by Brian DeChesare Comments (128)

Blackstone vs. Goldman vs. Evercore vs. JP Morgan: How to Decide on Summer Internship Offers

Summer Offer DecisionsAfter a long and hard-fought interview season, you made it through recruiting alive and came out with 4 summer offers: Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, Evercore, and JP Morgan.

Getting them was hard enough, but now you have an even more difficult task in front of you: deciding which one to accept.

This is a complex analysis that will require years of data, math skills, and top-notch spreadsheet wizardry, so fire up Excel right now and learn how to create the model that you’ll need to make your decision.

First Steps

First, you’ll need historical and projected data for summer intern to full-time offer conversion rates – over at least 5 years, though 10 or 20 years are better if you can get them.

It should be a fairly simple task, especially since you need it on a per-office, per-group level and you can only have a 1% margin of error.

Next, you’ll need complete bios on everyone at the bank along with how nice they are to interns on a scale of 1 to 10, how much decision-making power they have on a scale of 1 to 10, and what percentage of the work they give out in the form of pitch books compared to live deals.

Finally, you’ll need data on exit opportunities for every single analyst and associate in the office over the past 5 years, along with projections for at least the next 5 years.

Mega-funds should receive a rating of “10” while smaller places should scale down progressively to 1 based on their assets under management ($30B+ USD AUM should be 10, while less than $1B USD should be a 1 on that scale).

And if the analyst or associate decides to join a normal company or starts a non-profit to save the world, that should be rated a 0 – Helping people?!! Blasphemy.

Remember that there’s a high likelihood of death if you cannot get into the largest, most prestigious PE firms and hedge funds in the world – especially ones that non-finance people have never heard of – so this step is extremely important.

Now, Open Up Excel

…and please stop before you do anything above.

The suggestions above are all horrible, and if you thought any were serious, you should re-read everything on this site until you learn what really matters and what doesn’t.

Most people are better off not going to mega-funds; “ranking” anyone by what they do is ridiculous; and if you assess your self-worth based on where you work, you have some issues.

The scary thing is that I’ve seen suggestions similar to the ones above – and they haven’t been in jest.

Why This Much Data is a Horrible Idea

I could just say, “common sense,” but to go into more detail:

  1. The more data you collect and the more analysis you do, the less satisfied you’ll be with the final outcome.
  2. It doesn’t matter that much, especially for internships.
  3. You don’t have the data that does matter, nor can you easily or accurately get it.
  4. By asking around to find this information, you’ll freak out all your contacts – and Wall Street is a very small place, where emails never die.

Where you choose to intern does not, in fact, determine the rest of your life – just look at some of the interviews with readers who followed extremely random paths.

There is a much bigger difference between having AN investment banking summer internship and having nothing than there is between which bank you complete the internship at.

So please don’t whip out Excel and create an internship-decision financial model.

What Really Matters

The only 3 variables that you can accurately assess upfront are brand name/prestige, people, and geography.

Sure, you can try to find how much “real work” there is, but as an intern you’re not likely to get much real work anywhere – and if you do, only a completely random set of circumstances will allow it to happen.

You might also believe that full-time offer conversion rates matter, and they do – but unless you have someone on the inside that you’ve known for a long time, you won’t be able to accurately assess them.

You can’t exactly just call an interviewer you met once and say, “By the way, how likely am I to get a full-time offer in your group if I work there over the summer?”

And online sources tend to be unreliable or out-of-date due to high industry turnover (this is why I feature almost nothing on specific banks here – plus I would want to kill myself updating the data every week).

So if you know someone well and you’re sure he won’t screw you over, sure, go ahead and ask how many interns received offers – but don’t assume that this should be the #1 factor in your decision.

What about the industry vs. product group distinction? Surely it must be huge since M&A is 1,567x better than ECM, right?

That’s not even close to true, and for an intern it’s even less true.

So back to what matters most:

Brand-Name / Prestige

Let’s see if I can get through this without ranking the banks (you thought I would give in and do it, right?)…

Yes, a better name on your resume/CV will get you more attention and full-time interviews if you want to move to another bank.

Elite boutiques and bulge brackets are about the same, middle-market banks are slightly worse than that, and unknown boutiques are worse than middle-market banks in terms of overall reputation.

So all else being equal, you’d prefer a bulge bracket offer to a middle-market offer, and you’d prefer to take the middle-market offer over a local boutique with 2 people.

But as an intern, the specific bank you work at does not matter as much as you think it does – you will get full-time interviews elsewhere merely by having “investment banking summer analyst” on your resume.

Yes, you will get more interviews with a top name, but plenty of readers and customers have done middle-market or boutique internships and have still received interviews with much larger banks for full-time recruiting.

So use common sense but don’t obsess over ranking specific firms – other factors may play a bigger role depending on the offers you’ve lined up.


Do you have friends in this group/office? Did you like the senior bankers you met, or did they remind you of Patrick Bateman? Did they talk about sports and travel, or did they spend 30 minutes grilling you with brain teasers?

