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I'm currently a freshman at UMich/Ross and I'm brought up in Hong Kong. I would very much like to return there full time after I graduate and would even prefer doing my summer analyst internship stunts there.

How hard is it to secure a SA stint in Hong Kong? I'm guessing OCR would not help me obtain this.

Is it hard for international students to get full time jobs in the US after graduation? (May be a stupid question but just want to be sure)

Are there any tips you would have to help me get this job for my summer internships or FT?

It is important to know that I'm not of Chinese descent and cannot speak the language (neither Cantonese nor Mandarin) even though I was brought up there. I'm ethnically Indian was brought up in the international school system.

Comments (14)

  • seedy underbelly's picture

    IBDaspirations wrote:
    cannot speak the language (neither Cantonese nor Mandarin)

    This almost kills you. There will be Cantonese speakers applying alongside you from all over the US – Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Duke, etc. – which would make it harder for you to pass the first round, or even make it to one. The juniors from my school who received offers last semester (HK recruits before NY) were all native speakers.

    Then again, if you have a superb network, top grades (3.9+), and stand-out internships, anything's possible.

  • bbjhva's picture

    Anything's possible:

    1) This is big - do you or your parents have contacts in HK, ideally in investment banks? Nothing a good nudge here or there can't do to get you an internship. It's not the preferred way, of course, but hell you gotta do what you gotta do.

    2) Contact the recruitment team of the banks you're interested in. Try and score interviews in the US FOR the HK position. Know that your language barrier will be a drawback, but you need to rape your interviews and prove your ability. I know a friend who didn't know Cantonese/Mandarin, also Indian, hooked up a BB SA position and is now killing it there (but mind you he picked Singapore over HK for full time - for the language reason mainly)

    Good luck. I've lived in HK too and I get it - it's an awesome city even if all the Cantonese you know is diu lei.

  • IBDaspirations's picture

    Hahaha, well I am a Hong Kong citizen so I was hoping that would help to a certain degree.

    My parents do have 2-3 contacts in investment banks, so maybe that could help.

    This is not related to the topic but there is a girl at my school who is a sophomore. She just finished her first round for Morgan Stanley IBD and the only technical question they asked her was, what is the difference between equities and derivatives?

    She has got the super day. Are these the kinds of questions they will ask me if I try and interview for IBD/S&T positions in my sophomore year?

  • GongFuBanker's picture

    agreed with seedy underbelly on the language part. It's an unspoken requirement to master an asian language to work in hong kong. Yes, there are stories about how people with no language skills getting an IB job in HK but the odds are small and many were lateral. Also, being a HK citizen doesn't help at all - banks are looking for people who have relationships, and being a HK citizen typically implies not having much Chinese connection... (feel free to call me wrong on this)

    as for interview questions, it always depends on the chemistry with the interviewers. And don't think being a sophomore means you don't need to know your technicals, because at the end of day, banks are looking to hire people who can contribute.

  • bcf2011's picture

    IBD in HK you absolutely need to speak Mandarin (actually not Cantonese...although people at the offices apparently often speak it--might depend on group, which can leave you feeling left out).

    S&T you only need English, though they prefer you to have an Asian language obviously. If your family lives in Hong Kong, though, that might make up for not (that's a better reason than just being some white or Indian kid who wants to go to HK without having any Asian background).

    However...if I were an interviewer, I would find it very...discomfiting that you had grown up in Hong Kong and hadn't tried to learn Cantonese or Mandarin. While it's not necessary to live in Hong Kong, I would question the fact that you didn't make an effort to become a greater part of the community (if you can speak conversationally in either that would be good, but you make it sound as if you have none).

  • In reply to bcf2011
    seedy underbelly's picture

    bcf2011 wrote:
    IBD in HK you absolutely need to speak Mandarin (actually not Cantonese...although people at the offices apparently often speak it--might depend on group, which can leave you feeling left out).

    S&T you only need English, though they prefer you to have an Asian language obviously. If your family lives in Hong Kong, though, that might make up for not (that's a better reason than just being some white or Indian kid who wants to go to HK without having any Asian background).

    However...if I were an interviewer, I would find it very...discomfiting that you had grown up in Hong Kong and hadn't tried to learn Cantonese or Mandarin. While it's not necessary to live in Hong Kong, I would question the fact that you didn't make an effort to become a greater part of the community (if you can speak conversationally in either that would be good, but you make it sound as if you have none).

    This. One of my friends here spent just two years at the UWC there and is decently conversationally fluent now. Your not picking up the language despot having been brought up there will raise eyebrows.

    I'd recommend the UK. More lax on work visas and obviously english-speaking.

  • In reply to seedy underbelly
    GongFuBanker's picture

    seedy underbelly wrote:
    bcf2011 wrote:
    However...if I were an interviewer, I would find it very...discomfiting that you had grown up in Hong Kong and hadn't tried to learn Cantonese or Mandarin. While it's not necessary to live in Hong Kong, I would question the fact that you didn't make an effort to become a greater part of the community (if you can speak conversationally in either that would be good, but you make it sound as if you have none).

    This. One of my friends here spent just two years at the UWC there and is decently conversationally fluent now. Your not picking up the language despot having been brought up there will raise eyebrows.

    I'd recommend the UK. More lax on work visas and obviously english-speaking.

    I have to duly disagree that growing up in HK means one must be conversant in some Chinese language. I've friends who grew up in HK but can't really speak Chinese because they went to international schools (not UWC fyi). These international schools just don't teach kids Chinese or at the very least those are not mandatory. It's also not uncommon that kids are just not ethnically Chinese to begin with. So I wouldn't blame OP for not knowing Chinese after all those years in HK.

    That said, getting an offer in HK as an analyst typically requires one to at least speak Mandarin. Not knowing Cantonese, however, is not important at all. In fact, other than Hong Kong coverage teams, you'll rarely find a team that has more than two Cantonese speakers.

  • IBDaspirations's picture

    Ahh, that's good. I'm kind of debating between S&T and IBD right now, and I'm more inclined for S&T. If Mandarin/Cantonese aren't required for S&T, that may just be the push I need to make a choice (then again I'm only a freshman).

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  • bcf2011's picture