Korean for Hong Kong BB

shimshimhae's picture
Rank: Monkey | 46

I've heard hong kong bank divisions want fluent mandarin speakers for just about everyone.

But since Hong Kong is Asia's main office other than Japan, and I know Korean deals are originated out of Hong Kong, wouldn't they also want Korean speakers?

Have you heard anyone who speaks just Korean and English and is working in Hong Kong?

Would someone be limited in terms of exit opportunities for Asia if they only spoke Korean and English?

Comments (27)

Feb 23, 2012

oh mr. ronery! Any reason as to why you would want to work in China vs. Korea? or even the U.S.?

Feb 23, 2012

I want to be in Asia long term, and I feel like starting out there would be more helpful than starting out in the States.

I don't want to start out in Korea because I don't want to pidgeonhole myself there for my career.

Feb 23, 2012

not unheard of, just not common

Feb 23, 2012

GongFu - I noticed you're working in Hong Kong. Could I pm you some more questions?

Feb 23, 2012

No it is not. From my experience networking and searching up Korean professionals in HK most of them speak Korean and English. I know that theres at least 4 MDs in Blackstone in HK who are Korean and I don't think they speak Chinese at all. Also, the current head of Asia-Pacific I believe for UBS is Korean and it doesn't say that he speaks Chinese.

Hope it helps.

    • 1
Feb 23, 2012

Thanks so much syoon!

Feb 23, 2012

Many BB has a country team covering Korea based in HK so you will likely get your best shot there. Good luck.

Feb 23, 2012

All educated Koreans can write Chinese so Koreans are fine in hong kong

Feb 24, 2012

What level within the bank are you talking about? I know a few korean bankers within JPM HK that don't speak any chinese.VP level.

Don't know about exit opps, but the lack of chinese skills will surely limit progress within mainland China and PEs based in China (common sense).

You could try Samsung Securities, the bank is Korean but nobody speaks Korean inside, too bad they only fired about 100 people. IB is sort of OK i heard.

Feb 24, 2012

for junior level analysts, there is a higher chance for you to get staffed on deals from the country that you speak the language of. e.g. mandarin speakers for chinese deals, korean speakers for korean deals

Feb 24, 2012

There are very rare instances when a HK office will take a non-Mandarin speaker, but usually this happens when they do an internal transfer (ex. trader from Barclays NY to HK). Is it a priority that you be in HK?

Feb 24, 2012
HarvardOrBust:

There are very rare instances when a HK office will take a non-Mandarin speaker, but usually this happens when they do an internal transfer (ex. trader from Barclays NY to HK). Is it a priority that you be in HK?

What are you talking about? I interned on the BarCap HK trading floor last summer and I would say over 50% of the sales/traders don't speak Mandarin, and this is true at all levels (less so at the junior level)

Feb 24, 2012

hahaha oh crap..i guess I need to study chinese like mad for the next year and half
Despite being born in Korea, I lived most of my life in HK and all my fam/friends are here so I'd prefer to stay here if possible. Its almost impossible to get a position in NY as a foreigner as well...so HK is really my only shot

Feb 24, 2012

It might be a different story since you grew up in HK. Not sure.

Feb 24, 2012

most of the hk people don't speak mandarian, a small part of em can speak but with a strong cantonese accent, weired enough that even chinese ppl couldn't understand. Since you fluent in english, i think there must be certain places where the people have the same background like u, i.e. GS, MS.. I always thought there are a lot of native english speakers there, correct me if i was wrong. Im a local hk person

I create nothing, I own.
-Gordon Gekko

Feb 24, 2012

lots of non-mandarin speakers in S&T in HK; very few in IBD

Feb 24, 2012

lots of non-mandarin speakers in S&T in HK; very few in IBD

Feb 24, 2012

thank you for all the responses!
so I would only face little if any discrimination in the S&T application process?
Why is it that S&T tend to have numerous non-mandarin speakers- is it because they tend to cater to western institutional clients?

Feb 24, 2012

yes. and traders deal more with numbers. in ibd you have to do in depth due diligence on chinese companies and translation skills are important

Feb 24, 2012

You will need to read and write Korean to do Korean deals

Feb 24, 2012

Right, are you aware of what the level of required proficiency is? 100% native or is less okay?

Feb 24, 2012
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Feb 24, 2012