20 Most Frequently Asked Questions - London Edition

Hi all,

Currently bored at home due to the current lockdown. Thought I could put my time in between two models to summarize a lot of frequently asked questions.

I will try to answer these questions to the best of my ability, if you disagree with it or got something to add, feel free to leave a comment and I will edit this post. If in the same 'tier' note that firms/school are in no particular order.

1. What are the undergraduate/General masters target schools ?

The list below applies for everyone, as long as you speak the language from the country you study in.

UK (course doesn't matter at this point):
Targets - Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL, Warwick
Semi-targets - Bristol, Kings, Bath, Nottingham, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Durham, Exeter, Cass

Targets - UCD, Trinity

Target - Bocconi
Semi-targets - Luiss, Politecnico di Milano

Targets - ICADE, ESADE, IE

Tagets - HEC, ESSEC, ESCP, Top3 Eng schools
Semi-targets - Sciences Po, Top5 Business and Eng Schools

Targets - RSM, Erasmus, Solvay

German speaking countries:
Targets - Skt Gallen, WHU, Mannheim
Semi Targets - ESB, WU, FSB, LMU

Targets - CBS, SSE, NTNU Industrial Economics
Semi-targets - Lund, Aalto, NHH, BI, KTH

2. What are the targeted masters in Finance?

The list below only applies to Masters in Finance where you'll be targetted regardless of which languages you study - ie no one is targetted from the SSE masters if they don't speak swedish thus it is not included - a more exhaustive list can be found here

Targets: Oxford, LSE, HEC, LBS
Semi-Targets: Imperial>Warwick

3. How to get hired?

Ideally you do one (or more) Spring week(s) (in April), 2 years before you graduate, ie as a first year of a 3 year degree. To get such an offer you have to apply around October for the April intake. Most spring weeks can convert/fast track you to Final Round interviews for the following summer internship.

This is the best way to get a FT offer - or at least the most structured path. To get a summer internship either you make it through the spring weeks (lucky you), or you apply in late August/September, interview anywhere between October and January. The Summer Internship is a 10 week long internship usually running from mid june to late August.

You didn't get an SA offer, and you are about to graduate but lack IB experience at a good bank to apply straight for FT roles, apply to off-cycles. They tend to recruit at the same time as SA, but you can find off-cycles for any moment of the year. They usually are about 3-6months long and have high conversion rates as you really get to prove yourself.

So SA or OC
My rule of thumb is the following:
- You plan on doing further studies - go SA.
- You don't plan on further studies but don't have good work experience - go SA (unless they are a firm that doesn't take finalists because they have an off cycle designed for that - ie CS and their Autumn Internship).
- You don't plan on studying anymore and have a decent CV - go OC.

You did a Summer Internship or Off cycle, you got an offer and you want to go to a better bank or you simply got no offer (I would usually recommend going again for SA/OC in the latter case), you should NETWORK (yes networking doesn't matter much for london except for full-time). Most interviews for FT (from my experience) are coming from people you've networked with. They need someone in their group they know you, they'll interview you (I was asked to apply, and was told I would get an interview after submitting my interview), if you're luck you'll start interviewing late august and have an offer before your return offer expires. There may be a propper application process but imo networking + applying online is the key way to go.

Interview Processes
In most cases you will have between 2-4 rounds interviews (excluding Hireviews). Usually a first telephone interview, maybe a second, an Assessment Center and maybe a follow on round after the AC (usually only for FT roles). In most cases I recommend being ready for all kind of questions, fit, behavioral, brain teaser, technical questions. For technical questions in most cases these will be adjusted to your work experience. But generally I would expect, perfect understanding of accounting, DCF, Comps; good understanding of LBOs, basic understanding of Merger Models. If you understand Rosenbaum and Pearl you should be fine - if you want to prep with a bit of Excel, do Macabus or Multiple Expansion, both are good.

4. What do we look out for on a CV/CL or in a Hirevue?

- Formatting - first thing I look at (no excuse not to use WSO's format - no I wasn't paid for this but @WallStreetOasis.com" I'll gladly take some of your money if you offer)
- Are you an interesting person (diversity of interests, activities, jobs, sports etc)
- Do you have relevant/applicable work experience (this will obvisoulsy depend on when you are applying ie 1st year UG vs final year master student - yes we consider that when looking at applications)

Most Cover Letters won't be read lets be honest, but here are my tips for them
- Formatting - are they one page? are they well formatted? Is there any typo?
- Content - Why finance? Why the bank&division? Why should we hire you? - 3 simple paragraphs that should be around 10 lines.

