5/28/17

I've noticed a few more UK-related questions popping up and as this site has (understandably) been very US-centric over the last 5-10 years I thought a brief overview of what the industry is like in the UK would be helpful.

Who Are The Firms?

  • Bulge Brackets - the usual suspects
  • Mid Market Full Service - Smaller firms of c.100-500 people providing all the expected services (Research, Sales, Trading, IBD) but focussing more on the mid-market (PS250-PS1,500m MC). Key names include Jefferies, Numis, Peel Hunt, Investec, Liberum, Stifel.
  • Small Cap - focussing on AIM companies (more on this later) with MCs usually PS5-PS100m. Some names include Shore Capital, finnCap, N+1 Singer, Zeus Capital.
  • Advisory Firms - Rothschild, Lazard, Evercore, Moelis etc. Rothschild in particular are a dominating house
  • Big 4 - Big4 professional service companies are increasingly trying to compete more against the Advisory firms in particular with their corporate finance teams. Typically these are execution / advisory roles only, focussing on M&A and IPOs. No underwriting capabilites. Deloitte / EY / KPMG / PwC.

How Do You Get In?
If you've read any of my posting history you may have gleaned that I think the US system and its emphasis on 'networking' is absurd and just an attempt to learn and force basic social skills. Well good news! It's very different in the UK.

There's 3 top 'target' universities (what you refer to as schools) - LSE / Oxford / Cambridge and then you have places like Bristol, Durham, UCL, Imperial just below these, with the wider Russell Group below that. If your university is not in the Russell Group you'll struggle to get in.

Recruiting is done with a lot of skills assessments, usually online tests covering maths, verbal reasoning and logic. Once you pass these you may be invited to interview and from there the process is the same as the US.

You do not need to try and caddy for an MD's brother-in-laws father every other weekend or cold call everyone working in the industry for an 'informational interview' - in fact doing this will just make you look a bit odd. Try and get to know a few people from your university or that you have some kind of link to but remember these are basic social skills and you can't really learn them.

Many firms offer a 'Spring week' during the Easter holidays in your first year and this can be a good springboard towards getting an offer for an internship.

Internships are done at the end of your second year of university and then you may or may not get a return offer. The route in is a lot less structured and you often see people joining as analysts who've done Masters, PhDs, some other line of work etc.

Note that there's also a lot of 'off cycle' internships offered to people who have just left university, but the hiring rate from these is generally lower than the classic summer programme.

It's also quite common for people from Big4 professional service firms who either started in audit and got their ACA and moved to CF/TS, or who started off in CF/TS to move across to IBD (at an Analyst3 or Associate level). It isn't so easy to go to a bulge bracket but the Advisory places (Rothschild, Lazard etc.) and Small/Mid Cap houses are frequent recruiters.

Where Do You Work?
London of course, not much regional presence to speak of although some of the Small Cap firms (see above) have offices in Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh etc.

Within London there are 3 areas to know about.

  • The City - the financial heart of the UK. The 'Square Mile' located on the eastern side of Central London.
  • Canary Wharf - new business district about 2 miles away from the City in the east. Many of the banks are headquartered here
  • West End / Mayfair - about 2 miles west of the City and home to private equity, hedge funds and other asset managers.

Note that 'the City' is our equivalent of 'the Street' and can be used to refer to anything in finance.

What Do You Do?
Working in investment banking (or as it's often referred to here - corporate finance) is pretty much the same as the US. As I'm writing this I can think of 3 main differences which I'll highlight below

  • Role of the Broker - broking is very much an old-school UK service but is still absolutely key in the City. A broker is essentially a retained financial adviser who will advise a company on all matters relating to investors and the markets. Being the broker (sole or joint) also puts you first in line for work on any transactions so winning a broking client is very important.
  • The Takeover Code (the Code) - the Code governs all M&A in the UK involving public companies and this also applies to overseas firms trying to buy UK companies. The Code is a set of rules and principles which outline what you can and can't do on an M&A process, timeframes, requirements to announce etc. Knowing the Code is essential for working in M&A.
  • Sponsor / Nomad - these are regulatory-type advisory roles which are required on most transactions. The Sponsor or Nomad will typically be a bank or Big4 firm and will have to liaise with the regulators (FCA / UKLA) on behalf of the company to make sure a transaction is executed properly. These are required on any IPO and on many M&A transactions.

The Markets
FTSE 100 is the headline market although the FTSE 250 is more representative of the UK economy. The FTSE 100 is dominated by financial services and international commodity firms whereas the 250 contains a lot more industrial, consumer etc. Tech is not such a big area in the UK.

At a high level there are 2 markets - the 'Official List' (Main Market) and AIM. AIM is for smaller companies (usually up to PS300m market cap) and contains a lot of E&P, mining, start up tech firms etc. The Small Cap firms I mentioned at the start will often focus exclusively on AIM.

Moving On
As with recruiting, there's some more key differences here. Most people do not go to business school. Typically you'll do 2-3 years as an Analyst then either move up to Associate or move to the buy side. There's only 1 business school in the UK worth going to (LBS) and as I said, nobody really cares too much about an MBA.

Hopefully this is of some help to all the aspiring UK corporate financiers. Happy to answer any questions anyone may have or elaborate.

Comments (179)

5/18/17

Hey, thanks for this info.

In your opinion, how do you think non-UK schools fare when it comes to IB recruiting? I'd be interested to know what banks think about IE Business School, Madrid and it's finance programs.

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5/18/17

Unfortunately I can't be of much help here as I'm not familiar with specific universities. I do know that amongst the bulge brackets and advisory firms there are a lot of Europeans so there's definitely no disadvantage!

