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Vault’s Verdict

Guggenheim Securities is looking for intellectually-curious, technically-sound, high-achieving candidates who thrive in collaborative environments. The firm’s internship programs are extremely valuable, offering summer analysts and associates accurate pictures of what junior full-time roles look like. Interns especially appreciate the high level of responsibility and working on live deals alongside senior bankers. Meanwhile, Guggenheim’s full-time junior bankers get access to numerous growth and development opportunities, including extensive training, an emphasis on promoting from within, and an apprenticeship model that’s embraced by senior bankers, who genuinely care about the career development of juniors.

Although hours can be long and work/life balance not always easy to achieve given the strong deal flow, Guggenheim bankers are very respectful of juniors’ time, and the firm offers six weeks of flex time that can be used during certain weeks of the year, which insiders say is very helpful. Salaries and bonuses are extremely generous, and benefits are comprehensive—many insiders single out the firm’s on-site gym as a top health and wellness offering.

Diversity and inclusion is another strong suit of Guggenheim’s. The firm has made significant strides both in its diversity recruiting and in its support for existing diverse employees through various networking groups and initiatives. Guggenheim’s women’s initiatives get especially high marks from insiders, who admit that there’s always more than can be done when it comes to D&I. As for the firm’s business outlook, it is strong, especially compared to peers. Guggenheim has a well-respected leadership team in place, employee morale is high, the firm is well-diversified to succeed in all types of markets, and it continues to grow and increase market share.

Hiring Process

“The firm is looking for bankers who are collaborative workers, use creativity in their jobs, and are generally high achievers. Junior bankers are given significant exposure to client C-suite executives and are entrusted by their senior team members. The firm looks for individuals who can thrive in this environment and who are career learners.”

“Guggenheim's hiring process is fair but challenging. To get past the first interview, candidates need to demonstrate proficiency at some technical aspects of banking, so come prepared. For students interviewing from non-business schools, this may require a significant investment of free time to learn things on your own. Ultimately, the firm is looking for smart people who would fit into the culture.”

“For junior/entry level-bankers out of undergrad and grad school programs, we have target schools and non-target schools. For target schools, we do on-campus recruiting activities prior to resume drops. For non-target schools, candidates can submit their resumes for consideration. We typically do Super Days for analyst and associate candidates. The interviews involve a mix of technical, behavioral, and case-based questions, with a few brainteasers at times, but nothing too bad. Nothing was asked that was out of the ordinary or unexpected for an entry-level investment banking interview. The firm likes selecting candidates who are collaborative and demonstrate an intellectual curiosity to learn.”

“Typically, candidates have a few phone calls as an initial screen and then candidates are invited to a Super Day where there is one technically-focused interview and two behaviorally-focused interviews. I think Guggenheim looks for candidates who are great culture fits, very hardworking, and intellectually curious. I think many of the candidates are in the business school of their undergraduate college and study finance, but that does not preclude them from getting an offer at Guggenheim. We take many candidates with liberal arts backgrounds, because we understand that it’s more important for candidates to be a good culture fits and exhibit a strong willingness and desire to learn.”

Interview Questions

“The usual technical questions to assess your competency, but what really struck me is the focus on why you want to do investment banking. Guggenheim places a huge premium on hiring people that genuinely want to be here and do the job well as opposed to viewing junior talent explicitly as resources.”

“Questions center around the why behind concepts and not just rote memorization. Concepts include LBOs, M&A valuations, accounting, etc.”

“Why banking? Why our firm? Why this group? What sets you apart? Technical questions too. Three-statement accounting questions, LBO/DCF scenario-based questions, talk about experiences in leadership positions, hobbies outside of academics and work, etc.”

“Had highly technical interviews with case studies. For example, a company has $100 in revenue on credit, 50 percent margins, $10 of warrant expense and $10 of D&A. Assume a 20 percent tax rate. Walk me through how this impact all three financial statements and the journal entries.”

Intern Experience

“The best aspect of my internship was the vast amount of exposure that I received—exposure in terms of kinds of industry groups (as a generalist) but also kinds of deals and kinds of work. I feel like I was able to experience so many different aspects of banking and walked away with a very clear understanding of what the job really entails.”

“The internship program afforded me the opportunity to work across industry and product groups. I met people across the firm, and found mentors through both formal and informal channels. Interns feel like they are really part of the firm and are given increasing amounts of responsibility as the summer progresses.”

“Live deal staffings for an accurate portrayal of the role. All interns are paired with peer mentors to help prep for internship success and then additional senior mentors once the program starts. Generalist staffing model across multiple industry and product groups provides the opportunity to experience the work and the culture of the various teams. Time spent with the chairman and senior management. Strong conversion from the internship program to the full-time programs and encouragement to succeed.”

