Career Advice: IB / Asst PM / Analyst for Family Office

I’ve reached a crossroads in my career and have three different opportunities in front of me. I’m hoping to get some advice from people on the board. I know that the major factor in choosing is where I want my final destination to be in my career, but let’s throw that out of the equation for the time being and just discuss pros/cons of the below opportunities: 1) Associate at investment bank - mostly sell-side M&A for private, middle market companies 2) Asst PM at equity shop that utilizes enhanced indexing w/ tax mitigation strategies 3) Analyst at Family Office - don’t want to divulge too much but probably one of the most prestiguous FO shops around Any input would be appreciated - thanks!

I think M&A is sexier of the 3

I’d choose the family office for the golf and work/life balance…AND if this truly is a top family shop with a “prestigious” client list then for the potential $$ as well.

I agree that M&A is generally sexier but this is a smaller, regional IB shop that focuses only on private middle market (and is not in NY). Any other thoughts from folks?

who cares about whether its sexy or not? there are lots of job in finance that are sexy and pays lots more than i’m making right now that i wouldn’t even seriously consider if offered. (not that i would be offered) what kind of job do you want to be in? what’s going to make you happy? your family happy? i’d go with 3 as well, for the same reasons as commstudent

I’m currently in finance for a commercial bank so all three options are quite different. I’m leaning towards the 3rd option as well but I know that family shops generally don’t command the same respect from the street as other shops. Is getting good experience in a top family shop viewed favorably? I’m also speculating that this is the top shop…

I’d think that a top family shop is a great place to be, unless you are trying to work you way up to CEO of Goldman Sachs. If you get to the point of making investment decisions, you are likely to have a wide degree of lattitude in what you can do. Also, with the growing number of millionaires and billionaires around the world, I would think private wealth and family office management is going to be a growing field.

Having done both sellside banking and principal investments, I would also advise you to think in terms of a sustainable career and what your skills/strengths are. At your current level (Associate in a bank) you will probably do well in any of the 3 roles. As you become more senior, the required skill sets will change, and will change differently in these different jobs. Long-term success in M&A advisory means you have strong senior relationship mgmt skills and have drive to fight for deals. These traits are not so important if you are a fund mgr/portfolio mgr (although effective salesmanship will elevate you in any role), where anaytical skills and deep knowledge of markets and instruments carry more weight. You may not be so concerned about sustainability now, but it will seem more important once you are mid-thirties and up… hope that helps.

I think the family office is the way to go. If it is a top firm then you will have lots of opportunities there.

Surprised that the family office is the recommended route for those who answered. I would say staying broad and honing as many analytical skills as possible is the goal for the next few years prior to b-school. Any potential drawbacks going this path rather than the IB or asst PM opportunities?

THe money at the family office would probably be the least of the choices, but the hours would be the best.

I think the money is actually better for the family office at my current level (associate) w/ limited experience but at least I have the three letters after my name. I was thinking the bigger drawback to a family office is the lack of mobility since most are relatively flat structures.

One thing to keep in mind at youir stage is looking for a position that will keep the most doors open for you/have the best exit ops. The industry loves ex-iber’s and hedgies, so from a career marketign presepctive that may be the way to go. If you have been working in role #1 or 2 and want to switch to #3 you will have a way easier time than if you take 3 and try to get back into 1 or 2. Just a thought…