5/18/17

European schools definitely get a look in. Seen interviewees from Milan (Boconni) and Sweden. The intern in my team last summer was from EDHEC.

I think it depends a lot on the bank, but Europeans are generally very well represented in London BBs.

5/19/17

Agree. Almost all top schools in every Western European country with a solid reputation is a shoo-in for an interview at most firms.
Eg: WHU, Bocconi, Ecole Superieures, EDHEC, KTH, HSG are names that I can pull out of my head right now

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/19/17

There is a good intake from IE, keep an eye on analysts starting in July in both EBs and BBs and you'll see that there is a strong presence from the uni (masters students)

5/20/17

Thanks guys, I appreciate the inputs.

5/20/17

Also, Europeans are there and well represented because the job is client facing and English is not as popular as you think in many regions (Spain, Italy and France in particular). I heard colleagues having calls in French because the client doesn't want to talk in English...and I can guarantee that if you want to build a relationship in the long term you need to speak the language and share some cultural traits.

Regarding IE, it is well regarded..I have a close friend in a US BB from their MSc in Finance

7/24/17

Target schools per country in Europe (except UK)
France : HEC, ESSEC, ESCP, EML, EDHEC, Ecole Polytechnique
Spain : IE Business School, ESADE
Germany : Mannheim Uni
Switzerland : St Gallen Uni
Italy : Luigi Di Bocconi
Sweden : Stockholm School of Economics
Nederland : Rotterdam School of Management
Ireland : UCL, Trinity

Might forget some but mains are here...

5/18/17

I would add one more thing in regard to "how to get in": spring insights.
From what I have seen, the typical path in the UK is: get into a top uni -> spring insight (anywhere between 1 day and 2 weeks, but usually 1-2 weeks) -> return offer for SA -> return offer for FT

5/18/17

Good point - have amended to reflect this.

5/18/17

Thanks for the info. I have two questions if you have the time.

How difficult is the move from large MM banks (Nomura, BNP, RBC) to BBs/EBs?

Are off-cycle programs significantly more competitive than summer internships?

5/18/17

Can't comment on the difficulty of the move as have not done it myself and don't know anyone who has - don't imagine it's too difficult if you move at Associate or above and have excellent experience.

Off cycles are probably marginally less competitive to get into, but a lot more competitive to get an offer from.

5/19/17

The move from large MM to BB/EB is easier once you've crossed the A2A mark. Before that, the competition is insane, tbh, thanks to the large pool of candidates.

Off-cycle programs are not competitive in that sense, rather they are highly limited. Hence your probability of getting an SA is higher. Also, off-cycle programs are mainly reserved for recent graduates.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Best Response
5/18/17

Good one.

Yup Spring Weeks are essential some good students do like 4 spring weeks during the break in first year at LSE, then summer in second year (impossible to get a summer in BBs for 1st year) but try to get a summer in boutique is recommended.

I heard Off-Cycle were incredibly hard to get yes, I do not know why, mostly because they do not have a typical amount of space for that and I guess they take you only if you are really worth it (?).

Associate at MM then lateral to BBs should not be a problem, your door of entry will be your specialisation for a smooth transition, if you work in aviation finance for example at natixis/BNP then, to move you'd have to go with the biggest underwriters in the field for that financing (and a BB as you target it) like GS or CS for example, its an example but you get my point. Depending some fields MM are much more prestigious than some BBs.

Friends from France, from EDHEC, Audencia, etc. are all in places such as GS, BlackRock, DB, so London is very well aware of the worth of the biggest finance programme from top schools from each countries (tbh in some bannks/department you have a very high % of foreigners compared to uk guys)

5/18/17

I agree with all of your points. I think the last point you made is a huge difference between American and UK IBs. I think UK IBs are a lot more international. Well, it's usually a bunch of German and French guys, but the share of UK guys is definitely not as high as you'd expect.

5/18/17

It's often an issue on some desks, its mostly French ppl ... I am not going to complain though. ^__^

5/19/17

Yea it's crazy the % of Europeans at certain places. I did an internship at one of the top BBs and of the class of 60, all but 3 were European (the rest being British).

Having said that, the place I'm at now is 99% white British.

5/19/17

It really depends on where you work. I used to work for a fund at which you had (almost) no chance of being promoted past associate without having at least conversational proficiency of French.
Speaking French or German can really help you advance your career in London!

5/19/17

Agree entirely on this. If someone reading this is in their last year or school or first year of university studying Accounting, Finance, Economics etc. don't waste your time learning DCFs, lbo models etc. Learn Germany / French / Italian and get up to a near-fluent level, it'll be far more helpful. Go on solo holidays to these countries and immerse yourself entirely.

5/19/17
<span itemprop=name>Asatar</span>:

Agree entirely on this. If someone reading this is in their last year or school or first year of university studying Accounting, Finance, Economics etc. don't waste your time learning DCFs, lbo models etc. Learn Germany / French / Italian and get up to a near-fluent level, it'll be far more helpful. Go on solo holidays to these countries and immerse yourself entirely.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/18/17

This is terrific, thank you. It would be great to hear about how banks rank up for recruiting, and when recruiting how useful is sponsor / Broking / code work?
Any more flavour on anything recruiting or U.K. M&A based is highly appreciated!!

5/19/17

Not entirely sure what you're asking here about 'rank up' for recruiting?

You simply won't be able to do any Code / Sponsor / broking work unless you're already in an internship / job but knowing what these things are would be helpful in an interview. It's not like valuation or accounting where you can read about it and practice it yourself.

A lot of banks don't have pure M&A teams but rather this is sometimes done as part of an overall coverage job. Having said that, some places certainly do have pure M&A so it's luck of the draw really (and who you apply to).