While the people in a group change from year to year, and while there is high turnover, the people will not change dramatically only a few months after you finish interviewing.

Depending on your co-workers, your internship may resemble Monkey Business – or it might actually be fun and worthwhile.

But this is the least sexy factor to look at, because it’s more fun to rank the banks and debate which group has the best “exit opps.”


The location of your offer is both important and commonly underestimated – you need to think about it because:

  1. If you do get a full-time offer, you want it to be somewhere you could see yourself working for a few years.
  2. If you decide to recruit elsewhere (or you’re forced to), you have a big advantage if you’re in the biggest financial centers – it’s much easier to network over the summer and as your internship is ending.

So all else being equal, you should prefer offers in New York to those in other cities in the US, offers in London to those in continental Europe, and offers in Hong Kong to those in other cities in Asia (the same applies to the major financial centers in other countries/regions).

The only exception would be if you’re 100% set on working in a different city to begin with – so if you’re certain you want to do tech banking and then venture capital, then sure, do your internship in San Francisco.

So How Do You Decide?

Pick the best-known bank with the best people in the best location.

Easier said than done, right?

If one or more of those variables is tied, then you have to decide based on the other one(s).

If you have a tie for all 3 – or one factor is counter-balanced by other factors (better people for one offer, but worse location for another one) then you have to decide which difference is bigger, or roll the dice if you really can’t decide.


Rather than looking at the easy decisions (bulge bracket in NYC vs. boutique equities in Dallas), let’s look at a few calls that are tougher to make.

Bulge Bracket Industry Group vs. Elite Boutique M&A, All in NYC or All in London

Prestige-wise, both of these are about the same since you can access a wide variety of exit opportunities from either one (assuming you get a full-time offer) and since everyone knows the names. The locations are also exactly the same.

You could decide on the basis of M&A being “better” than industry groups, but that’s a poor way to think about it – remember that not all industry groups are the same, and that you don’t necessarily do more modeling in M&A anyway.

So decide based on which group you liked more and where you think you would fit in better.

And if that still doesn’t work, find those dice or flip a coin.

Middle-Market M&A Group in NYC vs. Bulge Bracket ECM in HK

This one’s easy, right? A bulge bracket always beats a middle-market firm! Rocks, paper, scissors!

Not so fast.

If this were the same location I would agree, but working in New York and working in Hong Kong are very different.

Experience outside of New York is generally discounted if you want to return to New York – and if you’re in Hong Kong it will be extremely difficult to network with bankers based in NYC and go through accelerated recruiting processes at banks there.

The bulge bracket name is an advantage, but if you do M&A at a middle-market firm for your internship and you’ve networked well, you will still get full-time interviews at larger banks.

So in this example, I would lean toward the middle-market bank in New York if you want to be in New York after graduation – but if you want to work in Hong Kong, go with the HK offer.

If it’s an unknown 2-person boutique in NY vs. a bulge bracket bank in Hong Kong, then there’s a much bigger difference in reputation and the HK offer may make more sense, even if you don’t want to work there full-time.

Unknown Boutique in New York vs. Middle-Market Firm in Chicago

Now we have a bigger difference in brand-name/prestige and a smaller difference in geographies.

Yes, New York is a bigger financial center than Chicago – at least for investment banking – but it’s not even close to the difference between, say, Dallas and New York.

You do lose the networking advantage by not being in New York over the summer, but in this case I would lean toward the middle-market offer in Chicago because having a name that everyone has heard of – even if it’s not a “top” firm – is better than something that no one has heard of.

The difference in brand-name/prestige, in this case, is bigger than the difference in geographies.

Should You Renege on an Internship Offer for a Better Offer?

This is not a great idea, especially if you have offers at 2 bulge brackets, one with an arguably better reputation, or an elite boutique and a bulge bracket.

If you don’t even have an offer and you want to renege just for a potential offer, please stop and cancel that plan.

Even if you’ve accepted an offer at a middle-market or boutique firm for a summer internship and then you suddenly get a last-minute invitation to interview at a bulge bracket, you do not want to renege until you have a real offer in-hand.

You can read more about the dangers of reneging and all the different ways you can screw yourself over right here.

But I Have No Summer Offers! / I Have a Different Question

Then make sure you read these related articles:

And whatever you do, do not actually attempt to build that spreadsheet I suggested in the beginning.

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. EB White

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for all the articles. I have a question pertaining to full time recruiting. I’m currently set to intern at GS IBD in one of their financing groups (basically capital markets) and would really like to get into an EB for FT. I’m at an Ivy but not HYP. What are some steps that I should take now to set myself up for this?

  2. Dear Brian and Nicole,

    First of all – awesome article! Thank you so much for your time and effort!

    I wanted to ask for your advice.

    I am from an engineering background with no previous investment banking experience.

