Why do you want to work in investment banking?
Don’t say you want money. You won’t last long. The hours, the pace, the pressure: it’ll eat you up before you can cash in your big bonus and move on to private equity. Huddled in secret, you’ll perform your numbers and tweak your pitchbook dozens of times. And you will also check your phone every 15 minutes in your spare time. When your business hits The Wall Street Journalonly a select few will know how you made it happen behind the scenes.
These are the negatives of investment banking. The positive, of course, is the learning: the exposure to a wide range of industries and complex models. Whatever you think of the lifestyle, it forces you to prove your worth each day. Significance and impact: This is the heart of banking — access to the best minds in business and the best in life.
BANKERS EVALUATE THEIR FIRMS…AND THEIR RIVALS
To take advantage of it, you need to choose the best institution to work for. Money is always a big consideration. The same goes for culture, training, work-life balance, career paths and long-term prospects. When it comes to the best combination of these variables, Centerview Partners again ranks above other investment banks.
For the second year in a row, Centerview Partners edged out Evercore in the Vault Banking 25. Moelis & Company and Morgan Stanley again retained the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, while Lazard jumped to 5th place.
The Vault Banking 25, released January 26, is a benchmark for investment banking excellence in North America. Launched in 2007, the Vault Banking 25 is based on a survey published by Vault Career Intelligence. This business has since emerged as Firsthand, an infobase company that collates market information to produce employer ratings, reviews and job opportunities in sectors such as banking, consulting and the right.
The Vault Banking 25 survey, which was conducted last fall, drew 3,600 responses from banking professionals – a major increase from the 3,000 respondents who took part last year. In this survey, respondents rate their businesses on a 10-point scale, where 10 is the highest possible score. This includes rating their employers on 20 metrics, ranging from benefits to wellness. At the same time, they also rate rival companies they know on Prestige. Additionally, respondents rate their company on four dimensions of diversity, including race, gender, and LGBTQ+.
Overall, the highest weight is given to Prestige, which accounts for 40% of the ranking weight. Corporate culture represents an additional 20%. Compensation, Business Prospects and Overall Satisfaction each get a 10% share. The remaining 10% is split between work-life balance and training. These weightings remained the same compared to the previous year.
CENTERVIEW TOPS FOR COMPENSATION AND CULTURE
What sets Centerview Partners apart in 2022? For one thing, the company had the highest scores for compensation, culture, formal training, and informal training – accounting for 40% of the overall survey weight. Similarly, Centerview Partners ranked 5th in prestige, a feat made all the more impressive by the company’s 0.37 point improvement in this area over the past year. It was also the biggest improvement among the top 25 companies.
And Centerview Partners was hardly left out in any other measure. For business outlook, work-life balance, and overall satisfaction — categories that make up the remaining 25% of the weight — Centerview Partners posted the second-highest scores. The company’s lowest score comes from International Opportunities (9th). At the same time, it ranked 2nd for gender diversity and racial diversity, with its lowest score being 4th for LGBTQ+ diversity. It’s excellence on every level – and it’s why Centerview Partners has outdone all comers.
Along with data collection, the Vault Banking 25 survey collects qualitative feedback. One area where Centerview Partners shines, according to an anonymous respondent, is work-life balance. “We tend to work on larger, more complex transactions, and our junior staff have a lot of client interaction,” writes one interviewer. “It’s what we signed up for and it makes working long hours worthwhile. But work/life balance is taken seriously and every effort is made to keep weekends and holidays clear without the need for a formal policy.
Another area where the firm excels, according to investigators, is informal training. Here, says another survey respondent, Centerview Partners places great importance on coaching and mentoring. “Everyone at the firm seems to be hyper-focused on mentorship. Everyone is ready to dedicate more time to their days to teach technical skills and provide a rewarding experience for junior bankers. This also extends to career development and future opportunities.
And the salary is just an added bonus, notes a third respondent. “Centerview is differentiated over the competition – it’s all cash and the payment structure is very fair and motivating.”
NECK & NECK WITH EVERCORE
Evercore was again the runner-up to Centerview Partners in the Vault Banking 25 2022. It fell just 0.14 points from first place despite ranking below Centerview Partners in all categories incorporated into the methodology except a: Prestige. In this area, Evercore finished 4th, nearly 0.10 points above Centerview Partners. Additionally, Evercore placed in the top three in a dozen categories, highlighted by the 3rd highest scores in formal training and hiring process. The firm also managed to place in the top three in two of the four dimensions of diversity (and 4th in the other two).
While Centerview Partners is praised for having “top street pay”, Evercore’s competitors have described the company as having “the best street talent”. Internally, Evercore professionals are equally optimistic about their leadership and long-term prospects.
“There’s a ton of growth on the horizon,” observes one respondent. “We are well positioned in a number of sectors with excellent people, culture, leadership and reputation. It will continue to be extremely busy, and although we have added so many people, we may not have the staff to handle the workload.
“Employees have the greatest support from company leadership,” adds another. “Every deal the company advises on is announced through the company to which the CEOs and founder respond and congratulate the team. The company knows where the market is moving , and is well sized and well positioned to advise its clients effectively.