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Vault’s Verdict

One of the most prestigious financial advisory and asset management firms on Wall Street, Lazard is looking for intellectually curious, hardworking, motivated, and entrepreneurial self-starters with the ability to learn quickly and succeed in a fast-paced environment. The firm runs a rewarding internship program for students, offering interns live deal experience, access to senior bankers and clients, and an overall accurate picture of a what a full-time position with Lazard looks like. Meanwhile, the firm’s full-time junior bankers have access to top-notch informal and formal training, valuable mentoring relationships, tons of high-quality live-deal experience, international opportunities, and early promotion opportunities.

Lazard supports a productive work/life balance, and senior bankers are very respectful of junior bankers’ time and mindful of their workloads. Although hours can be long when deal flow is strong, any required late-night or weekend work is focused on live engagements. In addition, the firm’s hybrid work schedule (Mondays and Fridays are optional WFH days) and its month work-from-anywhere policy both dramatically increase quality of life. As for compensation, Lazard’s salaries are at the top of the Street average, and bonuses are above the Street average. Benefits are also very generous, and include great medical coverage, a good 401(k) match, a solid vacation policy, parental leave, and various wellness benefits such as free counseling and wellness app subscriptions.

With respect to D&I, although there’s room for improvement, Lazard has made it a focus to create a diverse and inclusive workplace, and has in place many active affinity groups, including for veterans, Black and African-American employees, LatinX employees, Asian employees, and people with disabilities. As for Lazard’s business outlook, the firm’s employees are extremely excited about the appointment of new CEO Peter Orzag, whose ambitious goals have been well-received internally. Lazard, which celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2023, is very well positioned to continue to thrive, regardless of the economic environment.


Hiring Process

“Lazard looks for intellectually curious, diligent, hardworking, and social people. You have to be communicative and at the same time be willing to deeply focus on your work. You should be able to take on a lot of responsibility, but not just have that handed to you—everyone in my team is encouraged and reminded constantly that we should always be looking to play up and take on extra responsibilities.”

“The ideal candidate we seek is someone capable of operating in a collaborative team environment but with enough enterprising nature to run independently at tasks. A decent weighing factor is the cultural fit of a candidate (a/k/a the Airport Test). Prior to first-round phone screens, candidates have coffee chats with junior bankers. After first rounds, there are chats with more senior bankers and then a Superday.”

“Looking for highly intelligent, motivated self-starters willing and able to learn quickly and thrive in a fast-paced environment. It’s also important to be entrepreneurial, as Lazard is more of an entrepreneurial firm.”

“We test for intellect and analytical thinking, assessing whether candidate displays logic and is intellectually curious and mentally sharp. We’re looking for someone who shows passion for investment banking and understands what sets Lazard apart from its competitors. We need to test for whether the candidate demonstrates knowledge of basic corporate financial and accounting concepts. You also need to demonstrate good presentation skills and presence (showing that you can capture attention) and display organized expression of thoughts. Finally, we look for someone who manages risk, is collaborative, has a strong ethical compass, and would excel at being a team player.”

Interview Questions

“What new skills have you learned in your job over the past six months and how have you recently applied them? Tell me about a time when you were not successful and why. Give me an example of a controversial decision you have made; do you feel the quality of that decision still holds today and why? How do you value a pre-revenue bio pharma company? Company A buys Company B; Company A has a PE multiple of 10x and Company B has a PE multiple of 5x; is the deal accretive or dilutive? If there are two companies in the same industry and one trades at 8x price-to-earnings and the other trades at 12x price-to-earnings, what are some of the things that could explain this difference [push for multiple different reasons/scenarios]?”

“Though there are standard questions we will ask (Why banking? Why Lazard? Why XYZ group?) and some variations on technical questions, often people in the group add in their own questions. This can be specific to the candidate’s background or just the nature the conversation takes. But there are definitely standard questions that allow for the same judgement of intellectual prowess, character, and interest across all candidates.”