    I secured two summer internship offers in London – Barclays DCM and Jefferies M&A both in London.

    I personally prefer M&A, however, concerning exit opportunities and reputation and according to your article the choice should be Barclays?

    Thank you very much!

    Best wishes,


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Congrats on your offers. Unless you want to do capital markets I’d choose M&A given the modelling experience. Exit opps are probably better, unless you really like the bond market.

  3. matthew markham

    Citi IBD (probably healthcare) vs Morgan Stanley Lev Fin?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Great spot to be in.

      I’d say MS LevFin may offer you more exit opportunities given its name. If you want to move to PE, I think that may be slightly better.

      1. matthew markham

        thank you! I already chose MS Lev Fin, I just needed a little objective validation. Even though it’s Lev Fin, I think that’ll mean I have a better shot of getting Morgan Stanley IBD!

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Good luck!

  4. Thanks for all the useful posts! I have an offer with RBC Capital Markets and BNP LevFin for the summer. Which would be better in separately prestige and experience in preparation for getting an investment banking job during full time recruitment.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Congratulations! I’d say BNP given its name as well as levfin – you can move to M&A/IB easier. Capital markets (ECM) maybe a more challenging move to IB.

  5. Hi M&I,

    First, thanks for this amazing site, helps a lot.
    I just landed 2 offers in M&A in Paris, France, @ JPM & Lazard, for 6-month internships. Which one would you recommend me to choose? JPM sure has the brand name, but the decision is hard to take given the important activity of L in Paris.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Congratulations! Both are great! I’d choose a team which you’re most comfortable with and the firm you think you’d want to work for after 6-months. You couldn’t go wrong either way because both are great names.

      1. Thanks for your answer, Nicole! I’ll get back to you when my decision is taken…


        1. M&I - Nicole

          Great – let us know!

  6. Received offers from Citi, JPM and MS for their M&A groups. Also received an offer from GS TMT, but I prefer a more generalist role (tech hype won’t last forever). All offers are for full-time positions in the NYC offices. Which group would set me up better for Megafunds? Best long-short hedge funds?

    1. There is no significant difference between those, so it comes down to whether you prefer M&A or TMT and which team you like the most. Your success recruiting will be determined more by the quality of your investment ideas, case studies, and networking than by the specific bank within that group that you work at.

  7. Hey Brian,

    I just accepted an offer at a second-tier boutique and was wondering what I could do from now until august in order to best position myself for FT recruiting. I know your response will be to “network, network, network”, but I was curious how I might go about doing that in what sort of time frame. Would it be viewed negatively and reduce my chance for a return offer if I started snooping around right now? The bankers at the firm I will be working for are all from top-tier BBs originally, and I am afraid my “networking efforts” might reach their ears.

    1. And by FT recruiting I mean FT BB recruiting

    2. I would probably make initial contact with a few BB bankers right now or a few months before you start, and then lay low until maybe late July or August. Then, reach out to them again and ask about the accelerated recruiting process at their firms and explain why you want to move over. I would actually not go all-out with networking here for the reasons you mentioned.

      1. Hi again,

        I’ve asked around and late July seems to be agreed upon as a good time to start snooping around. I’m just curious though, that would still be before the FT offer decision; why is it that networking before the summer is highly discouraged as it shows that one is uncommitted, but networking in late July is considered okay?
        Also, I was curious if I should even bother keeping up with non-alumni contacts (I come from a target). Can they have some say in giving me an interview? Or is that basically impossible unless they are at the very top of the ladder and really really like me (which isn’t a likely story at all)?

        Thanks a lot!

        1. The difference is that more time = higher chance of other people finding out. Whereas if you only start with a few weeks left, there’s less of a chance of the information spreading.

          Non-alumni contacts: maybe if there are 2-3 really good ones who are helpful and/or high up, yes, but otherwise probably not a great use of time.

  8. I really believe BB investment banking is what I want to do when I graduate. Coming from a non-target school and getting a late start on the internship search, I did not receive an offer from a BB in IB. I did receive offers in the TSS and PB departments of a BB. I also received IB offers from a middle-market IB in DC and a smaller bank in NYC.

    I just recently stumbled upon the gold mine that is M&I and would love to hear which of these slim pickings you believe would put me in the best position to move to BB IB when I graduate next year.

    1. Most likely the IB offer at the middle-market bank in DC. Possibly the smaller bank in NYC but depends how small – regional boutique or somewhat larger?

  9. My situation comes to two large institutions of similar national and global stature, but the question for me is, London or Sydney? I will return to London later, but would it be good to get more of a global network by going to Sydney for a bit?


    1. The industry is much smaller in Sydney. If it’s just an internship I think it’s OK to work there for a few months, but for full-time I would recommend staying in London if you want to be there for the long-term.

  10. I need your help desperately Brian.

    What if you get accepted for doing an internship with an IB and then get an offer for a full time placement.
    Sounds good right.

