Abu Dhabi, pros and cons?

Hello all, I am an undergraduate from a non target school, who graduated in 2009. I just recently landed a job at an Abu Dhabi investment firm, which has very close resemblance to the activities of a PE firm, investing across industries and continents with the help of BB IB's while having a very small deal team. Ever since I was in college and after watching Wall Street I have imagined a path from college to a BB IB, working on M&A deals and then as an Associate at a PE firm then a top 5 or 10 B school, and then shaking the money tree for the rest of my life (J/K). But unfortunately things didn't go as planned and I currently have a resume with two BB wealth management internships and a summer position during my junior year at a major PE firm in NYC. I need to know, after wasting almost 9months after graduation, i am finally setting foot into the realm of Finance again, but I am very skeptical as to the opportunities which would arise after working 1 or 2 years at an investment firm in Abu Dhabi. Upsides involve the exposure to many industries as well as geographies combined with a high deal flow in a small team and a very diverse work experience for B-school. But the downside is that it's my first job coming out of college and its neither IB or PE nor is it in NYC or London. Ideally my goal is to continue as I planned, which involves pursing PE either in London, Asia (i.e India, HK, China) or NYC (i.e through my past internship at a PE firm) after a year or two in Abu Dhabi.

I would really appreciate any thoughts all of you can share with me regarding this, both pros and cons. After this economic nightmare I like to do my research very well in advance, so I know what to expect and what can cause disappointments just in case. Thanks in advance.

Comments (47)

 
Mar 9, 2010 - 12:40pm

I was going to write a long response, but then decided not to because this doesnt need an explanation. Take it, dont complain, dont hesitate, dont regret...because honestly, it sounds like a great gig (and if I'm thinking about the same firm you'll be working for, you're pretty lucky to have landed it).

Pros? Its finance - great experience - its interesting - money should be good - unique opportunity
Cons? Not NYC/London (but who cares...you'll never see cold/snow again)

 
Mar 9, 2010 - 1:10pm

Assuming its a legit shop....

pros: great connections (who you know goes alot further there), tax free, possibly all types of stipends, great standard of living

cons: really fucking hot, far away from home, anal sex is illegal

Array
  • 1
 
Mar 10, 2010 - 12:52am

PM me if you feel comfortable mentioning the name, or post it on thread....

All of these shops are really young (even by private equity standards) so they're still figuring things out, for sure. some are very active in their portcos and doing active investments (mubadala, atic, etc) whereas others are significantly less active (ADIA). There's a good chance your experience will be very rich - joining as associate? or analyst? - but their investments have yet to be proven out...

I got soft feelers from one of said funds, but the M.E. was not on my radar.

 
Mar 10, 2010 - 2:02am

You'll make a lot of money, the work hours will be excellent, and you'll be very involved in the deal process if it's a lean team. The SWFs in Abu Dhabi make very large international investments. They'll send you for any training you request, but it's up to you to be proactive because they generally don't have in-house programs.

The cons are that your social life will be very boring compared to Dubai, and that there's large differences in quality from fund to fund. But Abu Dhabi is definitely booming right now.

 
Mar 11, 2010 - 12:20pm

Thanks for everyones input. The anal comment was hilarious and yea it a very legit firm.

I haven't gotten full details on my package or the starting date but I believe my position will be as an analyst.

From my research and conversations with some analysts, for someone in an entry level position (4 yrs exp. and CFA req. but like someone said before who you know goes a long way in Abu Dhabi) the packages start at $60K w/no tax and housing allowance (max $50,000/yr) with possibility for a car or furniture allowance, even both. I know one firm, which gives furniture allowance of $25,000 per yr for people falling into the lowest grade. Coming from NYC I started laughing when I heard about these allowances, but hey the more the merrier. I made some calculations and it seems if you add in a 32% tax, which you would pay in NY, everything comes out to little over $200,000/yr while doing 40hr/weeks, possibility a little more depending on the number of deals flowing through, I heard. That figure includes the car allowance, but w/o its less than $200k, but no ones complaining.

My real concern was the path this would take me, but its really the only opportunity I have and for all I know I could end up with a shitty pay and no allowance in Abu Dhabi. At the end of the day given the market conditions in NYC and London, the experience is more valuable even if I have to make less money than I did as an intern.

 
Mar 12, 2010 - 2:42am

Like I mentioned previously, my package haven't been specified nor finalized yet. I am just mentioning some things I found out from talking to analysts. Not alumni's, just people I knew. I am not sure how the taxes work exactly, but I could care less because its more about the experience.

