IB in Continental Europe: Paris to Vienna to Moscow

Exactly as it says. At some point, this should be part of the WSO knowledge bank.

There's been a fair amount of coverage of what IB is like outside of the two major Anglosphere hubs, NYC and London; plenty of discussion on Chicago, Houston and SF.

When it comes to the Old World, who has knowledge about the actual continent? What do you know about the:
- culture
- leading firms (local and international)
- buyside relationships
- exit opps
- team-size
- generalists vs specific groups
- local language importance

in places like...
Paris
Madrid
Milan
Zurich
Frankfurt
Vienna
Warsaw
Moscow

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Comments (34)

Best Response
Mar 9, 2014 - 6:49pm

I have had some experiences in M&A and coverage in London and Frankfurt, hence these are the two cities I can comment on. There's plenty of information on London which is why I will focus on Frankfurt.

1 Leading players:
It's basically the big players that you see in London and NYC, some are a little higher up, others not so much. Generally, Goldman, Deutsche Bank, JPM, Morgan Stanley are often mandated on the big deals and thus highly ranked in the league tables. UBS and Rothschild are historically strong as well, also Lazard. BAML, Barc, Citi not so much, although I really liked the guys I met at Barclays. Elite boutiques such as Blackstone, Greenhill, and Moelis also have Frankfurt offices, although they are not as strong as their counterparts in NYC or in the US in general. Evercore and Perella only have a London office, hence they cover the German market from there. Perella has done some nice high-profile deals recently (e.g. Kabel Deutschland - VDF, Rhoen-Klinikum - Fresenius), Evercore hasn't been that active.

2 Buyside / exit opps:
First of all, there are no real or major hedge funds in Germany, so that exit route isn't that feasible which is why you have to look to London or Switzerland (Zug, Pffaefikon, Zurich, Geneva) for HF exits. However, there are lots of PE firms in Germany, especially in Frankfurt and Munich such as Permira (Frankfurt), EQT (Frankfurt & Munich), Bridgepoint (Frankfurt), Cinven (Frankfurt), Bain Capital (Munich), Apollo (Frankfurt), Advent (Frankfurt), Apax (Munich), and plenty more. Other than that, I have seen people exit into Corporate Development / M&A, start-ups and some into Venture Capital, although the VC industry isn't that strong over here imho.

3 Team-size
Team-size varies significantly from bank to bank. Deutsche Bank and Rothschild generally have the biggest M&A teams in Frankfurt with around 50-60 bankers (ballpark-figure), Barclays f.e. with about 30 whereas other banks have rather small teams such as Greenhill-type firms with approx. 15 bankers.

4 Generalists vs specific groups
Depends on the bank. Rothschild has M&A and financings teams. In their M&A teams they have one team that focuses on 4-5 sectors (industrials, chemicals, auto, etc) and the other team on (transportation, utilities, etc), I don't remember the exact split but I guess you get what I'm trying to point out. Other banks just have a generalist M&A team where you will cover all sectors (f.e. Barclays). Furthermore, most banks are usually covering the whole Germany speaking region (or DACH region [Germany, Austria, German-speaking part of Switzerland]) out of their Frankfurt office. Other banks like Greenhill cover whole Europe together with their London and Stockholm office out of Frankfurt and hence work on some international deals, while others only work on German deals. These small banks are usually generalist and juniors don't specialise in a specific sector.

5 Local language importance
German is pretty important and I haven't met that many people in banking (IBD) that don't speak German. Conversations in the office are usually in German while all materials (presentations, models) are created in English. Some IT dudes are only speaking English, but I guess that's not what you are shooting for. Most foreigners in banking who I met in Frankfurt are from Austria or Switzerland, hence speak fluent German. I met a few Italians and French people as well, but all of them were able to communicate in German, though their German wasn't perfect.

6 Culture
Culture is obviously bank dependent but there are some banks with nice cultures and others where I wouldn't want to work due to their ridiculous culture (out at between 1 and 3 am constantly, always weekend work, I heard horrible stories from Morgan Stanley and Lazard, absolute sweat shops) Btw, ask some random cab drivers at night and you will get the same answers for who's staying up the longest. Rothschild and Deutsche can be quite harsh as well and the light at Goldman's is always on haha. Leonardo & Co. or Greenhill have a great culture on the other hand. But it is obviously very dependent on the team. However, there is one thing that I don't like about banking and Frankfurt and that's much nicer in London: In London it's quite common to go out for a pint on thursdays or leave earlier on Fridays, while this rarely happens in the Frankfurt offices (at least at the banks that I have knowledge of; could be possible at others), that really sucks imho.

