Ask me anything: London BB IBD to top 3 PE

Hi all

I have just joined a PE firm in London from 3 years in IBD at a bulge bracket. I had a very non-traditional background but managed to secure a job at the BB. I also did a hell of a lot of recruiting for the BB over my 3 years so am well placed to answer any and all questions you may have.

Shoot!

Comments (132)

Nov 28, 2013

How similar is the IB to PE path in London vs. the US?

One thing you wish someone had told you before you went into banking?

Nov 29, 2013
Rumplesmoothspin:

How similar is the IB to PE path in London vs. the US?

One thing you wish someone had told you before you went into banking?

The IB to PE path in London is very different in London vs. the US. Everything in the US is much more structured and generally analysts do a 2 year stint and then join a fund. As such, the IB teams over there are fully aware they only have each analyst for 2 years, so they work them very hard. Also it isn't a surprise when people leave after 2 years, and often the IB MDs will offer support (through connections, references, etc) to their analysts who are interviewing. As a result of the above, pretty much all PE shops are hiring people with 2 years banking experience. I think it becomes much harder to move if you have more than 2 years of experience in banking.

In Europe you are hired into IB indefinitely, and the assumption is you will work there for at least a few years, if not make a career of it. As a result, PE recruiting is much more irregular and funds will generally take people with 1-5 years of experience, although it probably becomes harder after 3 years of banking (when you become an associate) as the perception is you have become a "banker" and it will be hard for you to break out of that mindset.

I wish someone would've told me not to have been in such a hurry to exit and put a little more thought into what it is I actually want to do when I grow up.

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Nov 28, 2013

Assume when you guys gave out interviews you have already been impressed with his achievement and have a rough sense about the candidate, then what on earth in the interview will give you the right "click" to say "yea i wan this guy"?

Best Response
Nov 29, 2013
Xaipe:

Assume when you guys gave out interviews you have already been impressed with his achievement and have a rough sense about the candidate, then what on earth in the interview will give you the right "click" to say "yea i wan this guy"?

It's a tricky one. I have done quite a bit of interview coaching as well (probably 30-50 mock interviews), so have some experience with this.

Once you have the interview everyone is sort of on a level playing field (ie the guy from Cambridge with a first in math is on the same footing as the guy who just scraped a 2.1 from Leeds). This isn't 100% true, but for the most part it is.

Then you just need to impress. You need to approach it with the attitude that you are going to make it so they can't not hire you - hiring you is the only option. Here's what I did:

- Always know the answers to the 3 questions that are always asked: why banking, why you, why this bank. The last one is BS as BBs are all essentially the same, but you can get an idea of what they want to hear if you do the following...

- Talk to as many people as possible from that firm before the interview. I spoke to 8 people from my firm before my interview. And these were not all people I knew well at all. Most people were very tenuous links, randomers on linkedin, people from my alumni database, friends of friends, etc. I set up skype calls, coffees, etc. They were also from all parts of the bank, even retail banking. Then during my interview when they asked me "Why us?" I would say something like, "Well I truly believe the culture here is incredibly entrepreneurial / collegiate. Now I know all banks say that, but I have spoken to 8 employees from here and they all echo that sentiment, etc, etc." Very impressive.

- Learn about 2-3 deals they have done in different sectors. Learn the parties involved, the rationale for both sides, the deal size, the multiples, the financials and 3 interesting facts and questions. If you can figure out who is interviewing you then you can target their team. If not then prepare 3 from different sectors and the odds are good one of the interviewers will be from a team that has worked on one of these deals and will be at least aware of the situation. This worked very very well for me and one of my deals was being run by the Associate who interviewed me.

- Obviously know all the technical stuff. It's not about knowing everything, but you have to know the basics that are covered in all of the interview guides. The book I recommend is the Scoopbooks Practitioners Guide...it's large and incredibly readable. If you read this you will have no problems with any interview questions and will know more than most analysts... I actually have one for sale if anyone is interested. I also have my BB analyst training manual. Let me know.

- I went the extra mile and did the whole Wall Street Prep modelling program. This was also extremely helpful for PE prep. I'm also selling this lol.

- Also, don't be a prick. Don't act like you know anything because you don't. Even I don't. You're always learning, and that's exciting. I don't care what's on your CV, if you start acting like you know everything and get into a debate about financial concepts with your interviewer you won't get the job, even if you're right. Actually, especially if you're right.

It's certainly a much much easier process than getting into PE!

    • 8
Nov 29, 2013
compinvbanker:
Oreos:

Do any distressed work? And if so, in your fund, how is it separated (e.g., "Blue Team, you're doing normal PE. Red Team, you're doing loan-to-own / turnaround")?

p.s. London represent!

Good questions, but I'd rather not discuss my current work if that's alright. My reasons:

a. Anonymity

b. Potential confidentiality issues

c. I don't really know enough yet as I haven't worked here long - don't want to expose myself as an idiot and give any incorrect info. I am very well versed with all things IB (especially recruiting) and the PE / HF recruiting process though! Maybe in a year or so I will be more comfortable talking about the current position.

No worries. Enjoy the new job.

compinvbanker:

. They were also from all parts of the bank, even retail banking.>

mmmmm BB with retail arm in London....let me think

Nov 29, 2013

Thanks a lot for the response! Also just PMed you about a small question and about the BB training manual.

Jan 1, 2017

Three years later but I can't keep myself from correcting one of your statements. I think PE firms loves opinionated people, SPECIALLY when they are right about things!!! You can actually assume to be tossed out very fast if you don't learn to stand your ground as well as influence people.

Source: First-hand experience as I have been at a MM PE firm alongside my studies for six months now.

Nov 28, 2013

What's top 3 PE firm? Aren't there ~6-7 PE firms that are all considered equal or "top-tier" (tpg, KKR, BX, bain, carlyle, apollo, maybe warburg)

Nov 29, 2013
wso_user:

What's top 3 PE firm? Aren't there ~6-7 PE firms that are all considered equal or "top-tier" (tpg, KKR, BX, bain, carlyle, apollo, maybe warburg)

Yes, one of these. I don't want to get into semantics / arbitrary rankings. I used "Top 3" in my title to a. draw attention to the thread and b. demonstrate that my employer is one of those firms.

