How to transfer to Europe?

Born and raised in Manhattan. Now working a BB AM job in NYC as well. I have taken many Europe trips over the years and would love the opportunity to live there for an extended period of time (3-4 years ideally before hopefully moving back home to NYC). I am particularly interested in Madrid/Paris. How hard is it/is it even possible to work in IM in Europe as an expat and be able to get a job there? I speak a decent amount of Spanish that gives me enough to have basic conversations but not much beyond that. 

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Comments (79)

Oct 4, 2021 - 1:30am

You need to speak Spanish or French, period. Otherwise, Madrid has no reason for bringing on someone that can't even do the work or reasonably communicate with other employees. Yes, they will likely speak English, but that doesn't mean they want to; it's expected you speak their language (which is 100% understandable)

In terms of work, Paris or Frankfurt will have a lot more opportunities in finance than Madrid, but if you're heart is set on it, go for it- you won't regret it. I learned German and was able to get locally hired at MBB, it's achievable.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Oct 4, 2021 - 8:32pm

Sorry should have phrased better, my spanish is at the point where I can comfortably have conversations with locals/very basic everyday life (lived in Spain for a semester) but like obviously not close to the standard needed to have permanent residence there. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 12:22am

If you speak Spanish, there is more opportunity in LatAm. Banks in Latin America will practically had a job to anyone who is a US citizen and fluent.

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  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Oct 4, 2021 - 8:35am

Your best bet is obviously London. Visa is not a big issue as in the US, and there are many companies willing to sponsor you (I'm European, but I have several US friends working in the city). Salaries are lower compared to NYC so expect a pay cut (especially in continental Europe)

Oct 4, 2021 - 10:45am

London still requires sponsoring and it is quite difficult to get a visa if you're not just transferring. London unfortunately is NY cost of living on continental European salary, which is brutal. 

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Oct 4, 2021 - 8:33pm

Should I be aiming for an internal transfer at my BB for the best shot for this. Have fairly large offices in London, Paris, and Switzerland. 

Oct 4, 2021 - 9:58pm

Zurich sounds cool in theory but I've heard is very boring so I'd think twice about that.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Oct 4, 2021 - 11:35pm

Very few people in Spain speak English so full fluency is necessary. You need to invest in classes. As for Paris, the French speak English, they just don't want to. Unwelcoming country.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

  • 1
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Oct 6, 2021 - 9:44am

Sin entrar en el comentario político, Madrid y París, como todas las gran ciudades, tienen un porcentaje de extranjeros sobre el promedio. La diferencia con Zurich y Frankfurt es que París/Madrid son respectivamente las puertas de Europa para África francófona y Latinoamérica. Casi todos los extranjeros son nativos de Francés o Español, entonces los parisinos y madrileños no necesitan del Inglés.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

  • 1
Oct 7, 2021 - 7:57am

if you're trolling, maybe insert a joke in there

if you're serious, then I feel sorry for you. if you are damning an entire continent because of the presence of people with darker melanin, then you really need to get out more. I'm mixed, my friend groups are mixed, there are assholes of all colors, but color alone determines very little outside of the biological (bone density, vitamin D absorption, etc.).

and to answer your question, I don't know if I'd want to be around every single african in europe, but I do know that we're all the same species, and to judge someone by the color of their skin, ethnicity, or national origin alone is not only illogical and not based upon facts, those ideas have led to untold amounts of murder, starvation, torture, and subjugation throughout history

I'll pray for you, and I sincerely hope you're joking

Oct 7, 2021 - 8:01am

Not joking and definitely not looking forward to meet more mixed/ non-white guys....

Europe belongs to us, no amount of forced "diversity" will change that. 

Oct 7, 2021 - 1:54pm

Their foreign/ incompatible culture, lower than average IQ/ EQ (Bell curve), DNA, religion, lack of (European) values, unwillingness to integrate etc.

They simple shouldn't be on our continent, just like we shouldn't be on theirs...

