A Guide to HK Investment Banking - 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions (2024)

There is not a lot of information on Hong Kong specifically, so I created a short guide to help prospects that are looking to break into IBD and the broader finance industry.

Key points:

  • In summary, finance in HK can be lucrative, but will probably not make you rich. It is moreso a way to make a upper-middle-class, comfortable living.
  • You must know fluent Mandarin, and you must be able to pitch and socialise in Mandarin over time (business fluency). Knowing the cultural nuances is important to make friendships & drive deals; otherwise, you will fail to get promoted past VP. Americans and Brits, would not recommend you work in IBD specifically in HK. Generally, you won't survive – sorry but it's the truth.
  • Most people will not exit/more people stay in investment bankingThis has important implications because one must be okay with being a career banker before entering the industry, or suffer the consequences. This is due to the nature of the China market, where M&A is a rarity. Hence most people will be placed in capital markets & not be qualified to go to PE. Also, opps like CD/MMPE are lower paying & similar amounts of working hours due to less profitability and demand. 

1. What are the target schools?

China: Tsinghua, Peking, Fudan, SHJT + the usual suspects

HK: HKU, CUHK, HKUST

US: Ivy League, MIT, Stanford, UCB + the usual suspects

UK: Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, Imperial, Warwick

2. What is the target demographic?

  • Speakers of fluent Mandarin and fluent English.
  • There is a shift in mindset toward mainland Chinese students from elite Chinese universities. The perception is that US/UK students could sometimes be "hit or miss" in terms of work ethic but the Chinese are more consistent. Approximately 50-80% of IBD summer analysts are Mainland Chinese, with the rest being HKers/Internationals/Taiwan. 
  • There is no DEI bullshit in Hong Kong; however, there are initiatives to hire a proportionate number of women (which is mostly fair). Your race is not a factor but your competence and language fluency is.

3. How to get hired?

  • In your first year, do spring weeks if you are in the UK. If you are in HK, do a winter internship/summer internship in accounting/finance/audit at a boutique, startup, or fintech. Name brand does not matter as much at this stage, relevant experience matters. HK people should then trade up to a more relevant experience in their second year to prepare for their third year SA.
  • Networking will not make a massive difference but is good for personal development and understanding the industry. 
  • In your penultimate year, apply for summer internships and prepare for the super-days by learning technicals and behaviourals. The difficulty of technicals is between the UK and the US. Hopefully, you will land the SA role and convert it here. The SA role will not require you to know excel or financial modelling but will focus more on basic PPT tasks. Attitude, willingness to work hard, and likability are most important.
  • In your final year, if you have a job offer, great! If you don't, prepare to apply for graduate roles in another sector (i.e. MT/B4/Govt./Regulator/RE/MO/BO), or consider a Master for another chance.
  • HKCareers and FS Coaching offers "career coaching services" for undergraduate students that coach them on how to get internships and how to get through the screening stages.

4. What are the growth sectors in Hong Kong?

  • The consensus is generally that as of 2024, asset management and private banking (AM/PB) are the fastest-growing, and most stable sectors in Hong Kong. Rich Chinese will always park their money in Hong Kong due to stability, ease of capital outflows and flexibility in investments. Investments are much more restricted on the mainland.
  • For example, most banks will hire 15-20 people for AM/PB divisions but only 5-10 people for their IB division. S&T headcount is also low but I would not say that it is on a decline.

5. What will my pay look like?

BB IBD

  • In Hong Kong, BB IBD pay - and other divisions as well - is generally consistent with what the US pays, but at a slight discount. Your take-home pay is more than the US because of a low tax rate. At the MD level, not many bankers will make more than 1M USD a year because of the nature of the less sophisticated HK/China markets.

CorpDev/MM PE

  • Outside the bulge bracket banks, in sectors like corporate development, and mid-market funds (MM PE), the pay is a significant discount to the US. The reason for this is there is very little M&A activity on the mainland and in Hong Kong. There is not a huge demand for this skill set, unlike in the US. The economics of the MM PE firms are also not as favorable, deals are less profitable, and Chinese firms are "very fickle". If you worked for a mainland Chinese company, you would know what I am talking about.

MF PE

  • Mega-funds (MF PE) pay at similar rates to the US across the ranks.
  • In Hong Kong, carry is not a thing until the most senior levels (MD or above) unless you are employed at a Western fund.

VC

  • It is my understanding that VCs in Hong Kong are significantly less profitable and pay at a huge discount to US firms. However, I am not totally sure about this and if a VC professional would chime in, that would be helpful.

