Best investment banking Groups
“Help! I have an offer but now I don’t know which group to list as my top choice! Should I go with M&A, LevFin, or pick an industry group instead?”
“I have offers at the M&A group of a lesser-known bank and the Consumer Retail group of a better-known bank – which one do I pick?”
So, how do you pick your group as an investment banking summer analyst (or associate)?
CAN You Even Pick Your Group?
Assuming that you’ve won at least 1 investment banking offer, there are 3 possibilities:
- You have multiple offers, and they’re with different groups and possibly different banks.
- You have 1 offer with 1 bank, and they’re letting you select your group.
- You have 1 offer with 1 bank, but you will be assigned to a group or you’ve already been assigned.
Case #3 is easy: you can’t do much. You could appeal to anyone you know well or anyone you got to know via recruiting, but large banks are rigid.
Case #1 is also easy: pick the best-known bank. No matter what group you’re placed in as a summer intern, the chances of you getting “real” work are slim – so go for brand name instead.
It’s Case #2 – when you get to pick your group – where things become more interesting.
The Usual Process
- Bank gives you a list of possible groups and a deadline – a few weeks to a month – to rank your preferences.
- You give your preferences and rank different groups.
- Then, you hear back from the bank with your group assignment.
Except for figuring out which ranking is best and what you can do to affect the outcome.
Let’s talk about how to rank the groups first before getting into how you can manipulate the process to your own ends.
1. The People
You want to be working with as few Sycophants as possible and as many full-time Analysts / Associates who take one for the team as you can.
Some groups are relaxed and chill, while others make you want to gouge out your eyeballs with bicycle spokes and then jump into an alligator-filled acidic lake.
You’ll be working most closely with full-time Analysts and Associates, so those 2 groups matter the most – but it’s also worth considering VPs and up because they will determine your fate as a full-timer.
Turnover rates are high, but you’ll see much less of a change over 3-4 months vs. 1 year.
2. Deal Flow / “Real” Work
In theory this is true, and in an ideal world you would base your group selection on how much modeling / client work you’d be doing.
3. Full-Time Offer Conversion Rate
Judging by the amount of email I get on which groups “have the best full-time offer conversion rates, ” you’d have to assume that this is another important criterion for group selection.
4. “Game Theory”
M&A or Leveraged Finance are the best because you do the most technical work there, right?
Not if everyone else ranks those as their #1 or #2 choices.
Your chances are slim if all 20 summer interns say that M&A is their #1 choice but the M&A group only needs 5 interns.
So you need to keep in mind what other interns are likely to pick as well.
5. Regional / Industry Experience or Expertise
This one can also factor into your decisions – but at the summer intern level you probably won’t have much specific expertise.
If you do happen to be the former CEO of the largest energy company in Russia or you just happen to speak 10 languages fluently, sure, leverage that and go to the group that’s most compatible with you.