5/19/17

At a BB now (username is from before that!!). More thinking of exit oops, apologies for lack of clarity. Would love to go to PE, have lots of experience in the above but not sure how to angle it

5/19/17

I'm not in PE and have little desire to go there so can't be of much help unfortunately. Some recruiters have spoken to me about it and told me that the good PE firms want to see a good track record of M&A deals, ideally PE-backed.

5/19/17

Rereading your post I probably didn't answer you very well. Code work will be very helpful in PE if you're doing take-privates of PLCs. Broking and Sponsor work is largely irrelevant for PE.

5/18/17

Since MBA's aren't as big of a deal, do they still have MBA associate direct recruiting? Outside of LBS, what about schools like Oxford and Cambridge for banking recruiting? Is there anyway to do a masters at LSE and come in as an associate, despite them not having a MBA program? ( they really need one....it would kill)

5/18/17

Know a few people who had summers as MBA interns and received offers. Oxbridge and LSE are definitely great schools for getting in but it isn't the be all and end all. A lot of people that i've spoken to have come from red-bricks such as Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle.

5/19/17

Oxbridge, LSE, LBS work well for breaking in.
You can do a masters in LSE/Oxbridge and break in as an associate in some other office - Dubai, Singapore, etc.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/18/17

Thanks for the information OP. That's really helpful. Recruiting in the UK seems a lot like recruiting in APAC (HK, Australia etc.).

5/19/17

It's certainly very different from the US. Far more meritocratic and less absurdly focussed on 'networking' (IMHO).

5/19/17

Great, thanks.

Niche question, but any opinions on Big 4 M&A (CF) vs. TS (Due Diligence)? Does it make that much of a difference?

5/19/17

I sent a fairly long PM to someone on this recently covering the different aspects of Big4, which I'll link below and I highly recommend reading for an overview. Bear in mind the salary figures I quote there are based on old FX rates so the USD equivalents are now lower.... Happy to comment on comp if of interest.

https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/big4-ma-an-...
At a high level, going into both is fine (and a step up from audit) and it's certainly possible to get hired into many firms with 12-18 months in TS or CF.

In TS you'll see a lot more deals and they'll be pretty large (usually), but you'll only focus on the due diligence side. In CF you'll actually be taking a lead advisory / execution role (i.e. exactly the same job as you'd do in IBD) but the deals are usually smaller, often for private companies, and further between.

I myself did a grad scheme in audit, then some time in Big4 CF before moving over to IBD and many many other people followed exactly the same path. Mid market firms, small cap houses, advisory firms etc. all LOVE ACAs and it's often a pre-requisite for recruiters.

In short, both are good with CF probably being marginally better but either can get you to IBD.

5/23/17

Thanks for the post, it was a useful read. Out of interest, do these MM / smaller advisory firms that you mentioned give recruiters the mandates for sourcing new Analysts, who in turn get in touch with ACA qualified candidates? I've noticed that whilst the larger MM shops publicly advertise Analyst vacancies on their websites, I very rarely see smaller places doing this. Also, do you reckon the same places / recruiters that look for ACA qualified guys would be interested in a MSc Acc/Fin graduate with MM M&A experience under their belt (<12 months though) or does the ACA have a distinct advantage due to the greater length and effort of the qualification? Thanks again!

5/24/17

Mind if I shoot you a PM? In a very similar position to you at the start of your career, would appreciate some insights.

5/19/17

Great Post. Its nice to have some info on the EU market for a change.

5/19/17

Great post, thank you.

For people studying a 2 year Master's degree (+ 3 years BSc.) would it be possible (and recommendable) to get a spring internship while in the third year of your bachelor's degree and getting the summer internship after the first year of the Master's degree?

5/19/17

Yes. I interned after finishing my undergraduate degree and was not studying for a Masters or anything else. Many others who I was with had either just finished a Masters or were in the midst of one.

5/20/17

Thanks for the reply. But would it make sense to aim for a spring week at a BB, or should I instead try to get a summer internship after finishing my third year at an EB or similar?

Should also note that almost everyone work relevant part-time jobs where I live, so I will still have relevant work experience even if I don't do summer internships in London before my penultimate year.

5/20/17

Spring weeks are usually only available for first years. Always try for an internship but don't worry too much if you don't get one, there's still loads of ways in.

5/24/17

What did you do your undergrad in?

5/25/17

Economics.

5/19/17

One very important point for working in London, when ordering a beer, it goes like "please may I have x" rather than "I'll take an/a x".

5/19/17

Absolutely. Also be aware that ordering anything not in a pint measure or with 'lite' in the name is socially unacceptable.

5/20/17

Not even a shandy?...!

5/20/17

Perhaps a tipple on a Christmas-time Friday

5/19/17

Pretty solid write-up.

Would add that there are 6 target schools in the UK - i.e. you forgot Imperial, UCL and Warwick and then a slew of semi-target schools i.e. schools that are present every year in analyst/spring week/intern classes but in smaller numbers like Bristol, Durham, Nottingham, etc. As for European targets, most banks recruit at the top Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Scandinavian and Spanish business (or technical schools).

Age is also not as much of an issue here because of how many people come from European Masters programs or those who took years out before starting university. Being older than 21-22 is more common than most would think.

Re:Off-Cycles, they seemed primarily aimed at those on year in industry courses, europeans with mandatory internship requirements in their masters programmes or those who've graduated. Placement years are also becoming more of a thing lately in the UK - not just in back office but also front office roles.