    HOWEVER… what if beforehand you planned to stay at university for one more semester (i.e. you have a year left, not one semester left until graduation), can you allow the offer to extend until after you’ve completed that extra semester?

    This would be really helpful if you could clarify this for many people who I also know use the site !


    1. M&I - Nicole

      You will need to speak with your hiring manager and HR. In most cases, the bank can accommodate and defer your FT offer. I hope you accurately “presented” the situation when you interviewed though. Or else they might wonder why you didn’t disclose the above during your interview.

  11. Hi,
    I had a question regarding summer internships. I am currently a sophomore at a top target school (Harvard/Princeton/Stanford/Wharton) and am mulling over a couple of offers at boutique investment banks. One of them is located in Charlotte, and one is located in New York. Obviously, the new york one is a preferable location – however, the firm does not seeem to have as much work, the people don’t seem as friendly/willing to help, and the work that I would be doing there probably wont be as substantive (ie modeling/valuation related) as the one in Charlotte. My goal for this summer is simply to learn as much as possible to set myself up for bulge bracket recruiting next fall for a SA stint there. Do you think it would be worse to take the Charlotte position? Especially if I know the environment and work will be much better there (one of my friends worked there last summer and he explained in detail what summer interns actually do). Again, my goal is just to have ‘summer investment banking analyst’ on my resume to snag an interview with a bulge bracket this upcoming year and hopefully have a leg up in the interview process. Thank you!!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you think the role in Charlotte offers you more responsibilities and a better environment, I’d take that role because you can write more on your resume and talk about your experience in interviews.

  12. Hi,
    I just got offers from macquarie ibd and morgan stanley equity trading. I really dont know whether iam more interested in banking or trading since im curios about both! Would love to hear ur perspectives!

    1. M&I - Nicole


      Depends on which team you like better, whether you like a faster or slower paced work environment, etc .

      IBD – slower paced but longer hours

      Trading – faster paced shorter hours but way more intense

      I’d probably go w MS given its brand name.

      1. Hi Nicole,
        Thanks alot!
        I have never done banking or trading before so i can’t honestly which one I would be better at or would prefer.
        The people at Macquarie are super nice.
        And people say you learn alot more in banking that will help you later, esp for exit opps.
        However, the MS brand name would be awesome as well. Is it easy to go from ST to IBD at MS if i do the internship well in the summer?
        Moreover, do you happen to know the conversion rate at either banks? I know that one shouldnot be looking at rates alone but they def are one of the determinants. I would not want to be unemployed next year or go through the recruiting process again. Took me 3-4 months with very hard work. \

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Easy? I don’t know – you’ll have to network intensively

          If you really want IBD and you prefer IBD over the brand name I’d choose Macquarie

          I don’t know the conversion rate

          Working at a bank requires hard work. In this environment, you should be mentally ready for the “pink slip” moment. I am not saying/implying that you will get laid off but finance is a highly volatile industry and when you are employed, regardless of your industry, your employer can always fire you for whatsoever reason that you might not be always able to control. Of course having a stellar performance would help but that is not a guarantee

  13. Hi M&I,

    I’m about to start a summer internship at a BB IB. Unfortunately they have just put me in one of my lowest preferences. Lets call it X industry group. They actually didn’t even ask for proper preferences. And I turned down multiple offers to join this BB.

    I am worried that
    -> If I do secure a graduate offer, I will be placed in the X industry group full time?
    -> And even if they do say it will be flexible and involve preferencing, isn’t it quite likely they will just ignore my preferences again and put me in X – because thats where I’ve developed relationships and thats where my offer has come from?

    I know this is not the worst problem to have, but X industry group is really not ideal…I have no interest in working in that industry after a stint in banking, and certainly the types of deals and transactions that group covers don’t excite me very much.

    Should I apply for grad recruitment at the other BBs?

    Thanks heaps for your help


    1. M&I - Nicole

      This is just a summer internship. You can always impress those guys and network like mad during the internship and land yourself a gig in a division you like. It can be challenging to switch divisions but it is doable.

      And yes apply to other banks to hedge your bets

  14. Hi there! I just landed a summer internship offer in M&A at a BB in London. Yet I heard about Investment Banking for the first time only 6 months ago. So I have to say: the M&I method works! I have a question though. I want to earn a top MBA in a few years (think HBS, Sloan). It seems that these schools only recruit investment bankers from GS/MS/JP (especially HBS). So do you think I should do everything I can to transfer to one of these banks? Or am I out of my mind because it does not matter that much for business schools?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think working for these banks do have somewhat of an edge but you still need to be a well-rounded candidate. Try to distinguish yourself by having great reference letters, great essays and being involved in other things like leading charity organizations.

      1. Thanks! I may also have an offer from Rothschild in London. How is Rothschild viewed in the US? Could it be considered a “target bank/boutique” for top b-schools (such as GS/JP/Lazard)?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Rothschild has a stronger reputation in Europe I believe. Yes.