“While we ask standard technical questions, a large part of the interview process is behavioral questions such as: What would you do if you noticed a mistake in a deck while your MD is headed to a meeting? How would you solve XYZ issue with a colleague? How do you best work with others? 

"How do you value a [fill in the blank]? The biggest priority in interviews, given we only offer intellectual capital to clients, is to assess a candidate’s mental dexterity with strategic and financial concepts. One of the best things about Lazard is that from the first interview, we look for people we want to become MDs at the firm. That means if you perform well during your internship, you should get a return offer and be supported on a long-term career path.”

Intern Experience

“The internship was very similar to actual job. Provided a full-time experience but for a 10-week program. I had an opportunity to work on two live M&A transactions, interact with clients, and work on some marketing things. Culture of the group was fantastic. People were very friendly and also very helpful.”

“Best aspect was getting to understand what the actual job would look like and gain real-life exposure to full-time analyst tasks. As an intern, I was incredibly busy and had to be quick on my feet, as we were treated like real analysts, which helped me not only understand the job but also get a leg up on other analysts once starting full time.”

“The best experience was working on live deals. We have exceptional deal flow, and I had really great experiences working on live deals. The worst part during the internship was working on my internet project. However, looking back on it, it helped me figure out how to balance priorities, and it was a deliverable that I owned from start to finish. I think it is a valuable exercise, but it was hard to balance that and the client work I was doing.”

“The quality of the team was the best part of the experience. The group head is an intuitive leader that understood what I wanted to get out of the internship experience and what would help me have a positive experience from a personal perspective as well. With his and the team’s careful mentorship and several important transactions, I couldn't have had a better summer.”

Career Development

“As analysts, we are assigned a formal junior and senior mentor. This is a structured way to make sure we know who we can reach out to directly with any questions. This can be about small day-to-day items or about larger career-decision milestones. I have also formed a number of informal mentorship relationships because of the flat nature of my group. I sit next to a VP and speak with him constantly about many aspects of the work. I have ended up working on a number of deals with him through our conversations over time, which has been a great opportunity to learn very closely from someone more senior than me. I also feel comfortable talking to my staffer about something I'm interested in working on. If I want to take on more responsibility, people are happy for me to do that.”

“I think the formal and informal training at Lazard is top-notch. The formal training program lasts about four weeks, followed by additional group training which is about 2 weeks (in most groups). After training, you are adequately prepared to not only understand the basic concepts of finance and accounting but also to use the internal tools, templates, etc. The inform training continues as you begin on the desk. You have a career sponsor assigned, and there are also plenty of opportunities to learn from the senior analysts, senior associates, etc. Internal mobility seems to be something that is encouraged at Lazard. While it isn’t exactly easy to move across groups, it is possible. Also, international mobility is another thing that is encouraged. In my group, I have two people that were based in London, one that was based in Chile, and one that was from Italy. I think Lazard takes on very interesting engagements. I have not been staffed on anything that has been ‘cookie-cutter,’ so I have been exposed to a number of transaction structures and transaction process types. Also, in our business, you form very keen understanding of the importance of relationships and bringing a unique value-add. I think promotion policies in banking are decent, and I think they may be the fairest promotion policies across any industry (x years before y title).”

“Bankers are staffed at the top of their capabilities, regardless of titles. Associates can often play a VP or even director role on a deal if capable. Culture rewards curiosity, mentorship, productivity, integrity, commercial idea generation. Analyst to associate promotion (and early VP promotion) is encouraged for top performers. Sometimes, luck is required to be consistently staffed on best deals.”

“Best aspects include training performed by bankers and/or external contractors at least two times per year, mentoring by senior people who are always keen to provide guidance, strong exposure to international teams and projects, and the possibility to spend 12 months in a foreign office. On the downside, the promotion policies differ across offices and geographies.”

