What’s life like working IB in Dubai?

I've seen a few threads that ask about open applications and what certain groups are like but I was wondering if someone in Dubai or that has previous experience working IB in Dubai could speak to their experience and what their life was like.Some leading questions that I hope will drive your response:
- Was the group you were in sweaty?
- Were you an American (or different nationality) and found you felt out of place?
- If you were Western, what were some things you were used to doing that you were not able to or was discouraged to, if at all?
- Is Dubai all that the hype makes it out to be or is it hollow?
- How is the food?

 
Most Helpful
  • Extremely sweaty (long hours are the norm, even during slow weeks)
  • Not many Americans as they have to pay taxes on that income so it has no advantages over NYC
  • Much more “no nonsense” culture, if your work is shit its shit and they’ll let you know. Need to be thick skinned
  • It is a top city for a weekend trip, pretty boring to live. You need to be ready to spend $$$ to find fun things to do. Its not like you can walk around the streets like in NYC/ London
  • Food is amazing if you stay away from the standard touristy spots that offer pizza/ burgers. Eat at the lebanese or indian spots, they are top notch

Overall, I believe Dubai is great if you are a non American VP/ MD looking for some tax free income before you leave the industry. At the lower levels, the culture and learning experience is not good enough to justify making £30-40k more per year. If you want to exit after a few years, you need to be where the learning is optimal and opportunities exist (London). If you want to stay, you are better off going to where the hours and culture are more manageable (London / continental Europe). 

 

I currently work there, so might be a bit biased but the culture (excl. hours which are sweaty) is very good, people are very supportive and never felt or heard of anyone getting screamed at or belittled on for poor work quality.

Also I would disagree on the poor learning experience. Usually teams are generalist and alot of deals are fully lead by the regional teams, so you get to experience different products and sectors. I would also add that the responsibility you get at a junior level surpasses any experience you would have in London. As an analyst you are often expected to lead client calls, responsible for the financial model etc.

I would say the disadvantage in the region is clients are usually less sophisticated, very demanding and you don’t become an expert at an individual sector or product

 

In regards to my bank, it may have been my experience and that of a few friends. Used to work for an EB in case anyone is interested

Whilst I agree the experience is generalist, it was generalist between a few verticals: leisure & tourism, RE, and O&G mainly. Compare that to the regional team in Frankfurt, which will touch on many more industries due to the more diversified economy.

With regards to the work, my bank had all models except O&G done in London. Could be different on other banks tho.

Fully agree on the demand side. Many wealthy individuals who think that paying you = owning you.

 
[Comment removed by mod team]
 

It’s pretty terrible and spending more than 3-4 years there is a death knell for your career outside Asia. 
 

if you’re from the region (Africa, South Asia, Far East) then it’s a good spot due to proximity to home countries but I wouldn’t do otherwise.
 

as a city it’s boring af. 

i wouldn’t go there unless your option in US, Europe, UK is to work some random backend job. 

 

A bit surprised by the comments here.

I work in Dubai and I can tell you it’s absolutely great specially given what’s happening in other parts of the world.

Most banks are hiring here and it’s a busy period. Is there a lot of work? Yes definitely. Is it insanely brutal? No (most of the times at least).

You don’t pay tax here and that should be the most important point. You’re getting paid a NY salary with no tax.

Dubai is also the safest city in the world. So yes, the lifestyle is a bit more expensive than other places but again you’re not paying tax (rent is now cheaper than places like New York btw)

 
ibwannabe66

A bit surprised by the comments here.

I work in Dubai and I can tell you it's absolutely great specially given what's happening in other parts of the world.

Most banks are hiring here and it's a busy period. Is there a lot of work? Yes definitely. Is it insanely brutal? No (most of the times at least).

You don't pay tax here and that should be the most important point. You're getting paid a NY salary with no tax.