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 2:59pm

Opportunities in Abu Dhabi (Originally Posted: 03/26/2010)

I'm actively looking for opportunities within a highly regarded investment institution in Abu Dhabi. I'm currently based out of the U.S. and have over 3 years of experience in TAS at the Big 4.

I have no professional connections to the GCC and was looking to see if anyone would be willing to assist me in either reviewing my resume (deeming it viable for the institution) and providing assistance in getting connected with HR representatives, head hunters or employees within the institution.

Please feel free to PM me and I will be more than willing to disclose the name of the institution and discuss my background more in detail. Any help would be appreciated.

-TIA

"Free Market Capitalism is the best path to Prosperity!" - The Larry Kudlow Creed
 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:01pm

Should I move to Abu Dhabi for a PE job? (Originally Posted: 01/06/2015)

I've an offer from a middle market PE firm based in Abu Dhabi that's focused on the Middle East region. Fund size ~$1 billion. I'm dreading living in Abu Dhabi but not sure if I should overweight the merits of the opportunity professionally. I'm moving over from public equities (hedge fund) into PE. What are your thoughts (from all angles)? Note I have a strong desire to move back to the US or Europe at some point.

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:02pm

I have known three people who did PE in Abu Dhabi as associates. As a general comment they got paid way more than their US and European equivalents, and paid no taxes on those earnings. Two of the three are back in the US for VP-level gigs, and one is in Europe in a principal position.

Seems like a lucrative and fun adventure for a young unencumbered person...

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:03pm

RLC1:

I have known three people who did PE in Abu Dhabi as associates. As a general comment they got paid way more than their US and European equivalents, and paid no taxes on those earnings. Two of the three are back in the US for VP-level gigs, and one is in Europe in a principal position.

Seems like a lucrative and fun adventure for a young unencumbered person...

Keep in mind that if he's a US citizen, he has to pay US taxes above the foreign income deductible amount regardless of where he's working.

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:15pm

There is plenty of booze in Abu Dhabi. You just can't buy them in supermarkets, drink it out in the open etc. And there is nothing wrong with being black or Asian in the Middle East. There are more blacks and asians there than local citizens and I have seen them being treated with more respect than in the US.

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:06pm

If it's your best or only offer, it's a good choice. Living in Abu Dhabi would suck no doubt but if it's a finite timeline you can at least say to yourself "I'll only be here for 3 years max." One good thing I've noticed about guys who work in the ME in finance overall is that they come back to the West with a ton of money contacts (wealthy individuals, SWF's, etc) who they can call up and get to stroke pretty big checks.

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:08pm

Living in Abu Dhabi or Dubai isn't as bad as people (probably especially Americans) on here make it to be. There are nice clubs and lounges in Dubai / Abu Dhabi as well as places like malls, restaurants, bars, etc., basically all you need. Petrol is pretty cheap, as are nice cars and there are no taxes. There are a ton of Europeans, Americans, Australians as well, so you won't have to spend your Friday nights with your muslim friends in a mosque. The only thing that bothers me about these places is the disgusting heat in the summer months which is insane. Everything else is pretty westernised and yes, believe it or not, people still can have sex or drink booze. Get your heads out of your asses @"rajsmith" @"Bullet-Tooth Tony", this is not fucking Riyadh.

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:09pm

@above_and_beyond - "The United Arab Emirates includes the Emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah and Sharjah. Sexual relations outside of a traditional, heterosexual marriage are a crime." Just saying...but hell the royal family must be getting their grind so I'm sure you'll find some but the country is not for me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_the_United_Arab_Emirates

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:14pm

rajsmith:

@above_and_beyond - "The United Arab Emirates includes the Emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah and Sharjah. Sexual relations outside of a traditional, heterosexual marriage are a crime." Just saying...but hell the royal family must be getting their grind so I'm sure you'll find some but the country is not for me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_the_Un...

Thanks but you know that gay sex/homosexuality is unlawful in lots of countries (not just in the Middle East right?)... you know, like Singapore, India, Malaysia, much of Africa, and though not illegal, highly persecuted in Russia, right? I would not single out the UAE for this and its a dangerous precedent, that often slips into religious/racial bigtory very quickly.

@"Dingdong08" is spot on.

