Independent ER or corporate law?

Hi all, I’m a recent undergraduate in Australia with two competing job offers: one is as an equity research analyst in an independent firm, the other is in a top-tier corporate law firm. My objectives are to do an MBA at a top-five B-school in the US or at LBS within the next 3-5 years (I got 760 on the GMAT, and don’t want to let it go to waste!). After that, if I’m still interested in finance, I’d ideally go into VC, or failing that, PE or a hedge fund. Which offer puts me in a better position to do what I want? The analyst position would give me experience with, well, analysis and modelling, and I think would be a bit more interesting. On the other hand: - M&A lawyers get great exit opportunities into IBD, and I would assume this extends to PE, etc as well; - the law firm has fantastic name recognition overseas, especially in London, where a legal job in the City might really help open doors in finance; - if I change my mind about finance later down the track, I can’t go back to the law.

definitely corporate law - better prestige, learning experience, and exit opportunities. in principle, independent research firms serve a good purpose, but in practice there really aren’t many firms that have been able to establish a truly solid and repeatable business model and most people don’t really care about them. of course, neither of these opportunities really prepare you well to get into VC or PE; if those are what you really want to do, you should go into banking. however, if you do get close to M&A work in the law gig, you could move into banking then and then transition to the buy-side if that’s what you really want to do. but you will most likely not be able to get into PE directly without operating or transacting experience, and nobody should tell you otherwise. many PE firms retain their own attorneys to handle legal work. anyway, i hope this helps. it sounds like you generally have little idea what you want to do longer term as you need to develop a broader understanding of what each of your jobs offer and what would truly be attainable exit opportunities, but hopefully this is a start.

Thanks a lot! I do have some idea of what I want to do long-term, but as you can see, I am definitely hazy on my potential exit opportunities. I know that the traditional ER exit is to go into the buy-side, and law can exit into (relevantly) IBD, but that’s about it. That’s another reason why I want to do an MBA - I figure that will give my exit opportunities a big boost. Hedge funds don’t really interest me as much as VC/PE do – I mentioned them because I understand that they’re a leading exit opportunity for ER analysts. Do “operating or transacting experience” include “handling the legal work on buyouts and getting an understanding of how they’re structured”? Have a great Xmas and New Year!