  15. Hi M&I,

    Would you recommend a MM M&A shop in Chicago or a BB in Charlotte (LevFin)?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Depends on what you want to do, where you want to be and the team. It depends on your personal preference

  16. Hi M&I,

    Great site! Would you recommend pursuing either
    a)MM macroeconomic research role in London; or
    b)Boutique equity fund role in Sydney.

    I am hoping to land a BB IBD internship in Sydney next summer and am not sure whether to go for the brand name or location as neither are IBD. I have a low GPA and will be networking extensively either way.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Depends on which one offer you land right? I’d pursue both at the same time and see which one works out.

  17. Hi Brian,

    I have a question that might sound a bit silly… I found myself having the same last name of a Senior MD at Blackstone (PE division). Our last name is very rare! Should I cold-call him and use this as an advantage??? would that be awkward?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      This is a good one. Haha. I don’t know how relevant that is. However, if you are think he’d appreciate that, why not?

  18. Thanks for the article!

    I was wondering what about a full time position in one of the five large Canadian banks in Toronto vs. a BB such as Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong?

    1. Would definitely take the BB offer in HK unless you want to work in Canada long-term.

  19. François

    Well thanks for the advice anyway. Might-be that I can give you some input on IB in France some day.

    1. what did you choose then lazard or CS??

  20. François

    Hi Brian,

    Lazard Paris vs CS London? What are the trade-offs?

    1. London = better if you want to move elsewhere and probably has higher salaries. Paris = Less competition but probably limits you more to France afterward

      1. François

        How different would the hours, culture, pay etc. be in France?

        1. I really don’t know there but I’m assuming that both would be less than in London because most of the bigger deals take place in London. Culture is probably more relaxed but again this is just a blind guess.

          1. Thats funny because I have exactly the same choice to make…Lazard and CS in the locations stated in the question…what about in terms of firm reputation is there a difference??

          2. M&I - Nicole

            Depends on which area and geographical location you are looking at. I don’t think there’s much difference between the two in terms of their reputation in Europe, though I may be wrong

  21. Hi Brian,

    I secured a summer internship at a top BB this summer and the group placements have just been sent out by HR. Turns out, that I did not get any of my top priorities (M&A, LevFin) and that I instead have been placed at a DCM desk.

    What would be the best way to try to get a FT offer at one of the desks of my top priorities? I have a hard time given the working hours seeing how it would be possible to get in contact with the people at the different desks. How do you express your interest in a different desk than the one you have been assigned to without pissing off your MD/staffer?

    1. All you can do is do well at the internship and then ask about a transfer at the end (assuming you don’t want to network). I would still try to network during the internship because DCM hours aren’t as bad as other groups most of the time, so contact people in other groups and make friends there as that’s a much better plan than just asking for a transfer at the end.

      1. Thanks a lot for your reply Brian. Should I bring this up at the mid-term review or should I wait until the end of the internship before expressing my interest in transferring?

        Also, I assume that the people that I should aim at networking with are some of the higher ups, such as VP’s and MD’s correct? Do you just send them an email sometime during the internship asking if they have time for a cup of coffee or something similar?

        Thanks a lot for your help

        1. Don’t bring it up at the mid-term review or they will be less likely to give you an offer. Yes aiming for senior bankers is good the way you suggested but if they are too hard to contact just go for the junior bankers and work your way up

  22. Can you help me choose between two internships, based in London: ML wealth, or RBS sales / research.

    1. Not much of a difference there but I would do RBS if you want to do S&T full-time.

  23. I would like to cancel a question I submitted earlier, would you be able to contact me on the email I just listed?

    1. The previous comment has been deleted.

  24. Athena Jin

    Hello, I am a second year university student a target school (University of Chicago, NYU, Columbia).

    I am trying to secure an internship at a european bank (BNP, SG), If I do not get it, what should I do this summer?

    1. Local boutique bank, wealth/asset management, corporate finance, even accounting or auditing.

  25. Sarah Y.

    Thank you for your help !

    I have accepted a top offer at a BB (think CS, JPM, BS) this summer!

    I have a problem in that I would like to get into their M&A group or Sponsors Group. I would, at the end of the summer, like to transfer into another BB. If I do not get this firm, will it be difficult?

    1. Not necessarily, depends how much the people there like and trust you and how much networking you can do – people do transfer but it does take some effort.

  26. Hello Brian,

    I am an international student from New York. I’d like to ask whether bulge brackets and other investment banks care about the job applicant’s residency status? Do they prefer Greencard-holders over international students? If yes, how to tackle that problem?


    1. Yes I think they do but not sure of the details.. aim for large banks as its much easier to get visa sponsorship there.

  27. Hi Brian, I am currently a junior in a semi target school in nyc. I am in a situation where I am getting my work authorization papers by the end of this year. So I had two questions:

    1) would it be a smart move to postpone my graduation by going to school part time so i have one more summer?