Generally regardless of what HR says, I believe that they are reviewed by computers, but if there weren't this would be what I would care about.
1) Can you speak clearly/are well polished - this is an interview, please wear a suit, tie and have a neat background and good lighting
2) Do you display enthousiasm? Do you seem passionate when you answer questions?
3) Content of the answer - if its behavioral do you use the star technique (that's all I'd care about tbh can't give a fuk about your story - I just want to see if you can structure your thoughts), if its news related how well can you talk about it, relate it to finance and how do you justify picking it (ie X deal was interesting to me because of X Y Z).

5. How to pick work experience? What is relevant work experience?

My rule of thumb is that people care about two things when looking at your past work experience.
I would usually focus on the following when deciding between 2 offers:

1) Relevant skills - Valuation, M&A process, FDD, CDD, running work streams, credit analysis, industry research, market sizing, accounting

2) Brand name - Firm and division

I am a firm believer that in IB people are smart enough to assess the combination of division + firm to see how selective the role was (for the Brand name) - say you did retail banking compliance at Barclays, well that's the same as doing operations at Tescos for me. So in most cases I would focus on the relevance of the skills over the brand name of the firm.

I myself did M&A at a no name shop doing deals in the ~£10-50m range and it opened a lot of doors because it was M&A, not sure doing compliance at GS would have had as much weight.

6. Should I network?

I am at a (semi) target
In my experience it is not required the same way it is in the US. Yet you should attend events on campus to gain insights into the firm. Some firms (CS, PJT and maybe more) will give interviews to people attending their events. But there is no point of sending cold emails to analysts to get calls with them.

I am at a non-target
At this point you may network because its not like you've got much to loose, and I am sure that someone that struggled to get an offer from a similar background would be happy to help you.

Implications of networking not being required
The fact that networking doesn't matter adds more randomness for the recruiting process. Some top candidates may not get an interview from top 3 US BBs but may only get UBS/CS and an average candidate may get MS for no apparent reason. I also have friends that applied with the same CV/CL 2 years in a row and the first year would get 0 interviews and a bunch of them the following year. The lack of networking creates information asymmetries between campus recruiting teams and applicants. But headhunters are well aware about that and therefore consider or at least are happy to speak to most people at BBs. I will get into more detail about this in section 16. of this post.

7. How does diversity recruiting work?

If you are a straight white male just skip that, and trust me I would rather not write about this but it comes up frequently.

What is diversity recruiting
Basically if you are anything but a white straight white male, you can be considered for diversity here. Be it for gender, skin colour, or sexual orientation, you fit the bill. Congratulations you are one of the choosen one to have better odds than other candidates and you gain access to highly exclusive events to eat some average snacks and bites in banks offices listening to a while old lady (or gay guy if you're lucky) ranting about how they value you. And yep that's it.

How does it work in practice
Lets take GS for instance, they want 50% of their class of interns in every division to be female, regardless of the proportion of female applicants. So lets say they take 100 candidates, so 50 males, 50 females, if there is 500 females and 5000 males applying, well as a female you have 10x more chances to make it than a random male.

What are the issues with that
Some candidates get offers just on the basis of diversity (ie spring weeks etc) as they may get easier interviews. So what you observe is that diversity candidates are (in most cases) the candidates that do not convert their internship. Furthermore it adds more randomness for the recruiting process. Some top candidates may not get an interview from top 3 US BBs but may only get UBS/CS and an average candidate may get MS for no apparent reason. Headhunters are aware about this so they consider people across BBs usually.
I will get into more detail about this in section 16. of this post.

8. How much should I expect to get paid?

Now that you've got the job or the internship - in most cases for both summer analyst and off-cycle you will be paid on a pro-rata of the Analyst 1 base. As an analyst 1 you get 50k base + a bonus depending on your bank, a rough number can be found here

And if you want to bitch about the fact that salaries are lower in London go on this thread

9. What are the best banks?

  • Generally the top 3 BBs are the best (GS/MS/JPM)
  • Then comes most EBs (exclusding those below - see the full list in 4.) + BAML/Citi/CS
  • Then comes the rest of the BBs (DB/UBS/Barclays) + good MMs (Greenhill, Jefferies) + Macquarie (yes they do very well in PUI)


Most banks/groups above the dotted line will get you interviews for any kind of exits, so pick based on your interests, fit and where they are strong, more on that in section10.

10. What are the banks strengths + type of deals for EBs?

MS - M&A, M&T or M&C, HC, Tech
JPM - TMT, RE, DI, LevFin
BOA - M&A, HC, Industrials, NatRes, Sponsors/LevFin
Citi - TMT, FIG, Industrials, HC, UK, P&U
CS - Sponsors, LevFin, M&A, TMT, Industrials
DB - Industrials, LevFin, TMT
Barclays - UK, P&U

EBs - in no order
Centerview - C&R, HC, focus on large M&A
PJT - HC/Gaming for M&A, Rx - focus on Rx mostly, yet is expanding their M&A platform
PWP - Industrials, TMT, focus on large M&A
Lazard - Pretty balanced - does everything one, of the bigger EBs
Evercore - Pretty balanced - does everything growing aggressively
Rotschild - HC, Industrials, Business services, Rx, mostly does MM
Moelis - RX - little M&A activity in the MM space, but good in Rx
HL - RX - an EB only for RX, MM at best for the rest
Greenhill - C&R, HC - enjoys some long standing relationships to get deals (ie Tescos)

Most EBs/BBs groups will get you interviews, so pick based on your interests and where they are strong, more on why that is the case in section 16.