Nov 29, 2013

Echo wso_user's question - who are these top 3 PE firms exactly?'

Second question, how many deals did you work on in your 3 years? And by "work on" I mean how many deals did you work on from start to finish / how many deal toys do you have?

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.

Nov 29, 2013
Zweihander:

Echo wso_user's question - who are these top 3 PE firms exactly?'

Second question, how many deals did you work on in your 3 years? And by "work on" I mean how many deals did you work on from start to finish / how many deal toys do you have?

2 deals start to finish, both M&A. A lot of deals that didn't complete...there are people in my class who haven't closed any. And even some of them got jobs! It's all about how well you interview and the skills you've learned, models you've worked on, etc.

Nov 29, 2013

Hi guys - I will get to all of your questions later today...keep them coming!

Nov 29, 2013

what is non-traditional about your background?

Thank you for doing this!

Whether you think you can or you think you can't, your're right. - Henry Ford

Nov 29, 2013
dr.schulz:

what is non-traditional about your background?

Thank you for doing this!

Went to a non-target school in a different country.

Had no internships at all before I was hired at the BB, and didn't come straight from school. I spent some time after school travelling and working.

Nov 29, 2013

Do any distressed work? And if so, in your fund, how is it separated (e.g., "Blue Team, you're doing normal PE. Red Team, you're doing loan-to-own / turnaround")?

p.s. London represent!

Nov 29, 2013
Oreos:

Do any distressed work? And if so, in your fund, how is it separated (e.g., "Blue Team, you're doing normal PE. Red Team, you're doing loan-to-own / turnaround")?

p.s. London represent!

Good questions, but I'd rather not discuss my current work if that's alright. My reasons:

a. Anonymity
b. Potential confidentiality issues
c. I don't really know enough yet as I haven't worked here long - don't want to expose myself as an idiot and give any incorrect info. I am very well versed with all things IB (especially recruiting) and the PE / HF recruiting process though! Maybe in a year or so I will be more comfortable talking about the current position.

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Nov 29, 2013

How did you get into IB after such a break? I mean, banks have requirements to be in the penultimate year of studies for summer roles or to be on the last year for grad roles. And non-target without experience..?!
And from your point of view, what would you suggest for last year students: try "play" with these requirements and apply for summer role (more positions, probably easier to get into) and try to get the job right after the internship or simply try to apply for grad roles? I am from central Europe so I have to try different paths..

Thanks fr your response.

Nov 29, 2013
laslo:

How did you get into IB after such a break? I mean, banks have requirements to be in the penultimate year of studies for summer roles or to be on the last year for grad roles. And non-target without experience..?!

And from your point of view, what would you suggest for last year students: try "play" with these requirements and apply for summer role (more positions, probably easier to get into) and try to get the job right after the internship or simply try to apply for grad roles? I am from central Europe so I have to try different paths..

Thanks fr your response.

I'm not too sure how I got it to be honest! It helps that when I joined banks were hiring readily post-recession, not anticipating the double dip. I also applied very broadly (40+ places), very early and was incredibly prepared. I think my "real world" experience may have helped, and I also played sports at a high level and had a good well rounded profile. But mainly it's down to preparation. I know it's incredibly hard, if not impossible, to get a full time position without an internship these days. So if you don't have any internships under your belt I would definitely apply for internships even though you're graduating. I don't think this is viewed as playing the system - plenty of people do this. An alternative would be to do a masters.

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Nov 29, 2013

Did you know you wanted to leave the Bank after a few years?
How did you choose PE vs hedge fund if you considered both?
Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Nov 29, 2013
TheBirdStreets:

Did you know you wanted to leave the Bank after a few years?

How did you choose PE vs hedge fund if you considered both?

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Like most, I entered banking knowing I wanted to exit after a couple of years. Looking back, this wasn't the healthiest attitude.

I considered everything. The processes are very competitive and you need to interview at a load of places to be successful, in my experience. There is definitely value in deciding what you want to do early, but I didn't really have this sort of focus.

    • 1
Nov 29, 2013

Hi Compinvbanker,

- Did you get a call from headhunters for your current position? Or did you get in touch with them yourself?

- What does PE interviews consist in in London?

- What's the standard package for an associate in top 3 PE ?
Thanks a lot !

Nov 29, 2013
magnum:

Hi Compinvbanker,

- Did you get a call from headhunters for your current position? Or did you get in touch with them yourself?

- What does PE interviews consist in in London?

- What's the standard package for an associate in top 3 PE ?

Thanks a lot !

Re: headhunters, it's a 2 way street. If you're a top ranked analyst at a top BB then you will be contacted. But I also contacted the top headhunters from my 1st year and developed relationships so that when I was ready to move everyone knew who I was and knew that I was ready.

PE interviews are very variable depending on the place, but generally consist of:

- 1st round with 2 - 4 interviews
- 3-5 hour LBO case study
- "Final" round with 2 - 4 interviews
- "Final" final round with everyone else from the team you haven't met

This can all take between 2 weeks and 6 months, and is highly dependent on the team and fund.

Pay at my shop for a 1st yr associate is base of c. 80 - 90GBP and bonus of 1 - 1.5x base, performance dependent. Much better than banking...

    • 2
Dec 2, 2013
compinvbanker:
magnum:

Hi Compinvbanker,

- Did you get a call from headhunters for your current position? Or did you get in touch with them yourself?

- What does PE interviews consist in in London?

- What's the standard package for an associate in top 3 PE ?

Thanks a lot !

Re: headhunters, it's a 2 way street. If you're a top ranked analyst at a top BB then you will be contacted. But I also contacted the top headhunters from my 1st year and developed relationships so that when I was ready to move everyone knew who I was and knew that I was ready.

PE interviews are very variable depending on the place, but generally consist of:

- 1st round with 2 - 4 interviews

- 3-5 hour LBO case study

- "Final" round with 2 - 4 interviews

- "Final" final round with everyone else from the team you haven't met

This can all take between 2 weeks and 6 months, and is highly dependent on the team and fund.

Pay at my shop for a 1st yr associate is base of c. 80 - 90GBP and bonus of 1 - 1.5x base, performance dependent. Much better than banking...

Thanks a lot for the answer!

One last question, is the contract a fixed-term contract or is it a normal contract? I'm asking this because I know analysts at BX in London have a 3-year contract.

