Is it possible to move between countries?

alalalalala's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 51

Hi! I really enjoy traveling and I was wondering if working for a BB and doing IB is a good idea? Like is it easy to switch between offices in different countries to get a global experience? Thanks!

Comments (75)

Jan 17, 2018

Not completely sure but I could tend to say that it's not that easy. Just travel during vacation time, you will def have enough money from your job to be able to afford it.

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Jan 18, 2018

Once you've become established (2+ years I'd say) and have built a good reputation for yourself as a trustworthy, hardworking employee and your firm has locations in your area of expertise (ie if you're in IB obviously make sure these other locations are too, and not a WM branch or something), then there's usually no reason they wouldn't let you transfer. Maybe if there just was no way they could possibly accommodate you at the new location/no way they could live without you at the current, but I'm sure they'd figure it out for an employee they like enough to keep happy and at the firm long term.

My (now) ex requested to move to his bank's London location after 2 years in NYC. Then, he went to Barcelona after 1 year in London. They seemed super chill about it all, and even paid for 100% of his moving expenses. So just look into it and ask your boss how feasible it would be/when would be best.

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Jan 18, 2018

Okay great! This is what I was thinking of doing. Thank you so much!

Jan 18, 2018

of course! glad I could help!

What countries are you thinking of trying out?

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Jan 19, 2018

I really want to practice my French (I've been studying it for 7 years) so I want to move to Paris or elsewhere in France!

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Jan 20, 2018

Sounds awesome! Best of luck!

Jan 18, 2018

word

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Jan 20, 2018

bump

Jan 20, 2018

At big four its difficult, since often the European offices are a separate legal entity and almost function as separate companies. Transferring is basically applying to a separate company, and the transfer is permanent. That said, you can often get international projects from the U.S. office (E.g. two multinationals merge and need to decide which global offices to close, so you visit all of them).

Jan 20, 2018

Big 4 from my experience is hard, Especially if your from an overseas office. You will have to the office desired Partners support and your home offices Partner support to put you in the process realistically if you want a chance at getting transferred.

For the MBB I can't comment but to my understanding is it's a lot easier.

Jan 20, 2018

Yep, super hard in the Big 4--you basically need to quit your job with the US firm and get re-hired by the member firm in whatever country you're trying to move to. Global deployments are possible, but not easy to get, especially not when you're brand new to the firm.

Jan 18, 2018

I know a lot of people who've done it, but you generally need to be there for a couple of years first. The risk is that you could be moved back with little warning if headcount issues emerge in the new location (they'd rather relocate people than fire them).

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Jan 19, 2018

Got it! I'm trying to move from a smaller one to a bigger one if I do it, so we'll see how that plays out haha

Jan 20, 2018

Generally, if you are in a large bulge bracket firm, there will be opportunities to transfer and depending on which industry team you're in (energy, metals & mining and power tend to be the most global), you can rely on your MDs or HR to help you. That having been said, I would ask the following questions:

Are you of South African origin or descent? Do you have any connection to South Africa?

The South african business community can be very tight knit / clubby and there many very strong graduates of Wits / Stellenbosch / Cape Town who are local, know their rugby, etc.

I would also note that South African capital markets are extremely well developed and analogous to Australia, Canada or the UK as opposed to a true emerging markets

If I was in your situation and wanted emerging markets exposure, I would lateral to London or Hong Kong as most emerging markets work are done out of these offices. Subsaharan Africa, Central and Eastern Euorope and the Middle East are all supported out of London at my shop.

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Jan 20, 2018

+1 Thanks for the advice. That was very helpful.

I don't have any real connection to South Africa other than professional connections from previous internships (A few friends in PE and in industry- shipping and mining).

I am originally from Texas so I have no connection to South Africa other than the aforementioned contacts. The business community in Texas seems to be similar to what you are describing (We call it a good old boys club). We love our football, and a lot of us went to the same Uni. It can be tough for outsiders to "break in" both professionally and socially.

I am interested in South Africa specifically because of its role as the financial gateway to Africa as well as its culture. I have traveled in Africa extensively and really enjoyed my time in South Africa. The culture reminded me a lot of Texas, but with more of a frontier feel. It's a place that I could see myself living long term if things worked out professionally (not the case with Hong Kong).

It sounds like I will definitely have an opportunity to request a transfer. I will be in one of the global industries you mentioned and my bank has a strong presence in Joburg's IBD scene. My only worry is that MDs would not appreciate a request to transfer out of their office. Any tips on how to request this transfer without burning bridges?

"Utter commitment to the task at hand."

Jan 20, 2018

Sounds like you want more vacation days.

Jan 20, 2018
karypto:

Sounds like you want more vacation days.

Haha very true. Don't we all...

"Utter commitment to the task at hand."

Jan 20, 2018

Lateraling at a BB firm is pretty easy, and after two years as an analyst, people will be supportive; most firms like to keep our best people in house.

If you are in an energy team in Houston, you will get a lot of exposure to colleagues in London as well, and that will help.

