That said, is paying an agency for an unpaid internship really so terrible?

Apr 20, 2011 - 3:36pm
That said, is paying an agency for an unpaid internship really so terrible?

You essentially paid to work for free.
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Apr 20, 2011 - 3:47pm

Yeah, reality here for HK kids. Better than nothing or other trivial internships right? At the end of the day, isn't what I get to put on my resume matter? Think it as connections - if you can't make the people choose you, do something to change it. No solid connections -> pay for it.
That said, I'd love to hear how to land one without external help.

Apr 20, 2011 - 3:52pm

Every soph. internship is going to be bullshit. Think they are going to spend time to edit your terrible modeling skill? The answer to that rhetorical question is Fuck No. Get a grip, take the LA job and redo their modeling on your own time. They won't have a problem with you saying you helped out with with some of the valuations on your resume. Just make sure you can easily talk about the deal and what your model helped figure out...

Apr 20, 2011 - 4:05pm

Thanks. Cold call is good way, I know several guys succeeded with it before, and I think I can do just as well.

I realize that the title of this thread is not so accurate in terms of what I'm facing. Put it this way:

Pay several thousand grand now for a boutique IB reseacher / social media marketer / maybe modeling, go on with VC interview, if get the offer turn down this one, but may still pay much money


Pay the same amount for UBS WM, just the decision can be made two weeks from now so that once I have good news from VC I can stop this BS internship hunting and no need to pay anything. Risk is both interviews haven't taken place yet and I might end up having nothing by mid-May.

Just trying to stall them for the VC.

Take the financial risk?

Apr 20, 2011 - 8:42pm

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