Which are the best banks to work for after business school? From JP Morgan to Goldman Sachs to Evercore, find out which financial institutions top the Vault ranking of global banks in 2023
While controversies around workplace culture have dogged the sector in recent years, finance remains one of the most popular industries for business school students. More than 40% of prospective students named it their target industry in a 2022 GMAC survey.
So which are the best banks to work for?
Each year, careers platform Vault/Firsthand surveys thousands of employees in investment banking to compile a list of the best banks to work for. Each company is ranked overall, as well as according to multiple factors such as prestige, culture, compensation, work-life balance, and training.
Here are Vault’s top 25 banks to work for in 2023.
Best Banks To Work For: Vault Ranking
25. Barclays Investment Bank (Americas)
A leading Wall Street investment bank, Barclays serves 48 million global clients across divisions including retail banking, mergers & acquisitions (M&A), and wealth management. A large multinational, the firm’s research team alone comprises more than 750 research analysts.
Vault ranks Barclays as the 15th most prestigious banking firm and the 25th best bank to work for.
Named among Fortune’s ‘Most Admired Companies’, Jefferies is an American multinational investment bank and financial services firm with headquarters in New York, London, and Hong Kong.
The company is renowned for its emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), though survey respondents say the firm could do more to include ethnic minorities and women. Vault ranks Jefferies as the 14th most prestigious bank.
23. Citi Institutional Clients Group
Part of the financial services provider, Citigroup—one of the world’s leading financial institutions—Citi Institutional Clients Group provides financial solutions to high net worth and institutional clients. These include governments and some of the world’s most influential individuals.
As Citi’s investment banking arm, the firm is split into divisions covering capital markets, corporate and investment banking, markets and securities, private banking, and treasury and trade. It ranks 12th among the most prestigious banking firms, according to Vault.
22. Qatalyst Partners
Qatalyst Partners is a global independent investment bank working with tech companies including the likes of Google and LinkedIn to provide specialist strategic advisory and M&A services.
The boutique investment bank was founded in 2008 by three former bankers from Credit Suisse, and has since gone on to specialize in four key areas: consumer and internet, enterprise software, communications technology, and semiconductors.
21. Bank of America Corp.
Among the world’s most well-known banks, Bank of America (BofA) is an American multinational investment bank and financial services firm. It offers solutions to a wide array of clients and has developed a reputation as a socially-conscious bank, with a suite of programs designed to service underrepresented groups and minorities.
Vault ranks BofA as the ninth most prestigious bank, while survey respondents highlight the firm’s internship program, which provides live deal experience and mentorship opportunities.
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20. JP Morgan
Another US institution that’s a global leader in financial services, JP Morgan is the investment bank of JPMorgan Chase & Co. the world’s largest bank by market capitalization.
Headquartered in New York, JP Morgan is one of Wall Street’s most prestigious investment banks. Vault ranks it the third most prestigious banking firm, while the survey identifies the bank’s strong career development opportunities through training programs, mentorships, and opportunities to move within locations and divisions.
19. Goldman Sachs & Co.
Vault ranks Goldman Sachs & Co. as the most prestigious bank to work for. Goldman works with clients ranging from individuals to governments and is a leader in investment banking, securities, and investment management services. The firm has been one of the key sources of culture-related controversy in recent years.
While company prestige contributes to it being one of the top banks to work for, survey respondents highlight that Goldman offers significant training to interns and junior staff, as well as very competitive compensation packages.
Goldman has also taken great steps with DEI initiatives, with some of those surveyed naming it the most progressive bank on Wall Street.
18. Loop Capital Markets
An investment bank providing services for governmental, corporate, and institutional clients, Loop Capital Markets is known for its strong DEI credentials. Vault ranks LCM as the top bank for diversity.
One survey respondent told Vault: “It feels like family, which I know sounds like a cliché but at Loop it's actually true.”
17. DC Advisory
DC Advisory is a mid-sized global investment bank that focuses on international deals. Its headquarters are in Chicago.
According to the survey, DC’s credentials lie in its ability to offer strong work-life balance to employees. Insiders highlight its collaborative culture with interns and junior bankers offered extensive support and responsibility.
Vault ranks DC third for work-life balance while the firm also ranks second for international opportunities.
16. Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH) operates as an investment bank in the energy industry. Headquartered in Houston, it provides advisory services across sales and trading, M&A, and research to leading companies within the industry.
