Citi FSG (Financial Strategy Group) interview upcoming: I need help!

CorpDeveloped's picture
Rank: Monkey | 31

Hi everyone,

I have an upcoming interview for an analyst position at Citi's Financial Strategy Group and I am not sure I understand exactly where they stand within the Investment Banking department. I'd like to have your insight on:

  1. What do they exactly do? How do they generate business (if any) for the bank?
  2. What's the profile/background of people working there?
  3. How does it compare to analyst positions in other more traditional IB groups such as M&A? (daily work, pitching vs. deal execution, modeling, working hours, etc.)
  4. What are the exit opportunities?
  5. What to expect in terms of the interviewing process (i.e. technical questions, case studies, etc.)?

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
L.

Comments (32)

Mar 26, 2011

They don't generate business their clients are IBD teams ... just a cost centre doing some research based analysis and ratings stuff.. no exits to PE at all I wouldn't take it at all

Mar 26, 2011
pivot1990:

They don't generate business their clients are IBD teams ... just a cost centre doing some research based analysis and ratings stuff.. no exits to PE at all I wouldn't take it at all

This is helpful, thanks. But someone was trying to convince me that it's a very prestigious group within IB as they're considered as a "Think Tank". Is this true?

Apr 8, 2012

I'd go with coverage or M&A instead

Mar 26, 2011
pivot1990:

They don't generate business their clients are IBD teams ... just a cost centre doing some research based analysis and ratings stuff.. no exits to PE at all I wouldn't take it at all

By the looks of your username, you are what? 21 years old?

;)

Apr 8, 2012

No, their clients are ibd clients. But yes, it's a bad group for PE exits.

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Mar 28, 2011

Also very interested in this. What exactly do they do (I mean more specifically than what pivot1990 wrote)?

And are there really no PE exits? Where do these guys normally go?

If you could compare it to a more traditional group, that would be really helpful.

Mar 28, 2011

these guys do a lot of capital structure advisory and more analytically/research oriented than your typical group. dont know how "prestigious" it is though. i guess exit opps are more towards hedge funds than pe

Apr 8, 2012
algorithm:

these guys do a lot of capital structure advisory and more analytically/research oriented than your typical group. dont know how "prestigious" it is though. i guess exit opps are more towards hedge funds than pe

Agreed. If you are looking for prestige don't go there, very few will know anything about them.
Did any of you guys get offers?

Apr 13, 2011

May I ask where are you applying for (NYC or London)? Cause I'm myself waiting for interviewing with Citi's FSG in London but for a summer.

I actually first applied for an IBD summer and went through two rounds of interviews with IBD bankers (competency interviews + AC). Then my interviewers deemed I would suit to the FSG so they passed on my app to that team.

Did you experience the same? Or did you directly apply for the FSG?

BTW I talked to one of the IBD banker I interviewed with and he told me that the FSG is not a profit center in that it doesn't directly earn fees from clients. But it does advises IBD clients and get involved in deals process. They also produce reports (like a research team) that are widely distibuted to clients and Citi's IBD. The breakdown of their work is roughly 60-40 advisory/reports.

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Mar 26, 2011

I interviewed with the NY group and I do NOT want to work there!!

It's a bunch of Finance PhD guys running models and doing research in corporate finance, without knowing if their work is ever going to be used. I find it kinda frustrating. Some people might like it though. I'm more business driven so even if I enjoy doing the quantitative work, I do not want my next role to be limited to it.

It is just an opinion and I highly recommend you continue to talk to people in the industry and try to have their insight. In your case, it's just a summer internship so if you get an offer, you can take it and use it to get a step in the door then when you get an offer for a full-time, you will have the option to choose other IBD groups.
I was interviewing for a full-time position and I already have couple years of experience in the industry so it's a different situation.

Good luck!

Apr 13, 2011

Thx lola good luck!

Mar 26, 2011
stud3nt:

Thx lola good luck!

No problem. Feel free to PM me if you need more details!

Jun 12, 2014

Just to reiterate what has already been said. This isn't an investment banking coverage group. A very good friend of mine did a rotation in the NY office several years ago as part of Citi's FMA program.

Jun 12, 2014

Correct. If anyone has any questions about NY FSG, I'm actually a SA right there right now, so feel free.

    • 2
Nov 29, 2016

I'm graduating in May and am looking for a ft analyst position in NY. My background: I have interned at BAML (Coverage group) and a boutique advisory firm before.

