AMA - London IBD to megafund PE

Trashbat's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 82

Hi all,

Happy to answer London-specific questions on recruiting. Pretty keen on anonymity so probably won't give much detail about my background, but could answer questions on IBD, recruiters, PE funds and processes in London if that helps.

Thanks!

Comments (77)

  • Associate 2 in CorpFin
Nov 11, 2014

Deleted

Nov 11, 2014

moneytrail - loads of big 4 people seem to come in at senior analyst / junior associate level in IBD as the graduate analyst intakes clear out. If you want to do banking long term it's probably a good way to go as you miss out on a couple years of analyst hell. I don't know enough about big 4 groups, but there seems to be a preference for people with transactional experience. Whether or not they join as analyst or associate seems to be based on the bank's hiring preferences as much as their experience.

Advice would be to meet up with some people who have made the jump and get familiar with the generic banking interview guides that are out there. There are a lot of standard valuation / merger model questions which have some relatively standard answers.

London recruiting seems to be a lot less structured and there is more emphasis on 2-4 years experience than 1-2 years in the US. Also more emphasis on languages (a lot of roles have strict language requirements).

  • Associate 2 in CorpFin
Nov 11, 2014

Deleted

Nov 11, 2014

1. On average how many languages do you and your colleagues know?
2. How difficult is it for Americans to work in London? Are the main barriers to entry sponsorship and language skills?
3. Is your firm currently pursuing a distressed strategy in countries like Spain, Italy, Ireland?

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

Nov 11, 2014

moneytrail - just saw your other questions - there is definitely some love for junior associates in PE. I've heard of some mid-market firms preferring associates. While the closer to VP you get the fewer buyside opportunities there are, I have seen a few 2nd year associates move to decent places.

Whether it's worth moving probably depends on how long you've already been at the big 4, whether you want ACA qualification and whether you definitely want to go into PE. If you want to do banking long term I'd say it's worth transferring within your firm, if you want to do PE I'd be tempted to say joining a bank as a graduate might make sense.

Nov 11, 2014

moneytrail - being an associate does seem to suck only marginally less than being an analyst. You probably do slightly less mundane tasks, but you have more responsibility / accountability which seems to make it more stressful than being an analyst where you can just grind away. I suppose you do get paid more as an associate so that helps. There are some magic associates who delegate everything and check nothing - their lives can be pretty great for a while. I'd say associates who have just made the jump from big 4 seem to have a year or so of pain as they have to play catch-up on a lot of stuff.

  • Associate 2 in CorpFin
Nov 11, 2014

Deleted

Nov 11, 2014

GoodL1fe -

1. In London you generally get British people who only speak English and then Europeans who speak 2-4 languages.
2. I think the main barrier is probably sponsorship, though quite a few Americans end up in London so not sure how much of a barrier it really is. More of the Americans I know have moved within their firm to London than moving over for a new job, but I have seen both. The other thing is the more American firms tend to be more open to hiring Americans.
3. Forgive me for not answering this, but I would say that hiring preferences for languages definitely seem to shift over time. First Spanish speakers were in demand, then Italian speakers. Now interestingly French speakers seem to be popular, not sure what that says about France!

    • 1
Nov 11, 2014

moneytrail - I probably don't know enough about moving from big 4 to banking, but suspect if you are going to get your ACA then it makes more sense to try for an associate move as opposed to dropping back in banking. In theory with an ACA you can already be considered for some PE roles so it would seem like a bit of a waste of time going. In as a graduate. No idea how competitive it is moving to banking at associate level though.

    • 1
Nov 11, 2014

Thanks for doing this! Have been waiting for one of these for a while.

I just started out in M&A at a BB in London (JPM/GS/MS) and was wondering what I can do right from the start to maximize my chances of landing a gig at one of the megafunds?

Also, when would you say do most analysts make the jump? After 1/2/3 years?

How is the entire process structured? I assume it is a lot less structure compared to the US. Did headhunters reach out to you or are you expected to be more proactive? When do they typically reach out? During your first analyst year?

How do the hours etc. compare to your banking gig? From friends in the US I hear it's banking 2.0, but those I know in London seem quite happy and their hours improved tremendously.

How many pre-mba associates do the London megafund offices typically hire? I imagine the competition to be pretty insane.

Thanks again for doing this - it's incredibly helpful for those of us trying to break in in London.

