What is life like at no-Bulge Bracket Investment banks?

You will always hear about daily life and exit opportunities at BBs and Boutiques, but what about other large banks like Mizuho, Nomura, Wells Fargo, HSBC and etc?

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Comments (49)

Aug 26, 2017

bump

Aug 26, 2017

You just sit on the right of every deal and chill

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Aug 26, 2017

Assuming this is not a joke, can you please expand?

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Aug 28, 2017

The 4 banks you mentioned have M&A and industry coverage teams that go after the same deals the BBs go after. They also have huge balance sheets (& trading arms, private banking, Asset Management etc) so compete on the lending side.
In term of comp, junior pay is equivalent to BB at the banks you mentioned. Junior pay can be better at sweatshop small boutiques (similar to elite boutiques). Junior pay is worse at middle market and/or boutiques with laid back cultures and/or that advise on smaller deals.
Senior pay always depends on performance.

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Aug 26, 2017

Bump

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Aug 26, 2017

I'll speak to my experience at a boutique firm in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Size: The shop I'm at has 10 people in the sf office, 5 in NYC, and 4 in LA.

Deals: Our dealflow is moderate--on average 4-6 a year.

Hours: 9am-7pm is average with some days closer to 6pm. Latest junior bankers have stayed is 10pm when we're working on a deal.

Comp: 1st year analyst: 60 base + 20-40 bonus, 2nd year analyst: 80 base + 30-50 bonus, 1st year associate: 100 base + 50-75 bonus, 2nd year associate: 100 base + 80-130 bonus, VP: 200 base + 50-150 bonus

Let me know if I can answer any other questions.

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Aug 27, 2017

Also interested in this topic for both the banks OP listed and for regional boutiques-- would you say you spend a larger proportion of your time pitching than someone at a BB/EB might or do you simply target a different market? Assuming your bank is tech-focused by the HQ location, is it top- or bottom-heavy? Is there a significant amount of turnover in junior people jumping to BB/EB or buy-side?

Overall, what brings people to your firm vs. larger/more name-brand firms?

Aug 27, 2017

50%+ of our time is spent pitching and sourcing deals. I'd say it's a pretty even split leaning more towards junior people. A lot of our deals come from the relationships our CEO/MD have. Most junior bankers lateral to BB's/VC. We place well into MM Bay Area VC (think tenaya and the like). Typically we get people who like the hours/fact that pay is very bonus focused--puts the onus on you to up your pay, thus better work.

Aug 28, 2017

This is interesting to know

Aug 28, 2017

Are you hiring?

Aug 28, 2017

Sorry, that's as specific as I'll get

Aug 29, 2017

I was mostly joking because the hours are so great & it seems like a cool shop...

Aug 29, 2017

Lol no worries dude. I probably took the anonymity part a bit too seriously. Yeah the hours are fantastic and the current team is super chill. I genuinely look forward to going in every day.

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Aug 29, 2017

DID YOU JUST ASSUME MY GENDER!?!

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Aug 31, 2017

LOL

Aug 28, 2017

Holy shit that is amazing hours.

Aug 28, 2017

haha yeah man the hours are pretty great. they gave me an offer to come back when I graduate contingent upon interning at a BB or somewhere that I can hone my technical ability (which is crap, honestly, I'm terrible at the technical side). like take this for example: my VP just asked me to pull deal comps, but he doesn't need it until tomorrow. I have 24 hours to pull a single set of deal comps lol

Oct 9, 2017

He probably thinks you need a full day to find deal comps. That isn't funny or a good thing.

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Oct 9, 2017

Or it could be because we were still in the preliminary stages of the deal process...?

No, continue to tell me what my VP was thinking--your feedback is truly appreciated champ.

Oct 9, 2017

I could be wrong but I believe you said yourself that a return offer at your current firm is contingent on you interning somewhere noteworthy and honing your technical skills which you colorfully referred to as, "crap, honestly, I'm terrible at the technical side."