Most Helpful
Oct 7, 2021 - 2:27pm

IQ is pseudoscientific at best:…

also, my black side is more intelligent and highly educated than my english, german, swiss, and norwegian side, so even if the above interpretation is 100% wrong (though I've not seen an accurate rebuttal) I'd argue that this is not true 100% of the time and therefore is a poor heuristic for damning an entire spectrum of melanin

is the unwillingness to integrate a racial thing or a religious thing? don't confuse the two, because in my visits to big european cities, many of the african immigrants who aren't in full muslim garb seem to try to adopt the culture

what about DNA?

what about their foreign culture is compatible? also, what foreign cultures specifically? just like all european cultures are not identical, nor are all african cultures

how about southern europeans? the moors are a big reason why southern european culture is what it is today, so is someone with african blood from 1000y ago also undeserving of being on the continent?

again, you have failed to make a logical argument (because of this>therefore that>hence conclusion that people with african blood are bad) so I have to assume that your aversion to people darker than you is based on emotion and prejudice rather than reason. if you make a logical argument, I'll rebut, but in the meantime, farewell.

Oct 7, 2021 - 8:43am

Would you really rather have a wh*te liberal as neighbor than, say, brofessor?

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

Oct 5, 2021 - 4:41pm

[Pan European Monkey]


tagging the other 2 euros I know here

OP, get started on language, FAST. have daily lessons on italki with a tutor, immerse yourself in the language (getting financial news, sports news, etc. all in your target language), change the language on your phone to spanish/french, read books in the language, find an excuse to skype with someone from your company in one of those areas and tell them your goal, not so much for job purposes but for language purposes.

Oct 6, 2021 - 2:31am

Agree with what has been said so far, you need to speak local languages to be hired there, another option you can and should consider/not rule out is going to London, if you are in AM, I assume that you are not working your entire weekends and thus could travel to continental Europe every weekend or so. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 10:09am

AM skills may also be more transferable to other parts of Europe, as it is not as contingent on relationships as banking. However, getting a job as an international in Paris/Madrid/Milano is more challenging than in cities like London/Frankfurt/Zurich/Geneva/Stockholm. 

I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Oct 6, 2021 - 1:01pm

lol just learned about Italki from you. It is truly a gamechanger looks pretty affordable at anywhere from 10-15 bucks for an hour with a native speaker. Will definitely be leveraging the hell out of this. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 4:41pm

absolutely! I started small with maybe 1-2 a week but now I'm at like 5-8 and it's been a tremendous game changer. I've probably spend $2k on it this year and went from barely being able to have anything beyond surface level conversations about travelling to being called fluent by 3 different natives inside of 8mos of italki

Oct 6, 2021 - 12:15am

You have a couple options given your age:

1. Internal transfer which would be ideal.

2. Do a masters in Madrid or in Paris.

Either option gives you time to become fluent (as others are saying, this is simply a must). If you can't speak the language, you'll never really be able to learn the culture, and your value add on that front becomes capped until you do.

Barring those options you would need to do a lateral move later in which case you need to figure out the language thing. An INSEAD MBA could be an option, otherwise it's networking, finding recruiters... There is good chunk of the industry that is in Luxemburg which is sort of a weird non-place in my view, but the cultural factors are less important there and it's even sleepier than Zurich.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Oct 6, 2021 - 12:54pm

Madrid is a personal preference just because of the city. My 2nd favorite city outside of NYC. But am definitely going to be a bit mobile when the time comes. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 3:03am

I have to say this at the risk of dealing with the backlash because I genuinely can no longer keep quiet. What makes you think you would be welcome in Europe? Please don't come here.

We don't need your brand of hate in Europe, we have enough of our own. It's astounding how you guys have been on an outright de-humanising hate campaign for the past 20 years destroying everyone's peace of mind and general congeniality… first it was the Muslims, then you added Mexicans, then the Blacks, now the Chinese  - yet you think you have the 'Freedom' to move wherever you want? 

Don't come here. 'Stay at Home'. 

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Oct 6, 2021 - 3:34am

I'm European and think you're a fool to generalize like this. You know nothing about this person so who are you to assume he's a hateful, ignorant person just because he's American (Or even just to blame for other people's hate.) You're demonstrating the same reckless, hasty, discriminatory mindset as those you criticize, so what sets you apart from them?  

OP come to Europe with an open mind and experience our varied ways of life. You might encounter a few US bashers like above but know many Euros will welcome you as long as you're respectful. I'm a Euro in the US and can tell you Europeans usually put more emphasis in a balanced life which might change / influence the way you want to live your life (or not)

Oct 6, 2021 - 7:05am

It's true that speaking a European language would give you a leg up, but you can still recruit in Europe without speaking any. I'd say you have a better short in London. There are quite a few Americans there working in Finance. Countries where a lot of people speak English are also good (eg. Germany).

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Oct 6, 2021 - 10:00pm

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  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Oct 8, 2021 - 4:15pm

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