Nov 11, 2014

thanks for doing this, just added it to the frontpage so you'll see some more q's start to come in

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Best Response
Nov 11, 2014

Luckybucks - first year I'd just focus on being a good analyst and getting some decent transaction experience as well as a decent ranking. I think it helps practising building models from scratch and investing a small amount of money in a stock or two. After 6 months the learning curve will probably start to flatten at which point I'd start thinking about what you actually want to do and why. There are some very interesting distressed debt / hedge fund opportunities in London which could actually suit you better depending on your interests. Once you have figured out what you want to do I'd start prepping - for PE that probably entails the usual suspects in terms of prep guides and practise case studies, as well as paper LBOs. Coincidentally the WSO PE prep guide is actually very good along with the Vault guides and the rest. Once you have done a good amount of prep it's time to start networking and meeting headhunters. I would emphasise that it helps meeting headhunters when you are very prepared as they often will bring you opportunities within a week or two of you meeting them if a lot of processes are going on (generally from Oct - Dec and Jan - Mar, though it's a lot more random than the US). Finally, make sure you get a good amount of practice interviews in - it is very unlikely you will get through the first bunch of processes you go for, so make sure you get rejected from places you don't care about too much.

Most analysts tend to leave within two years, though a lot are still around in year three. I would almost recommend leaving in third year, but the reality is processes come up at quite random points so it is difficult to plan. One thing to consider is whether it is worth going to interview at a place you like in your second year instead of your third year when you will likely be more experienced and prepared - no definitive answer on this obviously but just something to think about as there is a perception that you only get one chance with each firm (not sure how true this is though).

Will answer your other questions in a bit!

    • 4
Nov 11, 2014

Luckybucks - Process is a lot less structured than US. Some headhunters reach out to you, sometimes you need to reach out to them. For PE the main ones seem to be Kea, Blackwood, Walker Hamill, PER, Arkesden, Nordbridge - there are probably others, and a lot of the time a headhunter you have never heard of will contact you with a great role so it is pretty random. From the sounds of it you are expected to be a little more proactive than in the US where the main headhunters contact an entire analyst class from what I understand. Again, regarding when headhunters typically reach out, that seems to be pretty random - one observation would be that buyside firms seem to be starting to target more junior analysts, so you may get contacted earlier on than you might in previous years.

I probably won't comment on my situation, but the general rule seems to be that European firms have slightly better hours than the US ones - I have no idea if this is actually true, but places like Apollo, Blackstone, KKR, Silver Lake, Hellman seem to have reputations for pretty brutal hours, while some European ones like Cinven and CVC seem to have better hours. Again, I don't know if this is true, but this is the chat I have heard a lot from other people and recruiters.

This year places seem to be taking on 2-4 associates - my understanding is hiring was a little lighter over the past couple years, and firms are ramping it up a little. Competition in theory is high, but apparently there are surprisingly few candidates that are good both on paper and in person. One thing I would say though is I have heard of a few places focusing more on management consultants recently. Also, having a language can cut down the competition depending on the role.

Nov 11, 2014

Hi,

Thanks for doing this lot of useful info :)

What are the hours like Megafund in europe vs MM fund ?
Could you share your compensation package roughly ? is there a lot of delta between MM and Megafund ?
Is it mainly a structured 2 associate program and then out ? What proportion of PE associate are still in the fund 5 years after ?
Do you know anything about the Infrastructure space ?

Nov 11, 2014

chti59 - my understanding is that megafund is more like a 9pm average compared with a 7pm for MM fund - depends on the place though as I've heard some horror stories about some places, with US firms tending to have worse hours. I don't really know much about MM though beyond the hours are supposed to be much better.

I didn't focus on MM so not sure what compensation is like but I was told there was more room for negotiation with MM for what that is worth. Megafund PE seems to range from 75k - 90k base in pounds with 100% bonus.

US funds tend to have 2-3 year programs while European funds tend to have open-ended programs - not an absolute rule but seems to be the trend. Pretty sure Cinven, CVC, Permira have more open-ended programs while Silver Lake, Apax, Hellman have more fixed programs. There's much less focus on MBAs in Europe so if people stay in finance following their associate stint they seem to either go to hedge funds or other private equity firms.

I know literally nothing about the infrastructure space!

Nov 11, 2014
Trashbat:

There's much less focus on MBAs in Europe so if people stay in finance following their associate stint they seem to either go to hedge funds or other private equity firms.

On that note, do you see yourself in PE long term or transitioning to a HF? If the latter, where do you see the value add of a pre-hedge fun PE experience vs. joining a hf directly?

Also how does the typical London post-IB top HF comp tend to differ relative to the PE space, and how (from what you might have seen from colleagues/ friends) does the recruitment process differ?

& finally; picking up on your point about Americans --> London, how frequently did the opposite happen during your stint? Do you think such international experience would be a big + if you came back to recruit for PE in London, or a total non-factor.

Thanks for the thread and good point about languages. +SB.

Nov 11, 2014

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Nov 11, 2014

-Can you tell me a little bit about how cultures differ between (top)banks? I've heard that GS is a little bit more serious and focused, while JPM has more of a 'bro-culture'?

