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Overview

Introduction

Centerview is one of Wall Street's most highly respected M&A advisory firms. It's known for working on high-profile deals for clients like CBS, CVS Health, and Time Warner. Centerview is also known for compensating its people very well. Salaries and bonuses are top-notch, medical benefits are excellent, and it offers many other perks like free breakfast, catered lunches, and large dinner stipends. Recently, the firm made a huge push to improve its diversity recruiting efforts.

Company Stats


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Employer Type


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Size


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Featured Rankings

Vault Banking 25...


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Major Office Locations

Los Angeles, CA...


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Employment Contact

Emily Wittmann...

Firsthand Findings

Centerview is looking for hardworking, curious, personable, passionate, intellectual, well-rounded people with a desire to learn, a strong academic record, and the ability to quickly adapt to changing situations. For students, the firm runs a valuable internship program, exposing interns to live deals, senior bankers, clients, and top-notch training run by in-house bankers—who maintain an open-door policy for interns to ask any questions they might have. Overall, internships are representative of the first-year analyst experience.

For its full-time junior bankers, Centerview offers excellent formal and informal training—the high level of mentorship differentiates the firm from its peers. The firm invests heavily in developing its bankers, and its generalist model...

About the Company

In 2006, UBS Vice Chairman Blair Effron had dinner with his friend Robert Pruzan, a veteran investment banker and former CEO of Wasserstein Perella. The two men decided to capitalize on the lucrative M&A boom by going in to business together, opening a boutique they dubbed Centerview Partners—the name came from the view at their new office on the 19th floor of Rockefeller Center. The firm has since moved to larger offices in New York; it also has offices in Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Paris, and San Francisco. And today, that firm’s clients include 20 percent of the 50 largest companies in the world.

At Centerview, there are just two lines of business: M&A advisory and r...

