Arbor Advisors Reviews

Updated July 1, 2014
Updated July 1, 2014
29 Reviews

3.3
29 Reviews
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Arbor Advisors Managing Director Stan Christensen
Stan Christensen
18 Ratings

13 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Education and Opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Associate in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Arbor Advisors full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Most young people who think of "investment banking" think of strictly excel modeling but banking is a lot more than that and Arbor provides a robust education in the field
    -You will develop the skills to be impressive on the phone, get meetings, source deals, evaluate businesses, build all the ibanking materials (including models), work with buyers, and close transactions
    -Stan and the other firm leadership really do care if you "get better" and develop as a young professional while providing feedback to encourage growth
    -The junior team is quite strong. In particular their ability to pitch and win deals is literally the best in the industry but they are also just a lot of fun and generally create a great work environment
    -The senior team is well equipped to provide M&A advisory to middle market tech companies
    -A fascinating education in banking, sales, negotiation, and office politics
    -Autonomy is unparalleled as you have control over how you spend your time
    -Weekends are always off and hours in general aren't even close to typical ibanking requirements
    -Joining as a mid-senior level banker is a less established career path but really is open-ended for the right people and the firm has paid huge ($1M+) bonuses to outperformers at the mid-senior level
    -Arbor will promote internally for the right candidate
    -Exit opportunities include PE, banking, or finance/sales roles on the operating side

    Cons

    -No formal Analyst or Associate training programs
    -Solid brand name with boutique banks and growth equity firms but not well-known outside of that universe
    -Mandatory start time is far too strict given the project-based nature of the business
    -Likely at a disadvantage vs the bulge bracket if you are thinking of b-school
    -Location in PA is tough for employees who live in the city (it works, but annoying)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Enjoyed working with the team so focus eliminating pointless HR issues
    -Eliminate the tracking of arrival time given that the team is performing and may be working late nights
    -Spring for Training the Street or another program to fill out the skill set of junior employees who will appreciate your interest in their career growth

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great place for hungry, entrepreneurial finance person interested in internet/software sector

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst/Associate  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Analyst/Associate in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Arbor Advisors full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Great mix of traditional IB Analyst/Associate work (modeling, valuation, market mapping) and higher level responsibilities (relationship building with C-suite, conferences, pitches)
    -There is no cap on your earning potential - if you're smart, strategic, and willing to work hard you have the potential to make more money than you ever could in a traditional IB Analyst/Associate role
    -You write your own destiny - you're given the freedom to go after verticals that interest you; your earning potential isn't 100% dependent on how your team/group does, but rather how well you perform
    -Stan is a great teacher and encourages all of his employees to 'think like owners' - he is very open to new ideas provided you come to him with a fully-baked plan and ways to measure results
    -Good comradery among Analyst/Associates - at the end of the day everybody wants to see you do well since incentives are aligned (i.e. the more deals the bank does, the bigger the bonus pool at the end of the year)

    Cons

    -No formal training or on-boarding, which is fine if you're hungry, entrepreneurial, and don't feel the need to be babysat
    -Strict rules around setting up meetings without Stan present

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Hire slower, fire faster

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Opportunity for the Right Candidate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Vice President  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Vice President in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Arbor Advisors full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    First of all, it's a good culture of professionals. The people are smart and hard working but they are also social and welcoming. Secondly, there is much more of a work-life balance at Arbor compared to most other banks. This isn't to say there aren't times where there are some long nights, but the hours aren't nearly as bad as bulge bracket banks. Next, you will gain a great deal of M&A experience - if you work at Arbor you will work on deals! This is different from a lot of middle market banks that are either struggling to bring in deals or you are a small cog in a very large wheel (see bulge brackets), limiting your experience and your exposure. At Arbor you are given the opportunity to play a very big role in an M&A process with senior level exposure, very quickly. The team is relying upon you to represent the firm to the client and get your job done. You will also develop an invaluable combination of both hard (modeling, valuation, analysis, etc.) and soft skills (sales, presentation, negotiation, etc.). You will gain a great deal of knowledge on corporate finance and the technology market as a whole (companies, trends, etc.). Not many jobs, if any, outside of investment banking will give a person the opportunity to learn so much, so quickly.