-Also,what kind of % of analysts are doing PE/HF recruiting? How much do find some sort of job that they want?

Regards

Nov 11, 2014

KOTM - I haven't actually made up my mind between PE vs HF. Not entirely sure what the actual value-add of PE experience is for hedge funds - there probably isn't much. I am slightly of the view that if you want to spend the next few decades working at a hedge fund then working in PE for a couple years probably isn't the worst thing in the world. i think joining a larger PE fund would probably give you more options than a hedge fund, but if you are absolutely sure you want to work at a hedge fund then your time is probably better spent just joining one directly.

HF comp is more variable. Distressed / special situations type funds seem to pay within the 75k - 90k base range. Long short equity seems to be a bit less, but I know fewer people who have gone into that.

Recruitment process seems to have more take-home case studies. Also more emphasis on investment ideas. Then again, if PE recruitment is a little unstructured in London, then HF seems to be almost completely random so very hard to generalise. One recruiter told me that a lot of HF jobs go through networking as opposed to formal processes, though I imagine the bigger funds like Citadel or King Street have more rigid processes.

The people I know who moved internally to New York generally stayed in banking here or moved to a hedge fund over there - I don't get the impression it's something you do to help buyside recruiting in London. There are a couple who got buyside jobs in the US and moved back to London with their new firm, but if you ultimately want to work in London then moving to the US seems like a pretty roundabout way of going about it! During my stint a few people made the move to the US, if you really want to do it and your firm likes you then it seems like you can make it happen eventually.

    • 1
Nov 11, 2014

Radiohedge - I've heard similar things about those banks but it probably depends more on what group / team you're working in. They are so huge I don't know if they really have something that could be called a culture, all the BBs are pretty much the same from what I hear.

No idea about your second question - I'd say that from reading through WSO you get the impression that everyone is all about buyside recruiting, but my experience has been a lot of analysts / associates have no idea what they want to do, and are definitely not focused on PE or HFs. I was surprised by how many people don't even stay in finance at all.

Nov 11, 2014

Thanks for doing this Trashbat and congrats on your PE gig.

I am an incoming analyst at a US top boutique (think Centerview, Evercore, Greenhill, Moelis, Perella) in London and was wondering if you could tell me something about the representation of these shops at megafunds and decent PE firms in general. I know that analysts from these bank receive a lot of love from PE firms and HFs in the US but I believe that lots of funds in London prefer BB experience to boutique experience.

Could you comment on my assumption? How hard is it to make the jump from one of the aforementioned firms into PE, distressed debt, or L/S hedge funds? When using Linkedin, I found a few ex-boutique guys at top funds, but I am not sure if they are just the exception or if the path top boutique -> PE / HF is a viable one.

Cheers!

Nov 11, 2014

BuyFix&Sell - I think the representation at decent PE places given the much smaller analyst class sizes is actually pretty good. While you may be more more likely to do actual M&A or restructuring at these places, the deal flow probably isn't as consistent as the BB. I'd say if you have some decent deals to talk about then you'll get interviews. I think it also helps if you are interviewing with an American firm as they will be more familiar with the boutiques. Blackstone has some pretty heroic exits, but the other places you might have to forge your own path a bit more. That being said if you have some transactions to talk about I can't see these places closing any doors.

    • 1
Nov 11, 2014

How picky are distressed funds about having work experience in restructuring before coming on as an associate?

As someone who would like to do an MBA in the UK (LBS/Oxford/Cambridge) is an associate role at a restructuring bank (Rothschild/Lazard/Houlihan) required or do you see post-MBAs going straight into distressed buyside roles without restructuring experience?

Also, what is the perception in the UK of the aforementioned MBA programs? Is LBS in a league of its own, or are there comparables in the UK/how are Oxford and Cambridge MBAs perceived in London? If my goal is to work in London post-MBA, should I focus on getting into a UK school, or are there other European MBA programs that place heavily in London?

Thanks.

Nov 11, 2014

Thanks for doing this!
How do funds (PE, distressed debt mainly) view Euros doing top US MBAs? What would you say is the best way to approach them? (besides HHs)
Thanks again!

Nov 11, 2014

Hi Trashbat, thanks for taking the time and helping us out.

I'm an incoming analyst at a BB in London, my questions:

1. Are any industry groups more sought after than others in London PE recruiting?

2. Is PE recruiting in London as focused on your college track record (uni prestige, gpa, ec's etc.) as in NY?

3. Would you consider doing an MBA after your PE experience? (5. Is it usual for London bankers to take an MBA?)

4. Besides the extra money (and probably marginally better hours), what attracted you to PE vs other prospects?

Cheers

Nov 11, 2014

Hi Trashbat, thanks for taking the time and helping us out.

