Boutique Investment Banks vs. Bulge Bracket Banks

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“I work for a boutique investment bank,” responded Todd cockily, smirking and now pulling up his pants over his temporarily retreated beer-gut, illustrating that this was one of those hardcore New York male-anorexia and exercise weeks. He would be spilling out of pants next week no problem after this weekend’s depression-gorge.

Todd paused and collected himself. “Yeah, I mean, I just really wanted to be closer to the deals, you know. Get more exposure.”

-The Boutique, Leveraged Sellout

When most people out there decide they really want to do investment banking, they usually go for the big names first: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, even UBS LA.

But occasionally someone asks me about the boutiques out there, whether they’re referring to the “top” ones like Evercore and Lazard, middle-market banks, or true regional boutiques that just have 1 or 2 offices.

Going to a top name is just not an option for everyone. If market conditions are bad, if you have no previous finance experience, or if you are trying to switch into investment banking from engineering or law or other fields, you might have to go with a boutique.

But are there any cases where a boutique would actually be preferable to a bulge bracket? Should someone actually want to go to one?

The Main Difference Between A Bulge Bracket And A Boutique

People most commonly cite the size of deals as the difference. While Goldman Sachs may advise on multi-billion dollar acquisitions, a boutique will usually stick to deals under a billion dollars and often far less than that. In the world of corporate finance, $50 million is chump change.

Other commonly cited differences are working in smaller groups, getting more responsibility, and being more than just a “number-cruncher” at a boutique.

While these can be true sometimes, the main difference at the Analyst level is that your boutique experience will be much more random.

Fooled By Randomness

Make no mistake: you can get tremendous experience at a boutique and learn more about actual deals than you might at a bulge bracket. But you might also spend all your time creating pitchbooks and doing useless work if the senior bankers can’t make rain.

I’ve seen both scenarios. One friend at a boutique basically learned the entire job in 3 months because he was effectively running a deal by himself.

Another friend spent most of his time making pitchbooks, making coffee (no administrative staff, thank you very much) and did deals that were so small he never learned much.

Don’t assume that you will get a “better experience.” Your chances of getting good deals to work on and having good exit opportunities are much higher at a bulge bracket.

Ok, But Is It The End Of The World If I’m Working At A Boutique?

No. But if you do go that route, you should very carefully investigate the work environment, dealflow, and everything else before you jump into it blindly. To get a more accurate view, try speaking with Analysts and Associates rather than higher-ups.

No matter how much diligence you do, however, the sad fact is that there will be time lag between when you interview and when you start, and a lot can change in a year… or even a few months.

Even at a great bulge bracket office like UBS LA, the departure of a few “stars” caused much havoc, and the effect is only more pronounced at a much smaller investment bank.

Still, you should do your homework as much as possible.

But Still, Is There Any Reason I Would Want To Work At A Smaller Bank?

I strongly recommend that you spread your net wide and consider all your options. Unless you have some kind of personal connection at a boutique, though, there is little reason to prefer it to a big name bank.

Lifestyle is typically not much better. Yes, sometimes there are one-off cases of Analysts only working 60 hours a week… at certain offices. But at the “top” names like Evercore, investment banking analysts work bulge bracket hours. And once you get up to around 80 hours a week, there’s honestly not much difference between 80 vs. 90 anyway.

You will have exit opportunities, but you are more limited because certain firms always go to bulge brackets first, so Analysts there will get preferential treatment.

At top boutiques and middle-market banks, the pay will be comparable to bulge brackets, but at smaller regional places, it can actually be significantly less… as in, 50% less in some cases.

The only situation where you might want to pick a boutique instead is if you have offers from multiple banks, are reasonably confident the boutique will give you good work, and just like the people or work environment a lot more after thorough investigation. Your team is important, and great experience is not worth it if you want to shoot yourself repeatedly because you hate your co-workers.

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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203 Comments to “Boutique Investment Banks vs. Bulge Bracket Banks”

Comments

  1. Justin says

    The more you write about UBS LA, the more I regret not applying there (I applied to the UBS tech group in SF and didn’t want to apply to multiple locations within a bank).

    How do you feel about applying to multiple divisions/locations to a particular bank?

  2. says

    The UBS Tech group in SF is much better than LA, at least lifestyle wise. :) Applying to multiple divisions/locations is generally fine, but I would not apply to multiple locations of the same division, e.g. NY and SF for one group. Really depends on the bank, though, some make a big deal over it and some don’t.