All comments are based on own experiences with various banks through internships, and FT work as well as from stories from good friends of mine, so this obviously might differ from experiences that others had.

Mar 10, 2014 - 4:56pm

above_and_beyond:

I have had some experiences in M&A and coverage in London and Frankfurt, hence these are the two cities I can comment on. There's plenty of information on London which is why I will focus on Frankfurt.

1 Leading players:

First of all, there are no real or major hedge funds in Germany, so that exit route isn't that feasible which is why you have to look to London or Switzerland (Zug, Pffaefikon, Zurich, Geneva) for HF exits. However, there are lots of PE firms in Germany, especially in Frankfurt and Munich such as Permira (Frankfurt), EQT (Frankfurt & Munich), Bridgepoint (Frankfurt), Cinven (Frankfurt), Bain Capital (Munich), Apollo (Frankfurt), Advent (Frankfurt), Apax (Munich), and plenty more. Other than that, I have seen people exit into Corporate Development / M&A, start-ups and some into Venture Capital, although the VC industry isn't that strong over here imho.

...

Furthermore, most banks are usually covering the whole Germany speaking region (or DACH region [Germany, Austria, German-speaking part of Switzerland]) out of their Frankfurt office.

Once again, awesome contribution. Given your expertise in the DACH region, what are the other cities apart from the Frankfurt hub like? Zurich, Vienna?

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
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Mar 15, 2014 - 2:31pm

Sorry for coming back to you so late but I'm always pretty swamped with work during the week.

Anyways, unfortunately I don't have useful insights for you regarding Zurich or Vienna. Vienna isn't comparable to Frankfurt, Paris, London, Moscow, etc. just because it is such a small market. Many banks don't even have a Vienna office, because all Austrian stuff will be covered out of Frankfurt and the deal activity isn't that strong in a country of 8.5m people. However, some regional players like Raiffeisenbank (rbinternational.com) will have a Vienna office. Zurich on the other hand is more of a financial hub in terms of wealth management. All the major banks have large wealth management teams in Zurich but M&A is still often covered out of Frankfurt or even London. Credit Suisse and UBS obviously have a dedicated M&A team but they also engage in smaller transactions.

Mar 14, 2014 - 7:07pm

Although my experience is only in sales and trading related roles I can definitely confirm the rumour about longer hours in Frankfurt. I lived with a couple of guys in M&A both at the analyst and intern level. Weekends are of course a given. Back to back all nighters and coming home at 5am a couple of times a week was nothing unusual. Quite often they would stumble in when I went to have a shower at around 5am. The work-life balance in M&A in Frankfurt is awful. Spoke to an associate the other week and told me about the culture at the American banks being an absolute catastrophe. Apparently the majority of the analyst class at Morgan Stanley left last year. From the research I have done, they ended up at Carlyle, Oaktree and EQT (most probably missing some).

Now in regards to sales and trading:

Culture

As previously mentioned the after work culture doesn't exist to the same extent as in London. I would, however, argue that it is a lot better in sales and trading which is of course mainly due to the hours and possibly the more sociable characters in the business. In terms of client entertainment it is really not similar to what you would see in London. I was pretty shocked when I realised how little they actually went out with clients. From what I've seen and heard the wine and dine culture is not as extreme as in London where drunken and drug fuelled nights are relatively normal (yes, people can still afford coke). From my experience, there is not as much camaraderie on the floor.

Leading firms (local and international)

As you can imagine, the leaders are to some extent the same as in London. Deutsche Bank is of course amongst the strongest (most probably the strongest) in most products. Commerzbank is exceptionally good in structured equity derivatives and so are RBS (note: this area is going to be/has been exited), BNP and Soc Gen.

It is important to note that Deutsche Bank is probably the only one with a full scale product offering in Frankfurt. Most other competitors only have selected products covered out of the Frankfurt office (mostly sales and some trading books). Usually it's equities (sales/sales trading), credit (sales, some trading), rates (sales), fx (sales), structured credit (sales, trading - mostly covered bonds etc.), prop trading (CS vol arb, BAML distressed debt - the only ones to my knowledge).

There are some (g)local players that do a really good job: MainFirst and Berenberg.
Then there is Baader down in Bavaria and Kepler Chevreux in Frankfurt as well as ABG Sundal Collier.
Then there are some more sort of small and mid cap specialists like Close Brothers/Seydler, Schnigge and Equinet. These are quite active in designated sponsoring and small and mid cap corporate broking type of stuff.