Other banks
BNPP - LevFin, DCM
HSBC - DCM, LevFin
Nomura - LevFin
RBC - Industrials, FIG
Jefferies - TMT, HC, PUI

11. How do I get into the group I want?

Every bank will have that structured differently (and it even changes every year or so, hence I will not put banks in there) but tend to follow one of these structures:

  • HR allocation without preferences - yeah that sucks its the worse option, they usually ask teams how many people do they need, which languages, and if they have other requirments and problem solved. In this case you have little control and it sucks - but again, groups here are not as important as in the US.
  • HR allocation with preferences - kinda same as above you don't get much say, but in most cases people are OK with their allocation with few unlucky ones. These banks are usually the most open to you changing teams in between SA/OC and FT
  • Placement Day/Oriented Networking - you come in the office for a day or they give you phone numbers of people to chat to before you submit preferences. It's a mix of your preferences/teams preferences that will determine where you end up
  • Intern pool - you don't get placed into a team, amazing you can work with the team you want, but odds are, other interns will want that team too. It can get competitive, but is the most meritocratic, best performers usually end up in the best teams. Don't be a snake in the internship just to get a team, I have heard and seen people not get a return offer because of such behavior.

Before any of you network to get into one of your desired team I'd check with people you know at the bank (ie past interns, friends, past interviewers) if the bank is ok with you networking with teams. In some cases I know it can backfire and HR will not be happy about it. No point on having a bad rep even before hitting the desk.

12. I am at the Big 4, how do I break in? How to lateral banks?

Let me start by saying that MBA recruiting is much smaller an non-existent at some firms. So to bridge the gap, firms will have to hire laterals and people from the big4. So you the odds are not that bad to make it to a BB/EB for you. Not saying it's easy but it's possible.

I don't know the exact details on how to lateral, but reaching out to people with the same background as you is the way to go. Some firms have jobs listings on their website/linkedin (usually BBs) and others use headhunters (usually EBs).

Sought after backgrounds - this is in that order usually
- BB M&A (moving upstream obviously)
- MM M&A and Regional banks M&A/LevFin (BNPP, ING, UniCredit, Mediobanca and the likes you get the point)
- Big4 M&A
- Big 4 TS/FDD
- Big 4 Audit
- Random M&A shops
- Other Audit

13. Can I move offices?

There is no yes/no answer. The truth is that it depends on your bank, analyst class, headcount and performance. But generally, yes you can. If you want to go to 'cool' offices it will usually be harder - you usually have to be top bucket to go to NYC (at least for my bank). If you want to go to Moldavia (never been it may be great but never heard of anyone that wants to go there) it should be quite easy. You get the point.

Other thing on moving to the US/other countries. Don't see yourself staying there for the long run. In most cases you bank will move you there for a year or two at best on a visa that doens't allow you to change jobs. So no recruiting on the buyside, to an other bank etc. Obviously that doesn't apply if you have the citizenship or permanent residency in that country.

14. What are the exit opps in London

- HF (L/S Equity, L/S HY, SS, Event Driven, Activist)
- PE
- GE
- VC
- Infra Funds
- Private Debt
- AM
- CLOs

- MBA/Further studies
- MBB/Other Consulting
- Corporate Development/Strategy/Investor Relations across large firms all the way to startups
- Entrepreneurship

15. What are the good Head Hunters?

For PE - KEA, Walker Hamill, Blackwood, PER, Dartmouth (Arkesden, more focused on IB though)
For SS - Hinton Rose, Angove Partners, Melrose Partners
For HF - Got no clue if someone wants to chime in, would be great.

16. How does PE recruiting work?

In London and more broadly Europe, private equity recruiting is structured completely differently than in the US, none of that on-cycle or off-cycle bullshit. Here, funds will recruit through the headhunters listed above when they need to hire someone. It may or may not be urgent, so the duration of processes can vary quite a lot. From what I see though, there are more people leaving banks in Summer or Winter, that is usually due to people banking their bonuses then changing jobs (in summer for IB thus demand to leave, and winter for PE thus creating roles available).

