Top ranked team at BB versus well respected boutiques

How should one think about differences in trajectory, comp, buyside opps, etc. at a consistently top 3 ranked team at a BB versus an analyst at a well respected independent shop that is not as highly ranked / established (e.g., Bernstein, Wolfe, New Street, Moffett, etc.)? I know that the BB role will have to do more banking support vs. deep differentiated research, but the experience and cachet gained from the BB is more certain given the superior reputation of the analyst. This is for a sector that is relatively hot in terms of market cap / buyside interest. 

Edit: this is for an experienced associate role

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Comments (3)

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  • Analyst 2 in Research - Other
Sep 18, 2021 - 5:58pm

If you had said top ranked analyst at boutique vs lower ranked analyst at a BB, I think the answer would have been a bit less clear cut. You'd have to weigh the brand & scale that a BB gives you vs the likely differentiated/higher quality/more respected research you'd be doing with the highly rated boutique analyst. And boutiques like Bernstein typically kick you out after associate, whereas you can progress to coverage at a BB.

However since your decision is between an analyst who is highly rated (thus presumably well respected on the buyside) at a BB (thus benefits of brand/scale/progression) vs what I presume from your answer is an analyst who is lower rated at a boutique -- IMHO it's a bit clearer cut. Boutiques like Bernstein do genuinely have serious cachet in the research community, but you'd have to ask why that hasn't translated to a higher ranking for this particular team. It could be that the boutique analyst is new, or hasn't found traction with clients for whatever reason, or that competition in the sector is really tough and the BB analyst came out on top by just being that good. In general the advice is that you should pick the analyst not the bank, so if you think the better analyst happens to also be at a BB then take the best of both worlds. 

IMHO your decision is a bit like whether to take Georgia Tech or Harvard -- Georgia tech is genuinely beastly for certain engineering subjects and for those areas people 'in the know' might respect it more than someone who did the same at a Harvard/Princeton/whatever. But in your case it seems you're applying for something Georgia Tech isn't known for and Harvard is -- if that analogy makes sense. Disclosure: I work for a highly rated analyst at a BB and am very biased, this is just my opinion. 

  • Associate 1 in ER
Sep 18, 2021 - 8:42pm

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