Investment Banking in Frankfurt

Can anyone share their experience with IBD in Frankfurt? Planning to move to Frankfurt, so want to know better whether it holds a strong case. 

Specifically, I seek to understand possibility of moving as a non-German speaker - has anyone done this? Also, I want to understand what are the top mid-market boutiques, and any other valuable insights.

Region
 

- Use the search function, a common question

- It would be better if you spoke German. Not really required in many international teams, but not all of the teams/groups are English speakers. Depends on the situation.
If you work for a US or Canadian firm and most are expats, English is fine. But if you work at DB and the folks are mostly local, it would be best to speak German.

 

LinkedIn and other social media aren't an accurate representation of reality. You may have seen a few profiles like that, but not others. It is hard to get a full understanding of what's going on with those sources alone. Speak to as many people as possible, in person or via informal chats online.

If the company itself is foreign (i.e. British, American, Canadian, French,...) it might be easier to get away with not speaking German. Either way, it is extremely useful to speak German when living in Germany.

I know Brits who live in Paris and don't speak French. And I also know others who don't speak German in Germany. I am not promoting NOT learning a language, it is really helpful.

 

It is possible to work in Frankfurt without knowing German, but more for the BBs. MM/EB is harder as they tend to be more local.

Top MM players are Blair/Baird and Houlihan (heavy hours there btw).

 

Frankfurt is very well-known to be a very rough city for IB. You will work significantly longer hours than people in other European offices. A few BBs accept people that do not speak German, but I would say +90% of people speak German even at those banks. Frankfurt is also a really shitty city to live in. I'm from Switzerland and I wouldn't recommend this city to anyone. The entire train station area (the area right next to all banks) is filled with drug addicts and homeless people. People are shooting heroin on the street in broad daylight within 100 meters of the banking offices. The city also lacks a vibe. It really does feel as if this is a city where people come to work and that's it. I am yet to meet anyone who likes Frankfurt (this includes plenty of people who are from Frankfurt). 

Would choose any other financial hub in Europe over Frankfurt. Don't make the same mistake I did.

 
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I would not say this is true. I also migrated to Frankfurt to work in consulting and have many friends in banking. The stereotype of the average German person not living in Frankfurt is that the city sucks but you will be surprised how much the place to offer. I would not want to live here for a lifetime but the city itself has quite a unique vibe that few european cities have. 

The biggest plus points for me: 

(+) very dense inner city - everyting is reachable in a matter of minutes with public transport. Most of my colleauges don't take more than 10 minutes to their office. In every other large city this would imply living basically beside the office in a office district but in Frankfurt you can go from the banking district to nice residential neighbourhoods in that timespan. This is a major (!) pluspoint for work as I know colleauges in our firms Berlin (a very large city in terms of space) office who have to go for like 35-40 minutes to get home from the office at night 

(+) surroundings - wine regions are very close to Frankfurt. Green areas (i.e. Taunus) reachable by public transport / car in short time 

(+) geography - in the middle of Germany. Approx 3.5 hours to go to Munich, Hamburg or Berlin. Less than 2 hours to Cologne, Dusseldorf etc. Approx 3 hours with train to Paris. One of the most important airports in Europe, reachable from the inner city in 20 minutes by cab (biggest plus as consultant) that gets you to everywhere 

(+) people/connections - I think Frankfurt probably ranks highest worldwide on "white collar professionals" / squaremeter (again relating to the density). You have lawyers, bankers, consultants, private equity investors, accountants etc. all working in footreach to one another. On top of that the city is super international. We have institutions here like the European Central Bank, bundesbank, KFW etc. that draw in people from all over

(+) Pay / COL - This applies to both banking and consulting but much much more heavily to consulting. London is probably 1.5-2x expensive to live in but the salaries are 30-40% lower. That is actually an insane delta for me even when you factor in lower taxes. The rationale has to be that London MBB offices has a sheer endless supply of people who want to work there (from Asians to Brits, Americans to continental Europeans who studied in LDN) 

It is by no means comparable to cities such as London or Paris which rank A++ in terms of culture, cuisines, nightlife etc. - but the city itself is much better than I would have ever imagined. 

 

I agree with your points. You certainly do have a high pay compared to COL, great proximity to basically any place in Europe and the city is easy to get around. Nonetheless, actually being in the city sucks and if you do work in investment banking, you are very unlikely to ever be in a situation where you are restrained by money. I understand it's very different for consulting where living a good life on ~£50k a year in a city like London might be difficult. 

You could also turn the argument and say that since you will be working every hour that you're awake if you work in Frankfurt IB, you will be able to save a lot since COL is much lower compared to a city like Paris or London. Personally, I think that life in IB is very rough and if I could choose, I would want to spend the little free time I have in a different city than Frankfurt...

 

Did an internship in Frankfurt last summer and every time, especially at night, I felt like Batman walking through the city.

That place has a really strong Gotham City vibe.

 

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