Self-Intro + Situation:UK vs US vs Germany for IB

Germanmonkey's picture
Rank: Chimp | 12

Hello fellow monkeys,
I've been lurking for a couple of months, but am in need of some advice, so here goes: I am a German citizen currently studying economics at a "target" university in London. I have been getting good grades, First Class Honours. But I am unsure where I want to start my career, once I'm done with undergrad. I know I want to start off with a two year IB analyst stint, and then either continue in IB or, if possible, switch to PE. Therefore, I'm starting to think about where I would eventually like to do my internship. So far so good. However, I don't know where the best place to work would be. My options are Germany(probably the banking-hub Frankfurt) England(London) or, if possible and/or advisable, the USA.The question is,
a) Which of the three countries has 1) the best employment opportunities and 2) long-term outlook for the IB/PE fields? Would I have lesser opportunities working in IB/PE in Germany as opposed to the UK or the US? and
b) How difficult is it for a foreigner to successfully work/ rise in the ranks of a IB/PE firm in the US? Would I be at a disadvantage when competing with native Americans for jobs/promotions?
Thanks in advance for all answers, your help is greatly appreciated!

Comments (11)

Jan 5, 2013

1) Seems like you are at the LSE, well done (otherwise Imperial, doubt Oxbridge)
2) London - not Frankfurt
3) You are not a US citizen don't bother with NY, yet...
4) You are German, plenty of Germans in the city, tons of positive stereotypes as to your work ethics and you will find most IB teams full of you guys
5) If you are at the LSE - it's the most banker intense university in Europe, talk to people around you, they'll sort you out. It's actually 2 Germans who helped me figure out that you were supposed to apply for grad programs by october the latest...

PE field - shit outlook across the globe.
IB field - you are still OK, and hope that in 3 years time PE will pick back up ;)

Jan 5, 2013

Thanks for the encouragement Disjoint, I'll definitely start networking more.

Jan 5, 2013

US seems a bit un-doable. First, there is the whole access to recruitment problem. And second, there is the visa issue. You are better off concentrating on London/Frankfurt/Zurich.

Jan 5, 2013
JamesHetfield:

You are better off concentrating on London/Frankfurt/Zurich.

Moving to/working in Switzerland as an EU Citizen should be no problem, but would you consider this advisable(long term outlook for IB, job opportunities etc.)?

Jan 5, 2013
Germanmonkey:
JamesHetfield:

You are better off concentrating on London/Frankfurt/Zurich.

Moving to/working in Switzerland as an EU Citizen should be no problem, but would you consider this advisable(long term outlook for IB, job opportunities etc.)?

Switzerland = private banking, and the odd funds; no respectable IB. Germanmonkey have you been living under a rock?
London, end off. Frankfurt to a lesser extent, but you'll make more money latteraling from London to Frankfurt.

Jan 5, 2013

I would go for the US. I believe it would be harder to lateral your way into the US later on as there would be no reason for you to change and cost them a visa when you're working at a firm just fine in London. Obviously recruiting trips would be much harder, but you could talk to people who graduated from your school or any UK university and network with them to see how they made it over there (it gives you a much needed connection to them).
Additionally, tax reasons help you in the US, so you would save more money. Once you have a visa, it's not so much a matter of promotions or anything, and then you can always apply for residency after 5 years (I think it's 4 or 5). Since you already have EU citizenship, it's much easier to just jump back when you want, rather than have to try harder later on.

I, personally, would then want to be in the US then London then Frankfurt/Zurich (Depends on your culture preferences).

Jan 13, 2013

Germanmonkey, let me ask you a question: where -- you might not have decided this yet -- do you think you'll want to live in the long run, to raise your future children?

Would it be to your advantage to have experience in banking in the USA when returning to Germany several years from now, or would a German employer discount those years abroad?

You obviously speak English well enough to live in the USA or UK for the long term if you so desired. While a US company will have to get you a visa, they won't hold it against you when staying employed.

If I could ask the opposite questions you're asking: how easy is it for an American to make it in finance in the German-speaking world? I've always wanted to live in Switzerland or Austria. Are Germans tolerant of someone who's still mastering the language?

Jan 15, 2013

Hello Joralemon,
that's definitely food for thought. I will probably eventually settle down in Germany, I would just like to work in the US for a couple of years, because it's such an interesting place to live. However, my best option might be to find a German bank with a US branch, and then see if I can transfer for a while. Germany is very open to (well qualified) foreigners. In fact, in Berlin, where I'm from, one hears English all the time. However, as far as I know, Switzerland is more conservative and less welcoming to foreigners, and I would assume that to be true for Austria too. Does your company have offices in Germany? If so, you could ask to be transferred, otherwise I would still encourage you to check out Frankfurt: assuming that you have functional German skills, your excellent english will probably be an advantage.

Jan 15, 2013

I think to start off, London or US (US unlikely) would be best places to start. These cities will set you up with a lot more global options and networks than Germany or Switzerland (I believe anyways).

Good luck

Jan 21, 2013
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