I can understand smaller shops with less deal volume taking longer at each stage of the deal process but I don't know a single analyst who would take 24 hours to throw together deal comps. If your VP is giving you that long maybe you should just complete the task as quickly and efficiently as possible and get it to his desk. Who knows, maybe he'll be impressed that it didn't take you an entire day to complete a task that can be done within an hour. You might even get a return offer for a FT spot if you started going above and beyond instead of doing the bare minimum because "lol dude west coast banking dude its so 'lax."

Just my opinions, don't take offense to it.

Oct 10, 2017

My bad, definitely jumped the gun and got hostile. I didn't take a day to pull the comps, that was just the deadline he gave.

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Aug 31, 2017

Do you know what the average annual deal flow at a BB or an EB is? I'm curious.

Sep 26, 2017

Global YTD M&A statistics from Dealogic:

GS: 236 deals for a total of $508B in transaction value
MS: 214, $439B
JPM: 254, $421B
Citi: 172, $407B
BAML: 150, $367B

Array
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Aug 28, 2017

Anymore?

Oct 10, 2017

i'm going to take an educated guess and say you go to UMich.

i'm also going to be dead honest with you, don't decide where to intern by where you're gonna learn the most. how much you know often doesn't mean dick.

take the internship at the company who's name will look best on your resume (assuming you apply for the same type of internship everywhere). you might learn more at drw than some BB but when you are applying for FT, your resume is more likely to be passed over than if it had Morgan Stanley on it for example.

also keep in mind that if you're not a complete dumbass, you'll probably get a FT offer from the company you intern at. think about where you'd prefer to work full-time after school.

and by the way, how much you learn is very dependent on who your bosses are during your internship, particularly in trading. you might get put on a trading desk where the guys are douches and don't want to have anything to do with you or you might get along really well with them and subsequently learn a lot.

------

"its the running joke now, we now have fair trade with china so they send us poisoned sea food and we send them fraudulent securities."

Oct 10, 2017

I go to a school less known for its engineering, but thankfully its a target school. (I had no idea about target vs non-target when I decided to go there :D)

Yes I am indeed hoping to convert the SA into a FT offer. But what are the chances that a BB would hire a guy with no finance background? Thats my concern. These non-BB places have no issues hiring students with no finance background.

Anyway I'm getting way ahead of myself. Let me first apply to all these places and see what happens!!

Oct 10, 2017

"Yes I am indeed hoping to convert the SA into a FT offer. But what are the chances that a BB would hire a guy with no finance background? Thats my concern. These non-BB places have no issues hiring students with no finance background"

BBs have no issues hiring non-finance students. Do some more research on the industry, the employers, and more importantly figure out what you want to do FT. BBs hire more than their fair share of engineering, econ, and other liberal arts majors. Think about it, why would these places be any more inclined to hire non-finance majors than BBs would?

Oct 10, 2017

I was under the impression that places like Jane Strt use more quantitative methods which is why they are more open to engineers? no?

Oct 10, 2017

yes, jane st. does use quant. methods and favors people who are very strong in math and sci.
but again,BBs also have SA positions for quants

Aug 28, 2017

Highly suspect this is a troll thread but there is really nothing wrong with going to a MM IB. I know a few people who even prefer being at a Jefferies/Lincoln/etc. as opposed to some of the BBs. MM PE is a good place to be afterwards and I wouldn't be surprised if they were less bureaucratic and political.

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Aug 28, 2017

Could you possibly expand on the work life at Jefferies? I have a friend and Lincoln(Chicago) and he gave me a fairly good idea of his culture/work life balance on his team.

Aug 28, 2017

The site makes it sound like Jefferies is a sweatshop when it really isn't that bad. The people there are pretty cool but again it is ib so work/life balance isn't going to be like working at Google if you're in M&A.

Aug 28, 2017

Thanks for the insight! Tbh most people on this site make everything sound like a sweatshop and over exaggerate both comp and work life balance.

Aug 28, 2017

Yeah it seems like everyone is a top bucket analyst and is at a BB. Heck, I even know of some Lazard people who actually really like their group and this site says all Laz people are hardos. In general, if you want a more laid back experience you should avoid lev fin, M&A, and coverage groups.

Sep 1, 2017

Lol I love how much shit this is getting. Even Lazard and Evercore are non-Bulge Brackets and they beat the hell out of most banking gigs. Prestige whores.

Sep 1, 2017

Yea those are EBs. You're getting shit on bc you said people would prefer Lincoln to a BB

Sep 1, 2017

Lol ok. Do you really think these firms are that bad? Lincoln could be better than UBS/DB for some. People there really like the firm. I just really think people get caught up in stupid hypothetical scenarios that won't apply to 95+% of people on this site. The majority of people will get 1 or 2 offers at best.

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Sep 1, 2017

That's fair, most people aren't realistic about this shit. Shows from how there's interviews going on that aren't even reported on WSO.

Also I think the obsession with Exit Ops is another reason. Lincoln might have a better culture, but you're probably getting better ejects from DB on average.

Best Response
Aug 28, 2017

Can speak to my time at a MM - roughly ~15 MDs (2 per major sector) focused primarily on sell-side M&A deals in the $50M to $500M space.

Most of my career has been focused on the M&A side, but in terms of process the work done on $50M deals isn't really all that different than $1Bn deals. You still need to collect the same dataroom information, identify buyers, write the CIM and other marketing materials, etc. In fact, doing a $1Bn deal is often easier for juniors since the buyers list is significantly smaller and the internal systems for pulling financials and other operating statistics are significantly better at more developed companies. You also often work with more sophisticated management teams and you have to do less leg work on building their strategy/marketing message from the ground up.

The hours are slightly worse than the example posted above (analysts get in at 9 and work till 8pm to 10pm usually) but rarely are juniors pulling all-nighters (weekends are common though). Comp is approx 80-100 base for analyst, 130-150 for associates, and 170-200 for VP with bonuses ranging from 50%-100% depending on performance.

I think one of the key differentiators is the client base. At BB's you are often covering a 'finite' universe of mid to large-cap companies and thus you are constantly meeting them to pitch refinancing opportunities, stock issuances, and material M&A deals. At the MM level the universe of companies is massive and thus you spend a lot of time reaching out to clients early on in their lifecycle to build relationships and eventually aim to sell them once they are ready. Many MM's like Houlihan, Harris Williams, Baird, etc. do this same work but also benefit from having a strong name and thus will get invited to bake-offs on name recognition alone. My firm was a mix of MD personal relationships and brand recognition.

Also given we only had 2 MD's covering a sector with 4-5 juniors, our ability to update comps templates and put together sector updates was limited just due to bandwidth. At BB's as an analyst you'll spend a lot of time tracking market transactions and updating comps templates. We also utilized things like equity research significantly less since most of our clients were private - at larger banks you put together PIBs and constantly keep up to date on your large public clients.

Also want to mention that covering public companies at a BB is significantly more technical than private mid-market companies. With private companies you often have little to no information available for putting together meeting books or even the bake-off. At BB's you are often running financial models to show potential public M&A combinations, debt capacity, and other analyses that can be done with public information. This is often why the BB skillset is highly desired even at mid-market and even lower mid-market PE funds since you don't get this same modeling exposure at middle markets. That's not to say you get any exposure to modeling at middle markets, but the repetitions are significantly less.

Happy to answer any other questions you have. I can't really speak to some of larger full-service banks you mentioned above. However, if you look at say Wells Fargo's product split, they do significant amounts of debt placements and less M&A/IPO so I would imagine your workload is heavily geared towards debt financings (someone like Mizhuo in the U.S. is almost solely focused on capital raising). The somewhat sarcastic comment above about sitting on the right and chilling is partially true to some extent - the BB's will normally lead the bigger offerings and the stronger MM's like Jefferies likely due better on lead lefts for mid-sized offerings.