You can typically recruit in between Analyst 1 and Associate 3 for Buyside roles. The point you were all looking for if you jumped on here from my note in my 7th point- yes your group/bank doesn't really matter, most funds (if not all) will interview you regardless of that - what matters here is your deal experience and languages mostly (see Section 20). Funds do not need a pre-filter as a selection bias to hire candidates, as they can wait to hire more mature candidates rather than having to hire people that have been on their desk for less than 2 months as in the US, thus funds in the US need to rely on the strength of groups to assume that there will be a strong correlation with the quality of the candidate.

While GS/MS/JPM generally have better exits, it is due to the fact that people often joined these banks knowing they wanted to exit and that these banks have better dealflow thus a better CV for people in interviews, you will get interviews even if you aren't at these banks. In most cases speaking a language will help, most funds will say I am looking for a Native german speaker wiht 2 deals on their CV - therefore reducing rapidly the pool of candidates to interview. In some cases they even specify an industry group for the candidate (or at least the candidate should have an interest) - so the fund will be looking for someone that speaks german, has closed 2 deals one of which should be M&A, preferably in healthcare or at least with a good understanding of healthcare. As you can imagine you'd run out of candidates fairly quickly if you did this only with GS/MS/JPM - you (as a headhunter) would have something like 5 people to present to the fund looking to hire someone - needless to say that it's not ideal. If you want to read a longer thread on it just click here or here for why PE is more competitve than in the US.

And the cool thing compared to the US, is that only very few funds are 2 and out (H&F and Apollo I believe) and most funds don't care about MBAs.

17. What are the biggest LBO PE Funds?

Your traditional US MFs (BX, KKR, Carlyle, Apollo, TPG, Bain Capital, Warburg Pincus), US UMM(H&F, Advent, Silver Lake, CD&R), EU UMMs (Permira, BC Partners, CVC, Bridgepoint, Ardian, PAI Partners, Cinven, EQT).

18. How do I get into VC?

Before I say anything, there will not be a section on Growth Equity, simply because some funds hire like VC funds (as described below) and others like PE funds (see section 13.). So read both sections and try to figure out how the funds you want to target hire.

Think business
Let me explain: in VC, less people will care about your valuation skills, simply put what is the WACC of your start-up? What will be the exit multiple and EBITDA that year? Impossible to forecast that stuff. The core skill in VC is more operational, understanding what makes a business a good business and will allow them to 1) take market share from competitors, 2) create a market for themselves and so on. You get to care about profitability and numbers when you come closer to the exit (usually 5 years into an investment). Ok so how do I as an investment banker that only knows how to masturbate spreadsheets add value? And that still doesn't help me getting an offer at a VC fund.

As a junior in VC, your role will essentially to be able to 1) make your partners life easy (tracking KPIs, deals, multiples) and 2) source investment and 3) screen investments. Whilst 1) is on-going, 3) only happens after 2). So sourcing investment is something at the core of your role as a junior. Now you're asking yourself how do I source investments? Well the best way to do so I to know people and have a solid network. And how do they test your network? Well many funds will only consider you/people that get a warm intro to them. Either you know someone in the fund, or you know some of the founders of a startup they funded or something like this. Point is, your network is the key to success to make it into VC.

So if you did things well, you got introduced to the VC fund by someone and got an interview. Well you just did the easy part. VC funds unlike PE funds don't have a pyramidal shape but rather an hourglass shape - as many juniors as partners as you don't really need people to churn models and other junior tasks, and you really don't need mid-level professionals other than to make them partners in few years. So effectively in most funds you have about as many juniors as seniors. Often funds even have a bunch of partners and they just take few 6 months interns as juniors and that's how they run the show. Anyways back to interviewing, well most funds ask a hell of a lot of different things and it varies a lot, from pitching a sector/firm you would invest in, to which start-up would you fund between X and Y.

19. What are the good VC funds?

Answer is it depends - what are you looking for? More early stage (what I sometime refer to as spray and pay) where you do a lot of small checks, or later more growth stage deals? Is there a sub-vertical you are more keen on - Fintech? Consumer? etc.

20. What are the good languages? How many languages do I need? I only speak english am I stuck in IB?

The more the better. More seriously though don't jump out of the window if you are a full breed brit that has only ever spoken English and barely has left the island. If you only speak English you may have to revise you expectations a bit lower. Some funds only hire people that do speak multiple languages, BUT other funds have dedicated UK coverage teams (Ie Bridgepoint, Montagu) and will happily hire you. Best thing you can do is speak to headhunters listed in section 15. to understand what you can expect.

Below are languages in order from most usefull to least useful - and if you are reading this I assume that you all speak English.

For IB:
- French, German, Italian, Spanish, Nordics
- Other languages

For PE:
- German, French, Italian
- Spanish, Nordics
- Other languages

For SS:
- Italian, Spanish
- German, Portuguese
- Other laguages

For HFs:
As most firms report in English you don't really need languages from what I hear.


