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Centerview Partners

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Vault’s Verdict

A very prestigious investment banking boutique, Centerview is looking for intellectually curious, self-aware, humble, well-rounded candidates with strong communication skills and superior problem-solving skill (a finance-background or major is not required). For students, Centerview runs a very rewarding internship program. Interns have access to incredible training, get to work on live deals and perform impactful work, and have a high level of responsibility. The firm’s generalist model means interns get exposed to a variety of different industries and deal types. Meanwhile, the firm’s full-time junior bankers have access to extensive career development opportunities, including very strong formal and informal training and mentoring. In fact, embedded into Centerview’s culture is a focus on developing junior bankers to ensure that they’re capable of taking on significant responsibility at a young age. This means senior bankers are extremely willing to help junior bankers advance their careers.

Although hours can be long and unpredictable, especially when working on multiple deals and deliverables, Centerview supports vacation time and prioritizes mental health and work/life balance. The firm’s staffers are understanding of junior bankers’ needs and capacities, and adjust workloads accordingly. As for compensation, Centerview has long been known for paying its people the highest salaries and bonuses on the Street, and that is still the case today and why the firm’s bankers unanimously praise the firm for its generosity when it comes to comp. Benefits are also generous, with bankers raving about the free Ubers home, in-office gym, and free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On the downside, bankers give low reviews to the five days in-office policy and lack of a 401(k) match.

In recent years, Centerview has taken a leadership role in diversity and inclusion. The firm’s analyst classes are now generally split 50/50 women to men. There are many people of color across the firm. There are several employee resource groups for people who identify with a minority group or other communities (including veterans, first-generation professionals, and LGBTQ+ individuals). And the firm has hired many military veterans, who are supportive of one another and often staffed together on projects. As for Centerview’s business outlook, while many of the firm’s peers had down years in 2023, Centerview experienced a revenue increase. Indeed, the firm is performing extremely well in the current economic environment, gaining market share and becoming increasingly well known. In addition, the firm’s leadership team gets rave reviews from the firm’s staff, who say that Centerview’s leaders are truly brilliant and very willing to offer feedback and teach junior bankers.

EMPLOYEE REVIEWS

Hiring Process

“We run a very thorough interview process, with heavy involvement from our senior people. We look for technical ability, but just as important are the ability to communicate, self-awareness, humility, and, perhaps above all, intellectually curiosity. Through our multiple rounds, a candidate who is not enjoying the interviews will almost certainly fall out at some point and frankly wouldn't want to work here—we view interviews as a two-way process where candidates get to know and evaluate us as much as we do them.”

“The process generally consists of a 30-minute to one-hour first-round interview, which is split into a behavioral and a technical section. Successful candidates then participate in an on-site Superday consisting of four 30-minute interviews with senior partners. The interviews are generally less conventional than other banks and focus strongly on problem solving skills and culture fit.”

“Centerview looks for well-rounded individuals. There are plenty of candidates with non-finance backgrounds who have been incredibly successful at the firm. In fact, these candidates often have an advantage and are able to differentiate against the traditional investment banking resume. The most important quality is being able to problem solve creatively. Those who do not need to be micromanaged or told what to do tend to excel—and are given lots of room to run.”

“Looking for a candidate who is smart and is able to do the job. Someone who is confident in their abilities but also humble. Someone who is a personality and a team player. Someone who is not the classic finance ‘hardo.’”

Interview Questions

“Centerview is big on fit, and your ‘Why CVP?’ and ‘Why Banking?’ responses need to make sense. Standard analytical questions for banking. Questions can get conceptual to see if you’re quick on your feet. There’s also a case study component with an Excel that is unique to the firm.”

“Case study included the full three-statement operating model, full merger model, and 10-page discussion materials on how a sponsor would value a particular operating company.”

“IB technicals, brainteasers, case studies, world events. We ask questions that test the ability to think on your feet. If you are a genuinely curious person who loves thinking, you should do well.”

“If you could go back in time to any point in history and bring anything you want with you, where would you go and why? If you couldn’t work at Centerview, what would you do? How many bricks are on your college’s campus? What’s 2 divided by 70?”