This is by no means a full list but certainly a good start. All regular international players are present.

Buyside Relationships

The German market is quite "over-covered" with only few very big buyside managers like AGI, MEAG, Union, DWS, DJE, DEKA and some others.

Exit opps

You only really see people moving to other firms in the same capacity.

Team-size

The trading floors in Frankfurt can be quite sizeable but you can certainly see that the golden days are over. Except for Deutsche you can easily say that about +50% of the seats aren't being used.

Local language importance

Very important to be fluent in German since your cover German speaking clients (but also English speaking ones in London - this obviously depends on the bank).

Feel free to PM me if you want some more intel. I am by no means an expert though.

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Mar 15, 2014 - 2:14pm

Exactly, that's what most bankers I talked to mentioned as well. In our London office people often crack jokes about the ridiculous hours in Frankfurt and say that the guys in Frankfurt try to make up for their lack of prestige (no financial hub like London or NYC) by working soul-crushing hours. Moreover, various people came to me and asked me about my time in Frankfurt and whether the rumours about the long hours are true or rather exaggerated.

Mar 9, 2014 - 7:06pm

above_and_beyond, you live up to your name. +1 SB. Setting a great bar for this thread.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
Mar 13, 2014 - 9:58am

I can provide few comments about Moscow. I will tell about Moscow, but for your understanding, there is almost no investment / advisory activity in Russia headed from other cities. So saying "IB in Moscow" is pretty much the same as saying "IB in Russia".

Edit: wrote Part 1 and already tired (and hey I need to work). Maybe will continue in comments later with recruiting / exit opps overview.

Investment banking in Moscow: Part 1 (landscape overview)

First of all, investment banking sector in Russia is very small. Both by number of employees, by number of companies and by activity. I remember reading an interview (at M&I) with Moscow guy who said that by networking he managed to know almost all investment bankers in Moscow. Exaggeration but gives you a sense of how small the sector is.

There are, in my opinion three different categories of companies in IB in Russia:
- Investment banks affiliated with governmental banking groups (VTB Group, Sberbank, Gazprombank)
- International banks (BBs, couple others)
- Small players (boutiques mostly, and some low-tier banks)

First category feels the best of all and usually wins in all league tables in Russia, CIS and sometimes even whole CEE.
They have largest teams, quite a lot of former BB bankers, and they have, in my opinion, two advantages that put it ahead of any BB:
- They have "relationships" due to being tied to governmental structures. As a very simplified example, owners and executives of most largest companies in Russia are former / quasi governmental officials or their friends or oligarchs and they would rather create business for their friends (i.e. executives of Russian banks). So VTB Capital, Sberbank CIB, Gazprombank usually are the first who get mandates for an M&A advisory or debt/equity issuance.
- They have strong balance sheets of their parent commercial/corporate banks so they have a lot of flexibility in underwriting or offering stapled financing deals.
Maybe there is something else that I'm missing but I see how these two reasons are explaining almost entirely why Russian investment banks are in the lead here.

BBs and international groups are feeling not as good; some are closing IBD in Moscow at all or shifting all Russia coverage to London offices; at best they leave tiny team of several people in Russia. (read: UniCredit Securities, Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital have almost no IBD specialists in Moscow). Some BBs are feeling better (GS, JPM, MS); I think mostly due to long-term good relationships with businesses and authorities (not sure which is more important and when one ends and another begins).

Small deals are usually done by boutiques (5-20 people are most common size, I think), they provide M&A advisory on $10-100mm deals and also help raising private debt. Some boutiques are founded by BB execs; but more often are founded by former mid/low tier bankers or industry professionals who for some reason have good connections to source the deals. So boutiques in Moscow are barely "elite" and barely make it financial headlines. Except for couple boutiques, maybe, that are again in some way connected to governmental functioners that gives chance to bring in solid deals.

So, as a conclusion of Part 1, I can tell:
- IB landscape is in a bad shape (few players, low activity); there is a small number of players that feel good (large Russian IBs, several of the best BBs, maybe couple top boutiques - overall not more than 10-15 companies)
- The improvement of IB landscape is only possible with better and more transparent and competitive economic activity which is not going to happen tomorrow (though there are hopes that it will happen one day)
- Relationships are deciding factor in winning IB business (it's like this everywhere but here it's with a specific Russian "charm")

Mar 13, 2014 - 1:39pm

I can only speak to my experience in madrid, where I did a 5-month banking internship at a fairly strong spanish boutique. Local language was important, as you needed to be able to communicate effectively in the office and in some work, but i'd say our actually deliverables were about 50/50 English/Spanish. That being said, most of the bankers spoke solid english and were native spanish speakers.