Nov 30, 2013

In terms of the tier of your BB bank, would you say it matters where you are out of the top 10 banks? I am worried the bank I am with may not be providing the best platform to get into the buyside.

Thanks a lot!

Nov 30, 2013
garthmaul:

In terms of the tier of your BB bank, would you say it matters where you are out of the top 10 banks? I am worried the bank I am with may not be providing the best platform to get into the buyside.

Thanks a lot!

Absolutely it matters. Coming from GS / MS will make it much easier to exit. It's still generally possible to go from any BB to any fund, but it's much easier coming from those 2 places. I can't comment on MM banks as I'm not too sure, but I imagine it's even harder still, if not impossible.

    • 1
Dec 1, 2013

Hey,

Two questions regarding London PE:

1. Have you heard of any KKR/BX like funds starting to hire consultants instead of hiring only bankers as they used to ?

2. How would you rank the lifestyle/culture of the different London PE teams ? In which "tier" would you rank KKR, BX, TPG, Bain Cap, CVC, Permira, but also Bridgepoint, Chartherhouse, Cinven etc. in terms of week-end work / long nights for associates

Thanks !

Dec 1, 2013
anonymousX:

Hey,

Two questions regarding London PE:

1. Have you heard of any KKR/BX like funds starting to hire consultants instead of hiring only bankers as they used to ?

2. How would you rank the lifestyle/culture of the different London PE teams ? In which "tier" would you rank KKR, BX, TPG, Bain Cap, CVC, Permira, but also Bridgepoint, Chartherhouse, Cinven etc. in terms of week-end work / long nights for associates

Thanks !

1. Sure, this happens. Check out the team pages for funds and you will see a few ex-consultants. Probably more common at other funds though, such as Bain Cap.

2. I don't know enough to do be able to rank these. Also, I think they are all very variable even within these funds. Generally, the hours will be similar across all, and usually better than banking. Although guys at Apollo and BX get killed. I mean all of these places are full of incredibly driven, smart people who want to be the best. The hours will never be great.

Dec 1, 2013

And what about HF and VC ?
What is the percentage of analysts that leaves IB for the buyside at top tier BB(GS,JPM,MS) and at second tier BB (deutsche, UBS, CS...) and at elite boutiques (perella, Greenhill, Moelis....) ?

Dec 1, 2013
chti59:

And what about HF and VC ?

What is the percentage of analysts that leaves IB for the buyside at top tier BB(GS,JPM,MS) and at second tier BB (deutsche, UBS, CS...) and at elite boutiques (perella, Greenhill, Moelis....) ?

Sorry but this is a ridiculous question...

Go through linkedin and the fund websites and compile all the data and let us know. This isn't the kind of thing that joining a fund gives you instant knowledge of...Also there is a huge degree of self selection. I suppose the question you're really asking is: "What are my chances of getting a top fund job from a 1st tier BB, 2nd tier BB, and MM"?

This is impossible to say.

Also, I wasn't aware that there is a 2nd tier of BBs? Things are so commoditised these days it doesn't make a huge difference. And I would put CS in your "top tier" in London vs. JPM. But it doesn't matter...

Dec 1, 2013

great post, thanks for doing this!

Dec 2, 2013

In terms of IBD summer internship experiences in London, is the work/deal exposure/hour much different from the U.S.? How easy it is to transfer to other regions during full time, after a summer analyst internship in London?

Many thanks!

Dec 2, 2013
aliciaW:

In terms of IBD summer internship experiences in London, is the work/deal exposure/hour much different from the U.S.? How easy it is to transfer to other regions during full time, after a summer analyst internship in London?

Many thanks!

Well I didn't do the internship and haven't worked in the US, but I would imagine very similar due to the limited nature of the role. There's only so much you can do / learn in 10 weeks or whatever it is.

I imagine it could be done, but it's always easier to intern wherever you want to work full-time, especially in this environment...Nothing is really black or white though, even at these large BBs. If you're a rockstar, network well, impress enough people, and make your intentions known then you have a chance...but there are other factors at play.

Dec 2, 2013

Q. How well represented were Warwick and UCL grads in your group/bank?
Q. Working hours in Year 1? How were they split?
Q. How useful is networking when it come to applying for spring weeks/summer internships? Do associates/analysts have the ability to push CVs to the relevant people in HR? Or is it more of a case of applying online and going through the standard process...

Thanks for doing this.

Dec 2, 2013
simon-kemp:

Q. How well represented were Warwick and UCL grads in your group/bank?

Q. Working hours in Year 1? How were they split?

Q. How useful is networking when it come to applying for spring weeks/summer internships? Do associates/analysts have the ability to push CVs to the relevant people in HR? Or is it more of a case of applying online and going through the standard process...

Thanks for doing this.

1. Pretty well represented. I think both places are well respected over here.

2. Working hours were approximately 10 - 12 average (inc Friday), with 1-2x3am or later per week. Average 8 - 10 hours on Saturday and maybe 1-2hrs on Sunday. What is that? 80-90?

3. Networking in what sense? Having a family friend who is an MD? Or going to all of the events the banks do and following up with everyone? I'd say both are important, although not fully necessary. If you go to a target school and have decent grades then you should be able to get a spring week no probs. And if you get a spring week and do well then you should be able to get a SA position...and then so on. If you decide early enough you want to do banking and go to a good school then the process should be relatively easy. Analysts and Associates don't really have much power in these processes, at least initially. If you do a spring week or internship then their opinion of you is all that matters, but to get in initially it doesn't matter.

Dec 2, 2013

Cheers for the reply, exactly what I was looking for.

Q. Curious to hear what the social life and atmosphere is like amongst analysts when starting out. What sort of stuff do you guys get up to? I work in Big 4 at the minute (gap year pre-uni) but it's pretty tame stuff, Friday drinks and the odd meal/night out.

Dec 2, 2013

Interesting thread, but more interested in your work in PE. If there's anything that you can tell based on what you've seen till now, it'd be great. I'm talking in terms of split of day to day tasks and the level of autonomy that you get.

If you can't answer these yet, never mind, hope you do one of these again a few months down the line. Good luck!