Intern Experience

“Centerview did a phenomenal job of making us real members of the various accounts we were staffed on. We never had ‘fluffy’ work—everything they asked us to do had a direct purpose, and it was impactful to see different pages that we made in the final deck that went to the client. Additionally, I appreciated the efforts the firm took to integrate us into the broader firm culture. It was really special to be able to connect with more senior members of the firm through speaker sessions and social events. “

“CVP does a great job at putting interns on real work—you get to see and touch the model, make pages that actually go the client, and are fully embedded in your team in a meaningful way. They also make a big effort to ensure interns feel welcomed to the firm—tons of happy hours, intern events, etc.”

“Great hands-on experience and given a lot of responsibility as an intern. Essentially, by the end of the summer, I was treated like the first-year analyst on the account.”

“Internship was amazing—great teams and a generalist model where you could work on a variety of different industries/deal types that you were interested in. Incredible training led by analysts themselves, instead of being outsourced.”

Career Development

“Centerview’s approach to career development is night and day different from other firms, with a focus on long-term development. Our long-term focus frees junior bankers to make decisions based less on an immediate benefit to the firm and more on the positive career trajectory for the banker over time—it's a win-win from a career perspective. By developing our people into the best bankers who stay at Centerview, our clients win, our people win, and the business also thrives.”

“Centerview is focused on developing and growing talent from within. We love nothing more than to hire summer analysts who will join the firm and be developed into the next generation of partners and leaders, and there are plenty of examples where this has occurred. The implication of this mindset is that everyone at the firm is focused on training, mentorship, and ensuring that junior bankers are able to take on huge levels of responsibility at young ages—all while ensuring that the culture is supportive of a place where the best in the industry want to work and stay.”

“The firm recently launched Centerview University, which is run by partners (showing how much importance the firm places on training) and does a very good job curating specific training programs at all levels to ensure we upskill significantly for our specific roles, all the way from hard to soft skills.”

“The firm is truly committed to setting up its employees to have a great career whether that’s at CVP or not. The senior people are happy to engage in broader career discussions. Within the firm itself, there is a genuine commitment to each employee’s learning and development. The generalist model aids in this, as does our staffing team (they try to tailor your workload so that you are exposed to a range of things), as well as the offering of a few internal resources aimed at career development and job learnings.”

Quality of Life

“The firm is very supportive of vacation time and prioritizing mental health. However, the hours can get quite long, especially when multiple clients have conflicting deliverables. Overall, the long hours are manageable because our staffers take the time to listen to our needs and capacities and are willing to help us adjust our workload accordingly.”

“The senior people at the firm truly care about the well-being of everyone here. Positive action is taken to make sure people have balance in their lives. The downside is the unpredictability of hours since we’re a client business, but I’m sure that’s not unique to Centerview, and senior people do work to mitigate it where they can, working side-by-side when the unexpected arises.”

“At the end of the day, M&A is a client service business, which means that schedules are fluid and days/weeks can be long. But those who stay in this job understand that this is what you are signing up for, and if you are putting in the hours, there is not a better place to do it. There is tremendous focus internally on ensuring that the culture is strong, and teams are closely monitored to ensure that the appropriate work/life balance is being facilitated. There are a wide range of internal programs that build connectivity both inside and outside of teams, and the firm very much maintains a ‘small-firm feel’ even as it has continued to grow.”

“The firm has no vacation policy, so as long as you align with your teams, you can take time off as and when needed, which is really great! Of course, this can be a double-edged sword, resulting in limitations to take days off if you happen to have a busier set of projects at certain times. Maternity leave seems to be great—I’ve seen people take six or seven months off—but paternity leave seems a bit hazy; people seem to always come back very soon. It would be nice to see new fathers being encouraged to take significant time off.”

Salary and Benefits

“We are the best paid bankers on the Street—where other firms saw a sharp decrease last year, we did not. The partners stand ready to absorb the blow if our revenues suffer, but so far they haven’t had to.”