5/19/17

great post Asatar, thanks

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7/8/17

Thank you so much for making this post

5/19/17

I'll take them for consulting, maybe someone else can pitch in for IB

1) If for consulting UCL does better than LSE nowadays it seems

3) No

6) Yes. I'd say 65% is Oxbridge, 15% LSE/UCL, 20% Other (Durham, Bristol, Imperial, St Andrews mainly). Oxbirdge/UCL/LSE are main targets for MBB interviews. Maybe the Oxbridge candidates are on average stronger so they do better in the process.

8) No

7/8/17

Thank you for taking the time to reply regarding consulting.

5/20/17

Read is as should he do UCL or is KCL or Durham a better choice. For KCL and Durham it's a toss up I think. His major perhaps a little, but I've also seen people with music studies getting in. Just get a high GPA and be an interesting person with good ECs.

5/19/17
  1. UCL is a top tier university, he'll be fine. Obviously Oxbridge / LSE is a bit better but no problems there.
  2. You missed 2.
  3. In his situation I'd say KCL, but either is fine.
  4. Not worth the slim chance over UCL.
  5. You missed 5.
  6. No idea about consulting but as I said, it's a top tier university.
  7. Not at large firms, yes at small firms.
  8. Indian won't help him, German/French/Italian/Nordic would. No problem being monolingual though.
  9. No.
  10. Yes there will be tests whenever you apply. They're pretty easy.
5/19/17

Thank you so much for the great information, I was also wondering if the fact that he is studying History and not a STEM related field hurt in IBD recruiting?

5/23/17

Hi Jack,

Interesting and very understandable concerns. I thought I might be able to offer you a perspective as a student (from LSE). First off, UCL is sick. It is very well respected and targeted among the BBs and consulting firms.

In fact, I would argue that a UCL BA in History may in fact add a more interesting shade to his 'why banking' pitch. I have also worked with recruiters as part of my society job at LSE, they really DO value diversity.

A piece of suggestion tho: shall your brother be really set on a front office career, he needs to get into speed at the start of year 1, go to on-campus events, meet seniors and alumni, know the banking basics and get involved in societies. This is because Spring internship applications are mostly on a rolling basis and the British curriculum is indeed very packed.

He might want to learn an European language during his three years here. Worth the investment.

Hope this helps.

5/25/17

Thank you so much for help and your advice is great! (Gave you SB)

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5/19/17

You forgot to mention anything about a really important topic: compensation.

How does IB in the UK compare to the U.S. in terms of how much money you'll make? Is it the same or more than or less than?

5/19/17

It was lesser, it's going to be even less, now that Brexit is certain. Plus London and NYC have similar COLs, so you'll be saving less. And the females aren't that great, unless you have friends in Chelsea (London), where they'll be more or less the same.

Once you rise through the ranks though, comp becomes higher. Plus you'll get to easily stash away most of that bonus, unless you're American

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/19/17

FATCA is one of the big reasons why my brother is thinking about coming back to America after finishing his undergrad degree in the UK instead of staying in London.

5/19/17

Really doesn't make much of a difference to Americans tbh. Taxes are taxes are taxes are taxes. Different toilets, same shit.

If he's got an offer to study in UCL, and doesn't have an offer from a comparable school in the US (UCB/Brown/Georgetown, etc), I would suggest him to choose the UK offer over studying in Arizona State.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/19/17

A few years ago I'd have said comp is broadly comparable, especially at the Analyst level. Now however it's worse. For reference the base comp for a 1st year analyst is going to be in the region of $60-65k equivalent whereas a few years ago it would have been $75-80k equivalent.

If you stick with it and are successful you'll make a hell of a lot of money in both the US and UK so IMO it's not something to worry about.

As other posters have alluded to, the COL in London is absurdly high, possibly even higher than NYC. Add to that the fact that your marginal rate of tax/NI/student loan will be over 50% and that the average price for a 600-700sqft 2 bed flat in Zone 2 is about $650k, and it's very expensive when you're an Analyst.

EDIT: I didn't mention comp in my original post as I don't believe it's a relevant factor if you had the choice to live in the UK or US - there's so much more that will impact your day to day life than a few extra thousand dollars/pounds a year.

5/19/17
<span itemprop=name>Asatar</span>:

As other posters have alluded to, the COL in London is absurdly high, possibly even higher than NYC. Add to that the fact that your marginal rate of tax/NI/student loan will be over 50% and that the average price for a 600-700sqft 2 bed flat in Zone 2 is about $650k, and it's very expensive when you're an Analyst.

And that kids, is why London MBB/Consulting sucks. Better move to a German/Amsterdam office in a low COL area if you have the opportunity and are qualified for it. Shit ton of MBB dudes from Germany, afaihs.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/19/17

Yea but Frankfurt is a more boring version of Canary Wharf....

5/20/17

Yeah, but consultants are out of the City most times anyways.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/20/17

Not really. To be blunt, this is pretty much wrong on all fronts.

German offices work for the overwhelming majority local. German clients like German speakers and their work attitude. Second, German work attitude is absolute horrible. London isn't a party, but Germans are masochistic. They just don't see the point of a social life during the week. They don't just do the analyses you should do, but they also do all the analyses the client might potentially ask for no matter how small the chance and then vomit it in pt.8 on a slide. I know a few guys who can speak German and purposely took it off their internal resume to not get placed on German cases.

5/20/17

Agree with the work ethic part. WLB in Germany pretty much sucks. But there really isn't a point staying in Zone 4 or Zone 5 to work in London, even if you're out of town for half the week.

That last one is a new one though. People really hate German cases huh?

