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Comments (24)

  • NA in IB-M&A
Oct 13, 2020 - 4:07am

IBD experience London would give you a much better training than HK. Also, it's a lot easier to go from London to HK, rather than the other way around.

But in either case, it will be extremely difficult to get a FT gig in NYC afterwards unless you study / have citizenship in the US.

  • NA in IB-M&A
Oct 13, 2020 - 6:57am

NYC would probably discount experience from either office, but would prefer London given their markets are more similar (i.e. mature). HK / Asia is an entirely different market that is primarily focused on growth - hence more IPOs, private placements, etc. rather than M&A, which aren't necessarily the most technical side of IBD. Maybe less so than in the past, but London would still give you a more well-rounded training and a more sophisticated deal exposure.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Oct 13, 2020 - 5:46am

London by a long shot. Worked as a SA in HK and spent most of the time on translation/other grunt work. Would highly recommend London over HK if you're interested in learning about corporate finance. You'll get more sophisticated transactions, better modeling experience, and a more structured process when it comes to buy-side recruiting (you'll probably be paid more in HK but that shouldn't be a factor this early in your career).

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Oct 13, 2020 - 5:58am

If your mandarin and chinese writing are good, you can consider HK.

If you want to work in HK, intern in HK. If you want to work in London, then London. London is marginally better than HK for lateraling to NY.

Lateraling from London to HK is difficult unlike how most people claim "it is easier to go London to HK rather than the other way round". BB in HK does not require much technical and they would rather hire someone from Chinese IBs with more experiences rather than someone with London (with no transferrable skill).

Market nature is very different, most sectors you are looking at companies with completely different strategies / valuation / etc. For example, you would never look at companies like PDD in European consumer or Lufax / Ant in European FIG. Some MFs occasionally hire those from London, but more from NY and even more often HK

Teams that are open to lateral from overseas offices typically: 1. you know the people inside; 2: they are shitty teams that have hard time getting candidates they want abroad; 3: you are a top performer and your group head make the ask on behalf of you

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Oct 13, 2020 - 6:25am

How much valuation work did you actually do for PDD/Ant IPOs? 

Wouldn't say Asian MFs mostly hire from HK BBs, especially in recent years. Most HK BB junior bankers won't even get PE exits these days. NYC/London background can be a differentiator. 

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Oct 13, 2020 - 7:43am

While modeling in Asia is lame, most MF invest in growth equity in China. Don't think there is substantial demand for so-called sophisticated modeling.

Also, for someone who is coming back to HK but wanted to continuing working in sell side, execution experience in HK IPO is way more valuable than M&A in London. As you said, valuation for PDD is not technical. So there is no demand for such skill set, someone who knows China tech/consumer sectors + solid experience in IPO execution would be way more competitive.

Most HK BB juniors from European BBs don't get good PE exit, but many from American BBs in HK have decent exits. Look at BAML, they have few deals but frequently send juniors to large PEs in China while exits from UBS/CS are much rarer.

Oct 19, 2020 - 9:10am

Actually had a similar discussion with a few Chinese friends at the Analyst/Assoc. level at BBs in London.

Having talked to HHs, the general feedback was that LN experience is valuable IF the candidate has prior experience in China, whether through undergrad or via FT work experience. Rationale is that PEs prefer candidates who understand / have knowledge of the domestic market and understands its culture. Modelling in HK is definitely less heavy than in LN, but it's much more easily taught compared to soft skills such as how to interact with say Chinese management. There are of course exceptions, but the general tendency seems to lean towards HK bankers compared to LN ones

Nov 7, 2020 - 1:27am

The technical training in London is better but you'd have more local knowledge/market colour/relationship building if you start out in HK.

I can tell you that financial modelling doesn't matter as much in HK (by a wide margin vs. London), more so for sellside than buyside but still. 

For buyside exits - don't matter London/HK, I've seen both happen and tbh given hiring decisions rely a lot on background checking - it'd be easier for them to check with their HK based friends and London friends.

PM me if you need more help.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 7, 2020 - 9:21am

Let's say you are a dual citizen with citizenship in US and Europe, is it easy to lateral from Europe to NYC? How about if you're in a niche group like structured products?

Nov 7, 2020 - 10:35am


In the days of the Commonwealth, they use to say FILTH: Failed in London, Try Hong Kong.

While those days are long gone, in my opinion I would opt for London. Having worked in both cities, albeit on the buyside dealing with the IB/ER side, my views are:

Technical skills: London - I was amazed at the difference in skillset between analysts from both cities. The ones in London seemed to have had much better training.

Lateral Ops - London, it's easier to go to HK from London versus the other way around.

Peers: London - The number of juniors in HK's IB I ran across because their dads are crazy rich Asians blew my mind. Obviously, this happens in London too, but these kids won't be fired for doing nothing and guess who will be picking up their slack? You! I've also interviewed a fair amount of HK IB analysts who then go to the US for their MBAs, so many spoiled kids who failed the technical questions.

Cities: London - both cities are experiencing problems, but if I would bet on one city's future over the other as a global financial capital, it would be London over Hong Kong. Singapore would be a different story.

Exit ops: London - not sure on the PE side but in terms of HFs, there are more buyside roles in London than HK. I find the HK HFs are dominated by momentum trader types and a few PM friends who work there source juniors from London / NYC who want to move back home after. They all lament the lack of training of HK juniors in IB.

This is all anecdotal of course, but if I had to make the decision, I would go London.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 1, 2021 - 11:41pm

Sure... HK is totally not overbanked...

Higher density of banking activity than London 100%

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