Breaking into South Africa

Hi,

I'm a south African (and British) national who has lived in the UK since 2 years old. I'm currently in my first year at Cambridge University and am interested in working in finance in the future. I really want to go back to live in South Africa at some point so will hopefully apply for summer internships there next year.

I was just wondering if anybody knows the industry in South Africa and could give me advice on whether or not they think that I had a chance to get internships/a graduate offer not having lived there for so long and studying abroad.

Many thanks

 
Best Response

First, visit the place before you make any decision on whether you want to work in South Africa or not.

I'm assuming you're talking about IB. There are less entry-level slots than in London, also in terms of headcount, offices for the traditional bulge brackets are quite small as well. RMB (FNB), Investec, Barclays (ABSA), and Standard are the big local players. Advisory work is shifting from a heavy concentration of natural resources to a wider selection of industries.

 
oldrow:

First, visit the place before you make any decision on whether you want to work in South Africa or not.

I'm assuming you're talking about IB. There are less entry-level slots than in London, also in terms of headcount, offices for the traditional bulge brackets are quite small as well. RMB (FNB), Investec, Barclays (ABSA), and Standard are the big local players. Advisory work is shifting from a heavy concentration of natural resources to a wider selection of industries.

Sounds like you're familiar with the South African scene. Any advice for a person with legal background (LLM banking and finance) trying to make it into IB.

  1. Is it possible to break in from legal&compliance bo at a BB equivalent - been offered two positions like this (planning on doing a CFA or/and an LLD in M&A)?
  2. what skills should I focus on acquiring to best sell myself?
 

Breaking into South Africa is getting much tougher unless you are a black South African citizen. This is mainly a result of BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) and the industry getting tougher on transformation. In my opinion, you are much better off starting out in the UK then after gaining some valuable work experience you can try to move as an experienced hire where there is much less scrutiny

“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.” - Ayn Rand
 

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