“Highest pay on Street, 100 percent cash, 0 percent deferral. It is hard to find another firm that pays at the levels that Centerview does. This is an important component of attracting and retaining talent. Free breakfast and lunch is a huge perk (culturally and economically), and there are many other non-compensation elements that contribute to making the pay side of the equation attractive.”

“The firm gives you a lot of extra benefits beyond the salary—we get free breakfast, lunch, and dinner with no time restrictions. Gym in office. All this takes a lot of stress and thinking out of things, and all makes the office feel more social and pleasant.”

“Compensation is very strong and clearly above my peers at other banks. Many perks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided. Very supportive culture. Negatives are the five days in-office policy and no 401(k) match.”

Wellness Benefits

“Senior people are very quick to circle around any indication of someone’s wellness being compromised and to ensure they get all the support they need. The focus on the people here is unlike anywhere else on the Street.”

“They do practical things so that we can lead our lives easily. For instance, they built a gym on site, they pack the place with water and healthy snacks, they provide free nutritious food, and the work/life balance is even enough that people can exercise and whatnot.”

“Gym on site with encouragement to use out-of-office facilities. Kitchen/dining room on site with excellent, healthy, nutritious offerings. There is also a football team that plays every Thursday.”

“The firm is very active around wellness—first and foremost making sure people get downtime and sleep. The free breakfast and lunch in the firm café is whole food, not processed, made from fresh ingredients. We have had multiple sessions with outside neuroscientists on how to reduce stress, focusing on biophysical solutions, behavioral solutions, and general self-awareness. The free gym is also great to have, and people visit it all day long.”

Diversity and ESG Initiatives

“Amazing diversity and inclusion efforts; affinity groups are widely utilized and celebrated. They are trying here and visibly improving.”

“Centerview has grown into a real leadership role around diversity. It has an annual diversity meetup that’s well established and has dedicated significant resources to inclusion support, including for BWOW (Black Women on Wall Street) and active internal groups—its Black and Latino Network, Women's Leadership, LGBTQ+ Alliance, First Gen, and veteran’s support network. Most telling, much of what the firm does regarding DEAI has no direct benefit to the firm’s recruiting efforts. The Centerview Academy with New Visions for Public Schools required significant banker hours and had no recruiting focus at all—it is really great to be at a firm on Wall Street that is willing to do the right thing because it is the right thing, not because the firm derives some commercial benefit.”

“In terms of gender, the analyst cohort is generally split 50/50, which is incredible! There are many people of color across the firm on most levels, and several military veterans. It is hard to determine the number of LGBTQ+ individuals, as sexual orientation isn’t externally visible, but I do believe it’s a welcoming space for those who do identify as LGBTQ+.”

“There are many affinity groups and resources for people who identify with a minority group. There is a large contingent of military veterans that are really supportive of one another and often will be staffed together on initial projects.”

Business Outlook

“While the rest of the Street has seen a sharp, downward correction in revenue in 2023 (following a down year in 2022 as well), Centerview is only one of two who are seeing revenue increase this year. If anything, the outlook just improves from here.”

“The firms goes from strength to strength. Hardly anyone ever leaves. Market share continues to expand. We continue to build out in geographies and industries where we have not had a footprint, which creates a ton of opportunity for young people. I often tell young people you want to start a career where the growth is. For Wall Street, that growth area remains the boutiques, and Centerview foremost among them.”

“Morale is very good. The founders and senior partners are active in ensuring that everyone has good experiences. Overall business activity is high. There are many active mandates across sectors and offices and a strong pipeline.”

“We are performing extremely well in a different environment, gaining a lot of market share, and becoming increasingly well known. Firm’s leadership might be single best thing about CVP. Senior people are truly brilliant and smart and very willing to spend time with you, give you feedback, and teach you things.”

Centerview Partners

31 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 380-2650

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
Co-Founding Partners: B. Effron, J. Kilts, R. Pruzan
2024 Employees (All Locations): 520

Major Office Locations

Menlo Park, CA
San Francisco, CA
New York, NY
London, UK
Paris, France

Major Departments & Practices

M&A Advisory
Restructuring
Capital Raising