My recommendation would be to lateral to London and get to know the people in Johannesburg over time, and then make that jump. Unless you are at Barclays (which has a huge RSA presence through ABSA), most of the RSA execution is done in London anyway since its essentially a day trip to fly over, and the people on the ground are MDs / Directors / VPs.

Jan 20, 2018

That said, you could hypothetically move to Johannesburg but you would not really have in-bank connections or connections in RSA, and this may hurt you a bit over time, relative to going to London first.

But bottom line is, its all doable.

Jan 20, 2018

Hmmm I don't think Southwest is gonna get your there boss

Jan 20, 2018

Best way to transfer to an office of your choice (assuming you can work in one of the available roles)

from my past exp with this: if you work at a solid bank - you should be able to login and work out of any office in the world (assuming there is some spare desk space) - do this at the office you intend to transfer to and begin your internal network process from there. Don't forget to do some socializing if possible. Good luck

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Jan 19, 2018

Sometimes it's easier to transfer to a smaller office, as they need more man power. Heard of a girl at a Houston boutique who was actually approached by the company to be a lead analyst in London.

JC, john cena, jesus christ, etc.

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Jan 19, 2018

Okay cool thank you!

Jan 20, 2018

It depends what kind of real estate position you have. The skill sets are definitely transferable but if you're a broker and you move to a new country then you're essentially starting your career over with no pipeline or relationships. If you're in some kind of property management or REPE then you will likely have very usable skills regardless of where you work. You would also have to learn the unique laws that each country and state has regarding real estate.

giddy up

Jan 20, 2018

Thanks. I am looking for an acquisition role with REPE or institutional funds in other country.

Jan 20, 2018
kamikade:

Thanks. I am looking for an acquisition role with REPE or institutional funds in other country.

never easy, but it depends (where? middle east? china?). sounds like you're still in college from your other posts. you can try but don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Jan 20, 2018

Yeah I am finishing my degree but I have been working full time at this core RE fund for close to a year. This fund is pretty good, with a huge AUM, solid track record, large deal pipeline and decent compensation. However, I would like to gain international experience, and experience in development, value-add and opportunity property type. And yeah I am looking for an opportunity in middle east, china or south east asia.

Jan 20, 2018
kamikade:

And yeah I am looking for an opportunity in middle east, china or south east asia.

this will definitely make a difference. if you're not fluent in mandarin don't even bother with china.

Jan 20, 2018

Language skills are important, and so is whether you're moving from a more "advanced" real estate economy. The best situation for moving between countries would be if you started in New York of London and wanted to move to say Shanghai, and of course were fluent in Mandarin. This would not be hard at all. In fact, your U.S. experience would arguably be better than local China experience (for junior level roles).

If you're moving from say India to New York, that's going to be harder. While each market has its own complexities, the lack of transparency/information flow in a place like India means that comparative analysis / valuation is less complex... financing structures are also less complex, etc... so if you were moving from India to the U.S., you would be at a disadvantage.

Prospie is correct. If you're already in college and don't speak chinese then forget about China permanently. SEA there might be more opportunity for you, particularly if you're currently with a solid firm.

The middle east is also very doable, though the places you'd really want to work, like SWFs with global/regional coverage, are extremely hard to get into and tend to hire associates only not analysts. Working at a company that focused on actual investments in the ME may not be a good idea. The markets are so distorted by government / royalty capital that's not chasing actual return (but rather returns to the economy as a whole, status, etc.) that it's hard to judge deals based on the usual criteria, etc... It's a better place to work as a developer or architect than an investor, IMHO (they build a lot of dope buildings and mixed use master planned communities and all that shit).

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Jan 20, 2018

Thanks for all advice. It seems to be a lot harder than I used to think (I guess China is out of the picture now since my Mandarin is very basic). But I will try to network now and see if there are opportunities in the future.

Jan 19, 2018

2 years of strong reviews.

Should know the local language of the country you're going to.

Get some seniors behind you.

It gets surprisingly political.

But it's doable.

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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Jan 20, 2018

Hi SA-123456, no, I never sleep and so I can respond to any lonely threads (like this one) at all hours of the night. Impressive, I know ;-)

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  • More suggestions...

Or maybe the following users have something to say: @ArtemL @James-Webs @unbiasedpitch

Fingers crossed that one of those helps you.

Best Response
Jan 19, 2018

At a BB and it happens fairly often here. Like one of the posters above said, get 2 or 3 years of solid performance under your belt and the firm will usually try and accommodate you to keep you at the firm.

Some BBs have specific programs at the junior level where you swap with an analyst/associate at another location for a few years to get international experience.

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Jan 20, 2018

HSBC has a great rotational program. A big part of working at HSBC is about being 'international mobile'. I know a friend of mine in Global Markets who started in Hong Kong, then moved to New York. She is probably moving to London afterwards. Check it out at hsbcnet.com

Although a massive downer is that while your pay is indexed to local pay conditions, moving every 18 months is a massive financial burden...some analysts aren't too happy about that

Jan 20, 2018

bump

I've heard GS and JPM support mobility and MS generally doesn't or very rare.

