AMA: Front-end Banker India

Barren_Wuffett's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 145

I recently saw a post by someone from India looking for some help. Since I am from India and have been in FO for quiet sometime now, I thought I will do an AMA to give back something to the community.

Comments (26)

Sep 20, 2017

Are you at an Indian bank or a US/European bank?

What coverage / product group?

If you're at a US/Euro bank does it still hold true that Indian front office roles are a lot of outsourced pitch/valuation work (though this view might be quite dated)

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Sep 20, 2017

I am at an Indian Bank.

There is no division groups-wise. It is one team that takes care of the most of the stuffs, Fund-raise, M&A, Capital Syndication, etc. It is similar at other banks too.

The US/Euro banks mostly have BO roles here, but there are few FO roles as well. The US/Euro banks mostly have 2-3 senior guys and 1-2 analyst supporting them. Some banks just have an ECM team and few MD level guys for business development for M&A, once the M&A transaction heats up, a team from some other location will fly in to execute the transaction.

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Sep 20, 2017

Thanks - do you view the Indian M&A market as becoming more sophisticated? And how do you typically handle the family-owned aspect of indian businesses which creates a lot of unwarranted internal deal politics?

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Sep 20, 2017

Are most of the Inland deals based around Infrastructure and Tech?

Sep 20, 2017

It is mostly PE fund raise ( mostly in Tech) as the market still growing and there is plenty of scope for organic growth

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Sep 20, 2017

Thanks for doing this really appreciate it!

How large are the deal flows that come in India? The only real banks I know of are ICIC & India State Bank and have seen a few closed deals from them.

Also how difficult would it be for a someone to come from AM in USA to go to India IB? Would the work life be different? Comp?

Best Response
Sep 20, 2017

The ticket size really varies and is generally sub USD100 Mn. At this point of time the market is still evolving and the Ibanks do small ticket size transactions as well. This is done generally to build relation with the company and the main idea is to keep in touch till the time firm is large enough to engage for a substantial transaction.

There are a lot of banks here, Kotak, Axis, Moelis, GS, MS, JPM, Avendus,etc.

Other than lifestyle adjustments i think it would be fairly easy if you can network your way around. The hours are better as compared to US.

The comp varies from bank to bank and ranges from USD 25,000- USD 50,000 (fixed) at the analyst level. The variable would range from 30-100% of your fixed. on PPP that is way better then it seems.

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Sep 21, 2017

Good to see someone who work at an Investment bank in India.

I am an Indian passport holder doing my undergrad in Accounting, Business Finance and Management at a semi target in UK. What do you look for a potential candidate in India FO at IB? A lot of them I saw after a linkedin lurking are either Chartered Accountants with past experience in Big4 or from big brand IIMs or equivalent B schools. What do you think about breaking in with just an Undergrad?

Well I have tried networking with BO peeps at various banks but I couldn't get a proper insight what it is like to work in India. The return rates weren't pretty great but yeah I got a decent amount of reply. I haven't still tried networking with FO peeps, so in your opinion what's the best way to network with bankers in India ( I am asking this because I have none working in this industry in my family ).

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Sep 20, 2017

For some reason I am unable to reply to @FutureBanker99's comment, so responding with a new comment.

In India, you can break into Ibanking with just an Undergrad degree but that will be limited to only Boutiques, but once you are in you can always network to a role at a larger bank. Doing one or two internship in the field definitely helps, even BO would work, but you would need hands on experience on Modelling and Pitch books.

Here, banks generally don't look at if you are a good cultural fit or not, if you are good at number crunching, have sound technical knowledge(more emphasis on this) and have good grades, you have a good shot.

For a fresher, with no experience but sound technical skills, you can network your way to banking, but that will only be limited to small boutiques, but once in, you can network with people and once they have an opening at their place you will definitely be given a call for the interview.

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Oct 9, 2017

Hey

Thank you so much for doing this.

I am currently a second year business school student in India. (think NMIMS/SPJain/MDI/IIM-K/IIM-I etc.)