Survey respondents pinpoint TPH’s strong wellness offering, which includes support with childcare, counseling, meditation, and nutrition. Vault ranks the firm fifth for racial and ethnic diversity as well as for relationships with managers.
15. BMO Capital Markets
A subsidiary of Canadian Bank of Montreal, BMO Capital Markets is an investment banking firm which provides various financial services to clients including governments, corporations, and institutions.
The Vault survey shows BMO as a company that gives a great deal of responsibility to interns and junior staff. There are also strong mentorship opportunities. BMO ranks fourth for internal mobility and sixth for ESG practices.
One insider told Vault: “People tend to be easy to get along with and willing to take the time to show new hires the ropes. However, the work-life balance is still not great, though probably better than at most other banks.”
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Cowen is a multinational investment bank headquartered in New York. With more than 1,700 employees, Cowen offers a suite of services including sales, trading, and equity and credit research.
According to insiders, full-time Cowen employees have access to a variety of wellness benefits as well as highly structured training and apprenticeship programs. Vault ranks Cowen fifth overall for ESG practices.
The firm does, however, receive mixed reviews when it comes to work-life balance. One employee said: “There is no real company-wide culture around appropriate work/life balance. It really boils down to specific personalities of different managers.”
13. Solomon Partners
One of the first independent investment banks on Wall Street, Solomon Partners is active within industries including healthcare, tech, media, and retail. Well-known Solomon clients include the likes of Brooks Brothers, Under Armour, and Netflix.
Survey respondents cite the firm’s civic engagement as well as the culture of acceptance at the company. Senior staff have respect for juniors' work-life balance and the firm is increasingly moving to recruit diverse candidates.
Vault ranks Solomon as the second best banking firm for culture as well as the third best firm for wellness.
12. Harris Williams
Virginia-based investment bank, Harris Williams, specializes in advising clients on M&A activity. With offices ranging across the US as well as London and Frankfurt, Harris Williams works on growth opportunities with a range of global clients.
According to Vault, Harris Williams interns gain early live-deal experience while the firm also has strong DEI credentials. It ranks as the second best bank for compensation and client interaction.
Insiders at the firm highlight the requirement for long hours, one employee told Vault: “There are no truly bad aspects of the quality of life, but the hours can be extensive—working until 3 a.m. for a week straight and things like that. But you’re not truly working that whole time. You need to be on call, though.”
11. Houlihan Lokey
An investment bank home to more than 2,600 employees, Houlihan Lokey is an M&A specialist that works predominantly with mid-sized clients.
The Vault survey reveals company interns get strong training opportunities and experience, while full-time bankers can tailor their own paths and benefit from a flexible culture that includes an unlimited vacation policy.
Some respondents say the firm’s promotion policy is too rigid, based on time spent rather than merit. Vault ranks Houlihan Lokey as the 11th best bank to work for, while also 10th for international opportunities and quality of work.
10. Greenhill & Co.
Founded by a former Morgan Stanley president, Greenhill & Co. is a relatively small investment bank employing around 360 people. It operates across the globe with offices ranging from Hong Kong to Stockholm and specializes in M&A and capital raising.
Vault ranks Greenhill as a top five bank for hours and international opportunities. Respondents say the firm has a strong culture with little expectation to work late, during vacations, or at weekends.
A Greenhill employee told Vault: “Work-life balance is entirely dictated by workload, so during lulls in activity you can certainly have some time to yourself. I have found the job to be manageable, and my life seems much better from a work-life perspective than my friends at other firms.”
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9. William Blair
A boutique investment bank headquartered in Chicago, William Blair provides advisory services in areas including growth and financing to clients ranging from entrepreneurs to corporations. The firm has around 2,100 total employees.
According to Vault, William Blair interns gain a great deal of practical experience including working on live deals. Senior and junior bankers regularly work together with a number of mentorship opportunities in place. The firm also offers a strong benefit scheme, with Vault ranking it first for both benefits and vacation policies.
8. Guggenheim Securities
Guggenheim Partners is a financial institution with more than 2,000 worldwide employees. Guggenheim Securities is the firm’s investment banking arm, which provides advisory services to a range of high-profile clients including Blackstone, Verizon, Paramount, and IBM.
Vault ranks Guggenheim as a top three bank for both ESG practices and business outlook. Respondents also reveal that, while work/life balance at the firm can be challenging, it offers a generous compensation and benefit scheme. They also highlight the company’s increasing focus on DEI.