Dec 2, 2013
CAinPE:

Interesting thread, but more interested in your work in PE. If there's anything that you can tell based on what you've seen till now, it'd be great. I'm talking in terms of split of day to day tasks and the level of autonomy that you get.

If you can't answer these yet, never mind, hope you do one of these again a few months down the line. Good luck!

As I said above, not really comfortable yet.

I can tell you it is much more interesting, less / no pitching, hardly any powerpoint, a ton of modelling (ie 2 from scratch LBOs a week), more meetings, etc.

Dec 2, 2013

What areas in London did you and your colleagues live in? What would you consider a reasonable/ideal commute? Thanks!

Dec 2, 2013
Cotton Eyed Joe:

What areas in London did you and your colleagues live in? What would you consider a reasonable/ideal commute? Thanks!

In banking?

People who work in canary wharf (where most banks are) typically live in the wharf, london bridge, marylebone, st johns wood, basically somewhere on jubilee line.

People who work in the city (GS, UBS, BAML) will live generally near london bridge, angel, shoreditch, or west (notting hill, fulham), or northwest. There is a little more flexibility here.

As a first year you don't want to be commuting more than 30m really!

Dec 2, 2013

Advice for a non-target in the UK?
Was the work you did before the BB finance/investment related? If so, how did you find said work?

Thanks in advance.

Dec 2, 2013
UUMonkey:

Advice for a non-target in the UK?

Was the work you did before the BB finance/investment related? If so, how did you find said work?

Thanks in advance.

What school? Do banks recruit there? Network as much as possible through friends, friends of friends, family, linkedin, facebook, alumni network, whatever. If you talk to 100 people you will get 2-3 chances at least.

I found my previous job through a recruiter.

Dec 2, 2013

Ulster. Citi Recruit for Operations and Tech. CME and NYSE Recruit for tech.

Thanks for the answer!

Dec 2, 2013

q: tell us about one of the bad run-ins with magicians that you had as a kid

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Dec 2, 2013
AndyLouis:

q: tell us about one of the bad run-ins with magicians that you had as a kid

Bring your magic wand on Wednesday and we can re-enact? :)

Dec 2, 2013

Hey, nice thread.

Advice for summer interns regarding converting the summer internship into a FT offer?

Dec 2, 2013
notthehospitalER:

Hey, nice thread.

Advice for summer interns regarding converting the summer internship into a FT offer?

It's all about attitude. Work very hard, be willing to learn, don't be a cock.

Dec 2, 2013

Any tips for trying to break into IB in London and coming from a different country?

Dec 2, 2013
rickyl1:

Any tips for trying to break into IB in London and coming from a different country?

Not really. Same as above.

If you're at a target then do all the possible events / spring weeks / internships.

If not, then transfer to one. Or network well enough to be considered.

Dec 2, 2013

What are the chicks in London like vs NYC?

    • 1
Dec 2, 2013
dutchduke:

What are the chicks in London like vs NYC?

Worse

    • 2
Dec 2, 2013

can you comment on what it takes to break into london BB ib from a semi-target american university?

Thanks for making your insights available.

Dec 6, 2013
humblepie:

can you comment on what it takes to break into london BB ib from a semi-target american university?

Thanks for making your insights available.

Really what I've said above.

Getting in the door is a numbers game. I applied to 70+ roles and networked a lot. I also had a damn good CV that I had a professional CV editor help me craft.

Out of 70 you will likely get a few interviews. Then just follow the steps above! It's not easy, but it's worth it!

Dec 2, 2013

Hi Compinvbanker, thanks for doing this.

What is your view on FIG coverage in London? Best teams (Is Barclays one of them?)?
How would Barclays FIG prepare you for Hedge funds (and maybe MF PE)? Any difference when you have MM PE experience?

Thanks!

Dec 6, 2013
tripleB:

Hi Compinvbanker, thanks for doing this.

What is your view on FIG coverage in London? Best teams (Is Barclays one of them?)?

How would Barclays FIG prepare you for Hedge funds (and maybe MF PE)? Any difference when you have MM PE experience?

Thanks!

Sorry I can't really comment on who is the best FIG team (or any other industry for that matter). Generally the banks are pretty commoditised though, so while some may be higher on the league tables, analyst experiences won't be ALL that different (within reason)...It's much more about how the analyst performs. You can go from a "shitty" team to a good PE shop, at least in Europe.

FIG is a little different though, as it's very specialised. Funds are increasingly investing in financial services companies, but it's still much rarer than other industries, and the skills you learn in FIG won't carry over as well. It's still very possible to exit from a FIG team, but I'm not sure how easy / difficult that would be.

Dec 2, 2013

I would be interested in buying your analyst training manual. Please let me know more details. I live in Canary Wharf area.

Dec 6, 2013
London Banker:

I would be interested in buying your analyst training manual. Please let me know more details. I live in Canary Wharf area.

Cool - I'm out of town and will be in touch next week.

Dec 3, 2013

1. You said you wish you had not been in such a rush to exit. Did you consider staying on in banking? In hindsight would staying on in banking have any attraction for you?

2. I know this is a difficult one for you to answer but what were the hours like for the associates, VP's and MD's you worked with. A split like you gave for analyst hours would be great.

3. You mentioned the difficulty of getting into PE from a MM bank. Is this specifically reffering to top tier PE? Am I right in saying there are smaller PE shops who would look at people from outside BB?

4. You mentioned it gets more difficult to make the move at associate level. Is it the same for hedge funds?

5. Any love for the CFA in the London PE world?

6. How did you you fit interviews in whilst working in banking? Did you take days off, pull sickies, disapear for a few hours or make other excuses?

7. more general lifestyle question. As an analyst did you take holidays? Did you or any of your colleague ever have to cancel holidays for work?

Thanks.

Dec 6, 2013
Maherj1:

1. You said you wish you had not been in such a rush to exit. Did you consider staying on in banking? In hindsight would staying on in banking have any attraction for you?

2. I know this is a difficult one for you to answer but what were the hours like for the associates, VP's and MD's you worked with. A split like you gave for analyst hours would be great.

3. You mentioned the difficulty of getting into PE from a MM bank. Is this specifically reffering to top tier PE? Am I right in saying there are smaller PE shops who would look at people from outside BB?

