Thus far our investment banking training and job search advice has been geared primarily towards jobs in the New York City market. New York City is the world capital and home-center of most investment banking activity, and it is also the geographic domain of the authors of this training guide.
That said, Street of Walls is also quite familiar with the intricacies of recruiting for investment banking positions outside of NYC. Many of those positions will be located in Hong Kong or London—these are the nerve-centers of investment banking activity for the Asia and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) global regions, respectively. (Latin American, or LatAm, banking jobs are more geographically dispersed, though a lot of it is in Colombia and São Paulo, Brazil.)
What follows is some discussion points to remember about recruiting for investment banking analyst and associate positions in these geographies.
Hong Kong (HK) Investment Banking Recruitment
- The Hong Kong recruitment process is less structured than that for New York positions; interviews typically take place later in the recruiting calendar.
- Generally you will need to have a good explanation as to why you’re applying to Hong Kong instead of NYC or other areas of interest.
- Candidates that can speak Mandarin (or potentially Cantonese) will have a huge advantage over those who do not.
- Having strong business relationships or having spent significant time in Asia will also be a big advantage.
- Be sure to pay close attention to the Asian markets—know the current market and political events there, and be aware of any geography-specific news.
- Generalist programs are more common in HK than in NYC because the analyst classes are much smaller than in NYC offices.
Dates and Deadlines
- 1st Round Interviews: These are usually held over the phone and take place in December or January.
- 2nd Round Interviews: Second round will usually be your Super Day, which is quite often held in the New York office (remember, bulge bracket banks all have a global presence and are generally headquartered in New York). This is usually anytime from January to March, depending on the bank, and can include presentations, group discussions, aptitude tests, and translation tests. If you have a Chinese background the interview might be conducted in Mandarin or Cantonese, so be honest regarding your abilities.
HK-Specific Interview Questions
- Why do you want to work in Hong Kong rather than NYC?
- Do you speak [Mandarin/Cantonese]? Can you please read this paragraph out of this [Mandarin/Cantonese] book?
- Whom have you spoken to within our Hong Kong office? How did you get in touch with him or her?
- What do you think the main differences are between working in Hong Kong and working in NYC?
- What are the main current political and/or business events in China?
- What is your view on the Chinese economy and outlook?
- Which sectors will benefit most from the Chinese government’s stimulus plans?
- What do you know about this bank’s Asia operations?
- What are the bank’s most recent Asia issuances or deals?
Latin America (LatAm) Investment Banking Recruitment
For most of the big banks, the LatAm teams are organized as a coverage group within the Investment Banking Division (and sometimes, this group will be domiciled in NYC rather than South America or Mexico). The coverage groups act more of a hybrid between a coverage & product group since it executes most of its corporate finance products (M&A, Lev Fin, etc.) while managing relationships with the region.
- LatAm recruiting strongly stresses a cultural fit. This is a function of the business norms in the countries being covered.
- Having strong business relationships or having spent time in LatAm will be a huge advantage, again because of the cultural fit aspect of Latin American business norms.
- Generally you will need to have a good explanation as to why you’re applying to LatAm instead of NYC or other areas of interest.
- There is a big focus on teamwork — there are smaller teams than the banking divisions in NYC.
- Smaller teams mean more workflow: LatAm teams are looking for very hard-working candidates.
- The small-team aspect of LatAm banking generally implies that you will be working ore as a generalist across different industries.
- You will need to be very up-to-date on the macro and geopolitical environment n Latin America, so read up on current news.
- Accordingly, you should be up to speed on the current capital market events in LatAm (Stock exchanges, debt markets, recent issuances, etc.).
- Where possible, know the country-by-country specifics of major industries, and what the key drivers and factors in those areas are.
- Be sure to understand the influence of currency changes and how a changing US Dollar affects LatAm companies.
LatAm-Specific Interview Questions
- Why do you want to work in Latin America rather than NYC?
- Do you speak [Spanish/Portuguese]? Can you please read this paragraph out of this [Spanish/Portuguese] book?
- Whom have you spoken to within our LatAm office? How did you get in touch with him or her?
- What do you think the main differences are between working in LatAm and working in NYC?
- What are the current political and/or business events in LatAm?
- What is your view on the LatAm economy and outlook?
- What do you know about this bank’s LatAm operations?
- What are the bank’s most recent LatAm issuances or deals?
- With the U.S. Dollar at this level, what is your outlook on [ABC industry/XYZ Latin American country]?
London Investment Banking Recruitment
- London is grouped in EMEA: Europe, Middle East, and Africa. London is the capital of finance and investment banking in that region, with Paris a distant second.
- EMEA recruiting is separate from NYC recruiting at most big banks. The NY and London HR (Human Resources) teams do work together, but the will run separate interview processes.
- Since the combined HR team runs both processes, if you are applying to both NYC and London for investment banking, you need to confirm how the banks feel about this. Some banks are OK with it while others strongly discourage it!
- The London interview process has fewer events and less interaction than what you would find in the NYC interviewing process.
- Having specific geographic knowledge is a plus.
- Analyst and associate classes are much smaller than those in NYC (for a typical bank, NYC will hire 50+ investment bankers, while London may hire only 5-15).
- The majority of analysts are hired with the intention that they can “go A-to-A” (become promoted directly from Analyst to Associate), which is less prelavent in NYC.
London-Specific Interview Questions
- Why do you want to work in London rather than NYC?
- Do you speak any foreign (EMEA-based) languages? What is your proficiency level in that/those language(s)?
- Whom have you spoken to within our London office? How did you get in touch with him or her?
- What do you think the main differences are between working in London and working in NYC?
- What are the current political and/or business events in London? In EMEA?
- What is your view on the UK economy and outlook? On the EU? On the Middle East? On Africa?
- What do you know about this bank’s EMEA operations?
- What are the bank’s most recent EMEA issuances or deals?