I'm an incoming analyst at a BB in London, my questions:

1. Are any industry groups more sought after than others in London PE recruiting?

2. Is PE recruiting in London as focused on your college track record (uni prestige, gpa, ec's etc.) as in NY?

3. Would you consider doing an MBA after your PE experience? (5. Is it usual for London bankers to take an MBA?)

4. Besides the extra money (and probably marginally better hours), what attracted you to PE vs other prospects?

Cheers

Nov 11, 2014

Hi Trashbat, thanks for taking the time and helping us out.

I'm an incoming analyst at a BB in London, my questions:

1. Are any industry groups more sought after than others in London PE recruiting?

2. Is PE recruiting in London as focused on your college track record (uni prestige, gpa, ec's etc.) as in NY?

3. Would you consider doing an MBA after your PE experience? (5. Is it usual for London bankers to take an MBA?)

4. Besides the extra money (and probably marginally better hours), what attracted you to PE vs other prospects?

Cheers

Nov 11, 2014

Hi Trashbat, thanks for taking the time and helping us out.

I'm an incoming analyst at a BB in London, my questions:

1. Are any industry groups more sought after than others in London PE recruiting?

2. Is PE recruiting in London as focused on your college track record (uni prestige, gpa, ec's etc.) as in NY?

3. Would you consider doing an MBA after your PE experience? (5. Is it usual for London bankers to take an MBA?)

4. Besides the extra money (and probably marginally better hours), what attracted you to PE vs other prospects?

Cheers

Nov 11, 2014

Hi Trashbat, thanks for taking the time and helping us out.

I'm an incoming analyst at a BB in London, my questions:

1. Are any industry groups more sought after than others in London PE recruiting?

2. Is PE recruiting in London as focused on your college track record (uni prestige, gpa, ec's etc.) as in NY?

3. Would you consider doing an MBA after your PE experience? (5. Is it usual for London bankers to take an MBA?)

4. Besides the extra money (and probably marginally better hours), what attracted you to PE vs other prospects?

Cheers

Oct 3, 2015

Delete

Nov 11, 2014

Hi Trashbat,

Im currently a first year grad at a top institutional fund in Asia. As part of the program I will spend all of next year in London. I would like to move there permanently and work at a top bank before moving to HF. What level of recruiting would be appropriate? Are there non grad analyst intakes? Or would I still be eligible for a grad program?

Thanks for doing this!

Nov 12, 2014

Hi Trashbat, is there a point to stay longer in IB to join more senior positions in PE?

Nov 12, 2014

jmayhem - I don't know as much about distressed funds, but from what I have heard restructuring experience is definitely a bonus, but they hire from M&A, LevFin and distressed trading/research type roles just as much.

Depends what you did before the MBA I guess. If you did something vaguely relevant before the MBA I don't see why a lot of places wouldn't interview you, but it might be a bit more effort if you did something other than banking / trading / research - I really don't know the distressed space as well though, so probably not the best person to ask.

Much less focus on MBAs in Europe, but I would say Cambridge's MBA program seems slightly less well-known - not sure why this is, or if this is even a common view. There are some great European MBA programs like INSEAD as well, but I would say that I am probably not very well-placed to have an opinion on MBAs for what that is worth..

    • 1
Nov 12, 2014

scarolo - US firms seem to 'get' the whole MBA system more, and you do seem to see Americans with US MBAs around - not sure if they interview out in the US for a London position, or if they actually have to fly over to London and trek around. Again, I probably don't have any particular insight on MBAs - I don't know if you go through on-campus recruiting or if you actually have to reach out to London headhunters. Either way, the usual suspects in terms of US business schools aren't exactly rare in London, so they must be getting jobs over here some how!

Nov 12, 2014

bandeirante -

1. I would say that PE firms tend to like candidates with transaction experience and that they are a bit unsure of people in FIG and real estate groups. Beyond that I'm not sure if groups matter quite as much in London, especially since the banks seem to restructure their teams every couple years or so. The main thing seems to be doing actual M&A as opposed to coverage / pitching so that you have a few deals to talk about at interviews. I have heard LevFin teams are good for PE recruiting, but no idea if this is actually true in practice.

2. Having a first in your degree, or whatever the equivalent GPA is seems to be a nice thing that recruiters can say about you, but not sure how important it is. University does seem to be important. Oxbridge, LSE, and the usual suspects in terms of finance-focused European schools seem to help to get interviews, but I don't think many places would hire an underprepared idiot just because he attended some target school.