4. You mentioned it gets more difficult to make the move at associate level. Is it the same for hedge funds?

5. Any love for the CFA in the London PE world?

6. How did you you fit interviews in whilst working in banking? Did you take days off, pull sickies, disapear for a few hours or make other excuses?

7. more general lifestyle question. As an analyst did you take holidays? Did you or any of your colleague ever have to cancel holidays for work?

Thanks.

Wow...long one!

1. I am glad I left when I did and would've left sooner if possible!

2. Tricky.

Associate was very variable, I'd say: M-F 9 - 11 average, maybe weekend work from home or if deal flow necessitated
VP and above very variable as more time is spent travelling and attending meetings. Often you aren't really sure where they are.

3. Absolutely, of course. I'm talking just top tier PE.

4. I would assume so, but maybe it's easier. HFs are usually smaller and more flexible. They also don't care as much about the traditional corporate path...much more about how good you are and if you'll make them money. PE is much more like banking in this regard. You won't be making the fund any money for many years...they want someone who is smart but background / CV is important.

5. No - is there any in NYC? I thought not...

6. Haha all the above!

7. Some people cancelled weekends away, but not really full holidays...We all took our full holiday allowances (c.20-25 days in UK, not including bank holidays!), although some teams weren't as cool about this as others. A lot depends on your staffer and your relationship with him / her.

Dec 3, 2013

Hi,

First of all, thank you for doing this since this is important contribution to the forum.

In any case, I am a fresh London-based IBD Analyst in sector group. I am at a BB (Barclays/BAML/CS) doing (Consumer/Industrials/Healthcare). I am going to do my very best where I am now, but starting point is that I would like to go for PE in 2-3y time.

1) Do you believe coming from background above, I have a chance on those 5-6 "top tier" funds mentioned in the beginning of the thread? (Let's assume average performance and networking, not that I am not going to try and kill it)

2) How would you go on to keep the wheels running. You mentioned starting to conned with HH in year 1. Do you just add them on LinkedIn or go through friends to reach out?

3) Just curious, do you believe that if it would be worth the enormous effort of leveraging and going through hell once again to move (Barclays/baml/CS) FT-offer and get a shot on (GS/JPM/MS) ?

The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him.

Dec 6, 2013
ModernMonkey:

Hi,

First of all, thank you for doing this since this is important contribution to the forum.

In any case, I am a fresh London-based IBD Analyst in sector group. I am at a BB (Barclays/BAML/CS) doing (Consumer/Industrials/Healthcare). I am going to do my very best where I am now, but starting point is that I would like to go for PE in 2-3y time.

1) Do you believe coming from background above, I have a chance on those 5-6 "top tier" funds mentioned in the beginning of the thread? (Let's assume average performance and networking, not that I am not going to try and kill it)

2) How would you go on to keep the wheels running. You mentioned starting to conned with HH in year 1. Do you just add them on LinkedIn or go through friends to reach out?

3) Just curious, do you believe that if it would be worth the enormous effort of leveraging and going through hell once again to move (Barclays/baml/CS) FT-offer and get a shot on (GS/JPM/MS) ?

1. Absolutely, 100%. Even if you're not "top" ranked, but that helps.

2. Not sure what the question is. Generally they will contact you if you're well ranked. Things really pick up the start of your second year.

3. No way. Never worth it. As I said before, the experiences will largely be the same, and you can get to any fund from any decent BB. Lateraling to another bank will just raise red flags. I considered this myself. Although I know some who have done it for a year and gotten fund jobs. I guess if you hate your bank and team and are awfully ranked then there's nothing to lose...but again this raises red flags. I would probably only do it for GS...as, for whatever reason, it is considered the best. Kinda like how you would never turn down Harvard even though Wharton has a better business program.

Dec 3, 2013

So, I'm an American starting a job at a MF in London next summer, and I am actually just curious about the flat search process. How long in advance should I begin looking? My fund offered to fly me out to do "house hunting", and I just wanted to know the right time-frame for that.

Also, another more processy question, but my comp is mostly similar to yours (~70K GBP + 200% bonus), and I'll be living with my girlfriend who makes ~40K GBP + ~20-30K bonus, so we figured we would spend somewhere around 550 GBP/wk on rent. Does that seem about the right level to find a nice 1bd/2bd in London Bridge, St. James, or Marylebone?

Dec 3, 2013
a1211090:

So, I'm an American starting a job at a MF in London next summer, and I am actually just curious about the flat search process. How long in advance should I begin looking? My fund offered to fly me out to do "house hunting", and I just wanted to know the right time-frame for that.

Also, another more processy question, but my comp is mostly similar to yours (~70K GBP + 200% bonus), and I'll be living with my girlfriend who makes ~40K GBP + ~20-30K bonus, so we figured we would spend somewhere around 550 GBP/wk on rent. Does that seem about the right level to find a nice 1bd/2bd in London Bridge, St. James, or Marylebone?

550GBP will get you a one-bedroom in much nicer areas (Pimlico/South Kensignton/Belsize Park/St. John's Wood/Maida Vale/Primrose Hill/Notting Hill)

I suppose if you're at a MF you'll be based in Mayfair.

Dec 6, 2013
a1211090:

So, I'm an American starting a job at a MF in London next summer, and I am actually just curious about the flat search process. How long in advance should I begin looking? My fund offered to fly me out to do "house hunting", and I just wanted to know the right time-frame for that.

Also, another more processy question, but my comp is mostly similar to yours (~70K GBP + 200% bonus), and I'll be living with my girlfriend who makes ~40K GBP + ~20-30K bonus, so we figured we would spend somewhere around 550 GBP/wk on rent. Does that seem about the right level to find a nice 1bd/2bd in London Bridge, St. James, or Marylebone?

That's roughly $3,800 / month...you will be fine.

Have a look on findaproperty or rightmove websites. Is your fund not offering to help pay for your housing at all?

Dec 3, 2013

Ever heard of or met someone who laterallized (either IB or PE) from other countries, specially Latam?
Do you have any idea on what would the learning curve about UK markets be like?

thanks a lot!

Dec 6, 2013
ricardo.abrosa:

Ever heard of or met someone who laterallized (either IB or PE) from other countries, specially Latam?

Do you have any idea on what would the learning curve about UK markets be like?

thanks a lot!