  3. lori says

    Where would Barclays capital fall, I’m working for them this summer, and am not sure which group is better and which is not. what do you think the exit opportunites would look like there? I keep hearing mixed things and don’t really know to to interpret it all. Also, you say “networking” but how do you really start networking whne you don’t know what to ask, what to put in an e-mail without coming off wanting a job?

    • says

      Hi lori,

      Barclay’s is an interesting case. It’s not very well-known for investment banking but highly regarded for trading and some other areas. I think it would probably be comparable to middle-market banks in terms of exit opportunities.

      As far as networking, I would just be yourself and say you’re curious and interested in the industry. Anyone working there will know you’re looking for a job, so I wouldn’t try to hide it. Just ask about their career paths, personal experiences, what they like/don’t like, etc.

      Hope this helps!

      • J.M says

        This is obviously not the case anymore, as Barcap has moved from a top player in Global Capital Markets into M&A after Lehman. I would say they are a clear BB now and going forth. Thoughts?

  4. Akash says

    I got out of school a year and a half ago (undergrad), and have been working for a rather large financial advisory practice in Orange County, CA. I am leaving the firm to pursue a career in ibanking. Since I did not go to a top university and have no experience in the banking industry, I’m thinking the boutiques are my only option. Is this an accurate assumption? I have a BS in Finance and have had much relevant experience in equity and debt valuations. I am also currently taking an ibanking training course. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks

    • says

      Akash: if the economy were better, you would have somewhat of a shot at bulge brackets. With things the way they are though, tons of people are getting fired at every level and at firms of different sizes currently… making it hard to get in anywhere at the moment.

      Without any banking experience or a top university degree, I would agree that boutiques are your best shot currently. If you had a great connection at a bulge bracket that could help you get in, but otherwise I would focus on getting into boutiques.

    • Ryan says

      Akash,

      I’m getting ready to graduate from UC Berkeley right now with a degree in economics and am looking to take an ibanking training course. Could you tell me from which institution you are taking it and if you recommend it?

  5. Mike says

    Based on this article, are you implying that working for a “top” boutique is better? Would you take Lazard/Evercore over GS/MS/Mer? I, like you, have heard of the great exit opportunities at Lazard and Evercore

  6. kath123 says

    hi

    i’ve been reading your post above, very interesting about the exit opps. how hard is it for someone from boutiques like evercore, greenshill, lazard to move on to private equity house?

    also what are the chances of moving from boutique to bulge bracket from say, analyst/associate position?

  7. David says

    It’s a little different too, if you’re coming from industry–sometimes your choice is really limited to boutiques that deal with your industry–healthcare/biotech being a prime example.

  8. Alex says

    Just joined a boutique investment bank in NYC after a few years at a bulge bracket. Greatest decision I’ve ever made (not that I had a choice, the market is pretty bad right now). But money and perks are amazing, deal flow is healthy, and lifestyle is fine.
    Only drawback, I’m still working long hours including weekends, and still dealing with the typical a$$hole MD.

    • says

      Hi, my name is Daniel. I would like to learn more about your field and the pros/cons of BB and boutique firms, especially for someone starting out. I would like to go to the Fort Lauderdale/Miami region if possible. Would you mind sharing your thoughts with me?

      Thanks,

      Daniel
      DKFanger@gmail.com

  9. David says

    >>The only situation where you might want to pick a boutique instead is if you have offers from multiple banks, are reasonably confident the boutique will give you good work, and just like the people or work environment a lot more after thorough investigation.<<

    Isn’t that the “only” situation where you would pick any job over any other job? The reality is, as with any major decision, you have to decide what’s important to you.

    A pertinent consideration, in light of what’s happened in recent months, is job security. A lean and mean boutique M&A shop is going to be more likely to weather a down economy and lighter deal flow without layoffs than a bulge with a whole bullpen full of analysts in every office location.

    Look at who the MDs are at any given boutique. If they went to good schools and had success in the bulges or in corporate finance, they probably chose their current predicament, rather than it being a “last resort.” That probably means they do good work, and can teach you a lot. I have never heard anybody dispute that a boutique will give a beginning analyst more holistic exposure to all elements of the dealmaking process. Within my first month at a small (10 person) shop, I was on conference calls with CEOs and CFOs, which would simply not happen at a bulge. But yes, you will face prejudice from some people who only want to hire out of a bank they’ve heard of. But then, those people are idiots and you’re better off not working for them anyway.