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Aug 28, 2017

This may be hard for you to answer, but is it normal for MM bankers to "only" (I use that word very loosely) work till 8 or 10? I feel like a lot of people on here say you'll still be pulling 10-2 AM type of days at MM firms like Jeffries, Baird, etc. Is that an exaggeration or the truth in your experience?

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Aug 28, 2017

It really depends on the bank - I can only speak anecdotally but classmates I know who have worked at places with serious deal volume like Houlihan and Baird work similar 80+ hour weeks as bankers at BB (you also get paid more in line with them as well, at least at the junior level). Was talking with a guy who works at Lincoln International (CHI office) and he said most juniors work till around 10 so take that fwiw.

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Oct 9, 2017

Lincoln in Europe can be very different though. Friend of mine is interning there right now and because of the high dealflow has been doing 0900-0100/0200 every day for a month now..

Aug 28, 2017

I previously worked at a boutique that was slightly larger than Skyler's above. We primarily focused on a few specific verticals within tech and telecom, and we spent very little time pitching, like less than 10%. One of the advantages in the lower middle market is that if your senior partners have great relationships then much of your deal flow doesn't involve bake-offs. This allows for much better hours.

I don't know what things look like at the second tier large banks. I would guess that there's a lot of pitching to try to raise the firm's profile on bigger deals.

At BBs (I started as an analyst at a BB) you are always pitching either as part of a bake-off or for hypothetical deals to just stay in front of larger companies (the worst kind of pitch).

Aug 28, 2017

I started my career off at a "no-name" boutique before lateraling to a MM. I have never worked at a BB, so I can only compare my experience to what I have heard.

I'll start with exit opps because they are vastly different. My analyst class had one or two out of 50-ish leave for MFs. Another one or two left for top MM PE shops. One or two left for HFs. The rest either place in LMM PE, corp dev, stayed in IB, moved into some other role in finance (corporate finance, credit analysis, RE investment analysis, etc.), or are still exploring their options. I BBs and EBs clean house even in MM PE, so just be aware that even if you get into a top MM IB, you will face stiff competition breaking into a top MM PE shop. Out of the top headhunters (Oxbridge, Amity, Henkel), only about half reached out to my class.

As banks moved from $70,000 to $85,000 base for first years, there was a lag, but other than that, base pay will be the same. Bonuses is where things can differ. For 1st/2nd/3rd-year analyst bases of $85k/$90k/$95k, my MM paid bonuses of $55k/$70k/$95k with some variances between groups. That $100k bonus that Moelis recently paid out to analysts would never have happened at my MM.

The work could be a night and day difference. We had one coverage group that regularly competed against BBs, but other than that, most of our clients were smaller, private, and only mildly sophisticated. This resulted in frequent hand-holding, but not nearly as much as what I experience at the "no-name" boutique that I started at. Generally speaking, our clients were family owned or still owned by the original founders who either wanted to retire or needed capital to expand their business. Read: we were not dealing with the Apples or GEs of the world looking to amend their credit facility, looking to issue a follow-on, or looking to acquire a competitor for several billion.

I won't comment on the modeling or day-to-day experience of analysts simply because there is so much variance even within the same bank, but what I will say is that at my MM, and I imagine all MM banks, the analyst involvement was intense. We never staffed more than one analyst on a transaction. Analysts were always the go-to person for the client and all potential buyers. We participated in all management meetings, all diligence calls, all site visits, etc.

Hope that helps. Happy to answer any questions.

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Aug 29, 2017

What do you think of the Elite Boutique model? It seems as though it is the best of both worlds. Evercore, Lazard, Moelis, etc. are still some heavy hitters in M&A and Rx while also being incredibly lean and not using their B/S like a BAML or Citi. Not to mention the fact that they get really good placements in PE/HF for even some of their not as good groups.

Sep 1, 2017
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Sep 2, 2017

"It is not our circumstance that controls us, but our thoughts that control our circumstance." -James Allen

Sep 4, 2017