3. MBAs are basically massive drinking / networking experiences from what I can tell. Going to a top one can help affiliate yourself with a good brand and it might be nice to take a few years off to actually figure out what you want to do. Some places make you do an MBA, but that is pretty rare in London. Also MBAs are great if you want to switch careers. For me I wouldn't want to go back to school, and as for the drinking I am probably good on that front. I'd say not that many people do MBAs in London unless they are changing careers - you really don't need it to progress in banking in London.

4. I suppose assuming you are interested in investing then the question is really why PE versus hedge funds for a lot of people. The spiel for PE seems to be you typically do more due diligence, have longer time horizons, get more operational exposure. Also you don't have to wake up in a cold sweat because the market has moved against you because some bearded guy in his late 50s said something about interest rates in a slightly more stern tone than everyone thought he would. In reality alternative asset managers seem to be converging in a lot of markets, with PE funds setting up hedge funds and hedge funds moving into more illiquid, long-term investments, so it might be tough to say what the difference actually is anymore, or what the difference will actually be in 5-10 years time. Anyway, I think PE gives you more options right out of banking than hedge funds so there's that.

Nov 14, 2014

Nice - Thanks for your time & insights!

Nov 14, 2014

Nice - Thanks for your time & insights!

Nov 12, 2014

FrenchMonkey -

I suppose the question would be if you were working at an Oaktree or whatever and there was a path to associate, why would you want to move to a different firm? I don't see why PE firms wouldn't interview you - although you do occasionally hear of analyst programs where you don't actually do much 'real' work, so if that is the case or perception then you might be better off with a BB so you get the big training program etc. Probably depends on the specific firm you are at and how experienced you are already. If you are one of those French people who have done 3 long internships at banks already you might not need to spend 2 years in BB servitude just to get your finance / accounting / modelling up to scratch.

Nov 12, 2014

DTamashi -

You could probably go for the graduate program or try to lateral - I'd meet up with various people currently working at the banks and get their advice. I think generally banks pick up analysts from other banks for their laterals, but if you have the right technical skills (i.e. don't need to go through a training program) then you could possibly lateral. If your current job focuses on different things (sounds like it probably does), then you might want to try for the graduate program. Again, I'd just meet up with people at the various banks and ask them for advice though.

Nov 12, 2014

Mc5501 - my understanding is either you move over to PE as an associate or you would need to stay in banking to MD and make some kind of crazy move then. Most large PE firms will have one entry point so spending longer in banking won't necessarily be recognised. Smaller firms may be more open to negotiation. But short answer is no, if you are going to move to the buyside you might as well do it sooner rather than later.

Nov 12, 2014

hello
Let me explain my profile.
I'm 24 years old, I have a degree in bank, finance and financial markets.
I have a part of a website online,where I provide investment advice.
I did an intership in Middle office in London for a period of 3 months.
But i am also an indipendent traders and i invest the savings of my family .
My dream is to work in a large asset managment firms.
I have a great passion and technical knowledge (I like to read books about macroeconomic issues) but I can not get into a asset management firms
This is because I have a low grade.
I can not get an interview because due to my low grade and then I can not show my skills
Now I ask you, what can I do to have a chance to have an interview with a recruitment to show my true value, passion and potential that can be an additional value?
Thanks so much
goodbye

Nov 12, 2014

Alessioto - I will help answer this question which will probably be the same from anyone else. Go network, its probably your best bet. I assume you have not done much of this based on your post? Answer: network

Nov 13, 2014

Thanks trashbat. Welcome! I'm from London. I look forward to reading your answers to the questions.

Suitdreams or monetary nightmares

Nov 13, 2014

Awesome post Trashbat - really appreciate the London perspective here

A few questions on the application process:

1) How did you narrow down where to apply / decide between offers if you had multiple options?

2) Do you have a view on how culture and compensation vary across funds such as Charterhouse, Hellman, Bain, KKR, CVC, Advent, etc.? Are they all relatively similar or would you bucket some as being 'good culture with lower comp' vs 'high comp with brutal hours' ?

3) Is there a time of year when recruiting picks up and you can have multiple interviews going simultaneously? Or is it more piecemeal and a recruiter comes along with a single opportunity so you pursue that-- until you either get the offer or another interview appears a few months later?

Thanks!

Nov 13, 2014

speedycoffee -

1. I guess focusing on mega / large-cap PE narrows down the options for you. Plus different firms recruit at different times of year, so I don't think I ever felt like I needed to narrow down where to apply. If you had to choose you could weigh up recent performance, recent fundraising, culture, generic reputation - in reality multiple offers are more rare in London from what I hear because all the funds don't necessarily hire at the same time.

2. Besides the firm I ended up at, my views on the different firms are pretty much based on hearsay so take that for what that is worth. I will repeat the random tidbits I have heard over the last year or so about the different firms in London. Not sure how true or useful any of this is.