  10. BDM says

    In your opinion, which would give you a better shot at getting into a middle market PE firm and why? MBB consulting or IBD at a decent-sized boutique?

    • says

      IBD, because PE firms rarely hire consultants in general – no matter how good the name is. IBD and PE are almost exactly the same whereas consulting is quite a bit different, so IBD is almost always a better bet unless it’s a completely unknown bank.

      • BDM says

        So if i fail to get an offer at an NYC BB, would the location of the boutique I ended up at matter in terms of PE future? For instance, would wachovia in charlotte, sun trust in atl, or some boutique in SF/Chi make it significantly harder to move into PE than a similar boutique in NYC?

        I know that NYC BB is your best bet, but if I end up at a boutique I would rather live somewhere outisde of NY if it didn’t significantly hurt my chances of moving to PE.

        • says

          The main difference is that you will be more limited with geography then. For example, boutiques in Atlanta/SF/Chicago would more likely lead to smaller PE firms in those areas – it would be very difficult if not impossible to go to huge PE firms in NYC after.

      • Jeremy says

        I don’t know that this is always the case. I’m currently interning at a PE firm and one of the key partners used his background in consulting to leverage a job in PE. While it is true that IB and PE are more similar than consulting and PE, the diligence process when looking at potential investments often requires the creativity and broad industry exposure that consulting provides. Additionally, the interaction that often goes on between PE and consulting companies via PE companies requesting consulting services for portfolio companies provides a great way to establish contacts for future employment in PE.

        • says

          It happens, but just looking at statistics it is much less common for consultants to get into PE vs. bankers who do it. PE firms are very skeptical of consultants’ finance skills which is always the #1 problem.

  11. Jim says

    Hi, I love your site! What do you think about the newly merged Wells Fargo/Wachovia? They are pretty dedicated to growing IBD and they are doing quite well so far in the league tables (top 10 for equity and M&A for U.S.). What do you think the exit opps are for this new firm, they seem right smack between a BB and a top MM so what would you say it is? Everyone that I talked to at the firm says its a BB but I’m not quite sure. What would you say exit opps are for this top 10 bank?

      • Jason says

        I agree that it is too soon to tell but why wouldn’t you say it’s not as good as some of the lower BB’s that it beats out in league tables?

        • says

          I stay away from “ranking” banks or talking about prestige much, so I’m not the best person to ask – you may want to go to WallStreetOasis and see if anyone there has views on this one.

  12. Joe says

    His offer is for their IBD side… they appear to be working on really big deals, but their name recognition (in terms of exit)?

  13. Sho says

    Hi! I am currently a junior looking for an internship opportunity in Investment Banking. I am confused whether I should apply at a bulge bracket or a boutique firm? I am an international student on a F-1 visa. I am double majoring in economics and mathematics and also doing a minor in business. The more I talk to people the more I get scared of ending up not get any job/internship because of my 3.3/4.0 GPA and F-1 visa status. But, I know if I get any interview I can talk about my two jobs I am doing right now along with my school to cover up my low GPA part. Please suggest me how should I go about networking boutique/bulge bracket firms and getting an internship in summer 2010. Thanks

    • says

      I would apply to both – why would you limit yourself to just 1? Focus on larger banks first and if nothing works out, switch to aggressive networking / cold-calling boutiques.

  14. Mikey G says

    Great site.

    I am 45 years old and looking to break into Investment Banking. I was always told to make Private Equity your last job..not your first. To go out and actually do something before you start trying to qualify deals!

    I have an MBA and significant ‘strategic’ financial experience. I am not a CGA/CFA/Etc.

    I have ‘done’ many things including working at the senior exec level at a couple of Fortune 500′s. I built Canada’s first Diamond mine and managed a 3.5B dollar upstream oil & gas project. I was named as one of the 12 most influential people in the Alberta oil industry by the National Post (they were drunk) and I have participated in at least a half a dozen start-ups. Does any of that shit matter or will I be fighting for entry level positions with the kids?

    I’m up for it either way I just want to know what I’m up against! : )

    MG

    • says

      Your best bet is to try to join a PE firm as an Operating Partner – there is no way they will hire you as an Analyst or Associate if you have 20+ years of experience.