Dubai is also the safest city in the world. So yes, the lifestyle is a bit more expensive than other places but again you're not paying tax (rent is now cheaper than places like New York btw)

your username is ironic but funny for the thread considering Dubai IB is wannabe IB.

also your entire reasons for dubai revolve around taxes (not applicable to most people on this forum) and safety.. says everything

 

not pro Dubai but if he’s listing positives over other cities what else would he say lmao? Those are some pretty decent positives.

 

Pretty sure the ex-CFO for UFC (who helped them in their sale to Endeavor) in a podcast mentioned that going over to Dubai for IB / stint in Mubadala may have saved his finance career. He pivoted sometime before the GFC happened (I think he's Middle Eastern and wanted to have the opportunity to work there) and Dubai was mostly unaffected while he saw people / his Tuck classmates struggle in finance within the States.

He did eventually come back and moved to Vegas to work with the Fertitta brothers but it sounded like if you're Middle Eastern and can fit in there, it's not a bad place to be for a few years.

 

Also a EIR I believe for Dynasty Equity - I think it's a sports PE fund being run by co-founder of Providence Equity Partners and Don Cromwell, the ex-PJT banker who was on a ton of sports deals through his career.

Surprisingly one of my professors in school knows Nakisa (at least a connection of his, used to teach at Tuck). Very interesting career path.

 

Grew up in Dubai before moving to London so I can speak on this

VP in Dubai will clear as much as MD in London

City is much safer than London/NYC with decent private schools that are cheaper

Imo - decent place to move if you want to start a family at VP level and still save money / not worry about safety

 

Absolutely. ESSEC/ESCP/EDHEC are top targets for Dubai, but then again you could recruit for London/Paris/Continental Europe from these universities. However, ESSEC/ESCP grads are well represented in Dubai IB scene

 

Could you please provide more colour on this? Is it simply because of the lack of taxes or is comp higher?

 

Comp is a bit higher than UK due to weakening GBP. Mostly due to 0 taxes.

 

Ad ipsum beatae unde vero. Reprehenderit consequatur eius dolorum. Enim nobis consequatur voluptates voluptas possimus.

Ut consequatur tempora maxime ratione rem rerum. Dignissimos tenetur quae aut ut quaerat libero labore enim. Sint error provident earum expedita laudantium adipisci doloribus. Cupiditate quia vel exercitationem porro voluptas ut incidunt.

Veniam et quas rerum quia voluptas illo. Recusandae aliquid est sed quas id. Ullam aliquam eveniet commodi veniam quaerat aperiam.

 

Consectetur est sed qui. Consequatur expedita modi deserunt. Similique officia iure molestias quas provident.

Cumque ea blanditiis voluptatem ipsa rerum deleniti in. Impedit eaque quasi ut ex vero voluptas. Sed ratione aperiam voluptas adipisci sint. Maxime numquam ut voluptatem harum voluptates. Esse eligendi quam nesciunt cupiditate necessitatibus. Quis iure quia cumque voluptas. Ut aut qui nostrum.

Career Advancement Opportunities

May 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Lazard Freres No 98.9%
  • Harris Williams & Co. 25 98.3%
  • Goldman Sachs 17 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 04 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

May 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 18 99.4%
  • JPMorgan Chase 10 98.9%
  • Lazard Freres 05 98.3%
  • Morgan Stanley 07 97.7%
  • William Blair 04 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

May 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.9%
  • Goldman Sachs 17 98.3%
  • Moelis & Company 07 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

May 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (21) $373
  • Associates (91) $259
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (68) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (205) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (147) $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...”

Leaderboard

1
redever's picture
redever
99.2
2
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
99.0
3
BankonBanking's picture
BankonBanking
99.0
4
Secyh62's picture
Secyh62
99.0
5
dosk17's picture
dosk17
98.9
6
kanon's picture
kanon
98.9
7
GameTheory's picture
GameTheory
98.9
8
CompBanker's picture
CompBanker
98.9
9
Jamoldo's picture
Jamoldo
98.8
10
numi's picture
numi
98.8
success
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”