What Pre-MBA Candidates Value In Their First Buyside Role

Every year a new class of investment banking and consulting candidates are recruited years in advance of their employment contract’s matriculation dates into buyside roles. Over three hundred respondents numerically ranked the importance of various criteria during their search process. Below is a work location breakdown of respondents[1]:

[1] Other includes BB&T Capital Markets, BlackArch Partners, BMO Capital Markets, CIBC, Cowen Group, CRA International, Deloitte, Financial Technology Partners, Foros Group, GCA Savvian, Hamilton Lane, HSBC, Jefferies, Lincoln International, Miller Buckfire, Mitsubushi UFJ, Nomura Securities, Oppenheimer, Parthenon Group, PJ Solomon & Company, Petrie Partners, Petsky Prunier, Raymond James, RBC Capital Markets, Robert W. Baird, Sagent Advisors, Sandler O’Neill,  Simmons & Company, Societe General, Starwood Capital, Stifel Nicolaus, Tudor Pickering, VRA Partners and some additional firms not mentioned to protect anonymity of respondents.


Force Ranked Pre-MBA Candidate Preferences

Pre-MBA candidates forced rankings were used to create a weighted average raw score. For context, 45% of pre-MBA candidates placed Firm Prestige as either 1 or 2 on their list while only 20% placed Work/Life Balance as either 1 or 2 on their list.

Although junior financiers valuing the market perception of a firm is not at all surprising, it is still interesting to see such transparency regarding this market sentiment. Pre-MBA candidates openly admit to chasing prestige in their next role over all other factors such as work/life balance and compensation. It is also important to note the downfall of business school placement as a decision-making factor. This sentiment seems to be fueled by the reduced marketability of an MBA degree in the alternative investment industry as well as the increasing number of alternative investment managers who have begun to offer career-track positions to candidates without MBAs.

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