    • Sharon Szmolyan says

      The Ekati mine? I’d recommend you talking with Kern Equity Partners in Calgary. What year were you named one of the 12 most influential people in the AB oil industy?

      SMS

  15. SB says

    this is something that I have been pondering for quite some time…

    What is the biggest diff between BB and top tier MM (think HL or Jeff)? I know the exp can be more random at MM but what about the process…? If either bank deals with private companies, does that mean they have to write CIMS and if they deal with public ones they dont?

    i have also noticed that MM banks work more with private companies and are usually on the sell side (more admin work). Can you confirm? Let me know.

    and if you are a top tier MM…does that mean you essentially do MORE work then lower BB counterparts? let me know.

    its obvious deal sizes are smaller…but what about the “size” of your exp?

    • says

      You work with smaller companies and usually more private companies, with less in the way of advanced deal negotiations / modeling. How good your experience is really depends on the group, the economy, and tons of other factors. I’ve seen people get fantastic experience at smaller banks and others barely work on a single deal. That’s why it’s much more random than large banks.

  16. Just curious says

    Hey

    I see everytime a BB bank is mentioned Goldman or Morgan Stanley are mentioned.
    I am currently interviewing with Citi in ECM’s and IB and it is going really well and the peolpe seem very nice.
    Could you give me your recommendation on Citi? and if offered an ECM 1st yr associate role or an IB 1st year associate role, which would you choose? Hours, Salary, Exit opportunities etc.
    Thanks your site was really helpful for the interviews

    • says

      Citi is fine, though “less prestigious” than some other banks. I would pick IB over ECM if you’re interested in private equity or working at a real company afterward.

  17. Mricho says

    Hi ,

    You mentioned that an investment banking resume in Australia. Can you expand a little more on that? I’m trying to get back into the fund management/corporate finance scene.I migrated to Australia 2 years ago at the beginning of the GFC and I find the market’s reluctance to consider experience gained offshore to be the greatest impediment. I’m a CPA (and a Chartered Management Accountant) and so because of the GFC I headed back into finance to wait out the storm. Even that was a real difficult transition because I didn’t have local experience. This was despite the fact that I qualified in environments that report on Internal Financial Reporting Standards, which are relatively new here!

    • says

      If you look under Resumes on the Recruiting page at the top you will see more information – resumes in Australia tend to be 2-3 pages rather than the single page you see in most other regions.

  18. Mricho says

    Oh forgot to mention that I did my undergrad 12 years ago so that probably means like MG they won’t look at me for analyst/associate positions? I was a senior analyst on a buyside (pension) fund. FUM was USD $1.7 BN. This was for 2.5 yrs and then managed a wealth fund for another year before moving to Aus

    • says

      Yes it would be hard to do analyst/associate roles, maybe a senior associate role would work but 12 years is a lot of experience.

  19. Mricho says

    First sentence of first post was meant to read, You mentioned that an Investment Banking resume should be a maximum of 1 page. Can you please expand a little more on that?

  20. sellinputs says

    So I’m currently a Commodities Broker with a good firm, but I didn’t go to collage. I just want to sell bonds as sales in my strongest skill, and I understand bonds decently. Any advise? I know I’m not going to work at Goldman or anything, but I should be able to sell bonds somewhere if I get my 7 right?
    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    • says

      Hard to work at a large bank without a college degree – maybe look at really small firms and brokerages that might be more open to it.

  21. career changer says

    Ok, don’t laugh. I’m currently in a dual MBA/MS in Finance program at a regional college. The economy in my midwest state sucks to high heaven and I’m caught in the middle. Either I live off my public sector retirement (mid20′s/define-benefit pension with full medical benefits) or I get retrained. I chose the later, i.e., getting retrained.

    My primary plan is to get the degrees (one year down, one to go) and get a CMA (certified management accountant) designation. However, the more I deal with financial statements, I find them fascinating. Also, I am intrigued by the idea of applying to several boutique investment banks.

    Give it to me straight: pipe dream for a 53 year old guy?

      • career changer says

        Thanks for the response. I’m going to prod just a little more…1) not married, no commitments, I can live ANYWHERE, 2)I’ve got to believe there are some regional boutique places that might be interested. I take an analyst position (even though alot of MBAs, from the top schools at least, get associate positions).