My questions -

1.) Exit opportunities post an ER stint apart from the buy-side ( eg- if one covers stocks in the BFSI segment, then is a jump to ECM/DCM/M&A in BFSI possible?)

2.) In case, I do not see prospects over time in a sell-side role, how receptive are domestic houses to people who have 1-2 years of ER experience at a captive KPO, looking to make a shift to investment banking? (assuming that modeling, valuation, preparing decks etc are skills that overlap and hence might help)

3.) How welcoming are folks working at domestic banks to cold e-mails/LinkedIn messages and have you seen people manage to get their foot in the door the same way?

Thanks!

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Sep 20, 2017

Post an ER stint can move into ECM and M&A but you will have to network like crazy. One Director at my current firm was previously in an ER role(covering Indian stocks).

Domestic banks are very receptive to fresh grads with relevant experience (even BO internship works) from the kind of schools that you have mentioned but someone coming from a BO role is generally frowned upon and you will have to network like crazy.

They are somewhat receptive to emails and LinkedIn messages but not to cold calling. I landed my current job by networking.

Sep 22, 2017

How structured are the roles for Pre-MBA and Post MBA? I have noticed that some BB banks give post-MBA students senior analysts kind of roles (maybe due to less experience). But would a school like ISB land you at associate level positions?

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Sep 20, 2017

@FinDroid, Pre-MBAs Fresh out of college join at the analyst level.

Regarding your point about BBs offering Post-MBAs Senior Analyst roles, that is mostly because these senior Analyst lack the required experience. You don't get to join at the associate level just because you did your MBA, you need to have experience with a part of it being relevant experience.

ISB is mostly known for consulting, but I have seen people joining Ibanks from ISB and at the associate level, but these were the guys that had previous experience in banking or finance.

Dec 24, 2017

Any views on Rothschild's India operations and the kind of comp they offer

Sep 20, 2017

They are not really a big name in investment banking. They done a few transactions in the past, mostly Oil and Gas. The comp is same as what others offer here.

Dec 24, 2017

Thanks for the answer...any other insights into their operation / culture in India?

Dec 24, 2017

Hello. Thanks so much for doing this AMA since there are hardly any views on this topic. I have a few questions:

1) From Financial Markets perspective what kind of FO roles are available in India? Also, do Indian Banks partake in Market activities like market making or trading?
2) For an internship at an Investment Bank in India is a foreign degree given more weightage compared to a degree from say IIM?
3) How long do you think it will take for a truly global Indian IB to come to the market given it is mainly dominated by American/European banks?

"The markets are always changing , and they are always the same."

Sep 20, 2017

1) The roles available here are same as those that are available in developed market, say US or UK, but roles are in limited numbers and the openings are very few. Yes, Indian Banks do partake in market making activity but only if they have broking operations but they are not really active on the trading side.

2) Not really, unless you went to harvard or stanford or wharton, sometimes even those are given the equal weightage as IIM (A/B/C)...

3) I think it would take a really really long time because the central bank here is really conservative in its policy in terms of what a bank can do what it can't in terms of taking risks and exposures and also since India is currently an emerging market and is developing fast, they are well off just focusing their efforts just here. So, yeah a long long time.

Feb 15, 2018

Can you tell me the about the job opportunities if I plan to come back from the US after my undergrad in finance from some mediocre business school like the one in UIUC or Northeatsern university. This is mainly because non-STEM majors can not work for more than one year in the US after undergrad. Thank you, this would be a great help for sure.

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Sep 20, 2017

Front end opportunities for a graduate from a mediocre business school would be limited. You would need to network your ass off to land one of those coveted roles which are already very few in number here.

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Feb 15, 2018

Sorry, I didn't mention correctly on my comment. I basically wanted to ask about opportunities in India or Canada after undergrad in US from some mediocre business school like UIUC or Northeastern.
Thank you.

Sep 20, 2017

Apart from banking you can look for opportunities in Consulting or Buyside as well... the global exposure might help you there in landing the call at least.

I would suggest you network and try for a position in Canada. The unpolluted air tips the scale in favor of Canada.