US vs UK/Europe IB Recruiting

Has anyone gone through both recruiting cycles and know what the major differences are? Below is what I've gathered, and I was wondering if there was any additional information the WSO community may have! Thanks.

UK / Europe vs US Recruiting

  • Less emphasis on networking (I'm not exactly sure why, can anyone explain?)
  • Timing is a little later and less condensed. Resume drops Sept, Superdays / ACs Oct - Dec, offers out in Dec
  • Sometimes getting a masters is necessary for even a summer analyst role at a large bank (I saw this at the bulge bracket I was working at)
  • Having previous experience at a boutique is less of a must than the US
  • Less emphasis on a specific formatting style (in the US, most people follow the BIWS M&I template or something fairly similar, no fancy colors or anything)

Any further insight would be appreciated, thanks!

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Comments (10)

Sep 9, 2021 - 6:54pm

Networking is huge in the US and is probably more important than the UK, although its still vital in the UK. It also seems that the proportion of SAs that come from the same targets etc in the US is higher than the UK/Europe, as applicants for UK are coming from many locations with vastly different backgrounds, education levels etc (I know this can also be said for the US given the number of top universities) . A lot of people do masters degrees in Europe as a route into the large banks, and will often be "older" than their US counterparts starting as an SA, although the traditional route is still SA after the penultimate year in university. Most banks in the UK typically require previous work experience, even at the SA level, and this seems consistent across all banks

Sep 9, 2021 - 7:19pm

Networking is definitely not vital in the UK. Most people get in not having done any networking whatsoever, at least not in the US sense. They may have attended some careers presentation or something.

Sep 9, 2021 - 7:23pm

Getting a masters is rarely necessary for an SA in the UK. Continental Europeans will tend to have it because over there a masters is basically a bachelor's these days. You're not seen as competent without one.

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Most Helpful
  • Prospect in PE - Other
Sep 11, 2021 - 10:58am

Would generally agree with your comments, but would add for the UK:

  • 3 year v. 4 year degrees make a big difference in terms of previous summer internships - as you said, quite normal in the US in second year. 
  • Prevalence of MScs is also a result of the above - and for continental Europeans, basically a requirement to get a job in their home offices. Reference point from Lazard's HR the other day was that 50% of class have postgraduate degrees, and I'd say it's rarely less than 25% at banks generally. As you said, it's also possible to do a SA gig as a final-year MSc (or UG) student. 
  • More diverse degree backgrounds, in general - STEM seems more highly targeted in the UK (think Imperial v. MIT/Berkeley/CalTech) although that might be a consequence of STEM being horrendously underpaid in the UK.
  • Because of lack of networking and OCR, top targets have relatively less influence on recruiting but it's almost impossible to break-in from a true non-target university. Semi-targets like Edinburgh and Durham are fine, but even "good" non-target unis like Birmingham or Liverpool almost never send anyone to FO in London. 

For continental Europe, would add:

  • Internships during the academic year are very common (some US schools - Dartmouth? - do this, but it's definitely more common in Europe than the UK/US). This means that people generally have completed loads of internships prior to their final SA gig. 
  • MSc is basically a requirement. And generally you have to be studying something relevant (STEM is unlikely to place well, yet alone philosophy or history). Technical questions in interviews are much much harder than the UK. 
  • Salary for internships can be rubbish in some select European countries - e.g. France is often ~2000 Euros per month from what I understand. 
  • Target schools matter less than UK/US - more about technical knowledge, prior work experience, and what you studied rather than where. 
Sep 13, 2021 - 11:42pm

Thank you for this reply, would you be open to setting up a short call?

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Sep 14, 2021 - 4:09am

Would rather remain anonymous, but happy to answer any questions you might have on here. 

Sep 14, 2021 - 5:22am

All great comments and I agree with them, having lived and worked in US/EU/UK. Just one thing to add:
In certain employment markets you will see a lot less demand and fewer applicants with MBAs. I have people in my network who work in MBB firms without an MBA, which is very unlikely in the "hot spots" where it is either expected or where there is a lot of competition for these roles. I know people with no MBA in FO jobs or in MBB firms in markets outside of London or NYC.

Sep 15, 2021 - 5:48pm

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