        Thanks again. I know you gotta believe. I don’t think I’m the only person my age forced to (because of the rotten economy) to start over again. I’m not dead…and the brain cells are working just fine.

        Peace.

        • says

          Look, you don’t need to convince me. I support people doing unconventional things (just look at this site and my story).

          The problem is that banks are very, very, very rigid and are looking for extremely specific types of people. You can try to reach out to regional boutiques, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

          • career changer says

            Whoa! No blame dude! As a matter of fact, I appreciate brutal honesty. I’m investing too much time and, when it’s all over, $60K+ in student loans (egads!)

            I appreciate the heads up! Thanks again.

            Peace.

  22. Matthias says

    I have a question about the nordic region. I am currently attending university in Denmark and this summer is starting my 2-years masters degree. The investment banks in Denmark have part-time analysts which they employ for 2-2.5 years during their studies. After that they promote upon graduation if they have performed well.
    Is this associate position equivalent to the associate possition in other countries?

    • says

      Not sure about that one actually – if it’s part-time work for 2-2.5 years then I don’t think they’re equivalent to associate positions elsewhere.

      • Matthias says

        I would like to clarify the analyst posistion is for
        2,5 years, part time. Because at the same time you finish your bachelors degree (0,5 year) and after that the 2-years master, so you are probably more “educated” than in other contries. I think you might be right but if I find out more I will inform you.

  23. Fairbanks says

    I recently graduated from a top tier private school in my geographic region. I recently took a job as a financial advisor associate as MSSB but have quickly realized this is not what I want to do. I would really like to get into IB or PE, but being from the south I fear that may work against me with trying to land a job in NYC. What would be your recommendation for trying to break into wall street? I am 23, and have only been out of school since May 2010 so I don’t think my age should be an issue. I am the type of person that you mentioned that is essentially willing to whatever is asked of me, work efficiently, and hard. What types of firms do you think I should concentrate my energy into applying at? And if I do not have a chance you can let me know that as well. Thanks

    • says

      Just start networking via alumni, cold-calling, and so on (see everything related under Recruiting at the top of the page) and focus on the south / midwest if you think that you don’t stand a good chance in NYC.

  24. Adrian says

    How highly would you regard Greenhill (London)? I have an offer for a summer internship there, but also from banks such as UBS / DB / MS.

  25. Hrvd214 says

    Hello,

    I was wondering I am currently a second year law student at a top 20 law school and am interested in forgoing law and pursuing ibanking. My undergrad degree is in the sciences, but my law school classes have focused on banking and securities law. What do you think the options are for law students at bulge brackets vs pursuing boutique banks

    Also, given that I have no practical degree or background in banking would you recommended applying to associate or analyst programs.

    Thank you,

    Hrvd

  26. max says

    I have an almost 2.0 GPA due to screwing up like MAD in my first years in uni. Although trying hard now and am even applying to bulge brackets and knowing clearly that I do not stand a chance, what do you suggest I do from now? I am interested in IBanking and want to prove myself, how would I get my foot in the door?

  27. dani says

    hi, great article. Would really appreciate it if you could shed some light on this:
    Which one do you think is better, Citi IBD or Lazard, both in London?
    Thanks.

      • dani says

        Thanks for the reply. But would joining a smaller firm limit your future movements, as in you can always move within IBD at a larger bank but that does not apply in a boutique, where you have to either move to a BB or a private equity firm?

        • says

          Not really… Lazard isn’t even a “small firm” it’s just that it doesn’t have trading and capital markets capabilities… so in that sense yes you would have to move to a BB.

  28. FutureBanker10 says

    Hello,

    I love your site! I am applying for investment banking summer internships for this summer (2011). I am a third-year economics major at UT-Dallas with a 3.91 GPA; I am an academic all-American baseball player and have completed two significant volunteer experiences, which, together, are the extent of my work experience. I would like to know whether you think I have a shot at any top IB firm internships? If not, would you please recommend some smaller, attainable firms.
    Thank you for your help!

    • says

      It’s tough coming from a lesser known school with no work experience so definitely focus on boutique firms…. if you look at the FAQ there are a couple methods of finding firms listed there.

  29. Jack says

    So what are my chances of going to i-banking if I just finish my undergraduate studies from a non-target school with a 3.426 GPA? I majored in business administration with a concentration in finance.

    Am I going to have to do an internship at a boutique and hopefully they’ll hire me and then apply for a first year analyst at a bulge bracket?

