I'm currently a HS senior who will be attending a top 10 US University next year. I've been interested in Investment Banking for a while, obviously the work days seem long bit the work itself seems up my alley, and obviously the pay is good too. Although I'm an American, I'm definitely interested in heading over to work in London after college and I'm pretty familiar with the city. Does anyone know how IB is in London compared to in the US? If anyone has worked in London and could share their experiences that would be great, but if anyone just knows some of the similarities and differences that would be really helpful too.

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Also, how hard is it to get a European IB job coming out of a top American college relative to getting an American IB job?

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First off - do NOT go into banking for the pay. When you've been getting 3 hours sleep a night and have to deal with inane requests from your seniors, the pay doesn't make you happy.

Banking in London is very similar to that in the US. The main difference from a recruiting point of view is that it is FAR less networking-intensive. All your applications are done online, and you are not required to golf every weekend with 3 MDs just to get an interview. The other difference in recruiting is that they actually test your intelligence. You'll have to do timed maths and logic tests (which are very simply, just a test of time really) and at your Assessment Centre (not a Superday) you'll have role play exercises, group tests, more mathematical testing etc.

In London you'll either work in the City (Goldman, UBS, DB) or in Canary Wharf (JPM soon, MS, Citi, BAML, BarCap, CS). You will get around either by walking, the underground (~PS2.50 per journey) with an Oyster card or by taxi at night after 10pm.

Housing costs for a 1 bedroom flat start at around PS1200 per month ($1900) for a short-term rental (under 6 months) or PS800 ($1400 per month for a longer lease. The most common places to live are the City, Camden, Shoreditch, Tower Bridge, Docklands, Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs or Bow.

The hours are similar to that of the US, around 80-90 hours a week but this will vary a lot depending on your bank. For example, most of the people I know work from around 9am till 2am most days, with an all-nighter at least once a week. I however work from 7:30am until around 11pm-midnight every day, and havn't had to stay later than 2:30am yet. This is for front-office IBD in a top BB.

Culture-wise again it is similar to the US although varies a lot from bank to bank. In some places, MDs will be treated as untouchable gods whom you never interact with; I sit next to mine and we chat football etc. My team has very little hierarchy but then in other teams its incredibly strict and you only deal with analysts or associates.

For exit-opps it is very dissimilar to the US. It is not just 2 years as an analyst, 2 years at business school and then to buy-side. A lot of people still go to the buy-side but this would be after 3 years as an analyst and you don't have to go to business school.

TLDR; London is extremely similar to NY for IBD but it can vary a lot depending on which team or bank you are at. The main difference is recruiting.


Asatar seems to have most of it covered, as with what he said the different recruiting environment seems to translate into a less comptitive process, not just because of the way it is handled, but also because there's a lot less people around. Ivy Leagues would be extremely well respected in the UK.

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That response deserves a Silver Banana. Get on it Patriotsfan, it's only one click.

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@"Asatar" I'm assuming then that a huge amount of recruiting goes into GPA and previous experience, and from there the interview would be the most influential. Do most of the companies host the timed logic and math tests in the States for people going to school over here?

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