Moving abroad from Belgium

I’m a 26 yo female 1st year associate in an M&A boutique in Belgium, looking to move abroad to NYC or London. Would it be likely for me to get in IB in one of these cities coming from Belgium? Background of 2 Masters in Finance and prior workexperience at a Big4. Any input would be of use


Concerning London opportunities, I'm assuming that you would be moving to the UK as a Belgian citizen. If that's indeed the case then you should be warned that it has become really tough since Brexit. You'd need to get sponsored by the firm and obtain a working visa (which also limits your options, if you wish to move to another company they would have to takeover your sponsorship). Also, at the moment the sentiment is quite gloomy and there are not many opportunities as firms are freezing recruitment. But keep applying and reaching out to recruiters/head-hunters, just be aware that your immigration status will be a barrier for your move.  

Most Helpful

Both will be tough, US even more so (I wouldn't bother.)

In terms of London, I actually have a Belgian friend who broke into a small M&A boutique here. However, he studied MSc Finance here at a semi-target, which essentially allowed him a window of 3 years (2 after the master's ends) to get a job.

I'm not intimately familiar with the immigration process but as far as I know you would require a job offer before getting leave to remain. As the other poster mentioned this will be extremely difficult (bordering on impossible) in the current environment due to two reasons:

1.) The job market is extremely tight here. I've heard of many target MSc Finance grads not getting jobs.

2.) Firms tend not to take risks on entry level hires, especially in an economy like this where they tend to converge back to elite candidates and preferably UK/Irish citizens, although this is not a rule just a trend I have noticed.

Advice would be to wait, maybe make associate, and then try again for London when market picks up a bit.

IB - M&A

I don’t Second the opinions from above.

I am also European Citizen working in London and it is definitely possible, but obviously harder. How it usually works is that you need an offer and then your firm will sponsor your visa. The more well known banks have absolutely 0 issues with sponsoring you, in fact they often look for people with knowledge of continental European languages. Quite often I see “Dutch/French/German speaking AN/ASSO” in job descriptions. You can also start having conversations with recruiters to gauge current interest levels and the attractiveness of your profile.

Another option would be to join a bigger bank in Brussels/Amsterdam/Paris and then try for an internal transfer.

Good luck!


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