Should be fine. Not sure what you mean about UK markets. Most of the companies BBs work with are global companies and are increasingly looking to emerging markets like Latam so if anything your experience would be looked upon very favourably, particularly in areas such as energy, consumer, healthcare.

Dec 3, 2013

What are the key things that you need as an M&A analyst to get promoted to an associate?

Dec 6, 2013
London Banker:

What are the key things that you need as an M&A analyst to get promoted to an associate?

Be good enough to not get fired but not good enough to find a job elsewhere.

Dec 3, 2013

can you post some of the toughest questions you were asked in your PE interviews? Not just from the one that hired you now, but overall. Also how many unsuccessful interviews (in terms of # of funds that you interviewed before with) have you had before you got this offer?

Dec 6, 2013
fomc:

can you post some of the toughest questions you were asked in your PE interviews? Not just from the one that hired you now, but overall. Also how many unsuccessful interviews (in terms of # of funds that you interviewed before with) have you had before you got this offer?

Most people I know who are on the buyside interviewed with 10 - 20 shops, and this includes the rockstars. It's not easy.

The questions...haha. They make banking questions look incredibly easy. Basically your knowledge of basic corporate finance and accounting has to be shit hot. Modelling has to be spot on. You have to know every detail about every deal you mention on your CV. Like everything. You mention a sell side of a medical devices company?

How does the company make money? Walk me through the model line by line with approximate figures, margins, growth rates, assumptions. What are the raw materials involved? What happens to each line of your model if the price of steel goes up 20%? How are they distributed? Are the trucks used to distribute leased or owned? Are the factories leased or owned? And crucially, would you invest and why? And much more like this.

I actually developed a framework for looking at investments that was incredibly useful and I've been considering publishing it along with my LBO template that I recreated for my interviews. Basically every single interview will assess how you look at investments. The question will come in many different forms, but the answer will always be the same (go straight to the framework). They could say: would you invest in company X? company A has ND of 1x, company B has ND of 3x, which one would you invest in? how do you think about a business? Or it will come from your case study...and the answer always goes back to the framework. Do you think there would be demand if I put this together?

Dec 9, 2013

The framework sounds excellent. In fact I would be willing to pay for something like this. Considering some of the typical guides on the internet nowadays are around $100, you can probably make some cash on the side as well!

Let us know if you decide to put it together. Perhaps bundle it with WSO Guides? :)

Thanks for all the content so far, really learning a lot!
CDNdude

Dec 3, 2013

Thanks for doing this mate.

Which recruiters did you find were the most useful / connected when you were ready to move? Also, how big was the gap between what you knew and what you were expected to know when you first joined - how understanding were your superiors?

Curious also to know, is there any "banter" with your colleagues - this is probably a function of class size / average age though, right?

Dec 6, 2013
johnny dough:

Thanks for doing this mate.

Which recruiters did you find were the most useful / connected when you were ready to move? Also, how big was the gap between what you knew and what you were expected to know when you first joined - how understanding were your superiors?

Curious also to know, is there any "banter" with your colleagues - this is probably a function of class size / average age though, right?

The big main London recruiters. There was another thread on this recently that I commented on.

Is your question about how ready I was in relation to banking or buyside?

Yeah, tons of banter. I chose my team based on personality, and thank god! Had I joined the team with the best deal flow I would've left after 3 months! My team was the only way I got through it.

Dec 7, 2013

Sorry mate yeah, in relation to the buyside.

Also, is there the same expectation in London that you go out and get an MBA after two years? Are you in a position to comment on other firms' expectation e.g. other MFs and upper mid?

Curious to know how work is allocated too - is it still through a staffing mechanism? Are you now responsible for the types of analysis carried/ideas to present to investment committee, or is that more in the realm of the VP, with you just delivering it? Would you mind giving a generic example?

Dec 5, 2013

Were you top ranked within your group? Did you ever reach out to MDs or other senior bankers in your team to pick up the phone for you and call the firms you were interviewing with?

Dec 6, 2013
Matrick:

Were you top ranked within your group? Did you ever reach out to MDs or other senior bankers in your team to pick up the phone for you and call the firms you were interviewing with?

Yes I was. No - you can't do this in London!

Dec 6, 2013

Anyone from your class or at other banks you know leave banking to go to family offices?

We (Mayfair family office) are about to do some recruiting of some juniors and wondering whether we should look at some bankers?

Dec 6, 2013
samoanboy:

Anyone from your class or at other banks you know leave banking to go to family offices?

We (Mayfair family office) are about to do some recruiting of some juniors and wondering whether we should look at some bankers?

Sure, I interviewed at one. I think especially in this environment the traditional PE route is less and less attractive (and less lucrative). Send me a PM - I know a lot of people who would be great and are looking to leave banking.

Dec 6, 2013

Thanks for doing this and for your time!

1) Your opinion on schools like Bocconi/Stockholm School of Economics (SSE)? Are master students in these uni targeted for recruitment?

2) If you have applied through the corporate website for an internship is it still acceptable to email workers in this bank to express interest?

3) Any particular advise on how to cold email - something that would show your true interest in the job and your sincerity and not just come off as another desperate try?

Thank you in advance and good luck with the new job!

Dec 6, 2013
M.Tod:

Thanks for doing this and for your time!

1) Your opinion on schools like Bocconi/Stockholm School of Economics (SSE)? Are master students in these uni targeted for recruitment?

2) If you have applied through the corporate website for an internship is it still acceptable to email workers in this bank to express interest?

3) Any particular advise on how to cold email - something that would show your true interest in the job and your sincerity and not just come off as another desperate try?

Thank you in advance and good luck with the new job!

1. Absolutely.

2. Yes, I would recommend it. Sifting through the corporate website applications is outsourced to Mumbai, so it's always good to be noticed / recommended by an actual human!

3. It's very tough. I get them all the time (and I'm very junior) and unfortunately have to ignore most of them. I would find a deal that person worked on in the press and learn all about it. Then you can stroke their ego and say you read about their involvement in X deal and was really fascinated and want to get a coffee etc. It's still obvious what you're trying to do but at least you've put some effort in! I would meet you!

Dec 7, 2013

Could the mods please put this back in the banking forum? It is much more relevant there. Thanks.