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/20/17

Sorry man but again this just isn't true. If you think MBB London associates live in Zone 4 or 5 you're in for a surprise. These guys make nowadays somewhere around the 55-65k GBP mark I believe, only slightly less than their BB banker friends. There are plenty of very nice apartments you can get for around the 1000-1500 mark in Zone 1/2. You won't be living alone than, but who wants that anyway when they're 22-24.

5/25/17

@Frank Quattrone" If you want a low COL area avoid Amsterdam right now though..

5/25/17

Didn't know brownies and prostitutes got expensive. I remember checking out and finding that rents in Amsterdam were waay lower than in London or Paris.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/25/17

The housing market is absolutely crazy right now. For renting there are usually income requirements (you are not allowed to hire an apartment if you do not make 4/4.5x the rent monthly), combined with easily having to compete with 50 other people for the same property.

Also; starting salaries in banking are lower here + a bonus cap of 20% for bankers (toughest regulations in the EU).

5/25/17

What the fuck happened tho? Damn, that's harsh!

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/25/17

The market has started overheating (low mortgage rates, lots of jobs in Amsterdam, low amount of apartments that aren't social housing) and the real estate corps can ask whatever they want. Hoping that the bubble bursts soon so things get a bit more affordable.

Edit: some background info for those interested:
https://economics.rabobank.com/publications/2017/m...

5/19/17

Hi Asatar,

I'm a penultimate year Econ/Fi student currently enrolled at a non-target/non-Russel group mid ranked university, however I'm averaging a high 2:1 which I'm confident I can turn into a 1:1 by the time I finish my undergrad (I'm only 1.5% off) . My plan right now is to nail a 1:1 and apply to a better known (target) school. However in the mean time I'm obviously looking to add to my CV by gaining some form of experience.

Now to the point, you said that emailing people isn't the norm, however, would it be a bad thing to do? Especially considering my position (I couldn't find an internship through typical recruiting channels), I currently have 50 ready for Monday morning essentially following the informational format you commonly see here. I'm currently focusing on PWM and AM (mutli-asset). What advice do you have for me and for others in a similar situation?

Thanks,
21

5/19/17

How non-target are we talking....? Top 20? Did you get all A/A* at A Level / GCSE?

Emailing people is fine, but it should never be forced like it appears to be in the US and there's no such thing as an 'informational interview' so please never use those words in an email!

Given your aspirations I'd suggest you take a look on LinkedIn and see if you can find anyone from your university working at a Wealth Management firm or one of the long-only funds and try and have a chat with them over coffee and get to know a bit more about what they do and the routes into their firms. Non-London is fine and may actually work better (I have Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh in mind, maybe Cambridge).

Essentially you need to get some work experience, even if it's just shadowing someone, but don't stress too much if nothing comes up.

Although they're often black holes, I'd suggest you do all the online applications for a grad position at all the long only funds and the PWM divisions of the larger banks, particularly JPM, HSBC, Barclays, Credit Suisse. The odds aren't great but a lot of people do get in through these.

I suggest you do some research and find all the names of relevant firms you can, here's a few to start you off.

  1. Asset Management - Aberdeen, BlackRock, Baillie Gifford, Schroders, Fidelity, Aviva, Standard Life, Legal & General, Henderson, Royal London, M&G, Kames Capital, Kilik, Credo Capital, Rathbones, Smith & Williamson, Invesco, Brewin Dolphin
  2. Private Wealth Management (specific) - Charles Stanley, Brewin Dolphin, Canaccord, Arbuthnot
  3. Private Wealth Management banks - HSBC, Barclays, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, State Street, Investec, Canaccord, Cheviot

Also as a backup consider doing a grad scheme at a Big4, potentially in Tax. As I mentioned above, in PWM/AM you definitely do not need to be in London so do not limit your search to there.

Happy to discuss further in PM if you wish.

5/20/17

Thanks for the response, I've sent a PM on an older account.
By the way, can I send LinkedIn messages just as I would normal emails?

5/20/17

In my experience, not many in the UK bother with Linkedin.

People in Law do though, like that fatso who complimented that chick some years back.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/19/17

Non-target, ok A-levels (say A*BB/AAB) and always in track for a first. Soon to start as an analyst in an EB (say Roths, Laz, Evercore, Greenhill, Moelis). If I was you I would message as many people as you can. Never ask for an internship, or for a "favour". Ask for a coffee, ask for advise, ask for their story.

I spent my placement year meeting up with a different person almost every week, most of them on the Director Managing Director range. Networking is critical. Just keep pushing and you will see how a door opens.

5/19/17

I'm going to be starting at Big4 TS/ CF. Is it really difficult to break into a BB firm? I know of some people who got into DB from similar positions. Or do most people got to MM then BB later?

5/20/17

It's actually quite possible if you go out and network with guys working in BBs. And it is certainly easier than it is in the US.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/20/17

Lots of people move into IBD from TS/CF at Big4. BB is going to be trickier but then I'm not sure you'd WANT to work at a BB over a mid market firm or advisory place.

5/24/17

can confirm - did an internship at an EB a couple years ago (Laz/EVR/CV) and I met numerous people who spent 2-3 years at big 4 corporate finance and joined my EB as a 1st year associate. That must have been one hell of a pay jump. Also met an MD who was a former big 4 corp finance employee before joining.

Also met a couple of magic circle lawyers who joined after finishing their training contract.

Coming from big 4 CF is very doable and more common than people think.

5/20/17

Was fortunate enough to have landed an summer internship at McK or BCG. I've read about how terrible the COL problem is in London for entry level MBB. If I get the FT-offer, should I try to get Germany as my home office? I speak German and a Nordic language natively for what it's worth. How would this position me for London PE after 2-years compared to having London as my home office?

Currently studying at LSE/Oxbridge...

