Hong Kong versus NYC IBD

Just a quick question. I'll be a SA at a Hong Kong BB bank this summer, but I go to school and family are all in the States.

I'm definitely okay with going to HK to pursue a full-time career. Culture is awesome, cost of living (minus rent) is relatively low (unless you choose to go high end). People speak English, China is up and coming.

On the other hand, I get that there's a sense that if you want to do IBD, NYC is the place to be in order to really advance your career. All the major BB headquarters (even the Swiss ones) are in NY.

Any thoughts on HK vs NYC IBD in terms of prestige, difficulty of getting in, long term career prospects?

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Comments (30)

May 11, 2009 - 2:22pm

NY is a good training ground after which you can often move to other locations around the globe. I have worked in NY for a couple years in PE and am soon moving to Asia. Even though Asia is up and coming, I have heard from people over there now, particularly native Chinese that the culture is significantly different than New York IB. Specifically, it is much more political, which can make career progression difficult sometimes. Also deals are not as complex and varied as the ones you will see working in New York and London. Most of the deals over the past 5 years have been IPO's and some M&A, virtually no PE deals. However as the markets get more sophisticated the variety of deals, as well as size will likely increase.

Also I have heard that analysts and associates are worked much more in HK vs. NY. This shouldnt matter as much, I think it has to do with the work culture over there. Just a heads up to you.

May 14, 2009 - 10:28pm
Ukon:
There is a chance that you will be pigeonholed in Asia forever.

In the past this has definitely been the case, but with the rapidly progressing Asian markets do you still see this issue holding true for the next 5-10 years?

Also, yes I have heard you more a lot more hours in HK, but the two ppl I've talked to who have worked both in NY/London and HK, both of them have said they definitely prefer HK as a place to live. (Maybe that's just because there's little relative deal flow at the moment - M&A down 50% in Asia - and hence they be just chillin? IDK)

May 14, 2009 - 10:30pm

being piegeonholed in Asia might not be such a bad thing. Prospects in Asia currently look much more favorable than they do in the US and EU for a variety of reasons. It all depends on what type of culture and lifestyle you seek. Indeed NY and London is comfy but Asia does have that added dynamic of uncertainty and potential upside opportunity that people seek

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May 14, 2009 - 10:31pm

culture in HK IBD offices (Originally Posted: 06/11/2011)

What is the culture like in HK offices? How big are different industry/product groups? I hear that some groups are less focused on mandarin skills requirements i.e. Financial sponsors, ECM, etc. and have more foreigners....Can someone verify this? Am interested in working in HK IBD but my reading/writing skills are not native-level...also would rather work with westerners than native Chinese/HK. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • 1
May 14, 2009 - 10:33pm

You "would rather work with westerners than native Chinese/HK?" Then why would you work in HK? better tax? You gotta be kidding me right?

I'm not sure if you currently live in HK or not but if not try to spend a few days hanging around in Central especially during lunch hours. Also hit some bars. Then observe.

It's ok that you can't read/write on native level but it is not so ok if you want to work in HK with this "i'd-rather-work-with-westerners-than-native-Chinese/HK" mindset. i am sure you're not even close to the level where you get to choose whom you prefer to work with.

After all, HK is a place filled with talents from all peoples around the world. It's competitive, cut-throat, and takes a lot to survive. Get real before you get hired.

Invest first, investigate later.
  • 1
May 14, 2009 - 10:35pm
LCYM:
You "would rather work with westerners than native Chinese/HK?" Then why would you work in HK? better tax? You gotta be kidding me right?

I'm not sure if you currently live in HK or not but if not try to spend a few days hanging around in Central especially during lunch hours. Also hit some bars. Then observe.

It's ok that you can't read/write on native level but it is not so ok if you want to work in HK with this "i'd-rather-work-with-westerners-than-native-Chinese/HK" mindset. i am sure you're not even close to the level where you get to choose whom you prefer to work with.

After all, HK is a place filled with talents from all peoples around the world. It's competitive, cut-throat, and takes a lot to survive. Get real before you get hired.

May 14, 2009 - 10:36pm

i am an ABC...naturally i consider myself american and if am working 20 hr workdays i feel like it would be more bearable to have SOME that are like me to joke around with, eat dinner with, etc... obviously i dont expect to avoid chinese/HK altogether but just feel like it would be easier to develop a camaraderie with fellow westerners

i want to work in HK for exposure to china, as i am doing a PE-related internship in shanghai and love it.

from what i hear financial sponsors groups mainly have US clients, perfect mandarin skills are not a must, and are more likely to have SOME foreigners working as analysts/associates. can somebody confirm this??

dont really want be a trader; sales is a possibility

May 14, 2009 - 10:37pm

I don't know about IBD.... as for sales, however, I think some banks will have groups dedicated to focusing on international (mostly European/American) clients. I worked at a Chinese bank last summer in HK and this was the case there (team of 10 or so focused on Euro/U.S. clients, about half were Caucasian and most others were ABC).

May 14, 2009 - 10:42pm

Hong Kong - Major differences? (Originally Posted: 10/06/2009)

For those of you who have interned or currently work for a BB in Hong Kong: what is the work culture like there? Any major differences between HK and NY? Any input in regards to the work culture there would be much appreciated!

Thanks.

May 14, 2009 - 10:45pm

What about the people that are working in the office? I suspect that the majority of the professionals are from Asia or have Asian ancestry. I also hear that there are some Aussie's and Americans there as well.

Anything about the work culture that you have to look out for---in terms of manners and business etiquette?

May 14, 2009 - 10:49pm
ekhan:
What about the people that are working in the office? I suspect that the majority of the professionals are from Asia or have Asian ancestry. I also hear that there are some Aussie's and Americans there as well.

Anything about the work culture that you have to look out for---in terms of manners and business etiquette?

Pretty much sums up the demographics of the people at HK I-Banks. English is the only language used, except when speaking with clients. Work culture/manners what you would expect in any Western office. Only the background of the people may be different - but not the way they behave.

May 14, 2009 - 10:50pm
ekhan:
What about the people that are working in the office? I suspect that the majority of the professionals are from Asia or have Asian ancestry. I also hear that there are some Aussie's and Americans there as well.

Anything about the work culture that you have to look out for---in terms of manners and business etiquette?

Surely most of them are Asians... and speak Cantonese (the real elite language there) lol

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