What is Charlotte like?

I've been looking around the forum for some time now and cannot seem to find any recent information on what banking is like in Charlotte. Any insight into what the city is like from both a professional and non-professional standpoint would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 28, 2020 - 2:48pm

There are other threads about Charlotte so google them to get a better answer than mine.

Lived there for a year and a half before moving to NYC. Worked for BAML in non IB role.

Charlotte downtown is very small in the sense that there are skyscrapers everywhere for a 8*8 square and once you leave that square it gets very suburban. Cost of living is very cheap and there a lot of different people living in the city so there is no dominant culture/background/religion/etc in the people you will meet and work with. Bars are great, nightlife (clubs, discos, etc) do not exist, but there is a lot to do with the amount of bars and "trendy/hipster" places to hang. The city is very safe and everyone is relatively friendly. There is a grocery store called Harris Teeter that is even better than Publix and really cheap so check it out and get a member card if you go to Charlotte.

That being said, if you are going into banking (anything related to finance) a lot of the people you will meet will be young adults and recent grads from Southern football schools and schools outside the NYC recruiting bubble (Wake, Duke, UNC (A LOT OF UNC PEOPLE AT BOFA) , FSU, UM, Georgia, UF, OSU, Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Auburn, etc). I went to one of those so I was used to "southern people" as a college kid but in Charlotte I found myself surrounded by mid 20 year olds getting married left and right. White people amiright? I was the odd one out without a girlfriend or a LTR, and it was a little strange seeing 25 year olds having kids and settling down. I dont see myself getting married or having a permanent gf until I am at least 30.

Some target students are there with a good 50/50 split in higher ups being from Targets and non-targets. (One of the heads of IB in Charlotte went to Clemson and everyone I met from Clemson knew the guy, down to the interns). The average age of everyone in Charlotte is either really young (20s and 30s) or 60+. There is no inbetween. I found that working in Charlotte was fun and a great start to my career but it was not a city I saw myself living in longterm, expecially as a 20 year old. I would come back to Charlotte once I had a family and was looking to settle down but not before.

The overall vibe I got from Charlotte was that it is a great place to live if you are into the Southern pace and style of life. If you have the opportunity to work in Charlotte, do not hesistate to take it as it is not a bad city to work in. I found more opportunities to lateral to "better" roles (HF, IB, ER, etc) in Charlotte than I did anywhere else. If you are weighing offers, objectively speaking, NYC and Chicago are better than Charlotte, but if you have an offer in any other city, go to Charlotte. If you do not like it, move itnernally, or find a job somewhere else.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jun 28, 2020 - 2:55pm

How does PE recruiting work from reputable firms? More specifically, what if you don't want to live in charlotte long term and don't care about going to NYC? Do PE try not to recruit from outside of their respective cities or will they fly you in?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 28, 2020 - 3:01pm

I'm not sure I can answer this correctly so please anyone correct me if I am wrong. If you are aiming for top P.E firms, you kind of HAVE to be in NYC. Recruiting is not made up of set superdays where firms will fly you out and give offers. P.E firms will all go to NYC on the same days and recruiting will be over in a matter of hours. P.E recruiting is extremely selective and if you have not been currently networking, prepping, going to virtual chats and meets, you will not be invited to participate in that recruiting cycle.

You can still get to P.E from any position but the role will not be the "prestige 10/10 big swinging dick" role that everyone talks about on this forum.

  • Prospect in IB - DCM
Jun 28, 2020 - 4:09pm

Thanks for the reply! I just have a few followups.

How was the housing situation? Do most people live in the 8*8 square or outside in the more suburban area?

Also, did you find the city affordable working in a non IB role? If you had friends working in an IB role, did they tend to want to stay in Charlotte?

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 28, 2020 - 4:35pm

in case you did not know, pay for roles is the same. Hours, overtime, and bonus are different. For example, I was making 38 an hour while my roommate in IB was making 42. A mutual friend of ours was a risk reporting quant and was making significantly more than either of us. Difference in base salary is minimal. However, my bonus was 10k and his bonus was almost around 50% of his base salary. Whether you work in NYC, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas, etc, pay is only slightly different with bonus making up the largest difference in overal pay. GS NYC IBD pays base 80k. I was making 75k in Charlotte in a non IB role (was still FO). Bonus makes the pay very very different.

For housing, you can find anything on the price spectrum. From super cheap and basic to luxurious with 10/10 amenities, you can find anything. It is all about how much you are willing to spend and commute. Comparing other cities, rent in Charlotte for a 2/1 downtown walking distance form BofA building (20mins) was 900 dollars. My current building in NYC is 1300 per person between 2 other people. These numbers are excluding utilities.

