50 Best Investment Banks to Work For in 2018

Published: Sep 06, 2017

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Today, we released our annual Vault Banking 50, a ranking of the best investment banks to work for in North America. This year, Goldman Sachs again took the top spot, ranking No. 1 and thus keeping the title of the "best investment bank to work for." Goldman edged out Evercore, which ranked No. 2, and Centerview Partners, which ranked No. 3. Goldman's overall score was 8.380, while Evercore scored 8.311 and Centerview scored 8.308.

Here are the top 10 firms in this year's Banking 50:

  1. Goldman Sachs
  2. Evercore
  3. Centerview Partners
  4. Morgan Stanley
  5. Moelis & Company
  6. Greenhill & Co.
  7. Lazard
  8. Perella Weinberg Partners
  9. Bank of America
  10. PJT Partners

Our rankings are derived from our annual Banking Survey. Conducted this past spring and summer, the survey asked 2,400 banking professionals of all levels to assess their peer firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige (they were unable to rate their own firm and asked to rate only firms with which they were familiar). They were also asked to rate their own firm in various quality of life categories, including compensation, hours, firm culture, business outlook, training, and overall job satisfaction. A weighted formula was applied to this data to create the Banking 50.

Goldman Is “Still the Best”

In addition to holding onto the top spot in the Banking 50, Goldman continued its dominance in our Banking Prestige Rankings, again ranking No. 1. This dual win highlighted the fact that Goldman's unmatched prestige coupled with its innovative workplace policies make it the “gold standard” of investment banking.

Here’s one Goldman Sachs banker speaking to us about the firm’s workplace policies: “The firm is extremely focused on improving work/life balance. In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve seen a tremendous difference, not only as a result of formal policies but also in the culture and mindset of those who work here.”

Other Goldman insiders note that the best things about working for the firm include “exposure to talented, thoughtful, respectful colleagues”; “the collaborative team-oriented environment”; and “the challenging, intellectually stimulating assignments.” Meanwhile, bankers at Goldman’s competitors call the firm “a finance machine,” “the gold standard,” “the best in breed,” and “still the best.”

Evercore Leaps to No. 2, Closing In on Goldman 

Evercore jumped two places from No. 4 to No. 2 this year in the Banking 50, underscoring its rise in terms of prestige as well as its focus on creating a healthy working environment for its employees. Along with its strong showing in the overall ranking, Evercore ranked No. 1 in two workplace categories: Formal Training and Informal Training.

Here’s one Evercore insider speaking about the quality of life at the firm: “We have an outstanding, very teamwork-oriented, and collaborative culture. The firm is filled with very intelligent people treating each other with respect and working together to give clients the best advice possible. The atmosphere is very positive—lots of high fives on wins and no dressing-down calls if you miss a piece of business. We try to help people balance their lives as best we can, but we have so much deal flow that it can be tough.” 

Banking Boutiques Keep Rising 

Moelis and Centerview, so-called “investment banking boutiques,” were also big winners in this year’s rankings. Moelis rose four places to No. 5 in the Vault Banking 50 and rose two places in the Prestige Rankings to No. 8. Its insiders noted that the firm has a “great culture” and “smart and dedicated people,” and offers “significant deal experience to junior bankers.” They also lauded their firm for its benefit offerings and deal flow, as Moelis ranked No. 1 in Benefits and No. 1 in Business Outlook. Bankers at peer firms called Moelis “highly respected,” “an elite boutique,” and “a firm on the rise.” 

Meanwhile, although Centerview stayed at No. 3 in the Banking 50 and at No. 6 in the Prestige Rankings, the firm saw a healthy rise in its raw scores in both categories, signifying that it could be contending for the top spot with Goldman and Evercore in the Banking 50 next year.

This year, Centerview insiders told us that “deal opportunities are unparalleled at the firm—you get to work on the largest, most interesting, challenging projects for large-cap clients.” They also noted that the firm is filled with “extremely talented, smart, and thoughtful senior bankers who care about your development,” and that the “comp is incredible—way above the Street average.” 

Centerview ranked No. 1 in nine workplace categories this year: Ability to Challenge, Compensation, Culture, Firm Leadership, Hiring Process, Internal Mobility, Promotion Policies, Relationships with Managers, and Overall Job Satisfaction

In other news from boutique firms at the top of the Banking 50, Greenhill rose one spot to No. 6 (and also ranked No. 1 in Hours and No. 1 in Work/Life Balance), Lazard ranked No. 7, Perella Weinberg Partners held steady at No. 8, and PJT Partners stayed at No. 10. 

Overall, this year’s rankings show that although no one’s catching Goldman anytime soon when it comes to prestige, boutiques like Evercore, Centerview, and Moelis are making big names for themselves on Wall Street, closing the gap between big firms and boutiques when it comes to being a top banking employer. Indeed, the boutiques have been making huge strides when it comes to creating healthier work environments for employees, and are seen as having a much better business outlook than Goldman and other top banking firms. Moelis, Centerview, and Evercore ranked No. 1, 2, and 3, respectively, in our Business Outlook category this year.

Still, it's important to point out that Goldman is still seen as a leader on Wall Street when it comes to innovative workplace policies. Goldman was the first bank to provide protected-weekend-day policies for junior bankers, no-working-past-midnight polices for interns, fast-track promotions, and a modern performance review system. It was also the first bank to implement wide use of video interviews during its campus recruiting.

Loop Capital, Goldman, and Evercore Lead the Way in Diversity 

In its second year in the rankings, Loop Capital Markets—a minority-owned full-service investment banking firm that serves clients across the globe—swept the Diversity Rankings. The firm came in at No. 1 in Overall Diversity, Minority Diversity, Female Diversity, and LGBT Diversity. Loop Capital insiders noted that the firm is “highly diverse and inclusive,” “the culture is all about diversity,” and “women hold four of the top five leadership positions that report to the CEO.” 

Other big winners in the Diversity Rankings this year included Goldman Sachs and Evercore. Goldman ranked among the top 3 in Overall Diversity, Minority Diversity, and LGBT Diversity. And Evercore ranked No. 2 in Overall Diversity, Female Diversity, and Minority Diversity.

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