    Cons

    Cons:
    You have to be committed to doing the job for a few years or it likely doesn't make much sense to join the firm. Many people join and quickly realize that it is too much work over too long a period of time to realize the benefits.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Former Associate

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Associate in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Arbor Advisors full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    * Most of the negative reviews on here were written by former Associates who currently work for a competitor

    Arbor’s deal pipeline is strong. After a dozen years of solid outcomes for clients, the firm has a great reputation in the valley. I worked on several deals while I was at the firm and got to work daily with the firm’s Managing Directors. Arbor gave me great training on everything from pitchbooks to marketing materials to negotiation skills.

    Arbor employees become very close friends – there is great camaraderie. Employees are all very smart, talented, and helpful – the recruiting process has become very competitive over the past couple of years. Arbor’s Analysts and Associates are also very passionate about technology.

    Cons

    Analysts and Associates are given a lot of responsibility – not everyone has what it takes to be successful here and they wind up leaving after a year.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Exceptional Opportunity to Work with Entrepreneurs with a Great Team

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Vice President  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Vice President in Palo Alto, CA

    I worked at Arbor Advisors full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - work with motivated bright individuals
    - open door environment
    - solid compensation with significant upside for performers
    - interesting learning opportunity as you speak to entrepreneurs everyday
    - associates write their own ticket and get tremendous experience if they are driven
    - senior management is very open to teaching
    - great deal flow

    Cons

    - sales environment, which is not for everyone
    - hours can be long, but nothing like the bulge experience
    - not a negative, but this is not the right fit for someone who wants to focus on the quant / modeling aspects of banking

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Excellent Tech Boutique Investment Bank - Sell-side M&A and Growth Capital Advisory

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Associate in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Arbor Advisors full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Very differentiated approach that gets results for entrepreneurs
    - Opportunity to work under/learn from a highly accomplished and experienced senior team
    - Great team - everyone is intelligent, entrepreneurial, and extremely hard working
    - Focus on technology industry
    - Unmatched negotiation expertise
    - Wide selection of quality exit opportunities

    Cons

    - Heavy workload is rewarding, but not for everyone
    - Investment banking sales cycles are long
    - SF to PA commute

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Excellent Place To Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Associate in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Arbor Advisors full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Firm has excellent reputation for achieving positive outcomes for entrepreneurs. In addition, Arbor had one of their best years ever as a firm in 2012

    Solid deal flow – Arbor can afford to be very selective on which mandates it decides to take on, which is one of the reasons they have higher ‘close rates’ than their competitors

    Clients and employees get lots of senior level attention from the firm’s Managing Directors

    Arbor only does technology deals – therefore, employees all become experts in various sectors within tech

    Solid training program – you will become an expert in sell-side M&A, everything from pitch books to financial modeling to running the deal process

    Associates are smart – the recruiting process at Arbor has become very competitive over the past couple of years

    Great camaraderie & good alumni base

    Cons

    Competitive environment – non-performers tend to be weeded out pretty quickly

    Employees work long hours – though work-life balance is overall much better at Arbor vs. most other Investment Banking firms

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Smart Associates, Collegial Environment, Ample Room for Growth

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Associate in Palo Alto, CA

    I have been working at Arbor Advisors

    Pros

    If you are highly motivated and are willing to put in the work to understand your space and learn as much as can everyday, this is the place for you. Having come from a large Wall Street Analyst training program, I appreciate the flexibility & freedom of Arbor's Associate program and the opportunity to really move the needle for the firm.

    With work, the right talent, and a strong demeanor you can quickly become a key asset.

    Cons

    Less structure than large bulge bracket firms.
    Fewer key decision makers than most firms.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on a more structured analyst programs. During the formative years after college, I think our analysts could use more guidance & shared insights.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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