3/10/12

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.

Comments (64)

3/10/12

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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Best Response
3/10/12

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.

3/10/12

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.

Damn you Rodger!

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3/11/12

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

" A recession is when other people lose their job, a depression is when you lose your job. "

10/15/14

@"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?

10/16/14

The psychometric tests will be taken online initially, and if you progress to the Assessment Centre, they will fly you in from wherever you are and have you take a paper test to confirm that you didn't cheat your way through the online one.

10/16/14

I'm in London and I've had offers in New York but I'd still take London. London has overtaken New York in someways, but New Yorkers aren't nearly as poncy. Plus, it's much easier to Boo the knicks from Jersey than from Canary wharf.

10/16/14

And as far as work balance goes - in London we are under the belief the americans are about face time (Well they did invent it didn't they!)

We always wonder why the American teams are in the office longer then us while doing the same work.

10/16/14

are marginally better I'd say then New York.

People really try to have Sunday free in London. It doesn't always work out, but it happens a fair bit.

10/16/14

I don't work weekends. Can you believe that shit? I mean seriously. I don't work fucking weekends.

10/16/14

ratul you must be at rothschilds.

I also had New York offers and went with London. The hours are still outrageous, but they are slightly better. RobertSmith if you are american, transitioning to the states from london would be easy, but getting hired in the EU might be difficult.

10/16/14

say someone wanted to move the other way (from London to NY), anyone got any tips?

10/16/14

for entry to London BBs at the associate level
what are a few strong European schools ? excluding LBS and INSEAD
How is the Cambridge MBA ?
Would IBD/Research exp. plus an LSE MSc be considered for associate interviews ?
thanks

10/16/14

A MSc won't put you beyond analyst unless you have experience. Most people in IB in europe do MSc's or in some cases course's are done in such a way you come out with 3 MSc's (French schools)

HEC (France)would be one of the top MBA's. Check out the FT's top 100 should give you a better view.

10/16/14

the Cambridge mba is pathetic go to insead/lbs or the us.

you also seem to be clueless - only experience/mba/phd (in rare cases) will get you an associate interview. a year at lse is not equal to one years banking experience.

10/16/14

not clueless, just trying to understand alternative routes to london, after at least 2 years of exp. elsewhere
aside from the obvious INSEAD/LBS MBA and Top 10 US

considering relo from a BB or HSMP before going to school

previous posts suggest oxbridge, LSE, dominate at the analyst entry, just wondering how they would fare for the associate level, with min. 2 years ofcourse

what about the LBS MiF over their MBA?

i'd much rather be in europe for school, preferably the UK

10/16/14

I've seen a fair bit of misinformation on this thread, so let's clear this up.

As an American who did his MBA in Europe and got a BB London associate role, I know how this game is played.

LBS is far and away your best bet for London placement.

Other than that you have basically 2 other european schools that are targets at most banks: INSEAD and IESE (Barcelona).

Forget the FT rankings here...HEC Paris, Manchester, Cambridge, Oxford, whatever are NOT TARGET SCHOOLS!!! A few people from these schools work their way in, but you will kick yourself if you want to do banking and go to one of these schools.

For INSEAD a side note is that you must start at the January start date because the program is only 11 months and otherwise your timing will be off and you won't be able to do an internship.

Most London MBA Associates are Europeans studying at the top US schools (HBS, Wharton, etc.). Then LBS, IESE, and INSEAD.

Very few Americans at American MBAs will get brought over to London because you have to convince them that you can/want to do the Euro thing. So unless you have a background that would be a logical fit for them and you are American, you should go to one of the Euro schools i mentioned above.

10/16/14

Alexey,
in terms of fit, what are the major traits that London firms are looking for ?
a European language ? local culture fit ? firm culture fit ? showing commitment to the region ? etc.

is there a reason why u chose banking in London ?

10/16/14
dh212:

Alexey,
in terms of fit, what are the major traits that London firms are looking for ?
a European language ? local culture fit ? firm culture fit ? showing commitment to the region ? etc.

is there a reason why u chose banking in London ?

In regards to my personal situation, I had studied abroad for a year in Germany during my undergrad and loved living in Europe. Afterwards, I worked mostly in the states, but had a medium term assignment in Italy. I always kept a lot of friends in Europe and visiting often.

For me it was personal. I was bored in the US. I had friends and family, but daily life for me was just not as interesting as in Europe where one is forced to speak a foreign language or somehow adapt to a foreign culture. I like that I can travel just a couple of hours and experience a completely different culture.

That being said there are things I miss about home and things that annoy me about Europe, but overall, I feel more comfortable and content here in Europe.

In terms of what banks are looking for, I can only offer my opinion rather than a rule, but I think it is commitment.

I think many companies here would be afraid that the person only wanted to come to Europe on a whim and after a few months would not like it anymore. I was lucky enough in my past to have had multiple, long-term stays in Europe, and thus people didn't worry whether or not I could handle being away from home.

