Analysts who speak very poor English

This is going to get me a lot of hate but I don't understand how some of these foreign analysts get jobs in Investment Banks (and graduate from some of the best schools in the country too)

Not shitting on all foreign analysts. Some of them are very competent and speak great English. Some of the best analysts I have worked with have been foreigners.

But some of them don't understand basic words and instructions. EG. Change xyz to another color, add a legend, kill the last 4 transactions from this page, add a decimal etc. They manage to misunderstand the most basic instructions. 

I don't understand how these people also get into the best schools in the country? How did they even understand SAT prompts or university assignments with their vocabulary? It really is a mystery to me...

I know they're not stupid people. I'm sure they're bright, but the language barrier is so significant I don't understand how these people got into amazing schools and crushed interviews.

I am not a full time analyst (incoming FT 23) but my English has a decently heavy Slavic accent. I worked on my grammar and my speech so everyone can understand me, and thankfully they do.

Not following basic instructions like that in my opinion is more intelligence/laziness as opposed to English. Every comment that my hire ups gave me, I followed through with. Removing 4 transactions from a ppt has nothing to do with English or even IQ, but laziness. 

Pro scrub- So you are one of the many exceptions op acknowledged.

My guess is that it is gpa and test scores and some of those hires are actually legit superstars on the backend and maybe there is a history of these folks then putting in time to get better once they see the opp.

Otherwise i dont get it either

Don’t think this is necessarily language thing… I’ve come across a fair number of analysts over the years who are 100% native speakers but consistently missed at least 5 or 6 out of 10 simple comments

Hmm maybe. Same question though. How can these kids get into good schools, get good grades, get internships and return offers and then mess up simple instructions...

I mean how do you even do well in school if you totally misunderstand prompts, or do well in interviews if you can't grasp basic concepts and questions?

Are they just clowning us?

i dont really think school performance always = work performance or even interview performance

tests and interviews are pretty predictable and you can prepare for those questions and you are basically told what the right answers are

I often think it's an excuse for laziness or lack of attention to detail. 

The biggest issue with most analysts nowdays in this "new banking generation" is that they have no attention to detail. They don't take notes of the ask and tick them off and they don't check their work. They simply "fire & forget".

Tech & Media M&A - London

I've noticed this at my target school and in group projects as well. It tends to be the Asians (Chinese/Indians) that suffer the worst from this. Thick accents, blatantly incorrect syntax/grammar, attempts to use fancy SAT vocab but doesn't fit or match the tone/logic of the rest of the sentence/paragraph, can't present in front of the class without stuttering , choking (forgetting their lines), and shitting their pants. Really makes me wonder how they get 1590 SAT's, get into top schools, and pass interviews. A lot of them r diversity hires tho (women) so that could explain it.

Note to address the snowflakes: I'm Asian myself (born and raised in the west) so I'm not being racist, just factual observations. 

EDIT: Also, I've conversed with some of these people/fellow classmates in their native language (Chinese) and they're not a whole lot smarter in their first language either. So the argument that they have to think in their mother tongue first and then struggle to translate into English or smth along those lines doesn't apply either.

You get downvoted, but there is truth. Having gone to a target school as well, many of the foreign researchers there are appalling, and have skills below that of a standard American high schooler. Often there are shenanigans involved into getting to the target school in the first place.

I've seen draft "research papers" if they can even be called that, that are no better than a what a middle schooler would produce. Often the work involves rigorously copying python code and simple analytics from the internet. 

If you thought 2000s era string theorists were a joke, then you should buckle up for the next wave of academia, which will be astoundingly incompetent. The average quant shop can probably just start hiring elite high school grads in the next decade if this keeps up (many of which are building companies and apps at age 15 now).

Indians and their flex of vocabulary are very difficult to understand.

I find the Chinese fall under two ends of the spectrum, either imitate American English very well or the weird butchered bumpy Asian accent with super weird pronunciation. 

I know its pretty common for the wealthy chinese to pretty much have their applications done for them. Know one and she basically had her essays written for her by a company that hires t20 undergrads to write their topics

They also tend to fabricate pretty convincing resumes with lots of “internships” back in China given to them by family or family friends. I guess its a product of their country’s MO to cooperate as one homogenous people to accomplish things, which in this case is getting their kids into american schools

For some of the people in my bank I think this is the only explanation for how they got into their prestigious schools. They don't speak a lick of english but manage to get into HSWYP etc? They misunderstand basic words and can't string together coherent sentences but get perfect scores on their SAT / ACT in both the math and verbal section and write stellar essays?

I mean someone who gets into Harvard ought to have been top of their class, and an all-in-all overachiever with incredible credentials etc. There's no way such a person could be so incompetent at their job. If they were able to crush complex exams all throughout their academic careers then they must be able to at least grasp and execute very very very simple instructions and concepts.

