EU Fin Student - How to plan an exit to NYC? - Zurich vs London

Hey everyone,

I'm looking to start a career in IB, kind of late (23), and non-finance undergrad, so a Master in Finance seems to be the best option for me to start as an Analyst.

I'm having trouble deciding between Bocconi for London IB vs. St.Gallen for Zurich. I have a good grasp of German and can reach C1 before finishing my masters, but my ultimate goal is to move to New York after 1~2 years in Europe.

Starting any education in the U.S. seems counterintuitive as it'd be 2~3x more expensive, and visa options would be worse than transferring.

What would, in your opinion, be best to reach the U.S. by transferring? Getting to St. Gallen > Credit Suisse or UBS and transferring to the U.S. or trying my luck in London after Bocconi?

My options are fewer in Zurich but it seems like St.Gallen offers me a great spot into the big 2 locally, rather than going to school in Italy and then applying for anything in London, especially after Brexit 

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Comments (9)

Aug 31, 2021 - 3:33pm

What makes you believe that a transfer visa to the US is easier than local education and then OPT, H1b, green card? I do realize that transfers happen, but they are by far not a common thing from Europe to the US. Very few BB people from Europe I know made it over the pond.

I grew up in Zürich and no Swiss employee I know ever made it to the US, either wrong department or the company simply didn't move them.

It is a possibility, but a STEM masters degree in the US would give you up to three H1b slots which could land you a H1b.

Aug 31, 2021 - 3:45pm

Thank you for your input! 

I mean, aside from no visa quotas for L1s, I wouldn't want to take my chances on a visa lottery.. Most US Masters are STEM which gives me 3 years, but I'd have to get into one of the top schools, considering my non-existent financial background. That would be astronomical in comparison to what we have in Europe in terms of tuition...

You gave me some really good input on the Zurich market. I've heard of a few Swiss transfers to the U.S. but since the market is small I thought it'd be possible, especially coming from St.Gallen into a nice Swiss Bank or a BB

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Aug 31, 2021 - 3:50pm

If you have a EU passport there are many ways to get into the US. I understand the challenges to pay US tuition, but UK tuition is now also up to 300% higher than before (for EU citizens). While EU degrees are shorter in comparison, a US degree would be a unique advantage if you are set on immigrating to the US. It doesn't have to be a H/Y/P school even if some WSO threads may tell you that. There are plenty of good degree holders in our business and in IBs. I believe you can get into a decent school that may land you a job in finance.

At the end of the day this is your decision, but I am not entirely sold that a degree and job in Zürich will get you transferred to NYC. As you mentioned the market there is much smaller and there are fewer opportunities. I would check maybe through social media and LinkedIn how many moved and how they did it.

When I moved to London (from NYC) I realized how much of an opportunity that was compared to smaller cities I lived in before (Zürich and FfM).

Aug 31, 2021 - 4:09pm

Regarding ways to get in the U.S., I've looked into E2s and L1s, but I'd have to open a business and operate it for a few years to get a GC (E2 wouldn't let me) and then look into IB, etc.

London is still an option, especially from Bocconi; their last career outcome shows most people going to the UK. It seems like in Europe, London would be my best option opportunity-wise. More transfer options, with so many U.S. IBs... 

Surely doing my masters in the U.S. would boost my immigration possibilities exponentially, but that, of course, comes with a price. Starting salaries in IB should cover it tho. I'll definitely take a more thorough look at U.S. options. WSO really makes H/Y/P the only possible choices.

Thanks again! 

Aug 31, 2021 - 4:13pm

You really have done your homework, and I appreciate the details. E2s won't indeed work for you because you would only be allowed to work in your own business (although, this business could legally be a consultancy and you could do a C2C with an IB). E visa is also non-immigrant, as you have found out.

I would push to get a job in London at a large US BB and then ask them to transfer, that is probably going to work out. The L visa is made for that purpose and has dual intent as well.

Best of luck to you.

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Aug 31, 2021 - 4:44pm

J visa are currently not adjudicated because of Covid (this will change soon, I am sure), it is also only valid for a period of time after graduation and you'd have to through an agency (or program sponsor). There is no guarantee that a bank would be able to handle a J visa without cooperation with such a program sponsor. Most often these J visa are used for au pairs, coaches, summer camps, young athletes, etc.

A full-time bank internship could, in theory, work for the J, but I have never seen a case IRL.

Maybe someone who has done this could feedback here?

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Aug 31, 2021 - 5:06pm

Maybe not a bank but a boutique might be interested. It's like an internship but longer.

Sep 1, 2021 - 3:17am

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