5/20/17

Yeah. Europe's best McKinsey and BCG offices are in Germany.

But London PE is a hard sell then. You'll be better off doing PE in Germany.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/20/17

So I should try to get on their PE-rotation? Does your home office location really matter that much? I'd be travelling all the time anyways...

5/20/17

Home office does matter, in the sense that there's a ready pool of candidates from London already. That being said, the chances of MBB breaking into PE are slim anyways (20-25%), hence you'll need to keep your options open. BTW, are you joining as an SBA or an SAssoc?

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/20/17

Revealing that would narrow down the possible office locations of my internship. ;-) To my understanding there are cultural differences in the entry level titles at McK or BCG. It's european entry level...

5/20/17

You'll still make double of basically everyone else starting. If you want more go to banking. Yes, London is expensive and not you'll probably save more in a boring city like Frankfurt, but does that really matter when you make more than you can spend anyway?

Also, see my other post. German work culture is plain horrible and you won't be traveling all the time, especially in German offices. Don't do it. And for PE, go for McK or Bain. Those place really well, BCG not so much apparently, and most people I know who wanted PE got it.

5/20/17

My internship won't be in the LDN-office. Do people who receive a return offer usually get the chance to choose another starting office after their studies? If not, I would have to turn down the offer and apply for LDN-offices in my last year at Oxbridge/LSE. If I wanted to start in LDN full-time...

5/20/17

Depends, generally you don't get to choose because they don't want people gaming the system (e.g. interning in Sofia and then going to London). This counts especially for the German offices because you guys are the only once eligible for their cases. Just go to your internship, rock it, get a return offer and go from there. Each case is individual and they don't like it, but maybe the really want to keep you. Otherwise, I guess you can always silently re-recruit for Bain and the other in case you really want London. Also, why didn't you just recruit London straightaway if you want to end up there? That's a question you'll definitely get from everyone.

5/20/17

To answer your quesion, I studied at my home country before LSE/Oxbridge so applied through OCR here... I'm just gonna do my best at my internship and go from there!

5/20/17

--

5/20/17

Well the likelihood of guessing right with the odds of 0.33 are always worse than 0.5 right? haha

5/20/17

Agree with the BCG point. Bain has strong PE placement compared to BCG. And as mentioned, it's really hard to switch offices, especially between Eastern Europe and Western Europe. Or even within Western Europe.

That being said, it's significantly easier if you're in a solid Western European office like Germany's. The hard work ethic is exactly what makes most MFs accept candidates from there.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/20/17

So if I have studied in the UK at target and worked at McK in Frankfurt/Munich, it's not unthinkable to land in London PE after 2-years? Sorry for coming off a bit insecure but I'm making decisions that will affect the rest of my working career...

5/20/17

You're worrying a bit too much I think. Realistically it won't make that much difference long term whether you're in London or Germany as long as you're fluently bilingual. As long as you'd be happy to live in either city, take the offer with the best 'brand name'.

5/20/17

You're probably fine. Just choose where you want to live, if you can bear German wlb, and which firm you like best.

5/21/17

You're going to earn significantly more than most graduates who start in London, and you'll have negligible expenses during the week. To describe the the COL problem for a first year at MBB as "terrible" is pure delusion.

Chicka chicka yeah!

5/20/17

Will add my 2 cents here

(UK target 1st year doing Finance, got 3 spring weeks (non-convertible) - straight A student in secondary school; founded finance related society at uni (president as well); part of uni dance team)

Spring weeks are a load of luck - just because you go to a target doesn't mean you will get in. I know a load of people studying at non-targets / weak semi targets who got in (after linkedin searching, their background was pretty standard)

The way to get into the spring week programmes is all about passing numerical tests and being able to use the STAR technique during phone interviews. Simple as that. Little to no technical knowledge required.

I think for summer applications, university pedigree will play a bigger role and technical ability also. I don't know of any non-target student without a spring week getting a solid gig at a bank (FO) Big 4 yeah but not a IB. Also during the process for say AM or S+T it's a lot more technical eg stock pick, presentations etc so another area one can mess up in.

TL DR - UK recruiting is very structured and organised; go through the loops and hurdles and you're in. Networking gets you the opportunities to send an application not the actual position (at least for junior positions)

5/24/17

What's the STAR technique

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

5/25/17

answering interview qns like 'tell me a time you worked as a team' basically any competency interviews

S - Situation of event where you worked a s a team (describe)
T - Task of the event that required you to work as a team (describe)
A - Action you took in working as a team (explain your personal actions)
R - Results of working as a team (refer to the results of your contribution)

8/26/17

[delete]

7/20/17

How can you go to a target and actually found the finance society of your uni?

7/24/17

finance RELATED society - was literally right there lmao

5/20/17

Thanks for the post, very interesting read.

I'm currently at a very small boutique in London and looking to move to a bigger bank (though doesn't have to be a top BB). As I do not want to work 100h weeks, which banks are known to have a culture of not working people to the bone? If it comes at the cost of lower bonuses so be it, the industry pays far better than most of the jobs out there anyway so this really doesn't bother me.

5/20/17

I don't believe there are any banks out there which have a regular 100h work culture like they do Stateside. Sure, you'll have to pitch in for the all-nighter once in a while, but if you're thinking of a regular culture thing, there aren't any. Though, obviously, the work at BBs is still going to average 80-90 hours inspite of their efforts to curtail on insane working hours.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/20/17

80-90h is still only a marginal improvement on 100h. I'm looking for something where I generally would not have to work weekends and where I can be out of the office by 7.30-8PM on a weekday. Currently this is what I'm achieving at the firm I'm working at (front office debt role).