6. What will be my exit opportunities (for IBD)?

  • In Hong Kong, I don't think it is reasonable to expect the level of exit opportunities or path to wealth that you could expect in the US, or even the UK.
  • HK is fundamentally a smaller, and less mature market. 

CD

  • Many companies are family-owned and unwilling to sell, and there is not a significant culture of acquisitions. The companies that do - are less stronger/profitable than F500/FTSE100 companies. Therefore, you would either have to go to the US HQ (very difficult) or take a relatively low-paying corporate job (40k-ish) with not much.

VC/MM PE

  • There are not a lot of profitable VCs in Hong Kong. I think that it is quite hard to turn a profit in this industry in HK. Even the HKSTP venture fund has majority holdings in US companies.
  • As to MM PE, it is quite hit or miss. These companies pay at a significant discount to the US but will also work you quite hard. Let's say, a VP could be earning 1.5M (125k USD) for 60-80 hour work weeks. That is significantly lower than other comparable careers in medicine or law.
  • However, there are some MM PE firms that do pay well, like Permira/Harbourvest – tends to be the US/UK firms with a presence in Hong Kong.

SWF/Family Office

  • This is also one of the more common exits, where an exit to CPPIB/GIC or a random family office would net you a reasonably comfortable salary with moderate progression opportunities.

MF PE

  • MF PE pay like KKR/Blackstone is on par with the US. Everyone wants to get into these places, but each fund only has 1-2 openings per year, if that.
  • Chinese MF PE pay is less than the US with a less than ideal work culture. They are also more "gung-ho" for lack of a better word and the investment culture is more "Wild-West".
  • These firms would only take people with solid modelling experience, like in M&A, or in RX practice (hence why I mention HL's RX below)
  • Most IBD places in Hong Kong are for ECM/DCM, so therefore most people in IBD will not exit to PE.

7. What are the best banks?

  • Most banks are decent. The bulge brackets are typically better than the elite boutiques. However, there are some notable exceptions: HL's RX practice, Lazard, Evercore
  • GS/MS/JPM/BofA/Citi are the usual strong contenders.
  • Chinese banks are also very good. In this part of the world, CICC, CITIC, are considered as high deal flow as GS/MS/JPM and indeed, the bank's political connections lead them to win a majority of deals from the mainland. Unfortunately the locals will always (rightly) prefer the US banks.
  • HSBC is also very strong, if not of the strongest, especially in the DCM practice. It is the flagship (exclusive) partner of CK Hutchison and has a lot of standing with HK "old money". 
  • Standard Chartered is also decent/alright and has a reasonable presence in capital markets.
  • European banks like BNP/Barclays have a generally weaker presence. UBS is considered quite strong in Hong Kong and has invested greatly into the region with new head offices. Jefferies does alright.

8. Could I lateral into investment banking?

  • Difficult right now as many have been laid off and there is a lot of talent in the market right now.
  • Your best bet is to go to a Big 4 TAS role or gain any sort of relevant transaction experience, which you can then use to network into starter roles in MM IBD.

9. Can I move offices?

  • Quite difficult. I would not count on it, but it is possible if you keep on trying. Moving to the UK is more likely than moving to the US.

10. What's the future of Hong Kong? 

  • Hong Kong as a financial center is not over. While it has taken a hit due to 2023 macro headwinds, the fundamental structure is still in place (gateway to China, prevalence of large FIs and professionals, free market, common law, etc. and diversified, highly educated workforce). This happened in 1997, and in 2003, and HK took a hit, and turned out fine. Barring some kind of draconian black swan event (i.e. unprovoked attack on Taiwan leading to complete decoupling) HK will still play an important role.
  • However, IBD/PE is actually in a bit of a decline. Companies are not listing. There is less activity in the Chinese markets. International FIs are cutting their China and HK teams as a result. President Xi Jinping's macroeconomic policy is confusing and acts as a brake on the economy due to increased regulatory requirements (CCP control of domestic companies). Foreign capital is not flowing into China at the moment & Chinese macro headwinds means that traditional VC-style growth deals that were the foundation of the China PE sector have decreased. What remains is SEA take-privates or LBOs, which constitute the minority of deals.
  • I would say based on the current Chinese economic policy/economic growth rate, and the global trend in decoupling and trade independence, over time, Hong Kong's focus will shift toward the AM/PB sectors with an increased focus on Mainland China due to decreased capital inflows.
  • If what is happening currently is not a trend and is just a small economic recession (i.e. not due to Xi's economic policy/Chinese debt, deflation, demography finally catching up to them), then HK's IBD/PE sectors will eventually rebound and be as strong as it was before. I'm not a political scientist/professor so I won't say any more.