Employee Reviews


  • “The firm’s view on culture starts at the top—which is to create an environment where people enjoy coming to work every day. This is multi-faceted and covers interaction with colleagues to intellectual stimulation of the work product to work/life balance. If someone is not enjoying a project, then tremendous effort is taken to rectify the situation. If an analyst has been working too many hours for too long, then they’re given mandated breaks to catch up on the life side of the equation. Throughout Covid, the firm has actively engaged the entire employee universe through weekly panel discussions covering a range of different topics, helping to preserve the collegial spirit and small-firm feel in a virtual setting. There are many examples of this—at Centerview, culture is a top priority, and the firm goes out of its way to preserve the principles on which it was founded.”
  • “One of the distinguishing factors about Centerview is that there isn’t really a facetime culture. When you’re busy, you’re expected to find a way to get your work done, but when you’re not busy, they really encourage you to take time for yourself to make sure you’re not burning out. Even when you’re incredibly busy, teams are still understanding of personal commitments and try to prevent burn out.”
  • “At Centerview, burnout is a dirty word. The staffers work hard to make sure everyone is working at a sustainable level—we work hard and can work long hours—but rest is work as well. Staffing has a good sense if someone is approaching a point where they’re overwhelmed and will step in to make sure that doesn’t happen. The firm has handled work from home very well, trying to be sure that our people draw a clear line between work and home, and strike a good balance.”
  • “Before joining Centerview, I worked for a bulge bracket bank and the hours were, without doubt, way worse than at Centerview, and the inefficiency was unbearable. When I came to Centerview, this changed completely. I could not be more surprised with how efficient and straight to the point seniors are. On the other hand, the staffers are constantly tracking, not only your hours but also you level of satisfaction with your staffings and with your teams. Also, because the firm has a tremendous deal flow, the hours are not constantly rough because deals aren’t always intense throughout the execution. No doubt, this is the place to pursue a long-term career in high finance without sacrificing your personal life.”
  • “It’s well known that Centerview’s compensation is well above the Street average, so I could not be more satisfied in this aspect. Also, they have great additional perks like dinner stipends and transportation back home at any time of the day when we’re in the office, which is in line with what other banks offer. Additionally, you have a cell phone stipend to cover monthly cell phone expenses. There are no negative aspects of Centerview’s compensation package. The best on Wall Street without doubt.”
  • “Compensation package is very competitive and includes a signing bonus when you start and annual year-end bonus. Compared to other investment banks, I believe our compensation package is definitely favorable. Signing bonus is very helpful when you’re beginning a new life in a financial center, as cost of living tends to be quite high.”
  • “I’m paid considerably more than friends are at other similar firms, across every level—it isn't even close. Our other perks like free breakfast, catered lunches, large dinner stipend, and free in-house barista are also unmatched.”
  • “Highest all-in comp on the Street, very little variability in top vs. lower buckets, no 401(k) company matching or ESOP.”
  • “Formal training ensures that everyone receives a baseline level of expertise, but the real and differentiated training is from mentorship and team engagement. Employees are given an outsized ability to ‘play above their role’ across the board—and this challenges even the most junior employees in a way that helps develop a top-notch skillset of both hard and soft skills. The lean firm and small deal team structure ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and that each team member can play an active and meaningful role in team engagements. It’s hard to get lost in the shuffle, which enables a well-rounded development progression at all levels.”
  • “Centerview really focuses on developing its people and giving them a long-term career path that’s exciting and challenging. We closely monitor the types of transactions or engagements each colleague has experienced so as to identify new projects that could be new and interesting. And there’s tremendous white space for up-and-coming bankers to explore and specialize.”
  • “The firm invests heavily in developing its bankers, including direct and active involvement from our co-founders and partners. The generalist model also allows junior bankers to gain a wide variety of exposure to different industries, transaction types, and client skills, which is a tremendous asset for development.”
  • “Everyone, all the way up to the partners, takes the time to mentor younger employees, whether that be providing the context of a situation via a one-to-one phone call or bringing you along to client meetings.”
  • “The firm has a ways to go to become a truly diverse workplace, but I’ve seen tangible improvements over the last few years and a huge push to improve our diversity recruiting efforts.”
  • “The firm actively recruits LGBTQ+ and veterans. Admiral Mike Mullin spoke on military leadership and was introduced by two veterans who are now bankers at the firm. Similarly, the firm was active in Pride Month awareness. There is no question the firm needs to do better representing diversity (as does every bank on Wall Street), but the renewed commitment and active measures already taken is wonderful to see. Even before the horrible events surrounding the death of George Floyd, the firm had become much more active on diversity equity and inclusion this year—but there has only been an increased sense of urgency as events have unfolded throughout the summer.”
  • “Heavily involved in the arts for NYC youth. Involvement in philanthropy is highly encouraged, and senior bankers are case studies. Laser-focused on doing better in diversity—'there are no diverse candidates in our core schools’ is not acceptable as a response.”
  • “I’m Latino and really feel that my colleagues and the firm in general appreciates the fact that I’m diverse and have a different background than my peers. Additionally, the firm really tries to foster a diverse environment where all ideas are heard.”
  • “The firm is as busy as ever, and it is reassuring to see how indispensable our advice is to a range of clients across the universe. Our business model of providing strategic advice—across any important matter of the day (not just M&A execution)—resonates very strongly with our client base and allows the firm to weather any cyclical market conditions.”
  • “The firm has been very busy in the last few months, engaged on all sides of client work. Although work from home has been undeniably challenging, there has been a lot of engagement, both within teams and with clients. Overall there has not been a drop in employee morale or any signs of weakness of the firm.”
  • “Employee morale is high. We have all been very busy during Covid-19, as our clients have continued to encounter complex problems through the global pandemic. We have advised on some of the year’s largest deals in 2020, and I believe the business outlook is very strong going forward. We hired our largest analyst class ever this year compared to other firms cutting employees. Also, at the beginning of Covid, we opened a Paris office, which has performed very well over the last few months.”
  • “Centerview distinguishes itself as the strongest thought partner of our clients. When the economy seems down on its luck as it does now, clients come to us with more strategic questions. When times are good, clients ask us for advice on how to maintain and improve their position. I believe our firm is able to thrive regardless of how the economy is doing. I wouldn’t hesitate to attribute this metric of overall success to our strong leadership team, which is comprised of more than 30 partners who take an active role in advising their clients.”
  • “Centerview offered me the opportunity to take on incredible responsibility by working directly alongside senior bankers and management with some of our top clients. They gave me the chance to learn firsthand the way business leaders make decisions, rather than just hearing about it from the sideline. ‘No facetime’ culture is also a huge benefit, as they don’t make you waste your time staying around the office if not necessary. People were great and always there to help you learn when doing something for the first time.”
  • “Training is provided by bankers in house—far superior to anything I heard from other banks. Fantastic intern bonding experiences with happy hours, organized activities, offsites, etc. The firm encouraged attendance, so teams always made sure you could go to them.”
  • “I really felt like the teams I worked with tried to give me real work. Over the course of my summer, I worked on building a model, building a management presentation, and was able to attend meetings with the client. Given these outsized responsibilities, you're often asked to work very long hours. I really enjoyed the teams I was working with and the work I was doing, so it wasn't too bad, but there were several 100+ hour weeks over the course of the summer.
  • “Lots of responsibility, flexible staffing model, no facetime requirements. Multiple intern events every week. Representative of a first-year analyst experience. Open-door policy mean seniors were available. Expectation are set high for interns, so there was a layer of stress, but I can’t say that’s Centerview-specific.”