I can't really provide a lot of A+ answers on the other topics, but from what I saw at my shop, they functioned much like any American shop would. The IBD group was about 20 people or so, worked relatively long hours (especially for spanish standards) and made solid money (again according to spanish standards). Seems like it was relatively easy to move to other banks (in and out of Spain) as i've seen a few changes on linkedin, but i'm not sure about moving to the buyside. I'd guess it isn't as common as its a smaller community than NYC/London. Also, I noticed some of the PE firms did some recruiting directly from undergrad, which may make the move less necessary.

The major european BBs are around (UBS, DB, etc) and many of the American BBs (GS, JPM, etc) have offices, but I do not know how strong they were. There are quite a few boutiques and some of them have solid reputations, others I know nothing about

Take this with a grain of salt, as this mostly goes by what I saw in my time there (2012) and i'm by no means an expert on Spain's IB.

Array

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Mar 16, 2014 - 1:12pm

ai215:

I can only speak to my experience in madrid, where I did a 5-month banking internship at a fairly strong spanish boutique. Local language was important, as you needed to be able to communicate effectively in the office and in some work, but i'd say our actually deliverables were about 50/50 English/Spanish. That being said, most of the bankers spoke solid english and were native spanish speakers.

I can't really provide a lot of A+ answers on the other topics, but from what I saw at my shop, they functioned much like any American shop would. The IBD group was about 20 people or so, worked relatively long hours (especially for spanish standards) and made solid money (again according to spanish standards). Seems like it was relatively easy to move to other banks (in and out of Spain) as i've seen a few changes on linkedin, but i'm not sure about moving to the buyside. I'd guess it isn't as common as its a smaller community than NYC/London. Also, I noticed some of the PE firms did some recruiting directly from undergrad, which may make the move less necessary.

The major european BBs are around (UBS, DB, etc) and many of the American BBs (GS, JPM, etc) have offices, but I do not know how strong they were. There are quite a few boutiques and some of them have solid reputations, others I know nothing about

Take this with a grain of salt, as this mostly goes by what I saw in my time there (2012) and i'm by no means an expert on Spain's IB.

Excellent contribution, well caveated in terms of it being an internship. The "relatively long hours" are what exactly? At least in the consulting world, Spanish hours can be insanely long. Did you get more of a sense that clients were Spanish multinationals, foreign multinationals, Spanish PE funds or foreign PE funds? Are you still on good terms with the boutique that you left (or the people who transitioned elsewhere)?

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
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Mar 17, 2014 - 12:39am

I was working 8am to 8pm pretty regularly, with later nights going til about 10 or 11 pm. Weekends pretty unusual unless I needed a few hours to catch up on something. The analysts were probably working a bit heavier than that, typically staying til around 10pm with some weekend work. It may get longer at times, but I was never there late enough to confirm this. My bosses would often encourage me to get out of there when it rolled around to 9-10pm, as they knew I was studying abroad and wanted me to go out and enjoy my time. Also, remember, its Spain so we would usually take lunch from 2pm to 3:30pm and relax for a bit (unless there was something important going on).

I would say the majority of our clients were Spanish companies, generally on the smaller side, but they also get a good deal of business from spanish PE funds (and some larger global funds). It really varies in size, doing deals ranging from small cap spanish companies to larger national brands, etc. A buddy of mine who was at UBS seemed to be working with larger multinationals,so I assume the BBs are the ones getting involved in the deals with Telefonica, Inditex, Repsol, etc.

I still keep in touch with a few of my coworkers and bosses and made a point to grab lunch with them last time I was in Madrid for a visit. I actually had the opportunity to interview for a position in another group at the firm, but it was complicated with the work permits and current hiring situation in Spain, so it didnt work out.

Feel free to pm me if you have any other questions, i'd be happy to help answer anything that I can.

Array

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Mar 14, 2014 - 7:29pm

I would add that Macquaire has built a pretty unique model in Germany compared to its presence in the US or UK where the focus is mainly balance sheet stuff. Not so long ago a relatively high number of Lazard guys came over to Macquarie as well as some ECM specialists from Commerzbank (apparently ex DKW guys who couldnt stand the culture). Their model in Germany is very much focussed on advisory rather than DCM type of stuff and they even do restructuring (ex Lazard guys). From what I've heard they do get quite decent deal flow but they are really just gaining traction as it's not a household name in Germany. Just thought I would throw this in as I believe this is not something everyone would know. Strong focus on PE related transactions. FYI Macquarie got its in when they acquired parts of Sal. Oppenheim's IB. Disclosure: I don't work here, but do know people who work there or have worked there.