11. Should I go into IBD? (bonus question)

  • Read "Discussion Materials" by Bill Keenan and "Monkey Business" by John Rolfe and Peter Troob to get a feel of the day-to-day. If it resonates with you, pick up "Investment Banking" by Rosenbaum & Pearl, see if you really like the career. You should have a pretty good picture of what goes on by then.
  • If you are in high school & have not decided yet, honestly, for the three crown jewels of HK professional services (medicine, high finance, corporate law) I would say that neither of these industries pay a huge premium over the other – unlike in the US where finance is clearly dominant in salary. Interest is obviously the most important factor but more so in Hong Kong as finance pays less when compared to the US.

Best wishes to all and hope this helps. Good luck!

 

It's so crazy how much HK has changed. Like my team was American group head and a mix of Aussie, Kiwi, Malay and Singaporean. Probably had one fluent Mandarin / Cantonese speaker.

Reading your post, am no longer surprised that everyone left. HK was always the gateway to the mainland for capital / companies that wanted to flirt around the edges without taking full exposure. I guess that delineation is gone. You can do the ex-China coverage out of Singapore anyway. 

Shame, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 

 
Most Helpful

I'm not sure why it's a surprise to you that HK has changed - this always seemed inevitable from the beginning. I don't really see this as a decline of Hong Kong, but simply more of a growth in local talent versus the days when you could get a job in Hong Kong simply by being a foreigner with the halo of having "foreign expertise". Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong companies don't really need American, Australian, and New Zealanders to advise them anymore especially when they tend 1) not to speak the local language whether it be Mandarin or Cantonese; and 2) have very little understanding of the local market due to the fact that the American and European financial markets are very different versus Asian markets and your experience is not directly translatable most of the time. There are still Singaporeans and Malaysians around, who tend to be bilingual and have local language capabilities.

Banks are hiring mainly mainlanders nowadays simply because there are a lot of very talented candidates who not only understand the local market but also at the very basic level speak the local language which makes deals a lot easier - your typical Chinese SOE management team isn't that interested in spending additional time and effort conversing in their second language, and I don't really see China coverage moving out of Hong Kong anytime soon for this reason.

As a result, I think the kind of view that people have on Hong Kong, especially from foreigners, is simply due to the fact that it's a tougher market for foreigners nowadays whose edge versus local candidates is a lot more narrow versus say 10 years ago when the local market was not as developed. Hong Kong is probably a less attractive and beautiful city for this group of individuals, but it's a very different story for mainlanders and local HKers who are taking up a much more prominent role today

 

I don't think any of us walked into the bulge where I worked on the halo of having "foreign expertise" lol. Everyone got rotated in from global offices with strong experience and long deal sheets. Good for locals for having a better shot, but claiming that implies a superior understanding of the local market by virtue of being local is really naive. 

There's a reason senior bankers get shuffled around globally. APAC used to be seen as a testing ground for seniors being groomed for leadership positions with HK being the regional hub because that's what it was. Everyone from the APAC CEO down to group heads sat there with the coverage area spanning India on one side and ANZ on the other. You lose that to focus on mainland only, you lose top spot to Singapore.

 

OPs feedback sounds all very sensible. Having spent decent amount of time in and out of HK in years past on all sort of Asia txns, I would add that this somewhat gleeful attitude towards the departure of international finance professionals out of HK and embrace of exclusive China focus is quite telling regarding the loss of HK’s role as an international finance hub.
 

The political backdrop for all of this is of course obvious, but it’s still notable that in return, HK bankers have had to settle for a stagnating China fee pool with no clear upside momentum on the horizon. The reality of course is that the now universal Mandarin language requirement isn’t just an evolution of higher service requirements for mainland issuers but also a result of the irreversible departure of regional / non-China deal flow out of HK to SG and beyond. 

 

It's one of the worst years supply / demand wise; general view of there being a few hundred laid off + more currently employed HK bankers looking for more stable seats on the buy-side, with very few attractive positions open.

Non-US MF packages still come at a notable discount to banking (although most are less sweaty and the better ones are on par with banking if looking at hourly basis). For direct invest this year, some single exits to RMB Tier 1.5 / Tier 2, USD mid-market REPE, and Chinese family office direct invest + AM funds. Quite a few more roles open for strong and well-connected IR candidates given the struggle in fundraising efforts these years.