Charterhouse - heard not so great things about recent performance, no idea about culture besides it being very British
Hellman - lots of Germans, bit of a sweatshop, good track record but haven't done a whole lot in Europe recently, not sure why
Bain - lots of people seem to harp on about how crap the returns are at Bain, very detailed (painful?) investment process, no idea about the culture
KKR - lots of Germans, bit of a sweatshop (not sure if the two are related!), European returns haven't been that great, but good brand obviously
CVC - great returns, I've heard both that the culture is awful and great from different people
Advent - seem to be doing well
Apax - obviously had recent performance / fundraising issues, no idea to what extent slate is clean now
Permira - similar to Apax
Cinven - strong in Europe, focus on internal promotion, quite British
Carlyle - culture and performance completely depends on which fund you are working in
Blackstone - bit of a sweatshop, but lots of people jumping into hedge funds
Silver Lake - bit of a sweatshop, good pay but expectation that you leave after your associate stint, haven't bought much in Europe recently, not sure why
TPG - pretty rough time in Europe, pulled back a bunch, focusing more on special situatinons / real estate
Apollo - amazing performance, top of the market pay, pretty lethal hours
Warburg - no idea

I've probably missed a bunch out, but that's all that springs to mind right now. I won't give out the specific salary datapoints I know, but I think the 75-90k base range with 100% bonus is relatively standard

3. Recruiting is more piecemeal, but when everyone comes back from holiday in September hiring picks up as firms try to get people signed before Christmas and then hiring picks up after Christmas for a few months. I think it generally gets more quiet as you get into April, but there were definitely some big-name funds hiring outside these times last year.

    • 1
Nov 13, 2014

Thanks a lot for doing this Trashbat, much appreciated.

1) In terms of the recruiting cycle in London, how many stages did your processes have?

2) In terms of your peers too, how many come from non-BB background? I am at a MM which doesn't have great deal flow but I have been fortunate enough to be involved in a fair number of those which we had, including currently a c.PS3bn deal. Initially I was attracted to MM PE, but increasingly I am finding larger-deals and mega-fund deals more appealing, with some minor traction on that front. Is this unrealistic to believe that I could be successful in such a process because of my background? I'm currently weighing up whether to push for a lateral move to a BB and have brand upgrade (been here for 16 months now) or whether I should take what I can get now.

3) Bonuses - if you move before bonus day, do funds typically pay these out in any way or not?

Nov 13, 2014

1. Is going through a masters program in finance or the like a well trodden path for London IBD?
2. How is Bocconi's reputation amongst other top schools in London/UK?
3. Does speaking another language help with winning offers or are your non-UK Europeans speaking 2-4 languages a result of them needing to speak English in London?

Thank you

Nov 14, 2014

eyebeedee (I see what you did there!) -

1. Most have one first round focused on fit / basic technicals, then one round with a modelling test or case study and then a final round or two when you meet more senior people. Some places make you meet a lot of people though so processes can drag on for a while. Also, as said before, it's pretty random in London with some firms not even bothering to do modelling tests to accomodate management consultants so hard to generalise.

2. Those who aren't from BB usually come from usual suspects in terms of independents / big-name boutiques. I would say anything is possible, but it is pretty rare to find people from MM PE filling in the large cap places as they only take on 2-4 people a year and will generally look first at the BB / big independents and management consultancies. I can't actually think of one person I've seen who has made that move. Lateral move may not be a bad idea - I don't remember too many MM banking people coming up when I used to trawl through linkedin, but never say never as they say!

3. From what I have heard this may have happened a bit in the pre-2007 era, but doesn't happen a lot now. I have heard places letting you work at your bank for a few more months to get your bonus there, but given the salary bump my understanding is that most places expect you to drop the bonus and move.

    • 1
Nov 14, 2014

GT3RS -

1. Yes, especially for Europeans.
2. Boccini's reputation is great in London. Most of the Italians I've met doing banking in London seem to have passed through there.
3. Everyone speaks English in London, but you do see some Europeans having a bunch of other languages. I wouldn't say actually speaking multiple languages helps that much with winning offers, but it allows you to be put forward for processes with specific language requirements. Different languages definitely seem to vary in popularity over time. You can't go wrong with German, but Spanish, Italian and French have become very popular over the last year or so. Also there are a bunch of very good Nordic PE firms who often only take, or at least strongly prefer, people with Nordic languages / backgrounds.

Nov 14, 2014
Trashbat:

GT3RS -

1. Yes, especially for Europeans.

2. Boccini's reputation is great in London. Most of the Italians I've met doing banking in London seem to have passed through there.

