[LONDON] Advice on current situation and transition to IBD/S&T

Loz's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 29

Will try to keep it short

I attended University in London (KCL), some would say target, some would not. I am originally from a European country; I had an offer from Bocconi but chose London over Milan, probably a mistake for where I am now but I had no idea at the time of what IBD or Finance were (and continued to be clueless for most of my 1st year).

In my 2nd year, learning about banking, I had my "wake up call", and after leveraging some connections I did a summer internship in Finance (back office) of a credit insurance company. This is not very well known even though it's subsidiary of a huge global group, but I was keen to get at least some experience on my cv to position myself for 3rd year recruiting. Did lot of excel and modelling for cost budgeting and such, but nothing too overly complex.

In my 3rd year, I graduated with very strong GPA (First). I applied for over 30+ bank but all I managed to secure was a grad programme in Risk for one the UK's largest Commercial/Retail bank. This bank has no advisory business, and very small S&T and DCM business with which I will probably never have any interaction if not by sticking with the employer for 5+ years, which I dread.

I originally welcomed this job (and thus missed 2019 recruiting season) as I thought it could have been a stepping stone, but after months in the bank I realised that it is not the place for me. In my role there is zero interaction with the outside, the job itself is not challenging at all and I am not learning anything. Pay is also pretty bad. I tried to sense if it was possible to move to the front office programme or change role (bear in mind that this would still be commercial banking, so closer to my goals but not ideal) but the HR is very strict. Doing a credit role at the moment, with market risk a possibility but can't tell.

I am very familiar with the usual technicals of IBD as I studied them but I am brushing up using the standard guides just to keep them in mind.

Would appreciate feedback on the following:

*I am mainly targeting 2020 Summer Analyst recruiting, as since I do not have any previous IBD experience I believe it would be very hard to enter FT. As I am also a recent grad I think I would be still considered early careers anyway?

*Trying to really step up my network game, reaching out to 40/50 uni alumni along the companies I am targeting. My aim is to get 1 - 2 informational interviews that hopefully will get my cv noticed when it comes to applying (e.g. asking for referrals).

*Considering also doing a MSc at a top uk target uni but not sure whether it is a good choice? I am in Banking already at the end of the day - the question is how favourable would a top MSc seen by BBs etc. compared to my kinda-relevant work experience ?

*Given my background, what areas of IBD, if any, do you think would be better suited for me? I am mainly interested in S&T but would welcome M&A for the development and opportunities offered.

* Am I "doing it right"? What extra steps would you recommend?

Thanks!

Comments (10)

Mar 13, 2019

Go for a master - will allow you to reset and recruit properly for entry level positions. Given you First class you should have no issues getting into LSE/LBS/Imperial for your MSC, you can also apply to Bocconi.

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Mar 13, 2019

In the UK I've not really seen anyone hand out brownie points for having a masters on top of your bachelors, especially as you've already attended a strong university. That being said, you could use it as a chance to sort of 'reset' your graduate recruitment like one of the other posters already mentioned.

Other things you could do is start studying towards CFA L1 (while working full time) and if you can't move internally, try and see if you can move to a different bank/fund/advisory firm. Also reach out to front office recruiters (Circle Square, Alan Mitchell, Arkesden, Walker Hamill, Dartmouth, One Search, Michael Page, etc) right now and see what they might be able to hook you up with.

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Mar 13, 2019

Thanks for the replies - I am just concerned about a MSc actual usefulness.

Would the MSc actually make me more employable in the eyes of UK's employers? Is it worth the 30-35k cost? Was thinking doing something like Comp Sci because it's cheaper and would give me more skills, just not sure how that would be viewed compared to a traditional Finance master. Anyway, I need financial aid and given that scholarships are now closed I would need to apply for 2020.

So to "reset" my recruitment cycle I can just wait for this summer's opening, and see what happens: given my background I could have a shot in securing at least interviews for SA roles for 2020, don't you think?

Also, forgot to mention, I did reach out to all those recruiting agencies but the market is pretty quiet at the moment and haven't got much feedback yet. Will keep trying though.

Mar 13, 2019
Loz:

Thanks for the replies - I am just concerned about a MSc actual usefulness.

Would the MSc actually make me more employable in the eyes of UK's employers? Is it worth the 30-35k cost? Was thinking doing something like Comp Sci because it's cheaper and would give me more skills, just not sure how that would be viewed compared to a traditional Finance master. Anyway, I need financial aid and given that scholarships are now closed I would need to apply for 2020.

In the UK I don't think an MSc is given much value in finance, at least I've not seen it get any special recognition. Everywhere I've worked, people with MSc's worked alongside those with just BSc's with no difference whatsoever. Taking into account the not insignificant cost, pausing your career/income and income progression for a year, I don't see it as being worth it.

A Comp Sci masters is more of a career change move, so it's not really the same as getting an MSc in Finance. If that's the direction you want to move in, then perhaps it does become worth it.

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Mar 13, 2019

It doesn't mean you'll start at a more senior position, but an MSc can help you become more competitive when applying to internships given that most people applying from Continental/Northern Europe will have one.

Mar 13, 2019

I thought SA roles are for penultimate year students. Is that not true?

Apr 3, 2019

No, not always. Some banks require penultimate year only (Laz, Barcap, etc.) while others will take final year (JPM, Citi, etc.).

Mar 13, 2019

It is true indeed, but I do not see any other opportunity to break in a FT role, as most banks fill their analyst classes with return offers.

I have seen many people doing a SA out of undergrad or masters, and I do not think there will be any problem as long as I wait 1-year. Some banks may object to this but I do not think that there is any harm in trying.

Mar 19, 2019

Hope this helps.

  • I agree with this. Most banks hire heavily out of their SA class and their FT recruiting is generally filled up with SA's from other banks who have jumped ship. Hard process to get into if you haven't done an internship. Yes, internships are mostly geared toward penultimate/ final year students BUT there are some banks who make exceptions to this. Read the small print on the recruitment portals before applying. This will somewhat limit your options but by no means would close the door on opportunities.
  • Networking is always a good idea.
  • I have seen plenty of undergrads scoop internships from under masters students. I don't think masters are really unnecessary other than for people looking to do 'career resets'. From what I've read, I think you can probably get a SA role without doing a masters, and it'll be very cost saving to you as well. However if you want to LSE, Imperial and LBS are obviously great schools and you'll pretty much guarantee yourself a summer internship if you come out of one of those with a good GPA.
  • I think both are really different and it comes down to personal preference. I wouldn't be applying to careers in S&T and IB, so I would try to pick one before the application process begins.
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Mar 19, 2019
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