Top BB M&A vs. EB RX

Hi all,

Just wanted perspective on M&A vs RX going into the incoming recession.

I go to a target with strong contacts at top BBs (MS M&A) and also strong RX contacts (PJT, HL, Laz). For some EBs, I have to choose between the two groups as the processes are mutually exclusive. I understand that there are distinct differences on the job, and that comes down to a personal decision, but objective I would like to inquire about the exit opportunities?

I see people go from regional coverage groups at BBs go on to top distressed PE/HF, so is it entirely necessary to go the RX route at an EB, where I know I will be crushed in the next few years? How would you guys compare a top BB in a top group (GS/MS/JPM) vs. RX at a top EB if I want to exit to a top PE or HF fund in the future and for BSchool placements?

Thanks in advance.

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Comments (15)

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Most Helpful
Mar 26, 2020 - 7:19pm

Personally, I don't think you should be making your decision on the likelihood of a recession. Exit opps are going to be available to you regardless of the either choice you make for the top PEs, except for a few "weaker" or "less relevant" groups at the top BBs. You shouldn't be grouping top PE & HF exit opps into a single bucket, as each attracts different applicants. For top HFs, I've seen more direct exits from RX and M&A groups at EBs (particularly from PJT and Evercore).

There are also further distinctions even within the "top" BB groups vs "top" EB RX/M&A groups. For ex, many would be choosing Evercore's RX over JPM while many would be opting for GS over Laz's RX. At my target (H/S/W), candidates' priority usually is Evercore/PJT/GS then MS, then JPM (among your listed banks). But remember that many top top candidates place directly into mega PE funds and decent HFs as well.

As for BSchool, it really doesn't matter. It's more about what you make out of the experience, exits, undergrad name, background, and how you differentiate yourself among the finance circle.


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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 28, 2020 - 11:47am

agree with above poster. important notes to consider are culture and compensation, which at a high level (although each EB is different in this regard) favors the EBs, esp. for compensation. As for M&A vs RX, RX kids will get looks from the start PE and HF firms but also distressed shops, while M&A kids mostly don't exit to distressed.

however I think it's valid to consider the macro backdrop, esp because there's a lot of uncertainty regarding the economic future of the virus. RX work is already picking up and the lifestyle changes are showing, whereas at least in the short-term, M&A activity (and corresponding bonuses) will drop. but if you're still 2 years out from actually working this'll be less of an issue

  • Principal in PE - LBOs
Mar 30, 2020 - 2:35am

Agreed. Even without considering the macro circumstances, I'd value RX at top EB more highly than M&A at top BB.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 14, 2021 - 3:01am

Depends on the group. JPM M&A would be hard to turn down. But also, no one really has the choice between these two because of recruiting timelines. Anyone recruiting for BB SA either skipped or struck out of EB SA recruiting 

Oct 17, 2021 - 3:04pm

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