What I-Banks Now Pay Starting MBAs


“Show me the money!”

Remember that line from Jerry Maguire? Chances are, you won’t hear MBAs shout that at a recruiter. Normally, they don’t give recruiters an “are you in or are you out” ultimatum. They probably don’t brand themselves as a ‘valuable commodity’ who demands “personal attention,” either.

But don’t kid yourself: “Show me the money” is on the mind of most aspiring investment bankers. Wouldn’t you want to be paid after giving up two years of income (and incurring six-figure debt)? Question is, where is the best place to land the biggest paychecks (and bonuses)?


Wall Street Oasis

That’s where Wall Street Oasis comes in. This week, the website released its “Top 30 Investment Banks” for compensation, a percentile ranking based on how members answered, “how are you compensated compared to others in similar jobs?” (Respondents answered on a five star scale). Think of Wall Street Oasis as the Glassdoor for investment banks, private equity firms, consulting firms, and hedge funds. Like Glassdoor, it features company salaries, reviews, and interview information.

Last month, Wall Street Oasis produced percentile rankings on the best investment banks for professional growth and career advancement. Here, firms like Evercore, Blackstone Group, Houlihan Lokey, Goldman Sachs, and Piper Jaffray scored high. These firms (along with Harris, Williams & Company) also scored among the top performers in coaching, recognition, and fairness. In the investment banking sector, Wall Street Oasis provides one of the most precise looks at what bankers – particularly recent graduates – are earning in base and cash bonus.

That’s why Wall Street Oasis provided shared earnings for first-year analysts and associates to go along with the percentile ranking (See accompanying table on following pages). However, Patrick Curtis, Wall Street Oasis’ Founder and “Chief Monkey,” cautions that these figures are not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison. “Many of the positions at the bulge bracket banks that are “analyst” and “associate” positions are not front office investment banking positions (like at many of the boutiques or MM firms on this list).  Some of them are middle or back office positions which tend to have lower compensation.”

In addition, the positions aren’t broken out by divisions or industry sectors. As a result, Poets&Quants also included median base and cash bonus compensation for analysts and associates worldwide in its compensation table.

Bull 2


From culture to training to advancement, the top investment banks score high across the board. And it’s no different with compensation, where Blackstone Group and Evercore ranked #1 and #2 among Wall Street Oasis members. For example, the median average base for first year associates at Blackstone Group is $109K, with another $100K for bonus. At Evercore, the compensation is even better, with first year associates earning a median $130K base and a median $116K bonus. While this data is rooted in the honor system (i.e. the earnings were supplied by members from 2012-2014), they do reflect why employees would be satisfied with their earnings.

So what sets Blackstone and Evercore apart? In terms of compensation, Curtis argues that it comes down to their clientele. “I think what allows Blackstone and Evercore to pay so competitively is that they have very healthy deal flow, especially when you consider the number of employees they have compared to some of the bulge brackets.”

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