Mar 15, 2014 - 9:27am

I did contact a person online who was working at a Boutique in Amsterdam as we share the same nationality and he said they dont work the long hours as they do in London.Language barrier is pretty higjh as you need to know Dutch , very few exceptions are made regarding this requirement.Seeing Glassdoor ,bonuses are nothing like they are in London/NYC so Americans will be disappointed lol.
The thing in Germany about not going out for drinks after work is more cultural i think.People separate personal and professional lives

Mar 17, 2014 - 10:56pm

Not much to go off, but I get the sense that Zurich is bigger than Geneva when it comes to this.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
Mar 18, 2014 - 12:25am

Lived in Brussels for several months. Interesting place in that there is virtually no non European bank coverage aside from Citi and small JPM presence. Local shops like Degroof get decent deal flow maybe Deutsche Bank or BNP/SocGen but a lot of work is done out of London, the Netherlands, or Luxembourg which are all very close and overshadow the M&A activity done in Belgium

Mar 18, 2014 - 5:50am

Yeah that doesn't surprise me at all. Many banks cover BeneLux out of London on both the capital markets side as well as the investment banking side. In cap markets you often see joint coverage of the Nordics and BeneLux.

Mar 21, 2014 - 3:50pm

I will attempt to cover Paris as I worked there and have some friends who have as well. This first thing that you should really know about the French is that they covet kids from their Grand Ecole programs (HEC, ESSEC, Sciences Po, Polytechnique, Mines etc.) and those will be the majority of people you meet throughout the financial sector. If you are a grad student/MBA, YOU WILL HAVE A HARD TIME explaining what your status is. To the French, you do all your schooling at once (even if it spans years) and then work until you retire. The second thing that while a lot of what you will be doing for materials will be in English, speaking French is almost mandatory.

1 Leading players:
It's basically the big players that you see in London and NYC, some are a little higher up, others not so much. Generally, Goldman, JPM, DB, Nomura and Morgan Stanley are all around. Rothschild is a hugely prestigious boutique and historically strong as well, with Lazard in the same category but known as a sweatshop. BAML, Barclays and Citi not so much

2 Buyside / exit opps:
First of all, most PE/VC shops have stopped hiring for their Paris offices and are often in the process of moving headcount elsewhere (Switzerland, UK) due to the crippling taxes that the French government has imposed on high earners. France does have some PE shops and the startup scene in Paris is better than you would imagine, but those are largely networked into rather than applied.

3 Team-size
Team-size varies significantly from bank to bank. French teams tend to be small because of the extreme cost of adding headcount (salary + 60% social charges paid by the firm on every Euro of Salary). There is often some work done in the London office for France so it can be smaller.

4 Local language importance
As I stated before, even though you could theorectically work in English and a lot of job descriptions don't mention French requirements, it is pretty much mandatory. If you are a foreigner, you will score major points with the French by speaking their language because as a general rule, the French are not that confident in their ability to speak English (even if it is quite good). They will even be tolerant of grammatical errors so long as you are genuinely trying.

5 Culture
The French are a bit Spanish in the entire team will take a lunch hour (or two) together and this will be your time to interact in a much less formal context with your colleagues. Unless things are crazy busy, the idea of eating at your desk is foreign to the French. The French tend to err more towards the German mentality on the professional/personal split than the British mentality, I only went out for beer with my colleagues once for the European Soccer Championships and for going away parties.

All comments are based on own experiences with various banks through internships as well as from classmates that I am tight with.

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Mar 21, 2014 - 4:02pm

Excellent, Guy Fawkes. I think a lot of people wanted to hear about Paris.

GuyFawkes:

I will attempt to cover Paris as I worked there and have some friends who have as well. This first thing that you should really know about the French is that they covet kids from their Grand Ecole programs (HEC, ESSEC, Sciences Po, Polytechnique, Mines etc.) and those will be the majority of people you meet throughout the financial sector. If you are a grad student/MBA, YOU WILL HAVE A HARD TIME explaining what your status is. To the French, you do all your schooling at once (even if it spans years) and then work until you retire. The second thing that while a lot of what you will be doing for materials will be in English, speaking French is almost mandatory.

