Falling salaries, onerous regulation and job cuts have curtailed investment banks’ appeal.
If you’re still set on a career in high-finance, however, you should know what employees have to say about firms before you fire off your résumé.
Vault.com, a career information site, has released its annual ranking of the world’s 50 best investment banks to work for.
We’ve compiled the data into a league table below.
More importantly, Vault has collated the opinions of 3,000 investment bankers to provide a picture of life inside Wall Street.
Vault polled the bankers on categories such as culture, compensation, prestige, business outlook, diversity, satisfaction and training.
Goldman Sachs ranked no 1 after taking silver the year before. What makes Goldman an attractive employer is the power of the bank's brand, said Pascal Michels at IESE Business School — Goldman topped Vault’s prestige category. The firm is widely considered to be the top dealmaker on Wall Street, its prowess underscored by its top ranking in M&A league tables. “M&A kings, most prestigious overall, great deal flow,” one Goldman employee said.
Goldman insiders spoke about the firm’s talented and hard-working bankers, a collaborative culture and great learning opportunities. However, Goldman bankers also slammed a demanding workload, leading to stress and anxiety, and political red tape.
“When students look at Goldman as a potential employer, they know they are going to get stretched, challenged,” Pascal said — but work-life balance concerns are common across the investment banking industry, he added.
Ranking no 2 on Vault’s list is Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley, up from bronze a year earlier. Here too, bankers decried “long hours and [a] high pressure environment”. But Morgan employees lauded the firm’s intelligent workers, top tier clients, development opportunities, plus prestige.
While Vault’s top tier includes prestigious firms, boutique investment banks have made inroads this year.
This underscored the smaller firms’ continued rise in the investment banking league tables, as well as their successful implantation of various workplace policies, according to Vault.
Centerview Partners, founded a decade ago by a senior UBS banker, broke into Vault’s top-three.
Centerview bankers lauded the firm’s camaraderie and helpfulness, which may be needed to slog through “very demanding and unpredictable hours — when things get busy, they get very, very busy”, one said.
You’ll be well compensated for the effort, however: “Highest compensation on the Street — by a wide margin,” another Centerview banker said.
Here’s the top 25: