Was recruiting for 2023 SA London unusually hard this year?

I've applied to about 20 banks in London for 2023 SA positions in August/September and only ended up with 2 first-round interviews. I am at a top 5 European school with excellent grades. Prior internship at 2 PE firms and a BB. I thought that my profile would result in at least a few more first-round interviews. Trying to figure out whether my applications suck or whether this year was extremely difficult in recruiting for London. What's your opinion on this year's recruiting for 2023 SA positions in London?

Comments (20)

The Crown, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So I'm looking for FT in London 2023 & yes it's more difficult than last year for SA & FT so it's not just you

  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen

Why do you guys think that this year was more difficult? Fewer spots? Higher percentage of spots dedicated to diversity recruits? More applicants? Lower willingness to sponsor non-UK applicants?

sweatyycapitalmarkets, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lower amount of spots. At my bank, at least, because of the fiasco regarding return rates (40% due to overhiring when it's historically 80-90%) they are adjusting the size of the intern class to be much smaller. Some other banks might still be hiring normally, but you can count on those banks being brutal with return rates.

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  • Intern in PE - LBOs

Will get shitted on for this but I also noticed a few folks getting offers across various banks in various divisions (M&A, S&T, etc.) with these folks then asking what is the most prestigious offer to choose.

Maybe I'm wrong but isn't the bare minimum benchmark to be aware of what you actually want to do between two vastly different areas - M&A and S&T for instance? This is a bit odd to me since I know some people with a near pristine CV (Masters applicant) with a series of internships demonstrating strong interest within a specific group (Healthcare M&A for instance) not even get past tests+HVs this year. Curious if London recruiting is changing its focus towards early stage bachelor applicants or if this has always been the case.

  • Intern in IB - Cov

No, I think it's a fair question and point to raise. I think because degrees are often 3 years in length in the UK, so you effectively have students one year into college applying to springs and two years in applying to SA, it's somewhat acceptable to show interest in several of IB, S&T, AM, etc. A bigger red flag would be if you had several possible applications and applied to IB, engineering and HR for obvious reasons.

I've also heard of it happening in one bank where an applicant applied for IB and got sent to an AC for S&T, because "they thought it suited the profile better" or something.

The thing is with London, due to springs and the randomness of the process with tests, HVs and with networking having very little impact, it is a case of rolling the dice sometimes.

I personally don't agree with the European culture of having to have 3/4 internships and a masters before you get an IB internship either - I'm aware it's far easier to find earlier internships in Germany etc than in the UK, but also let people live a little? We all know students go for IB for the money, I don't see why a 21-year-old already needs 3 professional internships if they have relevant extracurricular experience, can fill a CV with some different things, and can prove they have the transferable skills.

  • 4
  • Intern in IB - Cov

I'd briefly add as well that M&A, S&T, AM, etc aren't that different in my opinion, **for a student applying.**

Yes, I know the day-to-day and their aim/area of interest within an investment bank are completely different, but they're still all top areas of finance looking at client advisory, taking into consideration different company/firm objectives, the market conditions, economic environment, potentially working with different forms of capital or asset classes, etc.

I personally don't like the idea of S&T at all and AM doesn't attract me either, only live deal work does, but I can still see how another person might be undecided between the various IB areas.

Something I was asked in an SA interview before is "are you also interested in consulting, are you applying to McK etc?" That's probably a bigger ding than S&T, even though plenty of IB applicants will also apply to MBB because of prestige or interest or pay or whatever.

  • 2
  • Intern in Consulting

Probably because in the UK getting a prior IB internship before applying to SA is very hard unless you are using nepotism. Most likely with push towards diversity HR are caring less about this.

DariusAp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes, can be chalked up to spring week conversions.

Lower headcount across the board and awful hiring environment

  • Intern in PE - LBOs

But surely this year must have been much harder - especially FT 2023

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

IB/ST/AM/PE recruiting was ever easy? Come on

  • Intern in IB-M&A

It was indeed: For background context: Penultimate Year Student at a Target, M&A internship at a global boutique 

Applied to 25-30 IBs, was lucky enough to get 3 ACs: 1 BB, a boutique and an MM.

With BBs on the hiring freezes/job cuts it did seem that they weren't taking many more people other than their Spring Conversion

  • Intern in IB - DCM

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