What are the pros and cons of the large banks in London?


Recruitment season for next year's summer internships in London is about to start. I'm having difficulties grasping the practical differences between the larger players in London. I have attended presentations from all the banks where the usual "we have the best culture" and "everyone is super helpful" stuff is told, but nothing practical that can actually be discussed in an interview or mentioned in a cover letter. Therefore, it would be great to gain some insight into what the pros and cons of the larger banks (JP/MS/GS/BoA/Citi/LZR/Rothschild/DB/CS) in London are. Information on other banks is also welcome.

Comments (12)

Jun 25, 2022 - 2:27pm
kodi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One part of the difference is the nationality of the bank - it does make a difference whether the bank is American, British, German, French, Japanese, Swiss, etc. Not a huge change, since the teams are often very international and they have OpCos and clients everywhere, but you can tell whether directions come from Frankfurt, NYC or London. Therefore, the politics are also slightly different. They are all large-scale banks at the end of the day, but you will notice the small bits after a while.

I have worked for American, British and German banks before and had years of Swiss and Monegasque cultures through clients or partnerships.

Jun 25, 2022 - 2:56pm
OverpoweredChimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Solid input, thanks! What are the practical differences in culture between American, British and Swiss banks?

Most Helpful
Jun 26, 2022 - 11:31am
kodi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I worked for a German bank in NYC - it was combining US hours and work culture /w the German love of rules and processes. Wasn't too bad at all and NYC wasn't as crazy back then as now. Enjoyed it.

Then I worked for a British bank in London, it was far more laid back and if you were accepted "as one of them", you made it. Fairly easy to integrate in British finance culture, work was more relaxed and I never had to work weekends. Unless there was something urgent happening on a Monday morning.

The VC, PE and other funds I worked for were from other countries and I was based in Toronto/Bay street, London/city, and Frankfurt and Zürich. Very different culture, far more international, more travel, and just a different job. Worked seven days a week, but fewer hours if I counted them. Fun job. Networking is easier if you speak French or German and if you have a cultural link to the people you are speaking to. London can feel like a different world if they are in Switzerland and you have never met, etc.

Had a lot of clients in MC, LI, and DACH area and it was such a different culture - even though I went to school in those places. I would say they want more of a personal connection with you rather than people who are just smart/capable. Socializing is more relevant, you go there, meet them for lunch, discuss deals in a different way. Very cool locations though.

Jun 26, 2022 - 8:18am
HardestOfHardos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agreed. American banks are the ones which work you to the bone, but you learn the most. British banks are more chill and imo have the best culture by far. Euro banks fall in between there, minus the fact that they love beauracracy (however it's spelt)

Jun 26, 2022 - 11:15am
nutmegger189, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly if this is in terms of having a reason for "why bank", just put "I spoke to XYZ at ABC bank and they said [two things that you pretend matter to you and are relevant to your division]"

Jun 26, 2022 - 1:23pm
OverpoweredChimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Very interesting to hear, thanks a lot for the input on Citi. Worked with them on a deal during my internship and it seemed like a really nice place, but never got the chance to speak to any of them as an intern. 

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Jun 26, 2022 - 5:32pm

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