Worth it to lateral right now?

Given all the posts around the hot lateral market right now, I wanted to get thoughts on whether it would be worth lateraling in my situation. 

I'm at what's considered a stronger BB group (in the CS/BAML/Citi tier) and I've gained some solid deal experience thus far. Things could be better in that I want to be exposed to more of the nitty gritty of M&A deals from a buyside and sellside perspective (I'm not in an M&A group), but I'm having trouble justifying leaving, especially since I've established myself well within my current group and think I've developed a solid reputation. I've always had intentions on leaving for the buyside and I know the optics of being in M&A are better.

In terms of placement in my current group, I guess placement could always be better. Getting MF / UMM is pretty rare out of my group, but then again, my understanding is that it's basically rare everywhere outside of a very small handful of groups and those are a crap shoot to get into (let alone guarantee I develop a strong reputation, especially virtually). During SA recruiting, I felt like I got burned in that I interviewed at many of the tippy top banking groups but never landed. I think I'm up to snuff with the analysts in those groups if I get a shot.

That leaves me wondering how much my group will impact my recruiting. At the end of the day, I'm not MF / UMM or bust and I'd be happy at the funds that the individuals in the classes above me have placed in. But I always have this grass is greener mentality and this insecurity to be optimizing around these things...

Only been on the job for about ~7-8 months and my guess is that this lateral market will stay hot for a while given volumes and the obvious churn, but just wanted to see general thoughts on when it's worth it to make such a move. Maybe better after 1 year just so I look stable (and collect a bonus) with a greater chance I could make the move in-person? Virtual onboarding just sounds like a disaster in a group that you have not interned with.

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Comments (8)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Mar 18, 2021 - 10:56am

Why not stay until bonus time and look into internal transfer? if you are in a strong BB group and are in a solid place i don't see that it is a must to move right now - i would at least wait until i pick up the bonus

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 18, 2021 - 11:01am

It's mostly the reputation factor that I want to quantify. That's the biggest thing at stake if I were to transfer. I want to know how much of an impact (if at all) that impacts long-term career prospects and buyside recruiting. If I leave my current group, even for an internal transfer, it would be my understanding that much of that would be lost (correct me if I'm wrong)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 18, 2021 - 4:05pm

If you truly want a more technical experience, leave. Thing about finance is that it compounds at the start. Go to a better bank, likely better exit ops, which means a better chance at top MBA and so on. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 18, 2021 - 6:45pm

I don't think I'm lacking technical experience per se. I get modeling reps and am on solid deals in a decent group. The question is more-so should I strive to move to a group that has better optics for buyside recruiting.

If I go to a better bank, though, I'm sacrificing my reputation and ranking in my current group to go to a group where I will almost guaranteed be at best middle-of-the-pack, no? That's just the way it is with laterals at my current firm and imagine that's the way it is elsewhere. Just don't think it's as simple as better bank -> better exit ops when we're talking about CS/BAML/Citi vs. GS/MS/JPM and reputation / ranking are at stake.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 18, 2021 - 11:59pm

in my experience you don't see many "short jumps" like that at the analyst or associate level, e.g. from a midrange bulge to an upper bulge. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. More often what I see with laterals is people from lower bulges or top MMs jumping to... well, wherever they can land. Midrange bulges, top bulges, EBs, whatever they can luck into. This doesn't properly answer your question, but does point towards most people in your situation likely valuing the reputation and comfort over a modest increase in brand. 

Exception being people moving from bulges to comparably "tiered" EBs

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