Weekly Reader Q&A: Elite Boutiques, Moving To The Buyside Early And How To Dress For Success As A Summer Intern
Another crazy week at work (pending deals and, you, know, everyone getting laid off and leaving me with all their work to finish) and another weekly reader Q&A while I find time to write more 3,000 word articles…
“I had multiple full-time bulge bracket offers but instead opted to go to a recently founded “elite” boutique with a very well-known founder. I thought the experience, exposure and overall environment would be much better.
I had assumed that my exit opportunities would be at least as good as those of most bulge bracket analysts, given the prestige and selectivity of this firm. However, after reading about how well-recruited bulge bracket analysts are, I found myself wondering whether this will work out as I had initially thought.
Moelis hasn’t even graduated its first analyst class yet, and some of the other newly founded boutiques have only had a few years of analysts in their ranks. Given the very “young” status of my firm, will my access to recruiters, private equity firms and hedge funds be as good as I had initially thought?”
First, I should clarify one point here: back when I wrote my article on boutiques vs. bulge brackets, I was referring to regional boutiques and small firms that are not widely known.
Places like Lazard and Evercore, though technically “boutiques,” are a completely different ball game and you would get nearly the same access to recruiters there as you would at bulge brackets.
As for your own situation, it’s hard to say since your firm is new and doesn’t have a track record. I would guess that your recruiter access will probably be better than it would be at a middle-market or regional boutique, but not as good as what you would get at a bulge bracket or “prestigious” boutique.
If I were in your situation I would not even rely on recruiters. Since the firm is smaller and the founders are widely known, I would leverage their connections and have them make personal introductions. That will be a much more powerful way to get private equity interviews and get in front of other buyside firms.
Moving To The Buyside Early
“One thing you haven’t talked about in detail on the site is moving to private equity or hedge funds early. You mention briefly that you can/should move to buyside after a year if you know that this is where you want to be, but you don’t say how to go about it, if it is realistic, and what downsides there are. Is it worth applying to large-cap private equity firm after a year on the job or do you just not have a chance?”
While it’s possible to move to a large private equity firm after a year in banking, it’s not exactly easy, especially with current market conditions. I had a few friends who did this; the main downside is that you won’t work less at these places (you might actually work more, believe it or not).
If you like private equity more than investment banking, that’s one thing, but you shouldn’t jump over to private equity after a year-long analyst stint because you want better hours – you won’t get them.
If your goal is to work in finance while working less, it’s more rational to go to a hedge fund after a year. It’s also much easier to make this sort of transition, as hedge funds tend to be less structured in recruiting; as an added benefit, you also work a lot less since you’re only there when the markets are open.
“Reputation damage,” or looking bad because you leave a year early, is much less of a concern than you probably think. People hop around so much on Wall Street and turnover is so high that no one is going to care much if you do this.
You probably can’t get a recommendation or reference from your bank if you leave early, but this type of move is not going to ruin your career or anything.
How To Dress For Success As A Summer Intern
“Help! I have a bulge bracket internship coming up and I don’t know what to wear! How many suits should I buy? Is 10 enough?! Should I buy 20?
Is spending $10,000 on clothes enough or should I allot $20,000? How many shoes/pants/shirts do I need?”
Summer intern attire seems to be a hot topic (in that I’ve received multiple emails/messages similar to the above over the past week), so before the summer starts I will write a full-length post on this topic.
For now, though, let’s get the basics out of the way.
DO NOT SPEND $10,000 ON CLOTHES FOR A SUMMER INTERNSHIP.
You shouldn’t even spend that much on clothes for a full-time job unless it’s absolutely required.
You don’t need 10 suits, let alone 20. In my experience you don’t even need to wear a suit at most banks, at least as an intern.
Even if you do need to wear a suit each day, 2 or 3 is probably enough. And if you don’t need to wear suits every day, 1 will suffice.
I would suggest enough shirts to last 1-2 weeks and maybe a few pairs of pants. 2-3 pairs of shoes is probably fine. Keep in mind that 1) you will not have a ton of time for laundry/dry cleaning and 2) you don’t actually need a new suit/new pants /new shoes for each day of the week.
I know some people may disagree with me, but I would recommend going to outlets (there are a bunch in the NYC area) or buying clothes on sale to save money – do not spend hundreds of dollars on a single shirt, or even $100 on a single shirt.
- Fashion matters less in banking than most people think. Yes, you have to look presentable, but you don’t need to go out and buy a $5,000 suit to get a full-time offer. In fact people might make fun of you for doing this.
- This is just a summer internship and you don’t even know whether you want to be a full-time banker yet. Why spend $10,000 on clothes that you don’t end up wearing ever again?
I can offer these suggestions because I’ve overspent on clothes for both internships and my full-time job and looking back on it now, wish I hadn’t spent so much.
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