For this group, I am wondering what the exit opps are/ what skills I would gain from a 2 yr position here. Most people here have said why not to go to this group, but what would you say is the reason I should consider going here. I don't have an offer here, I am just curious. Thanks in advance.

Dec 29, 2014

@"ydkwings" Is Citi's FSG similar to a "Strats" group at other firms? How is it different? What do the analysts look like coming in? Thanks!

    • 1
Nov 29, 2016

^bump

Does anyone know what the work in such groups is like?
Is it very quantitative? What are the usual entry requirements? Comp, bonuses, exit opps?

Thanks

Nov 29, 2016

Same question. I have a phone interview on Sunday. I have heard from some that they write internal research that is read by the other IBD groups and usually not by clients. Additionally, the question of whether they are actually part of the deal team that interacts with clients seems to be in debate as well. Some people say they are at the table, others say that the relevant sector or product team runs things and just asks them to fill in with expertise, almost like internal quant banking consulting.

Nov 29, 2016

I would tend to agree with the latter description. I use out FSG group exclusively for ratings advisory. They meet clients when they specifically want to discuss ratings process however for the most part we use them as a resource, they provide slides and the bankers would then present at the meeting.

Nov 29, 2016

Hi guys,

I had my interview, and I thought I could give you the jist of it.

FSG is pretty much exactly what it seems like: a very niche product group (that almost every bank has in one form or another) that focuses on corporate finance advisory. The specific tasks the team focuses on include:
- Capital Structure Optimization
- Financing & Market Risk Analysis
- Working Capital Management/Analysis
- Ratings Agency Advisory
- A variety of other quantitative corporate finance solutions

What attracted me to the group (before and after speaking with the associate I interviewed with) was the fact that is offers a unique hybrid opportunity. The group works within IBD and does client work, but it also publishes research for internal use by other product/sector groups within IBD. The work split between these two parts is 60/40 but has been moving towards 70/30 lately.

The group is also quite flat- the majority of personnel are either MDs/directors or analysts/associates. Senior leadership tends to have advanced quantitative degrees (MFE, MBA- Quant Finance, PhD Math/CS/Physics etc) and are the ones that join the traditional IBD groups. This pitch could be for a corporate finance tweak itself, or as a part of a transaction/issuance. Senior leadership also leads the research efforts- deciding what the team will write its more regular publications about, as well as leading responses to traditional IBD requests for advisory.

The junior employees, like in much of IBD, serve as number crunching analysts that support leadership in providing solutions and pitching them to clients. One upshot is that given the quantitative nature/complexity of the work, junior employees will often be contacted by the IBD team and the client alike, as they need the kind of insight that only someone very familiar with the model will have.

The group does live up to its reputation for being small, more academic, intellectually curious, and detached from traditional client work. Key skill sets include:
- Comfort with corporate finance principles
- Intuition and comfort with analytic use of statistics, regression, calculus and optimization
- VERY well versed in Excel & VBA/Macro- majority of models and regressions are built this way
- Big Plus: MATLAB, STATA, SAS, R or other statistical package/language (used for their computational power to run 1000's of regressions quickly, then ported into Excel or other lighter packages)

I personally found the group a great hybrid between my attraction to IBD, ER, and quant/math/stat interests.

If you have any other questions, let me know. I'll add more as I get deeper into the interview process.

    • 3
Jun 6, 2017

could you expand a little bit more about the background (summer) analysts have coming in? do they tend to be quantitative majors/is the likelihood of someone from a LAC going into this group slim? how technical was your super day?

Best Response
Dec 29, 2014

@"ydkwings" Is Citi's FSG similar to a "Strats" group at other firms? How is it different? What do the analysts look like coming in? Thanks!

    • 4
Nov 29, 2016

Strategy or Sponsors?

Nov 29, 2016

I believe he means Sponsors.

Nov 29, 2016

hi guys.

fsg = financial strategy group. i don't believe there is a "financial sponsors group" at Citi, at least in london.

Nov 29, 2016

Not sure about London, but in NYC, FSG advises F500 clients on how to optimize their capital structure - in that way, they're kind of a product group - it's just not in the usual IBD bubble of capital raising + M&A. Beyond that though, I can't really provide any reliable insight, but I assume their models have something to do with maximizing firm value by analyzing leverage and the specific financial instruments the client uses to get to that leverage.

Nov 29, 2016

Yes, this is exactly what the group does in London also. It sounds interesting, but I would like to hear an insider's perspective if possible.

Thanks

Nov 29, 2016

I'm also interested to hear about this. Bump.

Apr 8, 2012
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