    2) If i do graduate on time what are my chances of landing a IB position with no relevant work experience but a high gpa.

    Thank you.

    1. 1) Yes.
      2) Very low.

  28. Which boutiques would you clump into “elite” status? There’s some debate on this and I’m curious of you’re opinion. Thanks

    1. I don’t really like ranking or classifying banks because it always provokes controversy and there is no one right answer. Generally if a bank advises on deals over $1B USD and is seen alongside bulge bracket firms it would be classified as an elite boutique. So, your best source is to look at the recent deal announcements on their sites and see what they’ve done recently. There are only a few “elite boutiques,” a few others are well-known but don’t have the same status, and the 99% or so of other boutiques would be classified as regional boutiques because they advise on much smaller deals.

  29. Hi Bri!!
    I wanna thank you soooo much for your help here in M&I cause I got an offer from ibanking in a buldge bracket (the one that never sleeps, funny slogan for a bank)!! The only I interviewed in IB, so the input-output ratio is incredible! It was my second interview ever and it went wonderful (except for some tech questions, but I guess they liked so much my personality they didn t mind).
    The issue I have now is that I’m waiting for the answer from a Private Banking interview I had, in the top bank in this area. So now I’m starting to worry ’cause if I get both offers I have no idea what to choose. Can you give me your opinion on this?

    1. Most people would take IB over private banking any day of the week, so I think it’s an easy decision.

  30. To Brian: can you put in an edit function for comments to fix those (like mine above) that were submitted prematurely by accident? Thanks

    1. I’ve thought about it but then we would need to allow user registration here, which would cause security issues and other problems. But I’ll see if there’s a way to add Edit Comment functionality without having user registration.

  31. Blackstick, you’d be giving up far more than 100-200 dollars if you don’t get the job; it’s a small cost to pay. Face to face interviews are always better than phone, no question. It’s much easier for the interviewer to get a feel for you and to get to like you; both critical in landing the role. Going for the face to face, even with the hotel costs, shows that you are serious when you say you want the job as well.

  32. Off topic sorry but didn’t know how else to send this over.

    You may have seen this but check this out!

    Do an article on how to take rejection and keep in good graces with HR/recruiters so that they think of you when someone pulls out of the intake at the last minute!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. Not sure there’s enough for a 3,000-word article, but something on what NOT to do in general would be a good idea…

  33. blackstick

    Hey brian,

    Tbe company that I’m interviewing at for a 2nd round will not cover for hotel costs, even though it’s needed. Should I pay 100-200 dollars to do in-person interviews or instead do phone interviews which were offered as an alternative..


    1. Blackstick, you’d be giving up far more than 100-200 dollars if you don’t get the job; it’s a small co

    2. Definitely pay the fee. Use to find a cheaper-than-hotel place to stay. As Adam said it makes a huge difference and you’re looking at $100 vs. a job that pays $100k+…

  34. Brian, you have an awesome site, and I am an avid follower.

    I am an international MBA applicant (lawyer by training, zero finance experience); I hope I’ll make it through Ross and Duke (already invited to interviews).

    Which school would you chose in order to land an IB summer internship? (I know, I know, they are not finance schools by definition, but this is the best I can possibly get into).

    Also, how would you suggest I should prepare for IB job during the coming months before the program starts?

    Thank you for your thoughts. It’s an amazing resource you have here.

    1. They’re both about the same, I’m not 100% certain which one is better, but I think Ross probably has more MBA-level recruiting out of tradition. If you do a search on the site for “preparation” there are a couple tutorials on the topic.

  35. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for your resources and this great article. I’m still having a dilemma… I’m torn between BX M&A in Boston where I’ve met the small team and had a good connection with them versus MS generalist in NY. I’m leaning towards BX but I’m worried that being in Boston would put me at a disadvantage in terms full time. Do you think this is actually a legitimate concern?

    1. Boston would be a slight disadvantage, yes, but it depends where you want to work ultimately. I would go with BX if you had the better fit there.

  36. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the article. As always, got some of the best advice. I am currently in a dilemma similar to the previous posts. I only managed to land an offer in top BB IBD(GS/MS) in HK and regional MBB (William Blair/Robert Baird). If I am interested in full-time in NYC in BBs, which one I should choose? I am from an ivy (but not HYP) and network and OCR are not strong.

    Additionally, I got into several final rounds for NYC BB internships but just did not get the job. Recruiters called and told me to “keep in touch” as full-time recruiting comes around. How would you suggest I should find out what went wrong in my interviews and network during the summer.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. In that case I would go with the HK offer as a middle-market offer outside of New York won’t help much; just stay in touch with interviewers and email them near the end of your internship to ask about accelerated recruiting.

      1. Thanks! Sorry for what may be a stupid question, but how exactly does accelerated recruiting work? Who are the people that usually get the accelerated interviews and do accelerated recruiting give you a better chance to get an offer than regular full-time recruiting?