There is not a specific area where people live. All the wealthy people have penthouse apartments, houses in the suburbs area, and lakehouses nearby. At least, thats what my direct report had. My analyst class lived around the same area which was a walking distance from the office because believe me, you do not want to be taking the metro or bus at 1 A.M when you are exhausted.

Jun 28, 2020 - 8:38pm

Why is is that it says online that the crime rate in Charlotte is higher than NYC? Is this crime concentrated in a few neighborhoods?


Jun 29, 2020 - 10:37am
Analyst 1 in IB - Ind:
There is a grocery store called Harris Teeter that is even better than Publix

The rest of your post is great, but this part is egregiously offensive.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 29, 2020 - 12:47pm

Hey man I love Publix just as much as the next guy BUT....BUT every Harris Teeter has a BAR inside of it on the second floor balcony. Nothing tops that sorry, not even pub subs

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jun 29, 2020 - 10:52pm

Very glad to see some pushback on this point, thanks for getting the ball rolling CRE. Just want to ditto how blasphemous that was and encourage the north East / west coast monkeys here to visit a publix deli should you ever find yourself in the south. I do concede that that the HT with a bar is rad (have seen some Kroger's in Virginia with similar concept) but Publix is still the holy land.

Mar 1, 2021 - 4:30am

Very glad to see some pushback on this point, thanks for getting the ball rolling CRE. Just want to ditto how blasphemous that was and encourage the north East / west coast monkeys here to visit a publix deli should you ever find yourself in the south. I do concede that that the HT with a bar is rad (have seen some Kroger's in Virginia with similar concept) but Publix is still the holy land.

Jun 28, 2020 - 5:27pm

just one guys opinion, but I do not like Charlotte even a little bit. In terms of economies, i think you'd be hard pressed to find a city in the US that is more centered around professional services (as a %) and imo it really shows. There is just little to no diversity and the city lacks some character you'd get in comparable metros like Nashville or Atlanta. Everywhere you go it feels like 90% of the people are bankers, and I personally hate that.

Jun 28, 2020 - 5:42pm

so many peopoole in Charlotte are bankers? This is new t ome. Thought they would do mostly BO jobs there....What is Charlotte like?

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
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  • Prospect in IB - DCM
Jun 28, 2020 - 5:50pm

Do you see the recent growth in the city as something that would change this aspect and make it more like a Nashville or Atlanta, or do think the city doesn't have much going for it moving forward? Thanks for sharing your opinion on this!

Jun 28, 2020 - 6:54pm

My opinion is similar to the above in that it lacks any sort of character or cultural traits which Nashville and Atlanta both possess. I find the disproportionate amount of professional services, as well as its southern roots, makes for an incredibly bland and white washed metro that can only be described as cookie cutter. Whether or not this will change? Who knows, but it certainly won't in the next few years.

Jun 29, 2020 - 12:38pm

everyone works in finance in charlotte and its glaringly obvious if you happen to hit a spot for happy hour. Diversity is non-existent in my opinon.

Charlotte has no culture whatsoever. Only way I've live there was if I knew I was on the clock and wanted to stock some cash for a few years.

WF and BAML own/rent half the buildings downtown.

  • 1
Jun 29, 2020 - 10:15am

Have a lot of cowokers in a MM in Charlotte. Overall, cheap cost of living but definitely not the most exciting city for a young person. Everyone is white also - not inherently bad but you'd be hard pressed to get different perspective from people.

  • Prospect in IB - DCM
Jun 29, 2020 - 11:52am

Although it's not the most exciting comparatively to other cities, in your experience, do most younger people enjoy living there and want to stay, or do you see a lot of people consistently leaving for larger cities?

Jun 29, 2020 - 1:26pm

Probably leaving for larger cities - usually NYC. It is true if you want to build a career in banking/anything finance NYC is best place to start. Plus the night life, food, hotter girls frankly (all of this once COVID ends) and culture is much more appealing. Why not spend your twenties in an exciting city and settle down for lower COL later when it matters more (as an analyst/associate you won't spend much time in your apartment anyway)

  • Prospect in S&T - FI
Jun 29, 2020 - 3:04pm

Spent a summer there for BO at BB my freshman summer. If I could describe it in one word, I'd call it average.

There are some sports, some nightlife, some breweries, most grads making $50k/year, some skyscrapers, some good restaurants. If you're the average person, then you should be content. For me, and I'm presuming many others on the website, it gets boring in a couple weeks once you've gotten past the novelty of its averageness.

