Is a bird in the hand really worth two in the bush?

Trader11's picture
Rank: Chimp | 3

Dear all,

It's my first post here at WSOasis - and it's a questions. Until recently, I haven't had much to contribute, unfortunately.

My situation is as follows:

-27yrs, Germany

-MSc Finance (Capital Markets) from Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (a small private German institution, not a target school for BBs), graduate in September 2011, average grades

  • last 5 yrs part-time employed (during university) at Commerzbank, 2nd largest bank in Germany but a no-name player in capital markets
  • moved from private banking to corporate banking, the department hedges interest rate, currency, and commodity price risks for German small and midcap companies
  • I have two offers:
  1. Commerzbank; job would be the same as now (corporate banking sales), but in Hamburg, yet nicely compensated (~ EU60k), the upside, however is limited in this department
  2. Nomura Germany: Equity Sales, internship, Frankfurt

It's a dilemma. I could take the position at Commerzbank, earn decent money, no stress, and a safe job. Or I could pursue my dream to break into investment banking, and try to get into Nomura's graduate program after the internship. However, I run the risk of not being taken ( for whatever reason, look at the markets...). Salary at Nomura wouldn't match what I could earn at Commerzbank for the next 2 yrs or so I guess, let alone the internship comp.

Were the times somewhat different, without those awful debt crises and stuff, I'd accept Nomura at the drop of a hat. At the moment, this option seems very risky. They'd find that in 6 months they have no headcount or I could fail to pass the AC, many questionsmarks here.

I thought to stay at Commerzbank, work my way up into their capital markets business and after a few years I could try to get into a top tier bank, or a near-top tier bank like Nomura. But I'd easily pass 30 or more until this would be the case.

I'm really freaking out. Maybe I should just flip a coin.

What would you guys suggest? I really wanna get into the business, but neither of the both ways is a safe one - which one is more likely to lead to success? At Nomura I could get there within a year or so - or be jobless. At Commerzbank it might take 4 years or more - with the risk of being stuck in mediocrity.

Sorry for the long issue, hope it's interesting for one or another. Thanks for advice, appreciate it.

Comments (3)

Aug 14, 2011

Safety and security don't exist, only the illusion of then, which is there to placate those who don't want to take responsibilities of living their lives by their own means and not as wage slaves. Take the riskier job. You'll regret it in the long run if you don't.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

  • Schopenhauer
Aug 14, 2011

I just got back from Germany... I was at Goethe University in Frankfurt... Honestly I would go with the position at Commerzbank. Although the IBD is smaller than other banks of its size Commerzbank is a major player in Europe. I visited the trading floor during an interview at Commerzbank and I was told that it was the largest trading floor in continental Europe. Commerzbank must have at least 200 traders in Frankfurt, and I think they have a capital markets divison in London now also. I am sure after a year or so you could move back to Frankfurt and transition to the IBD capital markets side, or you could try one of the shops in Hamburg (HSH Nordbank or Warburg). In any case 60k euro is very decent for Hamburg. You could definitely live well there and transition later to investment banking. I would take the sure thing... I was truly amazed at how many banks were in Frankfurt, Muenchen, Berlin, and Koeln. I think you'll have no problem breaking into the industry within a year or so.... Viel Glueck!

Aug 15, 2011
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