Starting Investment Banking Career in an emerging market vs US city

Quint101's picture
Rank: Baboon | 123

Hello all,

If faced with the decision to start your career at a BB in an EM (LatAm, for instance) vs lesser known IB or PE firm in the US, which would you choose?

I feel as though the BB brand (especially if at a JP/GS/MS) can still carry weight to US buyside recruiting, particularly if one is already a US citizen and isn't looking at megafund recruiting.

Is EM experience as an analyst considered inferior to US experience? Are you stuck in that market if you ever want to go back to the US?

Comments (31)

Oct 11, 2017

bump

Oct 11, 2017

If your goal is simply to transition to the buyside in the U.S., then you should not start off in EM even if it is at a BB. U.S. based experience would be more relevant to your next job. In addition, logistically, it would be very difficult to recruit in the U.S.

However, if you plan to go to business school and use that to make the transition back to U.S., then that could make sense. Business schools look favorably on international experience.

    • 1
Oct 11, 2017

Much appreciated. Is it difficult to transfer to US offices from international ones? Again, this is assuming US citizenship, fluent English, etc.
Was also thinking of doing BB IB in an emerging market, going to the US to work at a startup, and then VC if that seems like a viable route.

Oct 12, 2017

Depends on the bank. Some have fairly fluid mobility programs after the first 18 months. Almost none will transfer you before that. Depends how good you are too. If you get an associate promote after two years, for instance, and then tell them you'd like to move to NY, then almost no BB wouldn't let you.

Oct 12, 2017

I'd choose the US non BB 100%. Easier to recruit and better exposure in my opinion. If you want to be in the US long term, Id work here over there

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Oct 12, 2017

Can someone fill me in on the difference in difficulty of starting your career in an EM versus in the US?

Oct 12, 2017

I was talking to an upperclassmen (an international student) the other day who was telling me about how he got his internship with Ernst & Young back home in Mauritius. He literally emailed an exec, told him he was a sophomore at Cornell studying ____ (I forget) and basically got the job immediately. I'm sure this wouldn't be the case in IB especially with a BB, but do y'all know if its easier?

Oct 12, 2017

I started my banking career in an EM with a BB and here are my thoughts:

Pros: you get to experience a new and potentially crazy part of the world. That's why I did it. I remember one weekend when I was swimming with dolphins in what looked like isis territory. Don't get that in the States. You can also potentially travel to exotic locations when (if) you can take vacation. Also, I find the deals super interesting. Multinationals acquiring local darlings, greenfield IPOs, financing for some local hot shot's development in the middle of nowhere. It's not typical but it keeps you on your toes. Plenty of other benefits.

Cons: main thing is that, unless you want to stay in the EM, forget about exit opps unless you network like mad or do an internal transfer. I networked quite hard and didn't get much traction because I'm literally half way across the world and there ain't no shortage of local qualified candidates in this industry. I def think it would be more positive for b school though. Also, to some, they may discount the experience because it's not in a hub city. Don't fully agree with that myself though.

Overall, if you want cool life experience and to take the more unique path, go for it. I'm totally happy I started in an EM and have loved living here. But also looking forward to transferring soon so I can get those opps baby

    • 1
Oct 11, 2017

Thanks a bunch for the reply! Yes the exotic factor is certainly a plus and part of why I'm considering it. Aside from being half way across the world, do you feel as though exit opps are also more difficult because US funds discount your BB experience slightly more than they would someone from the US? Also, how hard have you found it to transfer internally back stateside?

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Oct 11, 2017

.

Oct 11, 2017

bump

Oct 17, 2017

I have the same question, too. I am starting my career at a big PE firm in the Middle East. My long term plan is to move to the US. I am not a citizen. Would this help me to go back to the US?

Oct 11, 2017

Hopefully someone can shed light.

Oct 17, 2017

It is generally extremely difficult to move to the U.S. market unless you are moving from London.

Oct 11, 2017

Have heard similar things.

Oct 17, 2017

Choose the best offer (in terms of quality) that you can get. Worry about money when you are older, right now have the best learning experience you can find, it will serve you well in the future.

Oct 17, 2017

Is this a serious question (as in this is what you're deciding b/w) or a fun hypothetical?

...Anyway, I'll bite. I'd go with option 1 for the enriching experience (of working in an emerging market, w/ better firm), and potential greater value (in b-school/exit opps) that comes with a better firm name.

Oct 17, 2017

Option 1

Regards

Oct 17, 2017

semi-serious question, 99% sure will get the offer for the first option as I'm working there for the summer right now and have been doing great, but option 2 is what I will most likely get if I went through my school's (a tier 2 target if you will, respectable but not HYPSW caliber) FT recruiting process for US positions, given that recruiting has been very brutal for intl students who need H1B sponsorship.

Oct 17, 2017

option 1 no doubt.your first job is never the one that will make the difference financially speaking if you look at your entire career. so choose the best option on terms of learning, networking and prestige (for exit opps/b-school). also consider the following. i have a friend who is in a somewhat similar situation. his g/f comes from an EM country and cannot leave for some time (she is a lawyer and her degree would be worth nothing outside her home country). he went to the EM country to work for a fraction of what he could made in Europe based on the fact that he may not become the top earner/weathiest person by European standards but on the idea that with his education,he could become part of the country's top earners/wealthiest ppl much quicker and that if he stayed that would be more than fine. it has btw worked out just fine for him. so yeah,go with option 1 ifu ask me.

Oct 17, 2017

In my experience, if you start out in a so-called EM office it's pretty difficult to lateral into a similar job at the NYC or London offices - but the reverse doesn't hold. If you're fine with forging a future career in asia, then option 1's a pretty good deal.

Oct 17, 2017

Money doesn't matter in the few first years of your career. Most people end up building their wealth in a 5-year window anyway.

Oct 17, 2017

Option 1 for sure, especially since you are from that market.

Oct 17, 2017

Yeah honestly, unless you really want to work in the US / not work in China or wherever, go with option 1.
NPV of option 1 is a lot higher than NPV of option 2

Oct 17, 2017
Comment
May 18, 2018
Comment