        1. M&I - Nicole

          The deadlines for accelerated recruiting are earlier (i.e around Oct) but you’re only allowed to submit your application once for the recruiting year and not allowed to make additional changes to your application once submitted. You may have the opportunity to secure internship positions in the fall once the bank’s summer internship recruiting begins. People who study abroad over the spring or have a v strong application and are pretty sure they’ll get the interview can apply early. Otherwise, you might want to wait to improve your app & apply at normal recruiting season

  37. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for all the great resources you are providing.

    I have a quick question regarding Asia. I recently accepted a summer internship at a top BB in Hong Kong. I know that I want to return State-side for after graduation job in banking, but given my previous two summers (and this upcoming one) were all internships/study abroad in Asia, I am afraid I might be pigeon-holed into starting my career in Hong Kong. Is there a way to avoid this when full-time recruiting comes around? Can having all these experiences in Asia hurt my chances for a full-time BB offer in New York for instance? I go to a top Ivy if that would affect any considerations.

    Thank you so much for any insight you might provide. The resources and interviewing prep available on M&I are invaluable.

    1. It can hurt you a bit, yes, because they see your resume and instantly assume you want to be in Asia. To get around that, maybe make it clear on your resume that you actually want to start in NY or tell that to everyone you meet when networking.

      1. Thanks for the reply. Forgive me for asking the obvious, but how would I go about making it clear on my resume that I want to start in NY? I always assumed that having something along the lines of an “objective” on the resume was unnecessary at the undergrad level. Thanks again, Brian.

        1. You could still include something like that at the top for special cases like this one, but the better method is to talk to people at different banks and bring it up in your conversations with them.

  38. Banker Aussie

    Hey Brian

    As I remember you writing about being in Australia recently I thought you may have a better idea about the banking sector here. I have completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne with Honours and a high average (85+). I have completed internships at Goldman Sachs Australia, Macquarie Capital and KPMG doing M&A. Would any of this give a young aspiring banker a chance in NYC at middle mark or bulge bracket firms?

    1. I am honestly not sure about that and I actually haven’t even arrived in AU yet due to visa problems. I would say GS is definitely the most transferable to US experience; Macquarie doesn’t have the same reputation in the US and KPMG is viewed as a notch below banks. But yes I think you have a shot.

  39. Should I just give up? Almost everything I read talks about internships, is this industry just for students about to graduate? I studied Finance for the purpose to get into IB, however after I graduated from a non-target school with a GPA of 3.76 and no job prospects in IB, I had to take accounting jobs to survive for a year and then went back to school to get a Master’s in Finance from Johns Hopkins , why would you ask because I had to, as an international student I couldn’t get a job due to my visa requirements, so the only way I could stay and explore opportunities was to go back to school. Banks were not eager to sponsor me and because I didn’t know anyone in this country, my networking sucked! Fast forward a few years, I am a resident so I don’t have those employment restrictions anymore, but I am 28 years old, with a resume full of accounting experience, a Masters in Finance, great GPA, can’t afford to get internships as I need the money to survive ( have a daughter). I understand that I am in the worst situation ever to compete with young students from target schools, but I am still holding on to my dream of getting into IB at an analyst level. I still send hundreds of resumes to banks even though the only times they get back to me is to give me a big fat no. Am I just a fool?

    1. The problem is that it gets more and more difficult to break in the more experience you have. So you can still get in now but you’d probably have to aggressively network at boutiques (cold-call every single place dozens of times), or aim for top MBA programs.

      1. I might get an offer @ MS on the Operations Side doing either Securities Lending or Letter of Credit. Given my background, and the fact that I can’t waste anymore time, should I just get into Operations? Will a securities lending or Letter of Credit position be any helpful for future moves? At least I will be in industry as opposed to staying in corporate finance/accounting. Thanks again

        1. Yes I would take that if you get it.

        2. How does a Corporate Letter of Credit work? Or a Corporate Letter of Credit Facility work?

  40. Hi Brian,

    Great article and a sense of humor :)
    “…so if you’re certain you want to do tech banking and then venture capital, then sure, do your internship in San Francisco.”

    Can you share your thoughts on how to get an internship/FT junior position in SF for someone living/studying/working in NYC? I graduated from a target school, interned for almost a year at a local no-name boutique and had modest success getting my start-up project into the final rounds with startup incubators. So I want to work in a technology/digital media group and SF seems to be a good fit here. However, I am not sure that “New York, NY 10001” address improves my chances of landing interviews.

    Any ideas how to solve this problem? Get in touch with alumni?Network with bankers who studied/worked on the East coast, or simply change my address to Berkeley, CA?


    1. Speak to alumni, make a weekend trip out to SF, find bankers who started in NY and then moved there – weekend trip or even a week-long trip is the best idea as it shows you’re serious about moving there.

  41. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the great article, but I do have one question. I go to a top public school and Goldman Sachs recruits there but they only recruit for their Operations department in Salt Lake City.