OP - Take a second to think. What do you want? Do you want to live abroad, explore, see what the world is like? You might discover you like the Middle East or move to Asia or do random frontier stuff in Africa. You will make contacts and maybe that can help you raise a ton of money in the future. The skills and knowledge you bring back could be good for a global fund of sorts (not just global contacts for raising money, but industry contacts, cultural understanding, seeing how other companies in different parts of the world work, how consumers think etc).

Or maybe you want to stay in a world in which the chances of you getting into a better HF/PE fund or whatever are better, hang with your existing friends/family, pursue more local activities/hobbies etc.... that would be staying in the US/London.

No one can give you the right answer, but you, because none of us know who you are, what you like/don't like etc. Plus if you hate Abu Dhabi, you can leave in a year, travel around a little and come back to the US or whatever.

Good Luck

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:12pm

Being at one of the many many MM PE shops that are ~$1B in the U.S., I would hands down take this offer. You will do a few years and have a really awesome angle for U.S. MBA applications. I'd think you would place quite well and then have a good amount of optionality in the U.S.

my $0.02, no actual data points to confirm this... have any of the firms previous associates gone to U.S. B-schools?

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."
 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:13pm

TheBigBambino:

Being at one of the many many MM PE shops that are ~$1B in the U.S., I would hands down take this offer. You will do a few years and have a really awesome angle for U.S. MBA applications. I'd think you would place quite well and then have a good amount of optionality in the U.S.

my $0.02, no actual data points to confirm this... have any of the firms previous associates gone to U.S. B-schools?

one would have to assume you would be a slam dunk at any b-school after a cool story like that (assuming your other metrics are anywhere in the ballpark)

 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:19pm

Friends of mine live in Dubai and commute daily, not that difficult to do and social life is more existent in Dubai, although the obvious down-sides still persist, limited sex, booze, fun etc.

Strength & Honour Lads pass exams
 
Mar 13, 2010 - 3:20pm

People keep talking about limited sex and booze in Dubai/Abu Dhabi, but assuming that a fair few people on this board are obsessed with joining PE/HF/IBD, many of which are physically and mentally demanding and require very long hours, how many of those that are successful, or trying to be (studying a ton etc) have time or energy for tons of booze and sex?

I ask this because...

HK has a lot of both. But most I know in the industry who are based are not making tons of Benjamins ( from carry, if any at all) or huge bonuses (from IBD), getting out at 5, getting wasted and then banging hot girls 7 days a week (there are plenty of attractive girls here and booze is available everywhere, including 7-11), public transport is cheap and efficient as are cabs... Most are working super long hours, are on planes a ton and those that do booze a ton burn out pretty quickly (going to the club on Friday and Saturday and popping some Champagne does not count as going out a lot)...Lots of guys that get tons of action either love the girls that speak little English/want your wallet or just go to Dongguan/Macau/Sex141 (ie. they pay for it - not that that's frowned upon here). Of course there are some guys with good/great game, but let's be honest, financial services does not typically attract that type.

Just askin'

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Girlfriend vs PE
+85PEby Investment Analyst in Private Equity - Growth Equity">Investment Analyst in PE - Growth
I’ll never take WSO for granted again
+51OFFby Principal in Venture Capital">Principal in VC
What's so good about Evercore?
+41IBby Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Prospect in IB-M&A
I'm tired man
+29IBby Intern in Corporate Finance">Intern in CorpFin
First year analyst, still feel incompetent and like I haven’t learned anything
+21IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Friends in IB are chilling hard, how can I get this?
+19IBby 3rd+ Year Associate in Private Equity - LBOs">Associate 3 in PE - LBOs

Total Avg Compensation

January 2021 Private Equity

  • Principal (6) $693
  • Director/MD (15) $627
  • Vice President (57) $366
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (60) $272
  • 2nd Year Associate (115) $245
  • 1st Year Associate (249) $224
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (23) $162
  • 2nd Year Analyst (56) $139
  • 1st Year Analyst (163) $119
  • Intern/Summer Associate (18) $71
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (178) $59

Leaderboard See all

1
LonLonMilk's picture
LonLonMilk
98.5
2
Jamoldo's picture
Jamoldo
98.4
3
Secyh62's picture
Secyh62
98.3
4
CompBanker's picture
CompBanker
97.9
5
redever's picture
redever
97.8
6
frgna's picture
frgna
97.6
7
NuckFuts's picture
NuckFuts
97.5
8
bolo up's picture
bolo up
97.5
9
Addinator's picture
Addinator
97.5
10
Edifice's picture
Edifice
97.5