MF packages are still on par with U.S. and some firms (BainCap, unsure about BX this year) run annual processes but are not really in any rush (nor buyside firms in general) to hire until the right person comes along. A few have run processes mid to late last year, and have occassionally met candidates for now well over 8-9 months without a hire.

 
agudeza

It's one of the worst years supply / demand wise; general view of there being a few hundred laid off + more currently employed HK bankers looking for more stable seats on the buy-side, with very few attractive positions open.

Non-US MF packages still come at a notable discount to banking (although most are less sweaty and the better ones are on par with banking if looking at hourly basis). For direct invest this year, some single exits to RMB Tier 1.5 / Tier 2, USD mid-market REPE, and Chinese family office direct invest + AM funds. Quite a few more roles open for strong and well-connected IR candidates given the struggle in fundraising efforts these years.

MF packages are still on par with U.S. and some firms (BainCap, unsure about BX this year) run annual processes but are not really in any rush (nor buyside firms in general) to hire until the right person comes along. A few have run processes mid to late last year, and have occassionally met candidates for now well over 8-9 months without a hire.

Thanks for the valuable response.

  • Wondering in a few years (5 years or so) would the exits be better/how are the exits in normal times?
  • Does anyone exit to MBB, or FS-focused MC firms like Oliver Wyman?
  • Any latitude to exit toward VC/corporate development or corporate strategy and what is the pay like?

Best wishes.

 

You mention a ”black swan event” like China invading Taiwan, but according to the One China Principle Taiwan is a part of China so the invasion will happen eventually? Why would you want to work in HK if at some point you know it will become useless as a financial hub?

 
SmaII

You mention a ”black swan event” like China invading Taiwan, but according to the One China Principle Taiwan is a part of China so the invasion will happen eventually? Why would you want to work in HK if at some point you know it will become useless as a financial hub?

For many people, HK is where all their close friends and families are. Many people would rather work in the city where they grew up.

My "black swan event" is a Chinese first strike on Taiwan leading to US military involvement and complete decoupling. The West would likely unite against China and there would be pressure on international companies to pull out. The Chinese economy would likely tank in the short term, but recover in the medium term. This would lead to HK losing Western investment, but in the long run, it would still be a IPO hub for Chinese companies, Chinese capital, and regional investors. So HK would always play some kind of a role regardless.

Anyway, the black swan event – I don't think it is likely at all. That's why it's a "black swan". More likely – it is my wish that – that there would be peaceful re-unification, or maintenance/formalisation of the status quo. I do believe that China will do everything in its power to avoid violent conflict. China no doubt has the capability to take the island, but it would come at great economic cost and damage its economic alliances. Furthermore, to militarily occupy the island indefinitely would prove to be a huge challenge – and an opportunity for the US to conduct counter-insurgency operations.

China has not started a large scale military invasion in the history of its founding (since 1949). I do not think that an unprovoked Chinese first strike is even remotely possible.

 

Thank you for this! I have a quick question regarding the S&T side:

I’ve heard that in the past S&T roles in HK did not require mandarin whatsoever, is this still the case? Does it apply to both trading and sales?

 

Hi, will be interning at a MM IB in APAC this summer. From talking with the team it is unlikely they'll have a spot for me for FT. How difficult do you think FT recruiting in HK will be? I imagine there will be very limited seats. I'm also planning to apply to off cycles but they don't look very common in HK either. Any advice in general?

 

Hi, will be interning at a MM IB in APAC this summer. From talking with the team it is unlikely they'll have a spot for me for FT. How difficult do you think FT recruiting in HK will be? I imagine there will be very limited seats. I'm also planning to apply to off cycles but they don't look very common in HK either. Any advice in general?

Traditional options

1. MSc at London Business School/Oxbridge/LSE, recruit into London + HK

2. MFE at US Ivy League, recruit into US + HK

3. Apply off-cycles in LDN and HK 

4. Aim for FT middle office/back office. Middle office is trashed a lot on this (US-centric) forum but it is kind of a different story in Hong Kong as its kind of a golden ticket. There are less "good exits" out of IBD in HK and thus most people will stay in i-banking... but it is much (easier) to make Director/MD level in a corporate banking role as opposed to a i-bank role (unless you really know how to socialise with mainland Chinese/got party connections). Also around the 5-8 year mark people in IBD that have not exited begin to get sick of the job. So all in all, given the "limited upside" of a FO role in HK, a MO role might give you the right WLB to have a career of longevity.