Just a very vanilla place to live, and not too fun. If you're moving there, I'd recommend looking at South End or right downtown near the baseball stadium. That's probably the most exciting part of Charlotte.

Jun 30, 2020 - 2:41pm

I second living in the South End. Lots of recent development and I would consider it to be the more "interesting" part of the city. Still pretty vanilla in comparison but it's where a majority of the good breweries, bars, and restaurants are. Plus everything is new, clean and generally very livable. For getting to work you can take the light rail, which I always found to be very reliable and because most offices are on the southern end of Uptown, isn't really much longer of a commute as you'll only be 1-2 stops away where most of the developments are, definitely worth it IMO.

Jun 29, 2020 - 6:37pm

Other posters have done a good job describing Charlotte, so let me just offer a few additional points. Charlotte is an average tier II generic city. Every reason you can think of for living in Charlotte can be applied to a dozen other US cities. It's not a bad place to live, but it's not a spectacular one either.

When most people outside of North Carolina think of Charlotte, they think of Uptown (same as downtown in any other city, but it's called "Uptown" because it is sits at a higher elevation above sea level than other parts of the city). Uptown Charlotte is very small. Unlike people who live in bigger cities, those living in Charlotte live almost exclusively in various neighborhoods outside of Uptown (Myers Park, NoDa, South End), in surrounding NC suburbs (Matthews, Indian Trail, Weddington), or just across the boarder in SC to save on property taxes (Indian Land, Fort Mill). As you can imagine, this makes the "young and single" working professionals scene somewhat small. If you are looking for the NY or LA vibe, Charlotte does not have that. If you want something more laid back and slow, Charlotte might be your place.

Another thing to consider is that most people in Charlotte are transplants. I don't have any data to back this up, but when I lived there, it seemed like 60% of those I met moved to Charlotte from NY or NE because of the COL, 30% moved from FL or Atlanta to escape the hurricanes or overcrowding, and the remaining 10% were either from Charlotte or some small town in the Southeast. This means you will never find the die-hard sports fan base that you will find in cities like Philly or NY. Panthers fans are very warm weather- they don't give a crap about the team until (if lol) they make the playoffs. Then, everyone acts like the greatest Panthers fan.

Having so many transplants also means that Charlotte has no real identity. Yes, the city has plenty of history, but culture-wise, there is not much here. The generic breweries, restaurants, and activities are not bad, but they exist in pretty much every tier II city in the US. If you're from a place like Chicago, LA, NY, SF, Philly, etc., you might be disappointed, unless COL is literally the only reason you are moving here.

Jun 29, 2020 - 7:08pm

Would you argue that, minus the sports aspect and a lower COL, Charlotte is very similar to cities like Philly or Boston? Or would you argue that there is less to do in Charlotte than Philly or Boston?

Jun 29, 2020 - 7:13pm

Would you argue that, minus the sports aspect and a lower COL, Charlotte is very similar to cities like Philly or Boston? Or would you argue that there is less to do in Charlotte than Philly or Boston?

Way less. I don't mind Charlotte at all - don't get me wrong - but Atlanta is a city akin to Philly or Boston. Charlotte is more like Orlando or Pittsburgh.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Jul 1, 2020 - 11:58am

Size of a city doesn't necessarily matter. You can be an enormous city and still have nothing to do or you can be a smaller town and have lots to do: Austin and New Orleans as examples.

I'm trying to compare Charlotte to other notoriously bland cities. On that note, a little suprised to see Nashville ranking worse than Charlotte. Any elaboration there?

Jul 8, 2020 - 6:27pm

You're trying to compare it to three major cities. Charlotte is probably better compared to Nashville, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City.

Charlotte vs Nashville is the best comparison you can provide.

Jul 8, 2020 - 10:04am

Serious question. Do people wear seersucker and bow ties and pocket squares out there or no? Wondering if it's like some Dallas East type of place or what...

You'll see it every now and then, but in my experience that's more South Carolina (Greenville, Charleston) than North Carolina.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Jan 7, 2021 - 2:55am

Well, I am from a more modest town in North Carolina around 90 miles west of Charlotte, so this answer will be from that point of view. A great many people from my old neighborhood (myself included) call Charlotte the "New York City of North Carolina." It isn't our state capital, however it is our biggest city. Populated and extremely occupied… particularly contrasted with different towns and encompassing urban areas that are not as sizable. Actually, (size and business aside) three things ring a bell when I consider Charlotte. One of my #1 supermarket Harris Teeter is purchased by Kroger and worked under by them.

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