Quality of Life

“Lazard has been incredibly supportive of my quality of life. One thing that has surprised me is how clear my MDs are on expectations regarding weekend work. I have never once been questioned whether or not I should work over the weekend or stay late on something—members of deal teams at all levels will make sure to communicate to me if something is not urgent. And people like to make sure that very late-night work or weekend work is focused on live client engagements. Additionally, people are sure to ask about my other deals so they know how much work I can handle. I have never felt like I can’t take vacation—if anything, I was encouraged to take vacation after I hadn't taken it for a while.”

“While Lazard has all the formal bells and whistles to support a productive work/life balance, most important is that the senior leaders are human and respond organically to individual employee's needs for personal time. This culture creates a safe environment to cultivate high-performing teams that are flexible to personal wants/needs. The firm has also been consistent with the research and its policy on a hybrid work environment, which I think is the best on the Street: three days in the office each week, so folks are seeing each other, collaborating, and socializing while also getting two days for more flexibility. There is also the ability to take a 30-day remote month each year, so folks can enjoy more extended stays in other geographies.”

“In general, it’s a leaner org, and there is very little internal bureaucracy, so almost all one’s time is spent on clients and content and getting the job done. Individuals are given flexibility to work from anywhere they need to be and be in the office as much as and whenever needed, as long as they get the job done. Probably the best perk is the combination of the hybrid work schedule (Monday and Friday are optional WFH) and the month work-from-anywhere policy. These are value adds that dramatically increase the quality of life working at Lazard.”

“Engagements are extremely interesting, and from a very early point in your career, you will have a ton of responsibility and will be intellectually challenged. This leads to exciting fast-paced days, but I still work a ton of hours two years into the job. Given this job is client services, I’m not sure if that will ever change. However, working hybrid (M/F WFH, T/W/Th office) definitely helps in that regard. Although I will still work fairly late most nights, I feel like the flexibility to do so in the office or at home makes it bearable. Also, the hours I work (and the work/life balance and my vacation) is heavily dependent on projects. So, if a project is very demanding, all of those factors are on the bad end. If a client allows us to run the process freely, it’s not so bad.”

Salary and Benefits

“The compensation at Lazard is very good. We are paid at the upper range of competitors from a salary perspective. Generally, we are in the upper-middle tier on bonuses (for the junior bankers) and that is good as well. The benefits are great, and I have no complaints, only positives. The wellness reimbursement is very appreciated.” 

“Our base salary is one of the highest across the Street. I think our bonuses could be better. The number of hours worked does not always match our end of year compensation. From a perks standpoint, I really enjoy our hybrid work environment and our vacation policy. For the most part, people will honor your time off.”

“Lazard is pretty generous all around. They have great medical, a good 401(k) match, good vacation, parental leave, health/wellness benefits, etc. They provide lunch/meals during the day relatively regularly and have a good dinner stipend. We have certainly the best hybrid work policy of any major bank and are consistently top quartile across all other benefits.”

“The greatest perk of Lazard is the salary; this is top of the market and is highly incentivizing. Total comp was either in line or above peers. Additionally, the gym/lifestyle reimbursement is a nice perk. However, there is no 401(k) matching unless you stay over two years, and we got our weekly office lunches taken away. However, the office does have a beverage pantry and trail mix alongside weekly happy hour.”

“Our work-from-home policy has been a great benefit. We are in the office Tuesday through Thursday, and then are flexible on Monday and Friday. I actually find myself coming in a lot of Mondays just because the culture of my group is that a fair number of people are in, and I enjoy being around other people during that day. However, if I don't come in on a Monday, people do not pressure me on it unless it's a very live deal situation. The firm has a fair dinner budget for Seamless, and we get Ubers home after 9 p.m.”

Wellness Efforts

“The firm provides good mental health offerings such as covered counseling, wellness app subscriptions free, and other options. We have a gym reimbursement plan too and a nutrition cover to help with costs. Overall solid.”