5. Other industries FT like B4/MT/HKMA/SFC/HKEX

 

Is it not possible to recruit to FT directly? Do you think there will be no FT front office application open for the 2025 cohort? 

Reason I'm asking is that i don't plan to doing an MSc or MFE. I'm already from a top target background and had a few internships under my belt. Hoping to use the MM IB experience to directly recruit to FT in APAC if possible but also looking at off cycles that can convert

 

Chinese capital market in general is under heavy control by the government and CCP. Hong Kong is CCP territory. Connection with CCP government is crucial for career in finance especially at sell-side. And the government is actively encouraging & facilitating the move of deal activities from Hong Kong into mainland China ( Beijing ).

 

I doubt the UK schools you listed are targets.

I worked at a few BBs in HK. There are way more Emory or UMich kids than IC UCL Warwick COMBINED

And NYU alone probably has more kids in HK IBD every year than UK top 10 uni combined excluding LBS masters

What would you say the targets are then?

 

I doubt the UK schools you listed are targets.

I worked at a few BBs in HK. There are way more Emory or UMich kids than IC UCL Warwick COMBINED

And NYU alone probably has more kids in HK IBD every year than UK top 10 uni combined excluding LBS masters

If you wish please list what your opinion on the target school list is to get a second opinion.

 

Just find someone in HK to give you the class book if you are really an analyst in IB.

But anyway, LBS>oxbridge>LSE (more from LSE, higher % from Oxbridge)

UBS summer class 2024 is 4 HK 3 US 1 UK

I guess that is self explanatory how targetish UK schools are when there are like 200 Chinese (HK and Mainland inclusive) going to each of Oxbridge vs probably 100 combined across all Ivies. It is a well known fact in HK among PRCs that UK unis are far easier to get in and less blue blood vs PKU THU and US t15

And this is not just UBS but applies across the board at different BBs. This year recruiting sucks but in a normal year, most banks will fly out to NY but some will skip London.

There are quite a number of Oxbridge and LSE MDs on the street, but surprisingly most send their kids to US uni these days and hence they recruit back from US schools

 

My only feedback on the above is this:   it's NOT enough to speak Mandarin. You have to BE MAINLAND CHINESE to be relevant going forward.

I am a foreigner (European) who speaks business-level Mandarin. I can interview management teams, present, etc. I hvae been irrelevant for over a decade. I am exhausted of hearing headhunters tell me "you must be able to speak Mandarin fluently" and then when I do speak to them in Mandarin, they smile sheepishly and say "We mean, you have to be a Mainland Chinese, sorry."  I invested a decade studying Mandarin. I quit my PE job in California and moved to Shanghai to study full time. I took pay cuts to work in China.  All for nothing, because "speak fluent Mandarin" is simply code word for "be a Mainland Chinese who was born and grew up in China itself" - which is something no amount of hard work and study will ever get me to .

Even Hong Kong people are increasingly beconing irrelevant, and the Mainlandification of Hong Kong is accelerating.  And this is particularly prevelant among certain subsectors of finance. For example, while we still see many HK people in PWM or capital markets, their presence in IBD is shrinking, and they almost cannot be found in PE.  For example, the GS TMT IBD team has 25 people. 24 of them are Mainland Chinese, and one is from India.  HK is still a cosmopolitan city, but the presence of US/Aus/EU/Canadian people is shrinking rapidly. 

 
earthwalker7

My only feedback on the above is this:   it's NOT enough to speak Mandarin. You have to BE MAINLAND CHINESE to be relevant going forward.

I am a foreigner (European) who speaks business-level Mandarin. I can interview management teams, present, etc. I hvae been irrelevant for over a decade. I am exhausted of hearing headhunters tell me "you must be able to speak Mandarin fluently" and then when I do speak to them in Mandarin, they smile sheepishly and say "We mean, you have to be a Mainland Chinese, sorry."  I invested a decade studying Mandarin. I quit my PE job in California and moved to Shanghai to study full time. I took pay cuts to work in China.  All for nothing, because "speak fluent Mandarin" is simply code word for "be a Mainland Chinese who was born and grew up in China itself" - which is something no amount of hard work and study will ever get me to .

Even Hong Kong people are increasingly beconing irrelevant, and the Mainlandification of Hong Kong is accelerating.  And this is particularly prevelant among certain subsectors of finance. For example, while we still see many HK people in PWM or capital markets, their presence in IBD is shrinking, and they almost cannot be found in PE.  For example, the GS TMT IBD team has 25 people. 24 of them are Mainland Chinese, and one is from India.  HK is still a cosmopolitan city, but the presence of US/Aus/EU/Canadian people is shrinking rapidly. 