7. Perella Weinberg Partners
Perella Weinberg Partners (PWP) is an independent investment bank operating in areas including M&A, capital markets, and growth capital. The firm went public in 2006 and now houses around 600 employees with headquarters in New York and other offices across the US and in Europe.
Vault ranks PWP among the top five firms for both informal and formal training. Survey respondents highlight the firm’s strong recent DEI recruitment and openness to feedback and mentorship. However, hours can be long and work-life balance initiatives depend on individual managers.
6. PJT Partners
Another independent investment bank, PJT Partners has offices across the US and key European locations such as London, Paris, and Frankfurt. It has one of the best known M&A divisions on Wall Street.
Survey respondents highlight the strength of PJT’s internship program, while junior bankers also reportedly get strong development opportunities and mentorship. Though hours can be extensive, PJT prioritizes wellness and is making moves to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
As well as one of the world’s best banks to work for, PJT is among the top five banks for women and for hiring processes, according to Vault.
A renowned specialist in M&A, Lazard is among the most prestigious investment banking firms. It has more than 40 offices across the globe with around 3,300 employees. The firm has two core divisions in asset management and asset advisory.
Insiders hail the Lazard internship program, which provides direct access to clients, senior bankers, and even executives. The firm also offers a hybrid work model and has no expectation for junior employees to work during vacations. Compensation packages at Lazard are among the strongest on Wall Street.
As well as ranking among the top five best banks to work for, Vault lists Lazard as the best bank for international opportunities and the fifth best for quality of work.
“There is a focus on keeping people and developing them, so retention is very important, especially for those who appear to have long-term potential,” one insider told Vault.
4. Morgan Stanley
A giant on Wall Street and one of the world's most respected investment banks, Morgan Stanley is ranked as the second most prestigious bank by Vault.
The firm has more than 70,000 employees working across three core divisions: wealth management, investment management, and institutional securities. With such a strong reputation, the firm regularly works on some of the largest deals in the industry.
While the fourth best bank to work for overall, Vault also ranks Morgan Stanley as among the top five banking firms for women.
Insiders highlight the firm’s growing DEI movements as well as a largely positive culture with hybrid working present across several divisions. As with all of the top investment banks, hours can be long and fast-paced.
One employee told Vault: “The firm has expanded its parental leave policy, and has become much more flexible on working from home, with the vast majority of people on a 3/2 schedule: three days in the office, two days working from home.”
Best Banks To Work For | Top 3
3. Moelis & Company
Moelis & Company employs around 1,000 people with offices across the globe. The firm offers financial advisory services to a host of clients that includes governments and leading corporations.
Employees say the company offers strong career development opportunities to juniors that even include classroom-based learning. The firm also offers above average compensation packages and a number of work-life balance initiatives.
Vault ranks Moelis & Company as the third best bank to work for overall, the second best company for quality of work, and the best for relationships with managers.
Evercore is an elite investment bank offering financial advisory services to a wealth of high-profile clients including the likes of AstraZeneca and Refinitiv. Core areas for the bank include M&A, public offerings, sales and trading, and financings.
Evercore has around 2,000 employees worldwide. Those who took part in the Vault survey said the firm’s training program is among the best around, while career support including mentoring is extensive. Vault ranks the firm among the top three for formal training.
Evercore employees typically work long hours, but the firm values vacation time and offers strong compensation packages.
One employee told Vault: “Evercore does a great job encouraging junior employees to take their vacations and unplug from work. However, that means when you're not on vacation, people are working quite hard. Sundays are work days more often than not.”
Centerview is the best bank to work for in 2023, according to Vault. The firm is one of the most prestigious M&A specialists around and works with many of the world’s largest companies. It houses offices in locations including New York, London, Paris, and San Francisco.
Industry insiders say Centerview interns gain a great deal of early responsibility, while there are also substantial development opportunities for juniors. The firm offers unique benefits including an in-office barista and gym, free breakfast and lunch, and a range of wellness initiatives.
Compensation at the firm has been top for some time, while it is increasingly focusing on DEI with recent hiring cohorts comprising around 50% women. Work-life balance can be a challenge with long hours sometimes necessary, though employees say management values their time.
“The firm is really focused on work/life balance and practices what it preaches. No ‘mandatory weekends off,’ which never seems to work, but rather a concerted effort to minimize wasted work and manage teams to allow members to attend important events,” an employee told Vault.
So now you know which are the best banks to work for in 2023,find out if finance is the right career path for you.
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