Dec 8, 2013

1)

You have mentioned "Learn about 2-3 deals they have done in different sectors. Learn the parties involved, the rationale for both sides, the deal size, the multiples, the financials and 3 interesting facts and questions. If you can figure out who is interviewing you then you can target their team. If not then prepare 3 from different sectors and the odds are good one of the interviewers will be from a team that has worked on one of these deals and will be at least aware of the situation.

Where do you get the information on your deals especially on specific banks that you are interviewing with? CapIQ, Dealbook? Or is there sources that you can recommend me to ?

2)

Any good sources you can recommend in terms of preparing Numerical and Verbal reasoning tests? I know London BBs emphasised a lot on these tests in terms of getting a first round interview. Correct me if im wrong though.

Thanks for the wonderful AMA thread btw.

Dec 9, 2013
aspharagus:

1)

You have mentioned "Learn about 2-3 deals they have done in different sectors. Learn the parties involved, the rationale for both sides, the deal size, the multiples, the financials and 3 interesting facts and questions. If you can figure out who is interviewing you then you can target their team. If not then prepare 3 from different sectors and the odds are good one of the interviewers will be from a team that has worked on one of these deals and will be at least aware of the situation.

Where do you get the information on your deals especially on specific banks that you are interviewing with? CapIQ, Dealbook? Or is there sources that you can recommend me to ?

2)

Any good sources you can recommend in terms of preparing Numerical and Verbal reasoning tests? I know London BBs emphasised a lot on these tests in terms of getting a first round interview. Correct me if im wrong though.

Thanks for the wonderful AMA thread btw.

1. Google or FT. You can search for: "advised by Goldman Sachs", for example.

2. Yes for most places you will have to do a verbal and math test before getting an interview, and then you will often have to repeat again in person. They are pretty straight forward to be honest. There are always practice tests you can do online. Do some googling. These should be the least of your worries (unless you're a non-English speaker...)

Dec 9, 2013
aspharagus:

Any good sources you can recommend in terms of preparing Numerical and Verbal reasoning tests? I know London BBs emphasised a lot on these tests in terms of getting a first round interview. Correct me if im wrong though.

Thanks for the wonderful AMA thread btw.

I used assessmentday.co.uk to prepare for both numerical and verbal tests. It was around GBP8 for 10 tests each if I remember correctly. I practiced 6 of the numerical tests and a few of the verbal tests and then was fully prepared. Hence, I passed every single numerical and verbal test with plenty of time left and realized that many questions are the same across the different banks. Most of them use SHL or PSL/Kenexa and you will often know the correct answer when reading the questions, just because all of them use the same test provider. Citi's elements test is a little bit harder, but nothing to sweat about either once you have practiced a few tests.

Dec 8, 2013

Thanks compinvbanker, great thread. Just a few questions, sorry if they're a bit specific.

1) Any data / observations on MFins from top European schools (especially LSE, Imperial and HEC) within the BB IB space in London? More specifically hires that are non-EU citizens. I'm asking because I'm looking at top MFin programs in US and Europe - I'm from Asia - and a lot of people have told me to the US because Visa issues in London are a lot trickier. Also heard from friends doing finance-related MSc programs in LSE that recruiting is pretty much non-existent.

2) Can you share some of your networking strats? Both before and after you got into IB. Especially before IB. Did you get most of your interviews through the conventional route or networking?

Thanks once again.

Dec 9, 2013
G-izzo:

Thanks compinvbanker, great thread. Just a few questions, sorry if they're a bit specific.

1) Any data / observations on MFins from top European schools (especially LSE, Imperial and HEC) within the BB IB space in London? More specifically hires that are non-EU citizens. I'm asking because I'm looking at top MFin programs in US and Europe - I'm from Asia - and a lot of people have told me to the US because Visa issues in London are a lot trickier. Also heard from friends doing finance-related MSc programs in LSE that recruiting is pretty much non-existent.

2) Can you share some of your networking strats? Both before and after you got into IB. Especially before IB. Did you get most of your interviews through the conventional route or networking?

Thanks once again.

1. That's strange, I would've imagined that the US would be much stricter with student visas... That's crazy talk re: LSE - they send a ton of people to banks every year from the masters programs. I think it depends on what masters...there are a couple of good ones and a lot of shitty ones that are just cash cows for the university. You can see placement statistics on the website - have you not already looked for this?

2. I got them all through conventional. "Networking" is a huge pain in the ass and I was lucky to get an offer without having to go down that route. I see it as a last resort if all else fails.

Dec 9, 2013

Hey, thanks for the thread

  • What is the English/European ratio among SAs?
  • What is the msc/bsc ratio among SAs?
Dec 9, 2013
uoler:

Hey, thanks for the thread

  • What is the English/European ratio among SAs?
  • What is the msc/bsc ratio among SAs?

1. Tiny. We had only like 5 English out of a class of 50. The rest were from all over the world, not just Europe.

2. No idea.

Dec 9, 2013

I was curious about how much easier it is to transition into PE from a non-IB background abroad than it is in the states. I will be starting in audit at a Big 4 next year and am hoping to eventually move abroad. I was wondering if having Big 4/accounting knowledge is more useful for moving into PE in London than it is in the states? According to these boards, it seems as if accounting => PE would be a really hard combo and even getting into a top-tier MBA to make the transition would be really hard. Would accounting => top MBA (i.e. LBS) => PE be doable or at least more doable than it is in the states?

Thanks!

Dec 10, 2013
Lester Freamon:

I was curious about how much easier it is to transition into PE from a non-IB background abroad than it is in the states. I will be starting in audit at a Big 4 next year and am hoping to eventually move abroad. I was wondering if having Big 4/accounting knowledge is more useful for moving into PE in London than it is in the states? According to these boards, it seems as if accounting => PE would be a really hard combo and even getting into a top-tier MBA to make the transition would be really hard. Would accounting => top MBA (i.e. LBS) => PE be doable or at least more doable than it is in the states?

Thanks!

I would suggest looking at the fund team pages to see their backgrounds and reaching out to people similar to yourself.

When I first starting becoming interested in PE I literally listed the top 20-30 funds and went through all of their team pages and looked at every single employee listed, their backgrounds, their similarities to me, etc. Not only did this give me a hell of a lot of data points to inform my search, but it demonstrates the kind of determination and initiative you need.