Surely there are other banks out there, perhaps the ones that don't quite make it to the top of the league tables, where the culture isn't insane about the hours? I have heard from an MD at a European bank that he left his job at an American BB because the hours were so horrible there. Can anyone confirm such claims that European banks are more relaxed?

5/20/17

That's because the Americans are not very efficient & milk advisory fees.

5/20/17

European banks like SocGen, DB, etc are definitely more relaxed, but you can expect to put in around 80 hrs at most big banks. Working on weekends happens somewhat more often, but at most places you have the option of working from home. Though the utilities that allow WFH may be shit, and not useful at all.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/21/17

I've heard first-hand that DB London is a horrible place right now for juniors. A significant amount were fired, others have left, and those have stayed are getting crushed as a result.

Chicka chicka yeah!

5/21/17

DB anywhere is a horrible place now lol. The bank's pretty much fucked....I mean, they withheld bonuses last year. But historically, DB's culture is less taxing than any American BB's.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/20/17

Are you at the analyst level? Unfortunately you will struggle to leave before 7 or 8 during the week as an analyst, unless you go to one of the small cap firms (see my original post).

Once you get up to Associate and higher, many of the mid market firms have a better W/L balance. For example I get in to the office for 7:30-8 and typically leave between 7 and 8. Obvious caveat being that no matter where you are, if it's deal crunch time you'll be there late.

Unfortunately you pretty much have to suck it up and take your lashes for 2-3 years as an analyst but then it does get better.

5/20/17

Does anyone know how being a visiting student for a semester at a target compares to getting a master's degree from a target when trying to get into BBs in London?

Admission for visiting student seems a bit easier and I'm fairly happy with my current university, but it's not really a target.

5/20/17

Generally you will not get access to the on-campus recruitment which is what really matters.. and the career service will be almost non existent. This is what you pay for at the end of the day

5/20/17

Thanks for the reply!

I'd prefer studying abroad in the US either as a visiting student or getting a MFin from a target, but since I most likely won't be able to work in the US due to Visa requirements, isn't OCR irrelevant?

Also, it's my understanding from this thread that access to OCR doesn't matter as much in the UK compared to the US as long as the place is a target?

5/20/17

Correct about OCR. There will be careers events but as I've mentioned before the process is a lot more fluid in the UK, and there's a few less hoops to jump through.

5/20/17

Agree that the process is more fluid but studying in a target school either in exchange or visiting student will not put you in the same position as regular students. I have been through this myself. The fact that you can get interviews leveraging on the name of the target and chat to people is another story

5/20/17

Strongly disagree with your no need to network advice!

Networking had a pivotal impact on my recruitment process.

1st year did no networking didn't get a single spring week interview.

Come second year I made sure to have known at least 1 person with a relatable background to me who would push my cv.
Had emailing correspondence with a head of M&A at GS/MS/JP etc. and randomly got invited to a final round interview in the office without having done any prior interviews/calls.

Reached out to the head of lending at think CS/Barcap/DB and was invited to their summer party met all the team.

My contacts also got me interviews by pushing my cv for several elite boutiques.

Others contacts in MM outright said they'd just take me on for the summer.

Maybe it's not the culture to do it, if so that should only entice people to do more of it, it's a great way to get an upper hand against people coming from Oxbridge etc. (Note I come from a European university)

5/20/17

If I gave the impression that you don't need to network, that was my mistake. Knowing people in the industry can be absolutely essential, especially if you're trying to make a move out of your initial job. What I meant is that you shouldn't treat it as forced and 'unnatural' as it appears to be portrayed in the US.

5/27/17

5/21/17

The title is a bit ridiculous. The share of UK investmentbanking in London is pretty low. For the most part it's investmentbanking in "Continental" Europe covered out of London.

5/22/17

Even if the share was less than 1% the title would still be relevant....? I believe the post refers to working in investment banking in London? Thanks for the helpful comments though, I'm sure other users will appreciate.

5/22/17

Much less relevant since the Brexit vote.

5/22/17

I doubt most deal teams would move out of London, even after Brexit. London is London is London is London. Advisors don't have a problem flying out of London. Traders and their associated BOs will be moved out though.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/22/17

The whole UK economy will be crippled. No foreign institution will invest in the UK any more. Of course the country teams will move to Germany, France, Spain, Italy, etc. respectively.

5/24/17
<span itemprop=name>Frank Quattrone</span>:

I doubt most deal teams would move out of London, even after Brexit. London is London is London is London. Advisors don't have a problem flying out of London. Traders and their associated BOs will be moved out though.

Front and middle office will not relocate. Back office (S&T and Asset Management) are forced to move out... It's all about bank passport

Nicest haircut than Bateman

5/28/17

Some advisory roles will likely move to Frankfurt, too, though London will still remain a large center. But lower operating costs, good infrastructure and no work permits for EU staff make it also feasible to move IBD roles out of London, especially when many teams have like 80%+ of their dealflow in Continental Europe.

5/22/17

I got an offer to do Undergrad in Economics and Finance at a strong semi target ( Bristol/Nottingham/Bath) and I am an Indian. Well being a non EU international student is kind of a disadvantage for me to get into BB or Top Boutiques. Well i am dead set about making into IBD. I am planning to take extra modules of German/French so that it could boost up my chance and I am kind of learning more about valuation and all that stuff right now as i am having my summer vacation so Do you guys think i should network more inorder to get an internship then a FT offer? ( Even though networking in UK aint "that" useful like networking in US)

5/22/17

I'd recommend taking German/French modules, only if you're willing and able to learn the language to a high level of fluency. You should be able to use it in a business environment, otherwise, there's no point. Learning about valuation is a good start. Plenty of resources lurking around WSO. I'd recommend having a read through the Investment Banking and Valuation book by Rosenbaum. I used that religiously.