3. Everyone speaks English in London, but you do see some Europeans having a bunch of other languages. I wouldn't say actually speaking multiple languages helps that much with winning offers, but it allows you to be put forward for processes with specific language requirements. Different languages definitely seem to vary in popularity over time. You can't go wrong with German, but Spanish, Italian and French have become very popular over the last year or so. Also there are a bunch of very good Nordic PE firms who often only take, or at least strongly prefer, people with Nordic languages / backgrounds.

On 3. i'd probably say that the language requirement is a bit stronger, i've met many people either across the table of an interview or in casual conversation which say languages are paramount and a prerequisite.

Nov 14, 2014
Trashbat:

GT3RS -

1. Yes, especially for Europeans.

2. Boccini's reputation is great in London. Most of the Italians I've met doing banking in London seem to have passed through there.

3. Everyone speaks English in London, but you do see some Europeans having a bunch of other languages. I wouldn't say actually speaking multiple languages helps that much with winning offers, but it allows you to be put forward for processes with specific language requirements. Different languages definitely seem to vary in popularity over time. You can't go wrong with German, but Spanish, Italian and French have become very popular over the last year or so. Also there are a bunch of very good Nordic PE firms who often only take, or at least strongly prefer, people with Nordic languages / backgrounds.

Regarding point #1, what about people from Latam?
Also, is a masters an easier path than trying to make a move from overseas (ie do you have a chance if you are an analyst at a top regional bank and try to market that to banks in the UK?)

Are PE shops or small AMs and HFs willing to sponsor visas?

Thanks a lot!

Nov 15, 2014

ricardo.abrosa -

To be honest haven't met that many people from Latam doing banking in London. People from outside Europe / US I have met tend to have gone to university in Europe though. No idea about moving from overseas - I suspect moving to one of the US / European banks in Brazil and trying to move internally to London or just doing the masters in Europe would work best - really have no idea though!

No idea about visas, but I suspect the larger the firm, the more willing they would be to sponsor.

Nov 15, 2014

Any advice for incoming analysts in terms of doing well on the job and keeping up the grind? Did you transition at one point from wanting to do well to just wanting to get through and out on the other side and if so, when? You said you would almost recommend leaving in the third year - why is this? Better transaction experience? Also, any advice on building relationships with seniors - does it occur naturally or do you have to be proactive about it? I know it was a couple of questions, thanks a lot for doing this!

Nov 15, 2014

TheSanchize -

A lot of people seem to lose some motivation after first year bonus, hard to find too many happy-go-lucky second year analysts based on my experience. I personally lost a lot of motivation when I got enough deal experience to have a good shot at recruiting - I found it harder to care about much after that. Apparently in New York as soon as people have their buyside jobs lined up, they not surprisingly stop caring. I think by third year you will have a decent amount of experience and be very well-prepared compared to second year - just my opinion though, you could equally say third year is a waste of time. I would also say that by the time you are in third year you are competing against second year analysts with less experience and the dreggs of your year as not too many people stick around until third year, which may make it easier to do well in recruiting. Depends on the seniors, some see analysts as pure resources, some like to dabble in quasi-paternal mentoring - doesn't hurt to be proactive I guess.

No particular advice for keeping up with the grind - I suppose keeping in mind that the horrors of analyst life won't last forever helps. Also don't spend all your bonus on stupid stuff. Also, don't assume you will learn everything (or anything!) from your job alone, you definitely have to take responsibility for learning the important stuff and spend time outside work reading up on them.

Nov 15, 2014

Thank you for taking the time.

A question that is potentially a little outside your scope but was wondering how would you compare London IBD/PE/HF salary/opportunities/competition to the ones in Switzerland? (especially interested in PE/HF)
Is it true that Switzerland offers the same possibilities but the competition is somewhat smaller?

Nov 15, 2014

Trashbat, thanks for doing this.

I've seen that quite a few firms (be it plain vanilla AM, or credit funds) require an ACA. How strict is that requirement? Would it be worth my time to study for it? Currently stuck in Fund Accounting at a BB. Also, if you know anything, how's the Secondaries space looking? Do they target only IBD lads?

Colourful TV, colourless Life.

Nov 15, 2014

How does Citi/DB/UBS/Rothschild compare with regards to PE placement and dealflow/culture (obviously a lot depends on the person and the team but would love to know how these firms are generally perceived).

Would love to see a ranking of BBs and boutiques in London in terms of exit opps and prestige based on what you have come across in the market - obviously very subjective but useful to have to focus efforts on recruiting.

Thanks for your time!

Nov 15, 2014

Thanks for doing this!

Is it common to lateral to London IBD as an analyst or do most start there? I am a first year analyst in continental Europe doing an MF while working. Should I apply for SA/full-time in London now or is it still possible in a later stage when I have a few years as an analyst under my belt? Im doing my MF in a "semi-target for London" (think Bocconi etc).