P.S.: If you made it this far, thx for reading hope you enjoyed it or learned something. I may go back and edit some of it to impove it!

Comments (640)

Most Helpful
May 14, 2020 - 4:21pm
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@WallStreetOasis.com" Can we please make everyone joining WSO as a new User with a European IP read this before they ask a question that always comes back? Seems like they never know how to use the search tool so looks like we have to force them to read this.

Also can you please ensure that I keep the ability to edit the thread as the discussion progresses?

EDIT 1: Just added 5 new questions and answers + clarified few things as requested by some!

EDIT 2: We made it to 100SB in less than 48 Hours. Glad you like the post. Will add few things again in the next few days as they tend to come up in questions.

EDIT3: Added 5 more questions covering VC, lateraling process and office rotations, waiting for Patrick or someone to change the title to 20 Questions.

  • Prospect in Other
May 14, 2020 - 5:51pm

Hey Pan European Monkey,

What do you think of UCL's Masters in Finance? I understand that they aren't a target at the postgrad level, but it seems like a semi-competitive programme, especially for those that need to stay in London.

In addition, do you have any thoughts on Imperial's A+F programme? I saw that their traditional finance programme is a target, but curious about alternatives

Do you think it's possible / worthwhile to recruit for IB from these programmes?

Looking for London based alternatives to LBS MFA / LSE MFin / Imperial MFin, i.e LSE A+F, Imperial A+F, LBS MiM, UCL MFin that have a "target brand name" but are somewhat easier to gain admission to.

Thanks for your time.

May 14, 2020 - 6:10pm
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

UCL's program is new, haven't met anyone form it so cannot comment on it. Same for Insead MiM. Will likely be targeted like warwick? Wild guess but something along these lines.

A&F at Imperial is ok, probably similar to Warwick. Some people get good offers but heard some struggle too.

  • Analyst 1 in 
May 15, 2020 - 6:16am

I hope you're still applying to LSE/LBS/Oxbridge though ..

You can also try HEC which has superb placements in London

May 18, 2020 - 11:05am
unknown685406, what's your opinion? Comment below:

From what I've seen (and based on Imperial's website), their Finance and Accounting students seem to have the same prospects as the MSc Finance students (i.e. a similar percentage go into IB).

In my opinion, the MSc Finance at Imperial is far better if you want to go into S&T and similar if you want IB, but, arguably, the F&A course is better for IB skills.

Having said that, it can still be difficult to get an IB offer (from any MSc) if you have no experience.

  • 3
May 16, 2020 - 8:20am
hungaroe, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@Pan European Monkey" thank you for this solid post, full with info and advice. One of the best for people sorting out their careers in one of the most fantastic cities in the world. I wish I had a post like this when I started my career, and by pure serendipity landed multiple interviews in London. Long time ago. SBd you, well done!

May 16, 2020 - 6:17pm
PanAfrican Hardo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the constatnt update, I feel like a brief summary on how non-target break in from the people you ve talked to will be good. as this is something people care a lot about.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jun 17, 2020 - 6:55pm

Yo, you missed Apax in your list of biggest LBO funds...Co-HQ'd in London too

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Feb 2, 2021 - 4:14am
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi, I'm a newcomer who's managed to find this article so obviously you're doing something right! Great article, I'd really appreciate some tips about getting a summer internship. I couldn't get into a spring week and I'm looking to get a summer analyst internship for summer 2021 so there's plenty of time, not too late for anything I'd like to think.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Feb 19, 2021 - 12:38pm
May 14, 2021 - 3:21am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Possibly, but in general you will have an easier time being recruited from other schools. The reason is simple - oftentimes it's alumni running interviews - guess what, the majority of them are italian, thus will pick in priority italian candidates for these... and its a circle - hence my advice to go for UK schools first if possible.

May 14, 2020 - 5:57pm
PanAfrican Hardo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

enjoyed reading about it. Well done

I heard JP was the best for HC along with Rotschild. but you mentionned HC for almost all other banks except JP. Is there a reason?

Anything about how diversity recruitment work in Europe compared to the US

Anything about Master in Manangement if they are useful for IB as well

May 14, 2020 - 6:07pm
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Idk yeah, JPM HC is quite good, tbf most banks are good in HC. None really stand out, so its more relative to other teams in the bank.

Good point on diversity- I'll link something I wrote at some point on it + write some more stuff when I get the time.

MiMs are usually good too if they fall in the section 1), if they are in section 2 imo only LBS's MiM is worth it. Most people would question your interest in finance if you did a MiM rather than finance for masters (ie at LSE).

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
May 14, 2020 - 6:05pm

Thanks for doing this - could you elaborate more on languages that are typically in demand? Presumably German / French? I've heard of Spanish (for more Special Sits), and Scandivanian languages (for Nordics - i.e. EQT)

Also is there a strong preference for native speakers, versus, say if I manage to get fluent in one of those languages in due course?