Wellness Efforts

  • “Tremendous support for living a balanced life. Great medical benefits. Firm supports doing things outside of the office that you’re passionate about.”
  • “Huge area of focus and complete buy-in from the partners. Lots of individual check-ins. Many teach-in session on time management, career management, etc.”
  • “Firm is very interested in the wellness of their employees. For example, we have had a nutritionist in for wellness sessions so that we can keep energy levels constant throughout the day. We also have free counselling as part of our medical package. We take part in various events like parks runs in London with other financial firms. We’re also encouraged to play as part of the firm’s football team, which enters competitions.”
  • “While formal wellness programs aren’t as established as at some larger banks, the level of attention paid to junior/mid-level wellness by senior bankers far exceeds that at other firms (both competitive boutiques and large bulge brackets).”

 

Response to Anti-Racist Protests and BLM Movement

  • “Centerview’s leadership took immediate and meaningful action with regard to anti-racism. We’re a firm that believes in the individual and creating opportunity for everyone. I’m really impressed by how responsive Centerview is. Also, the firm makes meaningful charitable contributions to organizations supporting racial equality.”
  • “The firm quickly and actively responded to events across the nation (and globe), and this response included creating a committee to promote understanding and engagement. The firm also held a number of town hall discussions and panel events—where all employees are in attendance—to stand in solidarity with the community.”
  • “Tremendous response, led by co-founders and partners. Formed a DEI task force including bankers from all levels. Held several speakers and Q&A sessions with internal and external leaders on the topic. Very inclusive. Formed an internal group across levels to identify related charities to which the firm made significant monetary donations.”
  • “The firm held very open dialogue and addressed the matter immediately. The day after the initial protests, there was a firmwide conference call in which the firm reiterated its commitment to diversity hiring and allowed an open floor for employees to talk about their thoughts on the BLM movement, protests, diversity hiring, and any other issues they wanted to raise. My firm also donated to many Black organizations in the wake of this.”