“The firm was very committed to providing a summer that was a good representation of what full time would be like and was very committed to developing the talent of its summer interns just as it does for full-time employees. The firm gave interns all the resources to succeed on the job and sincerely wanted to give out full-time offers to all interns that were deserving of a spot. The support of the firm made the summer less competitive amongst interns, and therefore more collaborative and provided me with a strong understanding that this would be the right place and position for me post-graduation.”

Career Development

“Guggenheim has a very supportive environment. It feels like the senior bankers really care about the junior team and their career development and really embrace the apprenticeship model. At all levels, people will take time out of their busy schedules to educate junior bankers and regularly communicate constructive feedback to help individuals grow and develop. The firm places an emphasis on promoting from within, and it feels like there is a clear path to a career here given the responsibility placed in junior bankers. However, senior management is also supportive of exit opportunities and will not hesitate to discuss next steps if banking is not right.”

“The firm is dedicated to building a long-term franchise. Junior bankers attend client meetings right away and are encouraged to participate. The career development opportunity is tremendous. At the analyst level, the firm is highly committed to supporting analysts’ careers and helping them navigate their first job after college.”

“As a new mid-level associate, I was afforded extensive training that covered in-depth topics in accounting, valuation, and M&A. This training extended over six weeks, as compared to other major investment banks that only provide new employees with two to three weeks of training. In addition, the firm encourages an overall spirit of mentorship and constant learning. I’ve received ample support from everyone on my team, from junior analysts to senior members.”

“The firm is fully invested in the development of its personnel, and would like nothing more than taking someone right out of college and promote them all the way to senior managing director. Unlike at larger banks I have worked at, junior team members at Guggenheim can get real responsibility on deals at a very early time in their careers, and are properly managed and mentored so that they do not feel overwhelmed.”

Quality of Life

“As with most banks, quality of life is driven by workload more than by anything else. Guggenheim has significant deal flow, enabling its personnel to stay very busy, but at the same time it doesn't have the need to take on every assignment that way a bulge bracket might. I find this allows for some balance in one's life, noting that at times even a single deal can consume most of one's time (including weekends).”

“The job is incredibly rewarding in that my work product makes its way into face time with the client. I have a high-level of engagement with clients, which I am appreciative of and makes the work purpose-driven. With this engagement comes the requirement to be available to the client, the needs of the client, and the needs of the deal team at all time. 

“My group’s culture is fantastic, and everyone is extremely respectful of each other’s time and personal lives. Since we are a small team and often are staffed with each other, it’s very easy for someone else to cover you if you have a social commitment or something outside of work that bears significance (e.g. if a family member is visiting). Our team members very much understand that we are people first and life outside of work continues to go on, and are very respectful of that.”

“We work hard, there's no doubt that. We probably put in hours towards the longer end of the spectrum. But there’s an anti-burnout mindset I have witnessed where people are made sure to get vacations and weekends off when needed. My peers have had no problem attending weddings and family events. Remote holiday seasons are a huge benefit compared to prior firms.”

Salary and Benefits

“Compensation is great. Nothing to complain about in regard to that. The firm compensates in a fair manner based on individual performance.”

“Strong compensation and was first mover on the 2021 salary increases, which shows that they listen to the needs of the bankers and don't wait to do something just because others do it. Performance is rewarded fairly. Dinners and Ubers being covered is very helpful. Smart, casual dress culture makes you feel comfortable while working long hours. You can work from home one day a week and when you have a late night the night before. Trust is given to employees on what they need. You’re unsure of where you place in bonus range until get yours, but you still do have lots of feedback sessions.”

“We have a very generous parental leave program and very flexible policies when parents do come back to work. We also have a culture of ensuring that people (especially dads) actually take their parental leave. This is strongly encouraged at all levels.”

“Without the high overhead of a bulge bracket, Guggenheim has the ability to consistently pay well, rewarding performance quite fairly. As a private firm, the stock component of comp is in phantom stock that gets valued and cashed out once a year, which is a little weird if you're used to working at a firm with a public stock to look at.”

Wellness Efforts

“I think having a gym on site is a big deal. I don't get to use it as often as I would like, but it's a great resource to have available to me to use when I can make it. It is clean, as are the showers, and that's great. The company also offers an assortment of snacks, beverages, and coffee, etc., which help provide sustenance throughout the day for times when you’re too busy to step out to grab food until later.”

“The firm makes health a high priority. In-office gym is very convenient and nice to go to with other team members during breaks, or before or after work. The gym sends out training tips often and opportunities for group classes. If you need to take medical absences, teams and HR are very supportive and make health the number one priority. People are very understanding and do what they can to make you feel not too overwhelmed.”

“Ongoing mental wellness workshops and physical training competitions to encourage healthy lifestyles. Friday work-from-home policy is my favorite policy of the firm. Game changing for work/life balance.”

“We have multiple programs for employees focused on whole wellness, ranging from external counselors that are available to programs focused on exercise and nutrition.”