Nov 16, 2014

doyouevenlift - absolutely no idea - I would imagine the opportunities for banking and PE would be greater in London, but there are a bunch of hedge funds which seem to operate well out of Switzerland, so no idea I'm afraid!

Nov 16, 2014

Bonus - I actually haven't come across the ACA requirement that much. I would have thought the CFA would come up more. I would imagine trying to move internally within BB would be best thing to do, but I imagine that is not exactly easy. No idea about Secondaries space either. Sorry!

Nov 16, 2014

Cheers, thanks. I've seen the ACA coming up in efinancialcareers in quite a few job postings, that's why I was wondering. Yeah, moving internally would be ideal but not easy to network, as I'm not based in London.

Colourful TV, colourless Life.

Nov 16, 2014

London-Monkey - my perception of Citi/DB/UBS is that they are all fairly similar. I have heard more horrendous things about the culture at Citi, but that's about it. Even though Rothschild is very strong in London I've heard PE placement isn't as great - not sure why this is. Lots of dealflow at Rothschild, but more of a focus on mid-market. Only thing I really know about UBS is quite a few of their senior people have moved to Centerview recently.

As stupid as rankings are, I will do one below for the sole purpose of stirring up sh*t and annoying people. Generally I'd say BBs are all pretty similar in London and boutiques have slightly less recognition than in the US. From what I've heard GS and MS give you a slight edge in terms of getting interviews - but if you have decent transaction experience and come from one of the main places it shouldn't be a problem. Also, bizarrely Blackstone has very good exit ops despite having next to no deal flow, although I've heard this is somewhat similar in the US.

BB:

Tier 1a: GS, MS, Piper Jaffray
Tier 1b: JPM
Tier 2a: DB, BAML, Citi
Tier 2b: Barclays, UBS, CS
Tier 3: Nomura, Macquarie, BNP Paribas

Boutiques / independents:

Tier 1a: Blackstone
Tier 1b: Lazard
Tier 2a: Greenhill, Centerview
Tier 2a: Evercore, Moelis, Perella
Tier 3: Rothschild
Tier 4: Jefferies

One more point is that obviously Houlihan is good for distressed debt.

Nov 20, 2014

Thanks for this Trashbat. What was the culture like at Piper Jaffray =)

Nov 16, 2014

viva_la_liberte - Most start in London, but you definitely get people moving over internally from Europe. I have no idea how you have time to do a MF while working, but I guess you could apply for full-time in London and see what happens.

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Nov 16, 2014

trashbat- many thanks for your time!. I was wondering if you had any information about the ER space in London and how difficult it is to get into? I know this might be out of your scope!

Nov 16, 2014

trashbat-many thanks for your time! I was wondering if you had information about the ER scope in London and how difficult it is to get into?

Nov 16, 2014

trashbat-many thanks for your time! I was wondering if you had information about the ER scope in London and how difficult it is to get into?

Nov 17, 2014

hedgehog23 - no idea really, from what I understand it's pretty similar to US

Jan 2, 2015

.

Nov 17, 2014

Thanks for a great thread Trashbat.

I'm currently considering PE internships at two small firms but I am not sure which one would provide the best experience. The main difference is that at one of the firms it's literally just two managing directors so I would be given a lot of responsibility but the catch is that often no one would have time to help me and teach me stuff. At the other firm it's two managing directors and an associate. The associate would also be very involved in the modeling so I would be given less responsibility, but perhaps I could learn a lot from him.

So basically the question is whether responsibility or guidance provides the better experience. Any thoughts?

Nov 18, 2014

WSO062014 -

I think LevFin is usually pretty decent, but groups where you get a lot of actual M&A execution experience are the ones to go for. From what I heard Goldman rearranged their groups into northern and southern europe and then rearranged them again into different sector teams. No idea which ones are good or not. I've heard good things about MS UK M&A, but best to ask people working at these banks right now. JPM LevFin seemed like a pretty popular place to go among analysts for buyside. Main thing is not to get into a coverage team where all the modelling is farmed out to an execution team once a deal is brought in. I think that there is less emphasis on the specific groups in London compared to New York, like I have never heard anyone salivate over Goldman TMT or whatever over here.

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Nov 18, 2014

Pretty much every Scandanavian person I've met in banking in London has come from SSE. I think it's seen as the place Scandanavian people go when they want to do finance. No idea if it's actually good or not, but definitely won't hold you back.

Nov 18, 2014

Jyckee -

Sounds like either one could be good, but if you have no idea what you are doing then maybe go with the one with the associate. I'd go with the one where you like the people more if they both have the same reputation. Pretty personal choice though!

Nov 20, 2014
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