Response to Covid-19

  • “The pandemic has really brought the importance of firm culture to light. When dealing with a once-in-a-century event that nobody was prepared for, how do firms treat their people? How do they treat their employees in terms of transparency and communication? How quickly do they adapt? How much emphasis did they put on people’s safety? How do they handle job security and layoffs? Like everything else, Centerview’s response was phenomenal. Investments in remote tech had been made years in advance to allow for more seamless connection to the firm so when the pandemic hit, we weren’t playing catch-up on the tech front. The truly impressive piece was approach to transparency, communication, and employee safety. Weekly small group check-ins (founders speaking individually to groups of analysts, associates, principals, MDs etc. to check in and communicate priorities and latest plans) and external speakers on everything from public health, education, and economics to race, politics, and sports kept the firm extremely connected. We also ran what appears to be the only full 10-week fully remote internship program when a lot of our peers seem to have given up by offering truncated internships filled with pre-set training company modules and no real team exposure. We did this despite being a fraction of the size of our peers, and it’s because we have a culture that emphasizes a focus on our people at all times.”
  • “The transition to WFH has been seamless (our IT department took us from WFO to WFH in three days—they are superstars). The firm has done a tremendous amount to keep us connected while remote—small group check-ins, Wednesday all-firm thematic calls with guest speakers, weekly social hours, etc. In some ways we were more connected because we were mindful of it. We also ran a full summer program that was hyper-connected (additional bankers involved in training, screen sharing on live staffings, daily calls with different senior people at the firm, intern cohorts which we call ‘squadrons’), a virtual floorplan, and social events, and all firm email updates and introductions. The office has also been reconfigured and protocols put in place—but importantly, people don’t have to come in if they don’t feel safe. We’re very fortunate that our work allows most of us to work from home and be equally effective. That said, we do all miss the interconnectedness of being in person and the benefits of ‘accidental’ bump-ins in the office.”
  • “Quickly reacted and gave everybody a WFH budget so that there was a smooth transition in productivity when the pandemic hit. Also, although offices are only starting to open, the firm is giving everybody complete discretion on whether or not they’d like to return to the office before a vaccine is back.”
  • “We quickly transitioned to work from home; no pressure to come back into the office; every week we did a themed presentation with high profile external speakers; and, for a long time, we did a virtual happy hour every Friday. Additionally, for sub teams (e.g.., restructuring), we’re doing video calls three times a week to stay in touch. I think the firm has done a terrific job managing the crisis.”

Getting Hired Here


  • “The ideal candidate is someone who’s willing to be challenged and who’s an independent thinker. Those who can take initiative, aren’t afraid of their limits, and take pride in top-quality work across any assignment are those who get hired and succeed here.”
  • “Interview process is quite thorough, and a significant number of the employees meet the candidates before they’re given an offer. Our ideal candidate, from my point of view, is someone with very strong academic record and who is well-rounded—engages in other interests such as sports, music, etc.”
  • “We’re looking for curious, passionate people. A background in banking and finance is not required, but the desire to learn, work hard, and excel in a chosen field is. Our interview process is rigorous but very fair. Interviewers will use the session to work with a candidate through a difficult problem—demonstrating our firm’s collaborative approach. Good communication skills are important (this is a client business), and a sense of humor never hurts.”
  • “Looking for a highly personable, curious, and intellectual individual. The work Centerview does is far more intellectually stimulating and less repetitive than your classic banking job where you’re creating the same decks and models. We look for shrewd, critical thinkers who can adapt to quickly changing situations.”
  • “Questions are focused on the individual’s background and interests. We do ask technical questions as well, although we try to tailor these to background and skillset. For finance majors we ask more finance questions, and for liberal arts majors we ask more problem solving and math questions.”
  • “Why is Centerview different from other boutique investment banks? What is the most interesting thing about you that is not on your resume? How would you evacuate the city of Los Angeles if all the hills surrounding it were on fire and not going to stop?”
  • “A lot of brain teasers and not-the-common finance guide questions. These were questions that required a lot of math skills and really understanding financial terminology.”
  • “What is 27 x 21? Can accretive acquisitions be value-negative? What actor would play you in a movie and why?”

Perks & Benefits