Definition: Product Groups are teams in the corporate finance division of an investment bank that advise only on a specific deal type, such as mergers/acquisitions or debt issuances, but across all industries.
For example, a product group such as Equity Capital Markets (ECM) advises on all deals related to equity: initial public offerings (IPOs), follow-on offerings (FOs), convertible bond issuances, SPACs, and more – but it does not advise on debt issuances or M&A deals.
And it works with companies across all industries (ex: technology, healthcare, consumer retail, energy, etc.).
Because Product Groups operate across all industries, deep knowledge of individual industries is not a core skill set required for product group roles.
Professionals in product groups come to know specific transactional models – merger models or LBO models – very well, but they won’t do much outside that and won’t learn each industry in much depth.
Also, note that in some product groups, such as Equity Capital Markets (ECM) and Debt Capital Markets (DCM), there is little “real” financial modeling.
Most of the work consists of updating PowerPoint slides for market and client presentations, and the financial analysis tends to be quite simple.
As a result, these groups do not offer the best exit opportunities into roles such as private equity.
You will be working the same # of hours in groups such as M&A, Restructuring, and Leveraged Finance, that you would in strong industry groups.
The notable exceptions occur on the capital markets side. In teams such as DCM and ECM (particularly ECM), you will often work ~20-25% less, which gives you a bit more free time on weekdays and freer weekends.
It is still investment banking, so expect emergencies, random calls late at night, and so on, but it is possible to have a bit more of a life as a junior banker in these groups.
We put together this detailed article on Industry Groups vs Product Groups to highlight the differences between the two. Spoiler: the practical differences are smaller than you might think.
Investment banking has become a highly-competitive and sought-after field.
Banks have shifted from hiring raw graduates and “training them on the job” to expecting new hires to hit the ground running and add value from day one.
That’s why many future investment bankers invest in specialized courses and training to help them get noticed, get hired, and get promoted.
Some of the courses offered by Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street include:
Completing these courses will help you win interviews and job offers for roles that pay $150K+, and position you for top-tier exit opportunities such as private equity.