  • Associate 2 in IB - Restr
May 14, 2020 - 6:30pm

If you don't know a European language are you doomed for PE exits? How important would you say it is? thanks for the thread, it's really helpful!

May 15, 2020 - 5:55am
Prestige_Hunter, what's your opinion? Comment below:


May 16, 2020 - 8:34am
MYFC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What the post says about langages is very wrong. Langages are essential but there is no "ranking of langages". The key factor that matters is size of economy (and thus number of investment opportunities) so German, French, Italian etc are key langages - more so than Portuguese or Danish but it's not a ranking. Also, don't think the point on difference between SS and PE is true.

May 14, 2020 - 7:24pm
donqua, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How Does (quant) HF Recruiting Work? How important is going to a target school? In (quant) HF industry is school more important or how much knowledge you have and how much alpha you can generate?

  • Intern in ER
May 14, 2020 - 7:39pm

Thoughts on SA in ER, then re-recruiting for FT IB? Doing ER this summer, and was thinking of re-recruiting for IB, would ER experience be relevant/competitive or would I have to go for SA/OC positions?

May 14, 2020 - 8:59pm
Anubodi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How important would you say work experience is for London IB if you go to a top target masters (LBS, Oxford, LSE) ?

  • Analyst 1 in 
May 15, 2020 - 6:21am

I saw postgrad students from LSE/LBS with subpar work experience, though top academics (think financial controllers for European firms, audit, etc.) get into top EBs and MBBs after graduation. I also saw people with no experience whatsoever exit to top Real Estte PE funds. In fact I would say the majority of incoming LSE/LBS postgrads don't have stellar work experience in terms of shining brand names and industries yet manage to have very good placement.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 15, 2020 - 2:31am

Thanks a lot this thread learning a lot!

would you say that joining a UK team at Barclays/BAML/Citi peigonholes you for PE exits? Are they generally viewed favourably? Many thanks once again

May 15, 2020 - 2:48am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If the UK team does M&A rather than only Corporate broking, no it will not hurt your chances. I would actually argue that its cool to be working across industries, so in fact for your exits you can say to HHs I want to work in x industry or I want to remain a generalist.

Look above I have answered a question about the lack of languages (I assume you only speak English if you are in the UK team).

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 15, 2020 - 2:55am

Aside from PE, what exit opps have you usually seen people take in London? Seems as if there's a lot less PE spaces here than in the US, as well as the fact that MBA isn't as useful here, so where do most ex-bankers go if they can't/don't want to get into PE?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
May 15, 2020 - 3:17am

Any insights on PE work life balance and pay compared to staying on as an associate in IB?

May 15, 2020 - 3:26am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Depends on your performance/bank/team/PE fund for both pay and W/L balance. For some people that were in teams with long hours their W/L balance improved but for others it got worse. Same for pay, if you are top bucket at a US BB or EB, you may have to take a pay cut, but if you are a bottom bucket at a EU BB you may get a pay rise.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
May 15, 2020 - 6:00pm

I have heard that hours tend to be better at MM generally working 9am to 7/8pm with barely weekend work and getting access to carry earlier, hence making it more attractive than some MFs?

I'm not sure how true this is, any thoughts on which PE opportunities are more or less attractive?

Also any ideas around comp in PE, looked around and haven't found much concrete data for London.

May 15, 2020 - 3:59am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know people that were on a rotation in the US recruited for UK based PE roles. I am not sure of the exact logistics behind this (Video interviews or having to fly here).

I assume that you have the right to work in the EU/UK. Just reach out to PE HHs listed above. They should be happy to help you recruit here, especially with these 2 languages.

May 15, 2020 - 4:11am
bainofmyexistence, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great post, much needed on an otherwise US-centric site.

I understand that networking can be effective for FT recruiting, but would you say it is unnecessary for SA/OC, i.e. won't make any difference? Applying from a top UK target with IBD SA from another country. Would your answer be different for non-targets?


  • 1
May 15, 2020 - 5:22am
HooliganLowkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank God for stumbling into this on the homepage. I haven't been on WSO for that long and would have definitely asked these eventually, so thanks for helping me save face lol

I'm wondering: how would IB recruiters in London look at a candidate studying in the US, but with EU citizenship (for what that may be worth still)? My Uni is selective and our finance program is well ranked but we're still a non-target in the US...certainly not one in the UK.

Maybe I'm being a bit vague but I don't wanna bore the readers with detail. If you'd like to know more I'd be happy to color in the picture. Thanks again!

  • 2
May 15, 2020 - 7:59am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Non-target it will be tough honestly, most people that recruit to London usually are at least at semi-targets in the US, and they would network the same way the would in the US with some senior guy that went to their school and would basically give them an offer on a silver platter.