There's no harm in networking. It's not as important as it is in the US, but as you'd be applying from a semi-target, it would definitely increase your chances of getting your application read.

Your main priority at the moment is to start preparing yourself for spring week applications. They open early into the academic year, and they recruit on a rolling basis. Familiarise yourself with the industry, and incorporate that information into your written answers in the application process. I can't stress enough how important it is to apply as early as you can to the spring weeks. All the best.

5/28/17

Yo man,

I was in a very similar position to yourself and gained an IBD summer at a BB.

100% agree with ThrowawayCactus - apply ASAP to Spring Weeks. Your chances of being accepted are far far higher when you apply within the first month (or first 2 weeks). They usually open a couple weeks before most universities start, so you can gain an edge by applying to several before you get to uni (this will also help you to avoid getting swamped with apps in the first few weeks).

I also did extra language modules, though no Banker/HR that spoke I to seemed to notice. Do it if you're actually interested, but don't feel obliged to do it for competitive reasons.

It will be useful to have an idea of the work done by M&A/ECM/DCM and what motivates mergers and IPOs. For valuation, learn the brief steps of each method and the key info you would need. Try to find out about recent deals too, it will give the things that you're learning about a lot more context (ask: why is the deal happening?).

Perhaps on the other side of summer, try to set up some calls with analysts at banks (more for learning about their roles than networking).

5/22/17

Does anyone here have experience of PE recruiting in the U.K. after 2 years of IB? Do people tend to ask for A levels ? What is it like? General infor appreciated

5/22/17

No experience of PE recruiting in the UK, but A Levels would be irrelevant. They'd care far more about your deal experience during your IB years. If they did care about your academics, they'd just look at your undergraduate studies.

5/22/17

Agree. PE recruiting does not care about your high-school grades, though some PEs will take your ranking (distinction, 2:1, etc) into account if faced with a difficult tie.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/24/17

Thanks. Any flavour on UK PE recruiting is highly appreciated

5/22/17

"UK" investment banking is history, R.I.P.

5/24/17

you never made it, did you?

5/24/17

Regarding IBD in Germany it should be pointed out that there are way too many German people in London/Frankfurt to be bothering with studying German. You need near native level as depending on the client you might need to translate whole presentations on quick notice (client suddenly wants German + English version, etc.). Germans also usually do manyinternships so a BB summer intern (Bachelor) might, say, have already worked at an elite boutique in Frankfurt the winter before and the corp fin department of a large cap company in the previous summer. Thus it makes this a very hard field to compete.

Also the working hours in Germany or in London-based teams that tend to have many Germans (FIG/Industrials) can be quite crushing. I personally know that 100h work weeks can be common in Frankfurt, including for interns. Culture can be also quite rough and from what I read here seems comparable to NYC.

On the upside, as pointed out, MF do indeed like to recruit Germans, including those moving from MBB to PE. Germany also has an interesting MM PE scene with all the successful small niche companies located there.

5/24/17

Same for French. There are so many French people in London that learning fluent French in order to get an edge in recruiting is completely useless (and very hard to achieve if you're not native).

5/24/17

In Europe nobody cares about Russell Group or not. So enjoy your two year analyst stint if you can get in now.

5/24/17

I'm actually looking for internship in IB boutique from London - Paris .. suggestions?
Undergrad, Off-cycle, going to graduate on February
Speaking fluent 3 languages, Eng - French - Italian

Nicest haircut than Bateman

5/24/17

Apply fast, try to network since most boutiques rely on networking to find people and give them interviews. This is for London btw.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/24/17

I've posted in a separate thread but just noticed this topic and was hoping someone from the UK could update me on my situation:

I'm at a target university in the UK, looking to apply for grad jobs in M&A in BB in London. However, I have an unusual profile given that my main internship was a one year long placement at one of the tech giants in Silicon Valley (think in terms of Apple, Google, Amazon etc). I have also two other internships at smaller finance boutiques in London before the tech one. In addition have received top grades both at school and the first few years of university.

I was wondering whether it's realistic with such a background to get into M&A for a graduate job given that I have no investment banking internship experience but have the equivalent in the tech field.

5/25/17

I'm sure Qatalyst would be willing to hire you.

Your profile is solid IMO for BB tech teams.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

5/25/17

By tech teams do you mean the technology department or are there tech teams in IBD? I genuinely don't want to be stuck programming.

EDIT: I've read into Qatalyst Partners and it seems extremely interesting, thanks a lot for the lead. It's exactly what I was looking for.

5/25/17

IBD teams covering the TMT industry, nothing to do with programming.

5/25/17

Thanks a lot, I'll read more into it. TMT is giving me a lot of material to absorb.

5/24/17

Best advice for those interested in investment banking in the UK. Learn a European language like German or French so you can be transferred to Frankfurt or Paris after Brexit.

5/24/17

@storyofmylife false. Investment banking will not move, your story is a non sense. Only sales and trading and few Asset Management will move due to bank passport.
Don't make terrorism

Nicest haircut than Bateman

5/24/17

There aren't enough Britons who speak German, French or another European language. Just like you who can't even speak English properly.

5/24/17

If you're working in deals you need to know foreign languages.
You're wondering how heavy is the cost of the probably shift? And transaction cost?
In addition to this, investment banking is not limited from banking passport or other Eu rules.
The only possible nightmare in Uk is the inflation, but BoE QE is going to end.
PS: I'm against Brexit but you missed the fact checking (-> story telling)

Nicest haircut than Bateman