To answer your question, I think it is easier to go from accounting to PE in the UK...but definitely not a mega fund. You can definitely go from accounting to a mid market PE though - this used to be the traditional route. Going direct is a much better approach than accounting to MBA to PE...I think this would be pretty much impossible. It would make more sense to do accounting then banking then PE.

Dec 9, 2013

Hi thanks for doing this. I am currently offered a spring intern at one of the top US banks in London. Q: off cycles have low conversion rate, c.25%, is this true? Thnx!

Dec 9, 2013
janica:

Hi thanks for doing this. I am currently offered a spring intern at one of the top US banks in London. Q: off cycles have low conversion rate, c.25%, is this true? Thnx!

... how should he know that
conversion rates, put into some random number, are totally variable.. especially for off cycle internships
it depends on you, not some number

Dec 9, 2013

Thanks animalz. B/c I need to give up a FT for an internship, just need to collect numbers to back up my choice. It is true, well said

Dec 10, 2013
animalz:
janica:

Hi thanks for doing this. I am currently offered a spring intern at one of the top US banks in London. Q: off cycles have low conversion rate, c.25%, is this true? Thnx!

... how should he know that

conversion rates, put into some random number, are totally variable.. especially for off cycle internships

it depends on you, not some number

Exactly right. If I tell you conversion rates are 25% how will that affect you? It's all about your individual performance. Why don't you pretend there is a 10% conversion rate and work your ass off to get an offer.

Dec 10, 2013

@above_and_beyond

Thanks for the additional input. Appreciate it =)

Dec 15, 2013

What version of Excel did you use at your BB?

Dec 15, 2013

Another one: did you consider doing PE outside of the UK (e.g, US)? Is it gauche to broach the topic of moving geographies to headhunters? I have dual citizenship, but don't want to f things up when PE recruiting starts for real next year. I know for IBD, at least, it was a no-no

Thanks for doing this.

Oct 16, 2014

Thanks for all the great information

Mar 12, 2015

Hi all - I'm back for another round of questions if anyone cares?

Mar 12, 2015

I'm doing an internship with a good MM over the summer in London. How can I best prepare myself for FT recruitment with the BBs in case I was to receive a return offer and decide the firm wasn't for me or if I didn't get a return offer? Would you recommend reaching out to alumni / other bankers in BBs prior to the summer?

Mar 12, 2015
IncapableChimp:

I'm doing an internship with a good MM over the summer in London. How can I best prepare myself for FT recruitment with the BBs in case I was to receive a return offer and decide the firm wasn't for me or if I didn't get a return offer? Would you recommend reaching out to alumni / other bankers in BBs prior to the summer?

Do you have another year of school left after the summer?

Sep 26, 2015
compinvbanker:

Hi all - I'm back for another round of questions if anyone cares?

Thanks for doing this.

What would say is the best way to network into PE? I've got 2 years experience at a no name MM investment bank and have tried to reach out to recruiters, with little traction, so am thinking it's time to go direct.
I'd happily take a mid-market PE gig, but as you've mentioned, it's a lot less structured.

I've been cold emailing/messaging PE associates/VPs on LinkedIn and have had a few responses. It's a good way to find out more about the firm but I don't think it has particularly improved my prospects. I'm wondering whether I should just start sending my CV direct via the [email protected] email address you find on a lot of websites...

Any suggestions?

Mar 12, 2015

1) If you want to leave to a top PE fund after 2 years experience in banking/consulting, when do you typically recruit for those positions?
2) How receptive is your fund for MBB consultants? Is being a consultant an uphill battle for PE positions?

Mar 12, 2015
Radiohedge:

1) If you want to leave to a top PE fund after 2 years experience in banking/consulting, when do you typically recruit for those positions?

2) How receptive is your fund for MBB consultants? Is being a consultant an uphill battle for PE positions?

1) In the US it is very structured and I think is happening earlier and earlier. I think this year the first years have had offers for 2-3 weeks already and have only been working for 6 months! I also think it's very hard for someone associate level or above to break into PE.

In Europe / London it is much less structured. You start getting calls about PE towards the end of your first year. Those calls ramp up significantly during 2nd and 3rd year, but it's also quite common to leave as an associate.

2) It depends on the shop. Check the team pages for some of the PEs. Some of them don't take any, some love them (Bain Capital). If you have done well at an MBB you can definitely get a solid PE gig, if that's what you want and if you prepare properly!

Mar 12, 2015

Sorry if this has been asked before, but did you start at the BB right out of college, or did you lateral from another bank?

Mar 12, 2015
Sil:

Sorry if this has been asked before, but did you start at the BB right out of college, or did you lateral from another bank?

I went to a semi / non-target and had no internships in banking at all. I worked at a small company for a year doing menial tasks and decided I wanted to do banking. I worked my ass off networking, applying, and preparing for interviews. I actually applied to like 70+ places straight through the websites, got 5-7 interviews, and got the first / best one so cancelled the rest.

The key is to get an interview however you can. Once you have this you have to be so prepared and driven that the interviewer has no choice but to hire you. If you approach it with this mindset it's much easier!

    • 1
Mar 12, 2015
compinvbanker:
Sil:

Sorry if this has been asked before, but did you start at the BB right out of college, or did you lateral from another bank?

I went to a semi / non-target and had no internships in banking at all. I worked at a small company for a year doing menial tasks and decided I wanted to do banking. I worked my ass off networking, applying, and preparing for interviews. I actually applied to like 70+ places straight through the websites, got 5-7 interviews, and got the first / best one so cancelled the rest.

The key is to get an interview however you can. Once you have this you have to be so prepared and driven that the interviewer has no choice but to hire you. If you approach it with this mindset it's much easier!

Thank you. I am in that position now, and this is definitely comforting. SB for you.

Mar 12, 2015

How has the last year at the fund been? Any surprises compared to what you had expected? What is your time split on (roughly)?

Mar 12, 2015
TheSanchize:

How has the last year at the fund been? Any surprises compared to what you had expected? What is your time split on (roughly)?

I'd rather not comment on performance, sorry.

Time is split between monitoring portfolio companies (attending meetings, company results presentations, management reporting) and assessing new investments. When I started it was mostly the former but over time became more of the latter.

Mar 12, 2015

Do you like PE? Are you glad you switched from IB to PE?

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