Certainly expected there to be significant differentiation between French targets and everything else. Still, just to be sure: non-French education, including INSEAD (based in France but not French...), LBS, HBS, Wharton, Booth, Columbia etc, are irrelevant to French financiers?

GuyFawkes:

1 Leading players:

It's basically the big players that you see in London and NYC, some are a little higher up, others not so much. Generally, Goldman, JPM, DB, Nomura and Morgan Stanley are all around. Rothschild is a hugely prestigious boutique and historically strong as well, with Lazard in the same category but known as a sweatshop. BAML, Barclays and Citi not so much

Nomura is strong presumably because it's legacy Lehman, right? How do the foreign players stack up against Soc Gen and BNP? And when you say "BAML, Barclays and Citi not so much", are you referring to their lack of presence or lack of a sweatshop reputation? (Or both?)

Also, in general, excellent points on the language and cultural requirements. It actually sounds more open than I expected it to be.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
  • 2
Mar 27, 2014 - 9:37am

jtbbdxbnycmad:
Certainly expected there to be significant differentiation between French targets and everything else. Still, just to be sure: non-French education, including INSEAD (based in France but not French...), LBS, HBS, Wharton, Booth, Columbia etc, are irrelevant to French financiers?

INSEAD is not looked upon as favorably by the French as the non-French (ironic, I know). I didn't really run into too many INSEAD people who stayed in France to do finance. LBS has some sway in France because a lot of French people do work in London, the American schools have some name recognition but ultimately, the tie will go to the person with the French school.

jtbbdxbnycmad:
Nomura is strong presumably because it's legacy Lehman, right? How do the foreign players stack up against Soc Gen and BNP? And when you say "BAML, Barclays and Citi not so much", are you referring to their lack of presence or lack of a sweatshop reputation? (Or both?)

Nomura is pretty much all legacy Lehman. What I meant is that BAML, Barlcays and Citi have very little presence in France. Nomura's rep isn't bad as a far as banks go, not sure about the others.
As for BNP and Soc Gen (not to mention Credit Agricole), they are gigantic in France as in you find their branches almost everywhere, but since the crisis, have scaled back their IBD stuff and focus much more on corporate lending, real estate, retail banking etc. I think this has something to do with capital requirements although I didn't know many people who got into them...they tended to hire French people.

jtbbdxbnycmad:
Also, in general, excellent points on the language and cultural requirements. It actually sounds more open than I expected it to be.

It is and it isn't. What I mean by that is that French people often do thing with their families before friends, no matter how far removed the family is. My friends and I had a joke, "Jacques can't go out this weekend because his 5th cousin Hubert from Bretagne is coming to town." The other thing (and this could just be because I was on a short term Visa) is that the French tend to seperate out their French and non-French friends. Samething with hiring, the French will always pick an equally (or slightly less) qualified French person over a foreigner. As a foreigner, you have to be very careful with employment contracts in France because they will write or propose things to you that they would never propose otherwise just because you are a foreigner and they think that you don't know the complex French system (I had one boutique offer me a job on the Lev. Finance team but it was a 3-month, fixed term contract at an intern salary with no long term offer/Visa sponsorship attached). Of course, there might be others who have had different experiences, but that is what saw while I was there.
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Apr 1, 2015 - 10:08pm

I did my Business School at a Grande Ecole in France, came to the country without knowing the language at all. Two 6-month internships later, a ton of networking, and advice from the local players and I decided to look for a job outside of France. Guy Hawkes covered it pretty well. VC is quite small, I was told 2-3 Analyst openings per year. PE does local and BeNeLux deals mostly and are of the boutique-nature. Within IB, like he said you got big players and a handful of boutiques, but French is pretty much compulsory, and not at a conversational level, but fluent. Yes, some percentage of work is done in English with cross-border deals but kids from the Grande Ecoles can handle it, even if it is not professional-level English. Therefore, they prefer to take French people who have good enough English skills as opposed to a Foreigner with perfect English, but conversational French. I have two friends in S&T, emphasis on the language is a bit smaller, but the overall idea the same, they are looking outside the country. Keep in mind that internships are easier to secure than jobs due to the nature of legal system with respect to work contracts. I wont get into it, but essentially an employer basically can't just fire someone or let them go without a fault on the employee's side. They like their protection laws here a lot and therefore they take their time with hiring and expect a committment that should be proven with a minimum of 1 year in internships.

" A recession is when other people lose their job, a depression is when you lose your job. "
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Apr 29, 2016 - 9:06am

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Apr 29, 2016 - 1:48pm

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