Top IBD Groups / Firms 2020 (Exits)

Hi Everyone,

I've spent some time doing extensive research, informational interviews, and coffee chats etc. I wanted to share my list of groups ranked by prestige / exits. If I left a firm off this list, it doesn't mean that it's bad just that I either don't have enough info to make a decision or I'm not familiar with it but others hopefully can provide some color etc. 

Tier 1A: Goldman TMT, MS M&A, MS Menlo, PJT RSSG

Tier 1B: EVR M&A, PJT M&A, EVR RX, Most of MS, Centerview

Tier 1C: Moelis, Lazard, Guggenheim TMT, CS Sponsors, JPM M&A, JPM T and MT, JPM HC, MS HC, GS/JPM FIG, etc. 

Tier 2A: Lower BB M&A groups, Strong BB Coverage Groups, Rest of Guggenheim, BAML Lev Fin

Tier 2B: Weak BB Coverage Groups

Tier 3: DB, UBS

Tier 4: Jefferies, Rothschild, etc. (not really relevant for exits, deal flow might be good)

EVR M&A was moved down a little bit because it's no longer generalist and experiences are not uniform across groups. I'd be surprised if at a 60 person analyst class the hit rate for top exits is as high as the smaller firms even if they are the same on a nominal basis.

Another thing to note is that School, GPA, notable EC achievements also matter a lot in recruiting. However, the top groups tend to be pretty prestige heavy on those fronts as well. If they aren't super prestige heavy, there is a dichotomy where the kids with better resumes end up at the top buy side shops and the ones with slightly less branding end up at more MM PE type places.

Please discuss, thank you and have a great day!

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Comments (52)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 24, 2020 - 2:27pm

You forget to mention Tier 99: No IB SA offer

This is weird because you find yourself in this tier.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2020 - 2:29pm

This is pretty accurate from my experience, though for every rule of thumb there may be the rare exception.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2020 - 3:55pm

Based on experience, with the exception of maybe the M&A group / GS TMT, all coverage groups within a bank have the exact same opportunities presented to them. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2020 - 4:08pm

I don't think this is correct. I think there are probably a few coverage groups at every bank that do really well (known to be top groups) and many that all are decent but a step below the top groups, and a few that don't do that well (except for Barclays P&U, I'd imagine a P&U or a weak deal-flow group or a group that's really larger like JPM Diversified Industrials don't do that well). The exceptions are at an MS or GS where the majority of groups are really strong and DB or UBS where the majority of groups are not strong at all.

Nov 24, 2020 - 4:42pm

lol why is GS FIG in tier 1c also please give us your ranking of the top 5 - 10 groups. Do you think covid has affected this ranking?

Nov 24, 2020 - 4:47pm

Fucking prospects; go get a life and stop wasting your time on useless comparisons and analysis; everyone's exit opportunity will be unique to them.  Why don't you try making it in banking first then exit and write about your experiences?  

Nov 24, 2020 - 8:38pm

This comment doesn't make sense, everyone is a prospect at one point or another. Are you saying you didn't make any mistakes when you started? Also if they are making comps for you they are no longer a prospect? Unless you are farming out your work to college students. PM me if so that would be good to know!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2020 - 9:11pm

I'm not OP, but I'll respond for him.

Yes, we all made mistakes as interns. But I certainly was not as retarded as OP.

Also, you're a fucking prospect until you sign that return offer. Remember that.

Nov 24, 2020 - 7:22pm

You prospects are in for a rude life awakening when and if you exit from one of the top tier groups you've self proclaimed into the buyside just to find out you get grinded just as hard and end up getting washed out post sr. associate level. 

Then you'll apply to M7 MBA's and think wharton is settling and it's HBS / GSB or bust. then get into one, call it a vacation for 2 years to figure out what you want to do and exit out into a more cush role with less pay and look back thinking, damn wtf just happened. 

^ totally not what happened to me. 

Nov 24, 2020 - 8:43pm

This is good color, are you happy with your current role? What do you feel like you missed along this journey, if anything? What you described isn't so bad really unless you regret not doing something else. Please share if so would love to hear more perspectives.

Nov 24, 2020 - 9:12pm

Sorry, I wasn't clear. That path actually wasn't me. I did IB for a little under 2 years at a top BB, left and started 2 businesses which I now split my time running.

If you're asking what said hypothetical person would be missing out on id just say that a friend of mine who did that path is now a product manager at a top tech company here in Bay Area post MBA. There are kids his age on his team in identical roles and some never did IB or buyside. 

TLDR: lots of paths lead to the same place. The rankings mean less and less as life goes on you'll quickly see

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2020 - 9:05pm

1. Gugg TMT and GS FIG in same tier?? 

2. BAML has the one fo the strongest LevFin groups not the street, move up. 

3. There are some strong coverage groups at BBs that place into MF/UMM on par with GS/MS/JPM (non GS TMT/MS M&A).

Rankings are dumb, but if you crave them, just place wider buckets instead of being a prestige whore:  

Tier 1 - GS/MS/JPM and EVR/PJT

Tier 2 - Centerview/Moelis/Lazard and top groups at BBs (i.e. CS/BAML FSG, Barclays P&U)

Tier 3 - Rest of BB coverage/M&A, UBS/DB, Top MMs

Tier 4 - ECM/DCM

Tier 5 - no offer

Obviously this depends on the BB vs. EB debate. Don't worry about rankings until you are deciding between offers. The edge goes to the EBs in that case because I would take a Lazard instead of playing the lottery on CS FSG

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Nov 25, 2020 - 1:44am

Like I said, you can start getting narrow once you have offers. But it's difficult to assess because CS FSG can send more to MF PE than a Moelis one year and the next year it can be vice versa. Exits don't vary drastically within the tiers that I mentioned above. All the top groups at BB/EB will get looks from HHs, it's up to the individual at that point. No HH or PE firm is creating these detailed rankings for each group within a bank that's crazy. 

Guarantee that the cream of the crop at Barclays will exit better than mediocre GS TMT. However, that same person would find a harder time from William Blair compared to the GS guy regardless of individual merit. 

Nov 24, 2020 - 10:40pm

Gugg TMT is on par with Jefferies HC/RBC M&A/Greenhill and is not in the same stratosphere as GS FIG/JPM M&A lmaoo. Would easily take any EB or respectable mid/lower BB group ahead of Gugg. At the end of the day Gugg is a middle market bank and is not competitive for top buyside gigs.  

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 25, 2020 - 4:33am

Bannanabot Prospect - did you get rejected by Gugg or something? Why are all your posts trashing the bank? Hope you realize that the placement for the last Gugg class included multiple MFs including BX and Advent. Greenhill and Gugg are definitely not MM banks, MM banks are high volume, sell-side business models, such as Baird, William Blair, and Harris Williams. Jefferies and RBC also do not fit into this category

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 24, 2020 - 11:20pm

I am assuming this is GS TMT NY, right? Not SF Tech - different animal.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 25, 2020 - 4:33am

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