Certainly languages help, but unless you are on a special regional coverage team, things in London tend to be in English. However, being able to converse with your team in their own language (particularly when everyone by default assumes Americans are monolingual) goes a long way in building rapport.

In the end, I don't think it's that much different then a banking interview in New York. Why do you want to be a banker? You need a good answer for that. Well as an American wanting work in London, you equally need an good answer for why you want to be there.

10/16/14

Alexey, what do you think about Bocconi? A large proportion of people I met at interviews were there. Or is that just the top school in Italy?

10/16/14

Bocconi's BSc/MSc is very good for getting an analyst position in London but the MBA gets no respect, definitely avoid it.

I only know one guy in London IB with the Bocconi MBA and he's in a dead end situation.

10/16/14
EuroMonkey:

Bocconi's BSc/MSc is very good for getting an analyst position in London but the MBA gets no respect, definitely avoid it.

I only know one guy in London IB with the Bocconi MBA and he's in a dead end situation.

EuroMonkey is right. It's in the same group at HEC, Manchester, etc.

I know a couple from Bocconi, but they are not a target school.

Many of these schools are targets for ANALYSTS, but not for MBAs.

10/16/14

I'm also an American working in London, but I have a degree from a British university. I have never met a single American who got an analyst/associate position in London outside of the following:

  1. studied at a European university (Oxbridge, LSE, LBS, Insead, HEC). This includes people who did study abroad in London, got internships there, and then took full-time offers.
  2. experienced bankers sent to the London office

There may possibly be one more category:

  1. Americans who have dual citizenship with an EU country so don't need a Visa

If you're not one of those, it's pretty much not going to happen.

10/16/14
fp175:

I'm also an American working in London, but I have a degree from a British university. I have never met a single American who got an analyst/associate position in London outside of the following:

  1. studied at a European university (Oxbridge, LSE, LBS, Insead, HEC). This includes people who did study abroad in London, got internships there, and then took full-time offers.
  2. experienced bankers sent to the London office

There may possibly be one more category:

  1. Americans who have dual citizenship with an EU country so don't need a Visa

If you're not one of those, it's pretty much not going to happen.

Overall I would agree with this.

The one thing I would clarify is that some schools are good for analyst recruiting and other are good for associate recruiting. So just be sure not to confuse the two when choosing schools.

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10/16/14

Probably ibtalk.com which is London orientated, you'll find all the starting salaries and bonus info there but not as much about exit ops etc which I think is more to do with the fact that you are usually hired full time not for a two year stint, well in theory at least. There isn't as much activity on that site though so I only check it once a week.

10/16/14

any other insight on the london banking players?

10/16/14

oh man, where does a homey start.

10/16/14

I worked at Mizuho International, an Investment Bank Subsidiary of Mizuho Financial Group, and at the Royal Bank of Scotland. I am an American at University of Wisconsin. I think I can answer most of your questions pretty well.

  1. Don't worry about the work permit. If they give you an interview they know what they are getting into. Basically it'll only take 50 pounds and 20 minutes of some HR person's time to get you one. London is an international city, and is usually pretty lax on work permits for high up professions. The opposite cannot be said about the US, so consider yourself lucky.
  2. Pay used to be better when the pound was 2 to 1, but now with the pound at 1.5 to 1 the pay won't be even close. Some American banks will pay you in dollars, but only if your doing a year after your analyst stint. The pay will be lower if you intend to always exchange pounds for dollars. But in the long term who knows, maybe the pound will be 2.5 to 1.
  3. Differing Jurisdictions most certainly impact deals. But it won't hinder you in any way, if anything you will learn a shitload more because you are in london. London is basically a hub for the rest of the world. Everything may not start there, but it always goes through there. Most banks have smaller offices in every european country for this reason. Their biggest office is in London, but they have small staffs everywhere so they can know everything about the local laws and customs. During two months at RBS I was on conference calls with Germans, Italians, Spanish, and Polish people. This will help you with any type of banking job in Europe, but severely hinder you with US banking jobs. When I interviewed with US banks no one gave two shits that I knew German Renewable Energy code to a T. To them its all about US. But you will still get good modeling and valuation experience.
  4. I would say there is stereotypes when you are American in London. But it worked to my advantage. People expected me to be a brash, close minded, hardworking asshole because I was an American. So when in my interview I showed that I was a smart, nice, hardworking American, and they jumped for me. There are so many Americans working in London mostly because they know that we work hard, yet you can't be a complete dick if you want to work there. Just make sure to tone back your confidence when interviewing, cause British banks are much more low key.

I would recommend working in London, most of all because you can drink 5 beers during lunch and be more sober than your MDs. And that Guinness sure tastes a lot better closer to home.

10/16/14

Thanks, that is really good info. Are you in UW undergrad, and those were SA positions, or were they FT and you are getting your MBA now?

10/16/14

I'm in Undergrad still. I got a FT offer to do M&A Advisory in a division owned by a reinsurance company.