Diversity and ESG Initiatives

“Guggenheim prides itself on providing a welcoming/friendly environment to its diverse employees. Guggenheim is an incredibly open and collaborative place for all, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual identity. The firm is building out its IB Women's Network, and is committed to enhancing its MBA and undergraduate diversity fellowship programs. Senior management encourages diversity of all types. It does seem like a top goal of the firm to continue to improve diversity.”

“Guggenheim has made incredible strides in our diversity efforts, both in recruiting as well as in continuous development and support for existing employees. No one is made to feel different than anyone else on the floor, and everyone is treated with respect. The women’s initiatives have yielded extremely strong results with respect to new-hire class statistics. We look forward to continuing to make strides and know there is always more than can be done.”

“The firm has bent over backwards to try to increase the ranks of under-represented groups at all levels, from incoming banking analysts to senior managing directors. The last SMD class had more women than any before, but other under-represented groups still need to make more inroads at this level. As with every bank, many analysts do not stay to get promoted to associate. I am seeing that a lot of folks already have a next job lined up for two years after they begin their analyst role, often getting recruited by PE firms also looking to attract members of under-represented groups. So, the very solid efforts at hiring under-represented groups in the incoming analyst classes hasn’t translated to a huge follow-through to more senior levels.” 

“One of the key reasons I joined Guggenheim in the first place was because of its great efforts in increasing diversity at the firm and acknowledging and appreciating it. I had participated in Guggenheim's FOCUS program, which is an early recruiting program for sophomores that identify as Black/African America, Latina/Latino/Hispanic, Native American, LGBTQ+, veteran, and/or are female. This program sets up the student with a mentor at the firm and opportunities to learn more about the firm and prepare for interviews. Ever since my recruiting process, I felt supported by the firm and feel like they supported my values greatly, especially in the area of diversity efforts. Over the summer, I was given a female mentor and we had weekly chats which really helped me feel supported throughout the 10 weeks. As a full-time now, I am a part of the IB Women's Network where I meet with a small pod of women monthly to speak openly and gain advice from senior women and other women at my level. There are other affinity groups as well, so people feel supported and can find mentors. Additionally, Guggenheim acts a sponsor of several diversity organization across many schools, including one I founded at my alma mater. Bankers even took time out of their days (on several occasions) to judge the students’ stock pitches, ask questions, give feedback, and chat about their experiences in the field, which were highly impactful and shows how committed Guggenheim is to diversity and inclusion at all levels.” 

“Guggenheim's ESG efforts are a main priority for the firm. Over the summer internship, I got a firsthand look through an event we did where the interns were paired with underserved high school seniors looking to apply for college. Many of these students did not have mentors or people to help them with these applications, and that is where we came in. We helped them brainstorm ideas to speak about and helped them outline their essays. It was a really fulfilling experience. This, however, was not a one-time occurrence of community involvement for the firm; every class of interns helps out a different organization, and there are events all throughout the year. Guggenheim also has been building out its Sustainability IB group, which has seen a lot of momentum over the past few months. The firm also offers support to employees through their charity matching program and volunteer time off benefits. The firm still has power/energy groups that deal with some companies that are not the most environmentally-friendly, but I know there is a push to work with more environmentally-friendly companies as a whole.”

Business Outlook

“We’re a premier brand: top companies in the industries we cover trust Guggenheim with their most complex situations. We have an impressive roster of senior bankers with significant meaningful deal experience and industry/product knowledge. And we’re seeing continued growth across various sectors, increasing our footprint and market share.”

“Guggenheim has a diversified product platform, including a Street-leading restructuring and liability management practice (Millstein & Co., which we acquired a couple of years ago). Therefore, we have a counterweight for business when traditional M&A and public equity activity slows. We also have a great reputation for getting deals across the finish line even in volatile market conditions.”

“I think this aspect of Guggenheim is the most comforting. As the industry is faced with an impending recession, Guggenheim is fully committed to continued growth as our competitors pump the brakes. Firm leadership, including the senior bankers I work with, have been overwhelmingly transparent with the firm's plans and performance. So, I have virtually no concern that I will be laid off. I don’t think any of my counterparts in banking at other firms can say the same.”

“Guggenheim has continued to stay busy and win mandates even in a difficult market environment. I would attribute this to thought leadership and differentiated approach being even more valuable to clients in challenging times. Friends at big banks have told me they've been pitching endlessly and not seeing any mandates, which has not been my experience. Guggenheim has developed expertise/niche in certain products such that we perform in both market environments. Management founded and scaled the firm over the last 15 or so years and are dedicated to seeing the firm succeed.”

Guggenheim Securities

330 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 312-827-0100

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private Partnership
CEO: Mark Van Lith
Co-Chairmen: Alan Schwartz & Jim Millstein

Major Office Locations

Chicago, IL (HQ)
New York, NY (HQ)
London, UK