Jan 20, 2018

I know of a few MS analysts within the same group were able to move to other offices... could be that it's a really good group, those analysts are particularly talented, or MS has a decent mobility program...

I heard from a friend at GS the internal mobility is good. And heard the same for JPM as well. Know a friend who's done it at CS.

Jan 20, 2018

Yes, I forgot about CS. Is it MS M&A?

Jan 20, 2018

MS: It was one location to another, but same industry group.

Jan 19, 2018

In my bank, there's a program for analysts to spend 6-12 months at another office as an international rotation program during their 3rd analyst year. I assume other BB's have similar opportunities in place.

    • 1
Jan 20, 2018

Completely depends on the desk. In particular, I think FX makes it very easy since we all work together, I know a few rates people who have switched btwn Lon-NY

Jack: They're all former investment bankers who were laid off from that economic crisis that Nancy Pelosi caused. They have zero real world skills, but God they work hard.
-30 Rock

Jan 20, 2018

thx so far. if its more depending on the desk, which other desks will provide you with good transfer opps (i.e. from london to hk/sin or maybenyc) ?

any people who made the above mentinoned transfer and could give some comments?

would be great...

Jan 20, 2018

I've seen a few Structuring people hop between regions. I guess it makes sense, given the highly transferable nature of the skill-set. I know one structurer, who transfered from NYC to HK.

Jan 20, 2018

As Revsly mentioned a lot about desk. In addition to FX, structured credit is also one team, and they are always on video chat with the NY office + NY based ppl working for short period on LND (couple of days).

Jan 20, 2018

by the way: any truth about goldman reputation for encouraging/forcing people to move through various depratments and geographic locations?

any had personal experience or othe insights into this?

Jan 20, 2018

by the way: any truth about goldman's reputation for encouraging/forcing people to move through various departments and geographic locations?

can anyone provide info on this from personal experience or other sources?

Jan 20, 2018

I know a transfer from London to NY, who was doing fairly well in London, but was moved in order to pick up coverage on some key North American accounts. The rationale for the move was because the main salesperson for those NA accounts retired and I guess they figured the London person was the best available substitute.

I remember candidly asking them during a lunch-meeting, they were definitely "encouraged / asked" to move offices (i.e. the kind where saying "no" would raise some eyebrows).

That's just one incident I know first hand. Not saying its widespread or otherwise.

Jan 20, 2018

thanks again for the info. btw: how do em desks compare in terms of intl transfer opps, especially to em countries?

Jan 19, 2018

It also helps if you have personal connections in the country / location you want to go to. Family back home, spouse relocating for work, etc. - leverage those points to sway folks internally on making your move possible, noting all the useful comments above as well.

    • 1
Jan 20, 2018

BUMP...

Jan 20, 2018

Here's a pro tip. If you see someone who has done something you want to do; ask them how they did it. Asking a bunch of North American work-a-holics about some niche transfer is highly unlikely to lead to a substantive answer. Messaging this person via InMail or email will lead to better results.

    • 1
Jan 19, 2018

It would depend on the organization, and the team you are in. I am not in FO, but I have worked in 9 countries in my first few years, and now have permanently relocated.

I did make it fairly well known with my Director that the travelling and exposure to different markets is what I wanted. He said perform first then he would see what he could do. Best experiences ever. And splashing on your corp card makes it even better.

    • 2
Jan 20, 2018

Happens all of the time. Only limitation is how big the industry is in your target country / whether language is an issue. I have foreign recruiters reach out to me on a semi-regular basis.

Jan 20, 2018

Analyst at my MM moved to London after 2 years in the States.

Jan 20, 2018

are you from asia?

Jan 20, 2018

yes

Jan 20, 2018

Most banks have an official sort of program which lets you move after your 2nd or 3rd year, however I know of quite a few people who moved during or right after their first year, just as people switch between teams etc. However there usually needs to be a need for people in the place you are going.

As for the actual question no I don't think its viewed the same as switching banks and it is a lot easier to make up a reason that sounds good (though if you want to move country you probably have a good one already anyhow).

Jan 20, 2018

wanted to move to london/ny to be closer to the action.. problem is atm those 2 economies are not doing the greatest and a lot of offices are not very busy with deals...

Jan 20, 2018

Very flexible. Third year analyst from Paris (or london, forgot which) in NY office. NY associate moving to HK. Both in advisory.

Jan 20, 2018

Also interested - anyone got any more info / anecdotes?

Jan 20, 2018

Some banks are keen to move people around for various reasons: international experience, manage headcount etc. My bank has actually sent an email out requesting people who are interested, to put their hand up. Some of my colleagues have gone to other cities with positive results.

Assuming you are looking to move to NYC, look into an L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee).

Jan 20, 2018
Jan 20, 2018
Jan 20, 2018