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As an immigrant myself, I can see where the OP is coming from but instead of debunking some of the generalized stereotypes everyone is mentioning, I am going to offer some solutions that my supervisors and direct reports have implemented to combat the language barriers-1) Understand where the analyst is struggling and opt for written communication, even though you may prefer to verbally communicate feedback. For instance, my VP always writes up all the actionable feedback in the form of an email/comments/teams/slack message so all instructions are clear and explicit- making it much easier for the analyst to follow and mark tasks and for the supervisor to audit, 2) Spend some extra 1-on-1 time with the analyst to get more familiar with their speaking style, jargon, accent, etc. which may make it easier for you to understand them and for them to comprehend your accent, words, etc. this may sound very redundant but personal dialogues go a long way in building deeper relationships and boosting morale and productivity, what's there to lose?, 3) Also realize that they too struggle to communicate with you (and their peers) which means they probably avoid asking questions and follow-ups and conceal information from you that they may struggle in simpler words to share with you (they may be overstaffed, struggling with a task, overcoming a personal problem) so make sure you give them space and opportunity to respond in their preferred means of communication (teams/slack/email/verbal), and 4) Give it time but these changes will help them as well as you in becoming a better, well-liked, and respected, manager. I don't think you need to sympathize or be more lenient to them, it's just important for you to make sure you make it a comfortable workplace for them to excel in. If none of these work, try other methods but it could also be true that the analyst might just be lazy or unproductive but don't carry these preconceived notions and apply them to every international student or worker in the US.

yeah American schools are usually specifically looking for a diverse international class. I believe that their goal is to make their school world-wide known and increase interest in them from kids all over the world. like, there are alums from Duke who live in Russia, Nigeria, Korea, Morocco, etc. so when kids from these countries think of where to apply they know about Duke cause they've heard about it and they have Duke alums running top companies in their countries. and that's how Duke can launch new Masters programs, like Master in Commerce or whatever they launched like 8 years ago and have thousands of internationals willing to pay $100k per year for that.

then in terms of employment, most banks are international with some international leadership (VPs, MDs, Partners) even in US, so kids with bad English are cut some slack and trusted that they'll work hard to compensate for that.

and yeah it's frustrating and up to you whether you want to deal with it or just pull somebody with better English for next projects.

of course not. it's like saying being asian =/= being good at math. like we all know that.

however, being from a top school = more likely to be a top performer (same way as being asian = more likely to be good at math).

they're just lazy. I'm also an international and maybe English falls in the 3rd place on how often I get exposed to it (movies, reading, etc.), and I never had trouble understanding instructions given by others when I was an intern in the UK.

The only aspect where you can't blame internationals is for not speaking extremely coherently and fluently because reading and listening English =/= speaking. I mean, I live all year in a non-English country (Slavic) so how I'm supposed to maintain an English accent and keep my fluency when I'm already using 2 local languages to get through my day? Reading, writing, and listening can always be practiced, but speaking is something that only happens face-to-face. 

still, his issue basically gets solved after 2/3 weeks once you're in the role and you're surrounded by English conversations, so at the end of the day, it isn't an issue (but unfortunately when I have interviews they think that my speaking skills will remain at the same level all year - guess it's the ignorance/lack of experience when you're interviewing w/ monolinguals).

not international but can offer two perspectives here.

1.) I attended an MSF where their whole bit is more or less recruiting rich international (typically from China) students to pay an insane sticker price. as such, the school has a good rep in China. they go and play US grad student for a year, cheat their asses off, speak minimal english, and then return home for mommy and daddy to get them to get them a top job. these are your wear Gucci to class, constantly traveling, lease the G Wagon, live in the most expensive apartments type. it’s good for the student because they get to live out their American college fantasy for a year and it’s good for the school because they get ~$90k all in cash up front tuition and do not have to promise a job in the US. however it’s bad for the rest of us (in my case we were the minority so they did not give a flying fuck about us) because we have to work with them occasionally and they suck. they’re ultra resistant to any dynamic that doesn’t involve rampant cheating, they’re defensive of their shitty work (point a.) had to work on a group project with a kid with an “accounting” background who could not properly forecast a 3 statement model) and they’re difficult to communicate with. while a net positive for the school ($$$$ and brand rep abroad), they’re a net negative for the kids who actually want to be there.

2.) the international student who genuinely wants to work and stay in the US. these are the hardest working, and some of the most intelligent motherfuckers you will meet in your entire goddamn life. their english, if it lacks, is not from lack of trying. they typically speak 2+ languages fluently, make great teammates on projects, recruit like madmen, and often get fucked by the reputation of the group above. some of these group 2 guys are now my best friends. they’re outstanding people, exceptionally bright, super outgoing, and have this “do or die” mentality to making it in finance and staying in the US. oftentimes they’re here on an absolutely shoestring budget and haven’t seen their families back home in years. they end up making exceptionally great analysts because of their work ethic and are super inspiring people to surround yourself with.

unfortunately group 1 gives group 2 a bad rep. however, schools are unwilling to properly vet group 1 because they bring in all the money for the school. like I said, not an international student, but I spent a year of my life surrounded by them, and this is just my two cents.

Give them time. My boss used to say ‘this should be your bread and butter’, and it took me 6 months to realise what he actually means, having lived in the west for 6 years+ (I don’t eat bread or butter often). Now a few years into the job I’m one of the most popular sales.

From a non native speakers perspective, I understand why this is happening. You can do very well in your degree by understanding a certain set of words. I came out of my degree having not done a single PowerPoint slide, they were all done in LaTeX, so I didn’t know a lot of the terms for PowerPoint.

Starting a job in a foreign language isn’t easy, if you can, be friendly and explain to them what it means, they will appreciate you I bet.

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