May 15, 2020 - 10:17am
HooliganLowkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Correction: my school is a semi-target, and we do have people in London. I'm just trying to maximize my chances of being hired in the UK, since my international status in the US makes me, as I've come to realize, unhirable at entry level (uninternable too smh). I've been having Zoom sessions with alumni I've connected with on LinkedIn, because I know networking will have to be the ticket for me. ...Also ashamed to admit it but I am a BSB Marketing Major as well as BA Psychology. Finance and IB has been something I really wanted to do since the second half of college and I'm doing everything I can to put myself on an equal footing preparation and networking-wise. On that note, can you land an off-cycle without prior banking experience?

  • 1
  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 15, 2020 - 6:20am

If I don't convert, considering plan B's. As FT offers are likely to be limited, how do you decide between doing OC vs SA?

Would love to hear insider perspective on this.

May 15, 2020 - 6:41am
H84D, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How do you view students from target schools that don't speak the local language (e.g. someone at St. Gallen with poor german skills) ?

Others may have already asked but how much does networking matter when recruiting for spring weeks/summer internships?

Thank you

May 15, 2020 - 7:23am
redshift, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks a lot for the post! I got a few questions to ask you. I go to a target uni studying a STEM subject.

1) What do recruiters seek for when assessing Hirevue interviews for SW?

2) Am I on a disadvantage if I don't speak another European language? I'm a native Greek speaker but I doubt that anyone cares in IB.

3) My English is fluent but I have an accent when talking. Are recruiters going to find that irritating and reject me just for that?

May 15, 2020 - 7:54am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1) Covering that in questions that I will be adding today

2) Not really, Greek can be useful especially for FIG

3) You may piss me off but that shouldn't be a basis to reject you. I assume that you are at a target in the UK, so just speak english and hang out with british people rather than only greeks and you'll be fine.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 15, 2020 - 7:41am

Do you not think there's a hierarchy within the target unis? I.e An Oxford history grad would get interviews, but I doubt a Warwick sociology grad would. Would sort of ballpark figures can you make on the buy side? Does a PE MF partner hit 7 figures? Do languages matter for distressed debt opportunities and L/S HFs?

May 15, 2020 - 7:57am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1) https://www.linkedin.com/in/omonye-sarah-e-7b6705159/ she visibly did the front office S&T/IBD spring week before move to compliance, and I've seen more people from random degrees at warwick interview for FO roles.

2) Won't comment on pay but what I can say is that you'll pay a lot of tax.

3) Will touch on languages in new additions today.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 11, 2020 - 10:12pm

Warwick places incredibly well actually and WBS has gotten a weirdly well known rep now (bear in mind I am talking about UG only). I would not recommend doing an MSc. Finance from there imo.

But yeah, anecdotally, I think it places crazily well because the UG WBS gentry is primarily turbo-charged Europeans who are geared up for spring weeks. In turn you see all major BB, MM and EB for OCR.

Long story short:





But tbh, I would say just look at any bank on LinkedIn and you'll see Warwick aplenty.

May 15, 2020 - 8:31am
QuiltEmerson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great post! Better just include everything in one large post.

I only have one point to add; Where is EQT?!

I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.

May 15, 2020 - 12:44pm
QuiltEmerson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good! You even got in the Nordic school rankings as well. Fantastic piece. If you are updating I would also add NTNU Industrial Economics into targets. Feeds people straight into PE/IB/MBB in both Nordics and abroad.

I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in 
May 15, 2020 - 9:48am

You forgot LBS as target mate. And INSEAD. Also, is Warwick really a top target ? Good post otherwise

May 15, 2020 - 10:13am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

LBS is in there just look again.

Insead is for MBA (associate level) and truthfully most MBA associates can just go ask their career centers they pay 100k per year to get advice from these people.

Yes there is the Insead MiM, but its like UCL's MFin, a brand new program and got no clue where it sits :)

And yeah there is a bunch of people from warwick at most places. They do surprisingly well for IB, but I guess its due to them having a good econ department+good finance classes.

  • Analyst 1 in 
May 15, 2020 - 10:43am

I'm pretty sure INSEAD's MiM will do fairly well, just like LBS, don't you think?

Fair enough, Warwick places well, I was just saying it is not on par with the likes of Oxbridge/LSE/LBS

May 15, 2020 - 11:45am
yeezy-szn-approaching, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey, no question just want to say thanks @Pan European Monkey" - your contributions on IB applications in London have been really helpful for me as a student - good luck w everything

May 15, 2020 - 12:37pm
ib_dreamer95, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would add PER under PE head hunters; they have decent roles.

Do you know any HHs for IBD roles in BB/EB/MM firms?

  • Analyst 1 in 
May 15, 2020 - 1:12pm

I agree PER is a top HH with lots of good mandates

May 15, 2020 - 8:27pm
londonmonkey015, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Appreciate you doing this, had some very useful insight.