    Now i’m not really a big fan of salt lake, but I was wondering if getting experience working for GS in a non-IB department would be better than getting IB experience in a potentially smaller/less prestigious company.

    Also, do you think that GS makes it easy to switch over to better areas (SF, NY) or will it be hell. I don’t trust the recruiters to tell me the real thing.

    Thanks a lot. :)

    1. Personally I still think it’s better to do IB at a smaller firm. Yes, the GS name is helpful, but Salt Lake City is far from a financial center and back office roles are discounted anyway. It’s still quite difficult to move elsewhere unless you have connections in those other offices.

  42. Great article, Brian. Huge M&I fan here.

    I currently only secured a BB summer offer in HK (think ECM/DCM), but I know for sure that I want to be in NY after graduation. How hard is it to secure a full-time offer in NY after an SA stint in HK? Would it make a difference when I participate in full-time on-campus recruiting (I go to a top target; think HYP). Thanks again.

    1. If on-campus recruiting at your school is strong you can still do it – HK to NY is more of an issue if you have to network your way in without much formal recruiting at your school.

  43. Great article.

    Fortunately my decision was one you have covered before and much simpler; BB Ops or boutique IBD. I only applied to Ops as a backup so I’m really glad I held out on accepting the Ops offer and now I have something much better.

    After I left a comment on this site in December saying I was worried about receiving no offers (due to my non-target Uni) you suggested to apply to more boutiques. This advice was excellent and it has worked for me!

    Thanks again.

    1. Congrats on the offer!

  44. Can this guy with four internship-offers please handover one of them to me?

    1. We should start a secondary market for internship offers…

  45. Great article. I was wondering if you could touch upon a middle-market firm like William Blair based in Chicago vs. a Bulge-bracket regional office in Chicago. In this situation there seems to be several different factors and was wondering your take on it.

    1. That’s a good one – I would still probably lean toward the bulge bracket there, even if the actual experience isn’t as good, since it’s just an internship. But I don’t think either one is necessarily a mistake.

      1. Great thanks. What would you say for full-time? Just trying to think ahead for maybe next year.

        1. Full time it really depends what you want to do after – if it’s mega-funds, the BB is still probably better, otherwise William Blair might be better for the experience.

  46. Thanks for a great article. How about unknown boutique vs. MBB, in a capital of a random European country? Seems like banking is better than consulting, but what if the boutique is very local while the consulting internship has top-notch training and prestige?

    1. I would say MBB there, even if you want to do banking after graduation – lots of interns move around.

  47. Thanks Brain, M&I fan here.

    I’m in HK now, My situation here is that:

    top BB S&T (think GS/MS) vs
    Elite Boutique IBD (Asia Tops, say CICC alike) vs
    another BB IBD(think BAML, Barcap or DB)

    just came up with these names in parenthesis for example.(hope it works)
    all of them are in HK, what is your order of preference?

    Thank you a lot.

    1. Really depends on what you want to do because S&T and IBD are much different. If you’re set on S&T definitely go with the S&T offer, but if you’re still deciding or are leaning more toward IB I think the latter two would be better (decide based on people, if that’s a tie I would probably go with the bulge bracket).

      1. Thanks a lot brain,

        And yes I know no one else can help on the “figuring out what I want to do” question. However frankly speaking I can’t simply make decisions based on internet or vault without experiencing it myself. For GS I’ll probably start with sales but they are running a rotational SA program within S&T this year.

        Honestly, I lean SLIGHTLY towards IBD(division-wise) but GS (prestige-wise), and I guess that’s my problem.

        Thank you for your patience.

        1. If it’s rotational you don’t lose as much doing the S&T internship.

  48. freshly minted analyst

    Another great article Brian. Things can get a little carried away here from time to time with insignificant details so I’m glad you could poke some fun at that.

    I was just able to secure a full time offer with a Canadian “Big Five” bank in a resources sector (thanks so much for all of your help as this website was a great resource) so I was wondering if you could provide any insight on the transition to US BB? While our primary banks would still be technically “mid-market” when compared to the NYC bulge brackets, would it still be relatively well regarded in the US given the Canadian strength in the resources sector? I know it’s a rather specific question but I guess I’m just asking if a countries relative strengths and weaknesses are considered rather then just it’s size.

    Again, thank you very much for all of your help Brian as the website was invaluable in getting the position.

    1. Honestly not sure on that one (maybe someone from Canada could help here) but my guess is that you would stand the best chance of moving to a similar natural resources/energy group in the US. NYC bulge brackets may be possible as well but you would still be at a disadvantage next to someone coming from another NYC BB.

  49. ha finally some sense since on WSO this debate has been going on quite a long time now. Thanks Brian, good post as always

  50. Great article! Made me laugh a lot. Maybe it will restore balance to some WSO discussions;)

    1. Well, the goal is entertainment after all… glad to hear it.

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