I studied abroad in London, and through my program worked at Mizuho 3 days a week and took classes the other 2. That was spring semester from Jan-May. I applied to RBS online for their summer internship, and got the job, then stayed in London over the summer. Good luck on the job hunt there, it is definitely looking different.

10/16/14

I didn't know LSE did transfers.....usually you would have to start from scratch if you went there.

10/16/14

It is rare but you can transfer in to the second year; you simply indicate that is the level for wish you would like to be considered on your app

10/16/14

I am American and started in London at (probably) the best boutique bank. Studying abroad is your best bet. You'll be set for London recruitment if you go to Oxford, Cambridge, the LSE, or Imperial.

It will not be easy to get a job in London if you are not in the UK. Similarly, if/when you want to move back to the US from London, that won't be easy either, so you should keep that in mind (especially since it seems you haven't spent any real time in London, so saying, "I could spend the rest of my life there" sounds a bit retarded).

10/16/14

No I have spent a lot of time there, actually.

So studying abroad there will be sufficient? I will be abroad from Brown, as an Econ major.

10/16/14
natew6338:

No I have spent a lot of time there, actually.

So studying abroad there will be sufficient? I will be abroad from Brown, as an Econ major.

study at one of the following schools abroad:

UK: LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial, Warwick
Continental Europe: Bocconi and HEC

The UK schools obviously give you the geographic advantage for London, but the Continental schools will allow you to become bi or tri-lingual, which is very desirable for IB in london and for future endeavors.

10/16/14

I wouldn't do anything finance in london anymore, no sireee.

10/16/14

I wouldn't do anything finance in london anymore, no sireee.

10/16/14

What languages are most desirable for FT employees in London?

10/16/14
natew6338:

What languages are most desirable for FT employees in London?

Well, all of the western european ones and russian- this way, the london office can work on deals in all of these countries.

10/16/14

I can speak Russian very well.. guess it never hurts

10/16/14

being able to speak russian well is a huge plus as russia is an emerging market that london wants to get its hands on

10/16/14

would I need to be fluent to experience benefits from this?

10/16/14
natew6338:

would I need to be fluent to experience benefits from this?

you likely will need to have an above average level of competency in the language for it to be considered useful by the investment bank

10/16/14

Don't forget LBS - #1 business school in the world. I know people who studied there and most of them found something in banking.

10/16/14
BradZ:

Don't forget LBS - #1 business school in the world.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

10/16/14
hellogoodbye:
BradZ:

Don't forget LBS - #1 business school in the world.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Let me guess - you never left the US?

10/16/14
BradZ:
hellogoodbye:
BradZ:

Don't forget LBS - #1 business school in the world.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Let me guess - you never left the US?

Let me guess - you've yet to notice the sun set on the British Empire?

10/16/14
cj88:
BradZ:
hellogoodbye:
BradZ:

Don't forget LBS - #1 business school in the world.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Let me guess - you never left the US?

Let me guess - you've yet to notice the sun set on the British Empire?

No, I agree with you that the UK is going through a rough patch but I don't see why this would affect the quality of the business education in the U.K.. If you read something else than the WSJ you might have access to different opinions.

10/16/14
BradZ:
cj88:
BradZ:
hellogoodbye:
BradZ:

Don't forget LBS - #1 business school in the world.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Let me guess - you never left the US?

Let me guess - you've yet to notice the sun set on the British Empire?

No, I agree with you that the UK is going through a rough patch but I don't see why this would affect the quality of the business education in the U.K.. If you read something else than the WSJ you might have access to different opinions.

While I find most rankings to be lacking, they are still nevertheless an useful resource in comparing schools. The WSJ isn't the only publication that disputes the status of LBS as the "#1 business school in the world." Even the FT produces a tie between Wharton and LBS (over the last three years) and arguably it would be strongly biased towards LBS.

10/16/14
BradZ:

Don't forget LBS - #1 business school in the world. I know people who studied there and most of them found something in banking.

LBS Master in Finance is for people with at least 2 years of work experience

10/16/14

It should be noted that although one of the benefits of attending a target school in London like LSE is that banks heavily recruit from there, another benefit is the fact that at LSE specifically there is a great chance to network not only with the companies that come on campus to give presentations (there are presentations several times a week), but also with the LSE students themselves. Something like 70% of LSE's student body wants to go into either banking, consulting, or to the big 4. This is a huge number and also LSE's student body is extremely international and I'd even say wealthy for the most part. It wouldn't be hard to make a few friends only to discover one of their dad's is head of a banking division or something along those lines. So yeah, I think the networking aspect of attending a target school in London (like anywhere) should also not be overlooked, especially since it will be more difficult for you as an American to get an internship / FT offer in London.

10/16/14

Bump??....

10/16/14

[x]

10/16/14

"What does US citizenship have to do with London?"

Nothing at all. I meant that I would be a US citizen already, by the time I would be applying for a job in London, so I'm guessing getting a Visa would be easier and I could travel more freely. I have lived in England for a while, as a matter of fact I just moved here from England about a year ago.
Are you actually Nigerian? Your screen name is very Yoruba haha

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