Just had a question and any insight would be much appreciated. Going to be interning at a 'lower tier' bank in London this summer and was considering my options going forward (been placed in a weak group so not what i want to be doing going forward ideally). Obviously if I don't convert you detailed what to do, but if I do get a FT offer, I had a question about FT recruiting at other banks.

Assuming that FT recruitment will be down this year such that even with networking it could be a struggle (auto-conversions, poor deal environment, etc), is it a good idea to re recruit for SA/OC (I am also interested in doing further study)? Would it be a stupid idea to give up a FT job offer for an internship which I might not convert, even if it's at a much better bank?

  • 2
May 16, 2020 - 6:50am
londonmonkey015, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Alright cheers, yeah i thought that might be the best idea

Do you have any insight around the lateraling process? Do you just apply online for grad schemes and start again as a 1st year analyst? Or is it best done through networking/ headhunters?

  • Prospect in Other
Aug 18, 2020 - 3:40am

Would you change your opinion now? I'm in the same position and considering applying for off-cycle internships.

May 16, 2020 - 1:21am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:


Edit - there was a formatting glitch I think that my 'dotted' line was not clear, just fixed it. Thx for making me realize it. Also most lists unless explicitly stated that these are tiers are in no particular order (if you were pissed at it being below DB/UBS in my list of groups, its just that I don't know much about Barclays hence did it at the end).

  • Prospect in RE - Comm
May 16, 2020 - 2:55am

Hi Pan European Monkey, long time fan so thank you for writing up this long post.

How cringeworthy are "cancelled incoming spring weeks" on CVs?

  • Intern in CorpFin
May 16, 2020 - 3:07am

very insightful thread thank you!

May be a little unrelated but what are some good places to get suits/shirts/shoes in London, not super expensive for someone starting off their career?

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 16, 2020 - 3:28am

You said basically anything but straight white male counts as diversity in London. Does that mean South Asians count as diversity in London? That would be insane in the United States.

May 16, 2020 - 7:28pm
BankCredit993, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If this is actually true (and I'm taking your word for it), why is this the case? Indians and Asians dominate the finance scene in NYC I know just as much as your straight white guy - In London are they just not as numerous or successful? The Per Capita population of Indians in the UK is actually higher than in the US so I would've thought they would be more entrenched honestly. From my cross border work I know a lot of senior folk on the credit side are brown. Like the head of York Europe and DK Europe and lots of senior guys at Ironshield, Warwick Cap. Just trying to figure out what reconciles that fact with my own experiences.

May 16, 2020 - 3:41am
ALondonMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Type in "SEO candidate" into LinkedIn and you can see it for yourself. In my analyst class there are very few white males, from my experience you need to be even better without a diversity angle.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 16, 2020 - 3:49am

What would you say the advantages of going into IB are instead of ER? Feels like we don't get as sweet of a deal here than in the US, given that there's a lot less PE and most of the other exit opps are equally accessible to research guys. There's a serious dip in WLB, and I'm starting to question whether the slightly larger bonus is worth it, especially if I don't plan to be a career banker where the bonus really scales up

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 16, 2020 - 4:44am

For someone who would only stay there for a few years, what does it really matter if it's a dying industry? As long as you get a role (which is obviously difficult given there's less seats now), you can learn what you need to learn before it's fully dead and then bounce to your exit opps

May 16, 2020 - 4:50pm
IntlBaller, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One of the other benefits of IB over ER is the breadth of learning to experience. In IB, you get to see multiple transactions from multiple angles - M&A, buyside and sellside; Financing - Debt (HY, IG, etc. etc.), Equity (IPO, ABO, rights issues, etc. etc.) and so on, many times across multiple industries. You learn an incredible amount going through those processes that build a robust foundation in finance.

I do give ER credit for the depth you experience in your given sector and companies under coverage. The strong analysts on the street generally know the intricacies of their companies extremely well, which can't always be said of sector bankers. I also think that ER also develops a stronger investor mindset, though that can be learned from a proactive banker.

I was in ER at the start of my career before switching to banking >5 years ago. I still have sight of the research notes my VP is putting out and I just can't help but feel grateful for the world of things I have learned since I left.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 18, 2020 - 9:58am

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 18, 2020 - 9:56am

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 18, 2020 - 11:21am

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Et quia ea unde. Totam et corporis deserunt culpa. Tempore eum atque totam impedit doloribus voluptates non. Sapiente dolores animi sunt rerum nobis consequatur voluptatum. Aut quibusdam quia non vero quos. Harum neque qui ea eos.

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May 16, 2020 - 6:15am
Blue9, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 16, 2020 - 6:20am
Pan European Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 16, 2020 - 4:08pm
wacc it from the back, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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