I tend to agree but I don't know if I would say it is this absolute.

In 2024 I don't think a foreigner with no additional language skills other than English (non-CHN/HK/TW) could break into IBD (M&A) specifically. However, there are other divisions as you mentioned, like ECM/DCM/RX/LevFin. There are also HKers in British or US PE firms. I would say there are about 10-15 seats in IBD in a normal market and 5-10 seats in IBD in a down market for each BB. Around 50%-80% of those will go to mainland Chinese students. So the chances are getting slimmer and slimmer but it is not impossible. Anecdotally, one of my friends that grew up in HK made it to Goldman IBD from LSE/UCL/KCL. So it is not impossible.

That's also why most HKers will target S&T/PB/AM and middle office roles. They know the sector is in decline & cannot compete with the Tsinghua/Peking grads.

You seem to have worked for a Chinese broker/fund house like CLSA/CITIC/Hony/Primavera. Those definitely would be more "hostile" toward foreigners. I'm sorry to hear that you've had a hard time but probably networking & working with a US/UK fund house would be a better route. You could kind of "sell" your connections, language skills and expertise to HQ by saying you could help them grow/develop the HK office. Don't even bother interviewing for Chinese fund houses, they are not worth it – you really have to "get" China to survive there.

HC prediction

 

I don’t speak mandarin but looking to break in to HK S&T or an IB product group that may be more lax in terms of mandarin requirements (ECM etc), from a Msc target in the UK (LSE/Imperial).

Would you say this is feasible? Which is most possible

 

SEA language (Indo/Viet/Thai) is a huge huge advantage. Look at all the Bulges (GS/JP) and EBs (Evercore/Roths) and a significant proportion of their bankers come from SEA.

 

There indeed appears to be a strong emphasis on mandarin speaking. What about a young expatriate, current sophomore, with extremely solid internship experience at a top 5 AM and boutique private equity internship? Although they would not get in on the baisis of mandarin, what about if an MD/Partner/Regional or Product CEO could vouch for them and get them in? I understand the cultural aspect, but what from a day to day perspective would be the issue with not speaking mandarin? For the record, they can speak conversational, 1 year of experience out from business level. 

 
cashmoneyAP

There indeed appears to be a strong emphasis on mandarin speaking. What about a young expatriate, current sophomore, with extremely solid internship experience at a top 5 AM and boutique private equity internship? Although they would not get in on the baisis of mandarin, what about if an MD/Partner/Regional or Product CEO could vouch for them and get them in? I understand the cultural aspect, but what from a day to day perspective would be the issue with not speaking mandarin? For the record, they can speak conversational, 1 year of experience out from business level. 

I still would not recommend bulge bracket investment banking (traditional M&A). Even if you get in against nearly all odds you would never become a deal maker right? You have to be fluent in Mandarin to win clients and read Chinese financial statements. You are locked out of most opportunities.

I would look into other areas of finance (S&T/PB/AM) or maybe shop around for a very, very niche boutique PE firm that only focuses in SEA and is completely ex-China. Alternatively, you can try networking with ECM/DCM and see if there are some groups that don't require Mandarin. But overall, don't set your sights on IBD/PE.

 

I worked in both Shanghai and Beijing.  Do you want to know about city / living conditions or working for Chiense firms?  I am able to speak to both.

From places to live HK is still the easiest and most pleasant place I've ever lived in.  Singapore is pleasant and easy as well, but less to do than HK, so in the long-term one can get bored.  Shanghai is amazing for socialization and nightlife.  Beijing is a gaping festering pit that I'd like to never return to. I am proud of having avoided going there for the past 5 years.

From a work perspective, working for international companies is signficiantly better than working for Chinese firms, even the most international of Chinese firms. My wife is mainland Chinese and worked for Chinese PE funds, and even she said after her summer with GS "I'll never work for a Chinese firm again."   

I will say this for the Chinese firms - they were in no way racist ever. They did not single me out as a foreigner. They mistreat all employees equally regardless of race or background.  In their eyes, all emplyees are equally worthless, and deserving of being abused - and in some case cheated.  

 

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Professional Growth Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.9%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners 18 98.3%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.7%
  • Moelis & Company 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (22) $375
  • Associates (94) $260
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (69) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (207) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (151) $101
notes
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”

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From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

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