      • Jack says

        Thanks for the quick response.

        I have another question. What are my chances of getting into boutiques and middle markets? Would it still be necessary to get an internship first and would the fact that I’m applying after I’m done with college hinder my chances of getting an internship or a full time position?

  30. Nicolas says

    Hey, I’m a college Freshman at one of those “non-target” schools.. just got a 3.48 gpa from my first semester..the school is a very very small liberal arts catholic school.. I’m really motivated and love the world of finance and I’ve read quite a bit of your strategies for trying to break into banking circles but was just wondering, if I don’t make it to bulge bracket banks is it still pretty difficult to get a job at a boutique and maybe go to a better graduate school to leverage my way to a bulge bracket later??

  31. Mo says

    What would your view be about up and coming boutiques that the “stars” that left top-tier bb’s have started. A lot of people are looking now to Moelis & Co, Centerview, and Perella WB as uber prestigious boutiques. Could you shed some light on how these compare to bb’s?

    • says

      They are solid and very similar to bulge bracket banks. Experience may be a bit more random in terms of deals/clients since they’re smaller.

  32. homermatrix says

    I was wondering what do PE’s 3+3, 5+5 mean? Is it like an investment horizon? is the intintal 3 or 5 the DD period??

  33. Tom says

    Hi,

    I am doing MA in Economics in Boston University. It is my last semester here and I have been taking finance courses, such as Corporate Finance, Fixed Income Mkt and Financial Statement Analysis, since the beginning of the MA program. My total GPA is 3.7 and higher for the finance courses.

    I don’t have any really finance related working experience. Internship in the risk management department of an asset management firm is all I got.

    Could you tell me if I have any chance to get internship or part-time position in a boutique Ibank? If the chance is not so slim, what should I do to get in?

    Thank you!

  34. matt says

    Do you take a weaker LAZ office over an also weaker (relative to others in the space) BB office? Let’s assume you like both groups from a personal standpoint.

  35. Alucard says

    I am studying an MSc in Finance at one of the UK’s top B schools (top 5), and did my UG in Engineering at one of the UK’s top schools too.

    I have no prior work experience at a large bank, but my father happens to be a top investment banker/investor in India, and by shadowing him, I have managed to get high quality work experience (sitting in meetings with CEO’s, CFO’s etc.. of companies).

    So now, say I have the opportunity to join 2 firms –

    Blackstone Advisory Services LP.

    OR

    A London based investment bank/stock broker (only 1 office) having about 75 Employees and £40M in Revenues, which specialises in fundraising activities (IPO’s, Debt Offerings, Private Placements etc..). The firm is very famous in London, but not as recognised as BX globally.

    Under normal circumstances, I would pick the BX offer, but since the smaller firm does smaller size transactions (firms having upto $1B in Revenue for example), I believe that I can leverage my contacts etc.. to be a ‘rainmaker’ for the company, in the sense that even as an analyst I will be able to bring in deals to the company. I do not have many contacts in Europe/USA in MNC’s, so I cannot bring in deals to BX for example.

    I plan on going to a top US B School for an MBA in the next few years, and I also want to learn as much as possible, and salary etc… are of not much consideration at this stage.

    So, with these facts in mind, which of the 2 firms would be best to choose?

    At a firm like BX, since the transactions are more complex, there seems to be an opportunity to learn more (plus, BX’s reputation will speak for itself on my CV for B School).

    But at the smaller firm, since I will probably be able to bring in deals, I suppose it will reflect well on my resume for getting into a top B School such as Harvard etc.., but in a different kind of way.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

  36. George Hillman says

    For a freshman or sophomore in undergraduate school, is it possible to network my way into an unpaid internship position in MM banks like Evercore or Jefferies? Or will HR deny this? Can an analyst or associate vouch for me and have me working as an unpaid intern under the person? Or am I required to go through some official recruitment process.

    • says

      Evercore is not a middle-market bank. Usually unpaid positions at well-known firms are incredibly tough, you’re better off going for local boutiques for unpaid anything.

  37. Decision on Offers says

    Based on this Article Im having a tough time deciding on my offers:

    Macquarie – Chicago (FIG or Restru.)
    Houlihan Lokey – Chicago
    Deloitte Corp Fin. – Chicago

    I think I like the growth opps and people at MacCap so Im leaning on going with them, but how can I judge the strength of their deal flow?

