Wealth Management vs Corporate Finance vs IBanking

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Hey Guys,
I am in a very complex situation. I interned at a wealth management firm in Seattle and they invited me back for full time. They manage $2 Billion and are expanding quickly. They are offering very low salary compared to what my peers at my school (top-tier) are getting. They said they need to hear by next Friday and the longer I wait the less dedicated my boss might think I am and the quick raises they said are in line might be at risk.

However, I also have a final round interview at Disney corporate finance in SoCal (sort of an in-house investment banking position) early next week. The Seattle firm is annoyed that I am going to take this. I should hear back about an offer just before Seattle's offer deadline.

I also have a final round at Montgomery & Co for an Investment Banking Analyst in Santa Monica. But this isn't until next Saturday (one day after my offer deadline). It seems like a great place, on the beach, in SoCal, nice people, and starting salary is $25,000 more than Seattle.

I would like to be in SoCal but am really looking for the best experience to help me in the long run. Anyone's thoughts are extremely valuable and I want to thank you in advance.

Comments (25)

 
Nov 5, 2010 - 4:51pm

My role in Seattle is a research analyst doing both traditional equities and alternative investments. My would be boss is very good at what he does and has an impressive track record at a bulge bracket bank. So I would get good experience in a lot of different industries. But like I said, its very low pay, smaller firm (less exit ops?), and its in Seattle where I don't know anyone.

thanks for the reply btw

 
Nov 9, 2010 - 7:49pm

Regarding Wealth Management vs. IB, it depends on what you want to do with your career. The skills sets you learn are VERY different. IMO, having done 2 years of WM, I'd argue that the skill set you learn in IB will open the doors for many more opportunities down the line. Having said that, if you have a passion for Wealth Management and you have always dreamed about advising clients regarding their financial needs, then jump on the opportunity.

 
Nov 9, 2010 - 8:13pm

I think Tan has a solid point. WM is a great career, but like anything you have to enjoy it. Often you'll be a slave to your clients and until you get to senior level won't actually do a lot of the interesting stuff.

IB isn't any better though. The hours are long, the work can be boring and the people not the greatest. But the exit opps are great. Just make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.

 
Nov 9, 2010 - 10:32pm

I would take the Disney offer and continue with the IB interview. Out of undergrad, IB would give you the greatest amount of trajectory and mobility. It would not be a tough transition to go the WM if you decided IB is for you. Not to mention, an extra 25K in Soco sounds pretty good. Disney could be a good gig too given you do not get the IB offer.

IMO IB>Disney>WM

In the end, do what you are passionate about with the best people, but also consider the importance of a solid experiential platform at the beginning of your career. Good luck man

 
Nov 10, 2010 - 1:02am

You can always go ahead and accept the WM job. then if you get something better tell them about the job and how it pays so much more and ask them to match the salary. If they wont- renege. This would clearly burn a bridge but if you aren’t working in the same industry or geography what do you really have to loose? look at it as a hedge.

 
Nov 10, 2010 - 1:09am

^ Not a bad idea, but these things sometimes come back to bite you. I was in a similar situation once, but both IBs and opted to take the more ethical route. Reason being, all that has to happen is the WM company calls the IB and notifies them of you reneging and then the IB drops you as well. I have heard this happening to multiple people. Unlikely but worth the consideration.

 
Nov 10, 2010 - 10:41am

I like that idea too. I would say it is unlikely they would ever find out and if you never tell them the name of the IB, you protect yourself too. I don't think it is unethical at all. These companies could fire you on a dime or lay you off a week before you start, why should you be held to higher standards?

 
Nov 11, 2010 - 11:52pm

to the OP: anything turn up? how low is "low" for the job in seattle?

25,000 isn't that much more if you consider how many hours you'd have to put in for ibanking. people REALLY don't know how bad it is until they do it...which no one here has because its mostly people who have never worked before. trust me the nights you go to bed at 4-5 and wake up at 7 aren't really fun. at all. and not worth any amount of money after a while.

neither is working on saturday.

 
Nov 12, 2010 - 1:13pm

wow great input, thanks a ton everybody!
So I got an offer from Disney yesterday and am going to the final round for the IB today. I am definitely leaning towards Disney and unless the IB absolutely blows me away, I am going to accept Disney. You guys are right about the WM in terms of excitement at the lower levels and I can always get back into it after either of these two jobs.
Thanks again for all the advice everyone. If you have any questions for me about the interviews at these places feel free to reach out.

 
Nov 12, 2010 - 3:30pm

Take Disney over Montgomery. I would only take a BB or elite boutique and maybe a top MM over the Disney offer. Disney has a GREAT corp fin / in house M&A program and you will have more exit opps than coming out of Montgomery and Co. People from the Disney program move onto top MBA's, PE funds, VC's and if you wanted media focused IB. Congrats.

 
Nov 12, 2010 - 3:31pm

Wealth Management vs corporate finance vs IBanking: final round interview at Disney corporate finance (Originally Posted: 11/04/2010)

I am in a very complex situation. I interned at a wealth management firm in Seattle and they invited me back for full time. They manage $2 Billion and are expanding quickly. They are offering very low salary compared to what my peers at my school (top-tier) are getting. They said they need to hear by next Friday and the longer I wait the less dedicated my boss might think I am and the quick raises they said are in line might be at risk.

However, I also have a final round interview at Disney corporate finance in SoCal (sort of an in-house investment banking position) early next week. The Seattle firm is annoyed that I am going to take this. I should hear back about an offer just before Seattle's offer deadline.

I also have a final round at Montgomery & Co for an Investment Banking Analyst in Santa Monica. But this isn't until next Saturday (one day after my offer deadline). It seems like a great place, on the beach, in SoCal, nice people, and starting salary is $25,000 more than Seattle.

I would like to be in SoCal but am really looking for the best experience to help me in the long run. Anyone's thoughts are extremely valuable and I want to thank you in advance.

 
Nov 12, 2010 - 3:38pm

id go with disney. possibly montghomery depending on salary. im kind of burned out with wealth management- pursued some positions with ML and UBS doing wealth management and they didnt seem to care so much about your analytical ability/intelligence as they did about how many of your parents' rich friends you can bring under the firm's management. i dont know if your seattle firm is similar to that, but id go with disney probably

 
Nov 12, 2010 - 3:39pm

Is Project Finance hard to get in? (Originally Posted: 07/25/2011)

In general, is it hard to get in? Why? How valuable are the skill and experience that you gain in the group? Also, it seems like in project finance, you will need to know a lot about the sectors and players in the industries. Doesn't it sound like investment banking where the associates would need to know those stuff in their group?

 
Nov 12, 2010 - 3:40pm

Don't know about the USA but in Europe it is as hard as any other front office group. Some banks make a lot of money with structured lending business and this includes both Levin and PF + commodity finance. Think SocGen, etc. Skill set depends on your industry focus, with oil & gas being different as compared to say classic infrastructure projects. Knowledge of players in the industry is not really important as you always work on deal-by-deal basis and as the structure is non-recourse the quality of the Sponsor is only one of the parameters to be analyzed. What you definitely learn is a lot of technical understanding regarding your sector (many, many technical DD reports…), ability to develop different financial structures (every deal is somehow unique and term sheet negotiations can become quite complex) and general understanding of key risks and possible mitigants. Exit ops are M&A or coverage for your sector, infrastructure funds, development banks or go work for some of the Sponsors.

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