“I think the firm encourages us to keep wellness at the top of mind and even has a mental health affinity club. However, whether wellness is encouraged or not heavily depends on your projects; I would like to see wellness be top of mind regardless of projects/assignments.”

“Various options through the benefits package to obtain assistance/services, if required. Reimbursement for health initiatives are nice. We put in place policies to support work/life balance, but it can be difficult for people to utilize them in reality and are often overlooked by senior bankers.”

“Lazard has more things than anyone ever seems able to take advantage of, and many programs designed for specific folks (e.g., parents). They also have a robust health/wellness allowance that allows for additional flexibility (I use it for a season ski pass each year).”

Diversity and ESG Initiatives

“Lazard is pretty good in terms of diversity. I have definitely had a better experience anecdotally than some of my female friends at other banks. There are a good number of diversity recruiting initiatives, and people inside the bank are definitely aware of the diversity levels and focused on increasing them. There have also been conversations with senior leaders and more junior team members about if there is anything they can do better, which I appreciate greatly.”

“Although diversity has a long way to go, the firm is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace on a multitude of front. There are many affinity groups, including for veterans, Black and African-American employees, LatinX employees, and people with disabilities. The firm’s commitment to diversity is highlighted at the top at the CEO level all the way through the ranks.”

“Our firm does a great job trying to recruit diverse individuals, but it is just exceptionally hard to do that in a smaller office. If we were given an extra head in each role we recruit for (analyst and associate) and that spot was reserved for a diverse candidate, I think that would improve things. But when we have a limited number of spots, diversity is considered, but it is not made the priority.”

“Lazard regularly gives back to the community and encourages all employees to do the same. The firm is engaged with several philanthropies, hosts numerous volunteer days, and matches employee charitable donations. Lazard is also a founding partner of the Lazard New Visions Academy, which provides NYC public high school students with access to postsecondary readiness and ongoing career support. As for D&I, the firm is trying hard and the culture is supportive, but it will take time.”

Business Outlook

“Lazard has an excellent brand and is better positioned for long-term sustainable growth than peers. Many peer independent advisory banks are too focused on founding partners for deal flow. Lazard has navigated many leadership transitions and has a track record of internally promoting MDs.”

“I feel very strongly that Lazard is well positioned going into the next banking cycle over the next 12 months. We have a new CEO, in Peter Orzag, whose ambitious goals are well-received by his employees. Lazard should have advantages in a few key growth areas, including private capital, healthcare, and energy, and is poised to take advantage.”

“Excited to have the CEO change with Peter coming in as new CEO. Ken did great for the firm, but it was time for a transition, and Peter brings all of the right experience, energy, ideas, and an overall plan for the firm to flourish over the next seven to 10 years. I’m excited for the time that’s ahead and think the firm is positioned well with all of the recent changes over past years.“

“I couldn't be more excited about the firm’s outlook. Our firm celebrated our 175th anniversary in 2023, which speaks to the resilience of our brand and business model. We’ve weathered challenging market environments and shifts in the financial sector while maintaining a leading position throughout. We also have a history of innovating and expanding into new business lines, increasing our capabilities and relevance to clients, while not losing sight of growing our core businesses. The firm is excited to continue that growth model under a new senior leadership team and new group leader who’ve been put in place across many of our divisions in recent years.”


30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Phone: (212) 632-6000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Public
Stock Symbol: LAZ
Stock Exchange: NYSE
CEO: Peter R. Orszag
Chief Operating Officer: Alexandra Soto
Asset Management CEO: Evan Russo
2023 Employees (All Locations): 3,300

Major Office Locations

New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Chicago, IL
Austin, TX
Minneapolis, MN
London, United Kingdom
Paris, France
Beijing, China
Frankfurt, Germany
Madrid, Spain
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Major Departments & Practices

Mergers and Acquisitions
Capital Markets and Capital Solutions
Restructuring and Liability Management
Asset Management
Investment Solutions