  38. P says

    I graduated with a finance degree from a non-target in 2007 with a 3.4 GPA. For two years I was a real estate broker dealing with large tracts of land and large industrial properties, and for another two or so I turned around a small business by attracting outside capital and reengineering it entirely. I will be starting my MBA at Emory University – Goizueta Business School in August, I will be taking evening classes so that I can continue working. I am really interested in IB, PE, or VC, and am trying to figure out how to break into them. Is interning the right way to go for me? Is Emory enough of a top tier to help me break in? Should I only target boutiques, or does my profile allow for bigger opportunities?

    • says

      Yes internships are the way to go. Emory is not the best for finance but some people do get in from there. I would spread a wide net but still focus on smaller firms for now.

  39. Tommy says

    Hi! I am a fresh Masters and just got a 1-yr internship offer from a regional boutique in London. What to do to best get my chance in a bulge bracket? Thanks a lot!

  40. tina says

    what do you think of the boutique headwaters MB? if i were deciding between an internship offer from them (TMT group) or a really small boutique in SF (~5 people, no “brand name,” but could possibly get more exposure to deals and modeling), which would you think is better?

    i’m hoping to leverage the internship for full time recruiting at BBs/top tier MMs in the fall. thanks for your response!

  41. tina says

    forgot to mention that i would get training from the analyst exchange in terms of modeling for the second smaller boutique, if that counts for anything… thanks!

  42. K.T. says

    First of all, your site has been a wonderful resource for me in the past year. Thank you very much.

    I’m an MBA candidate at HAAS, expected to graduate in May 2012. I’m currently a financial analyst at a fortune 500 company, pursuing a career transition to IB. I’m targeting regional boutique firms (15-50 employees) in San Francisco for summer internship. I spoke with several analysts at the SF boutique firms that I cold email/cold call. I was surprised to discover that some of the MBA candidates and MBA grads are hired in with an “Analyst” title (i.e. Summer Analyst or Analyst). I thought MBA candidates and grads are expected to become Summer Associates or full time Associates. Have you heard anything like that?

      • K.T. says

        Yes, it seems strange to me too. Initially I thought the Analyst I spoke with got screwed by his firm, because he got his MBA and was still hired in as an Analyst. Then I spoke with three other Analysts from various firms who told me the same thing. I wonder if this is the norm in regional boutiques. If you happen to come across additional information on this topic, I would love to know more. Thanks!

        KT

        • K.T. says

          One more question… I just got an offer from a regional boutique that specializes in the life science industry. I was informed that as an intern at their firm, my main responsibilities will include finding contact information of potential clients, updating trackers (contact database), sending email to potential clients to gauge interest, and scheduling meetings between clients and team members. I don’t believe interns are given any financial modeling or valuation experience. So I’m not seeing how I can leverage the experience in this internship to secure a full time offer with top middle market firms or bulge bracket firms during recruiting in October (less than 4 months from now). At this point, it is getting late in the summer and if I don’t take this offer, there will be nothing left for me. Do you think this internship will help me get my foot in the door with well known middle market firms or bulge bracket firms? Or do you think I should try applying to the Corporate Development group within my company (there is an opening right now and I know the director pretty well). Which option do you feel would be more helpful for breaking into IB doing M&A advisory? Thanks!

          KT

          • says

            Corporate development is better for IB but if it’s a long-shot I would just take the existing offer

    • says

      Middle market banks provide all services (equity, debt, M&A) but for smaller companies whereas boutiques also work with smaller companies but just focus on one area such as M&A

  43. plebauste says

    hi. i just finished my sophomore year at one of the target schools with a cumulative gpa of 3.54. I’m majorin in economics with a concentration in finance. I’m currently doing a summer internship at a local boutique investment bank. i have also worked as an analyst at my student-run investment fund. could you tell me if there is any chance of getting a summer junior internship at BB?

  44. plebauste says

    Hi, Brian. I’d appreciate your our advice. As a sophomore, I’m currently doing a summer internship at a local boutique IB in NY. My main duties are more focused on private placement. Is private placement categorzied under investment banking, or is it something else separate from ib? Also, I’m deciding between an investment banking analyst internship at a local boutique ib and an asset/wealth management at BB for the 2011 Fall semester internship (part-time). Which one do you think is better in terms of preparing for the junior internship at BB?

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