Investment banking in Europe

For those looking for a foot in the door in the competitive investment banking industry, New York seems to be the first choice considering that it has been the epicenter of financial activity with the most sought-after jobs on Wall Street. It also houses some of the largest investment banks in the world.
Though New York has enjoyed an unbeatable top position in this industry, it’s not the only place to be. In Europe, London has a similar reputation for being the hub for investment banking and the financial industry. London offers the maximum number of jobs and internship opportunities in the investment banking industry.
Top names including Goldman Sach, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, BlackRock, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Citibank, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch have their presence in London, so we could say that it would be the best bet for investment banking opportunities.

Changing scenario of investment banking in Europe

How would Brexit impact the investment banking industry?
Once the Brexit kicks in, it would mean loss of passporting rights for UK based financial firms, looking to sell services to clients across the EU. For this, they would have to set up local subsidiaries within the EU and apply for a local licence. So, it would see part of businesses move to other cities in the EU.
According to a Reuters survey, among the various contenders, Paris surprisingly, is at the top for London-based banking jobs. According to the survey, 2,280 roles might move on to Paris. Frankfurt bagged the second position by gaining 1,420 roles. The next city on the list was Dublin with 612 roles followed by Luxembourg at 407 as per the report.
Other cities that are being considered include Milan, Berlin and Madrid.
Stratfor reported the choices of cities for companies planning to make a partial move out of London.
Company name
Choice of city for relocation
Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg,
Goldman Sachs
Frankfurt and Paris
Deutsche Bank

ESSEC Business School shares tips to get into investment banking in Europe

MBA Crystal Ball interviewed Claire Gaudissart, Head of the Career Empowerment Team and Marie-Laure Dahan, Career Booster Manager from ESSEC Business School, which has a campus in Paris (France), Singapore and Morocco. Here are some of the insights they offered about the investment banking industry.

MBA Crystal Ball: What are the top recruiting investment banks in Europe?
ESSEC: The top investment banks in Europe that recruit from business schools are listed below.
  • Barclays
  • Bank of America
  • BNP Paribas
  • Citi
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Goldman Sachs
  • JPMorgan
MCB: What do investment banks in Europe look for in their recruiting process for internships and full-time positions?
ESSEC: Some of the top traits and qualities that investment banks in Europe look for include:
  • Strong technical skills (mathematical, analytical and accounting skills, familiarity with IT systems)
  • A positive attitude, interesting personality, hardworking.
  • Humility
  • Confidence
  • Understanding of the industry and trends
  • Team Work/ Leadership qualities
  • Interfacing with other departments / communication with senior management
MCB: How does the careers team at ESSEC help students? How does the process vary depending on their degree?
ESSEC: Career consultants meet in individual appointments with students to help them define their career plan, set up an action plan, review their CV, their cover letter, and prepare for interviews.
In addition, as the field has very specific requirements, we have external finance experts train our students (training seminars/workshops) and review their applications (CV, mock interviews).
The Career Services organize on-campus (job fairs, company presentations, round tables, seminars…) and off-campus events in finance (London and New York trips).
We also connect students with the ESSEC alumni community through events.

MCB: What are the common mistakes people make in investment banking interviews?
ESSEC: Here are a few common mistakes:
  • First and above all: lack of preparation
  • They forget to refresh on mental math, which is KEY for the brainteasers
  • They do not do enough in-depth research about the company to make sure they match their needs and FIT in (and can prove it)
  • They forget that half of the so-called “technical interview” is based on accounting knowledge.
  • They show over-confidence.
  • Asking questions you should have found answers to while doing your research
MCB: Can you provide some general tips for investment banking interviews?
ESSEC: Here are our top tips for investment banking interviews.
  • Know why you are targeting this industry and this bank specifically
  • Network beforehand in order to be able to mention names of people in the industry / company (through your school alumni network, LinkedIn, or in recruiting forums)
  • Master your skill set and have examples to prove what you say
  • Show your dedication and willingness to adapt to the work culture which includes working for long hours and under pressure.
  • Prepare proof that you are a team-player and a hard worker
  • Prove that you have strong technical skills as well
  • Prepare well for accounting questions, brainteasers, logical problems, and mental math
  • Smile genuinely and make eye contact
  • Be confident but not over-confident
  • Listen well and ensure you answer the question
  • Be short and to the point
  • If you are applying to boutique investment banks, mention that you could start on projects immediately

The investment banking industry offers a variety of roles – front office, middle office and and back office. Read this article to learn more about the responsibilities and skillsets needed to take up each of these roles.
Though the investment banking field may sound glamorous and you may be in awe of the fantastic salaries associated with the field, it’s important you’re well aware of the work pressure, extended work hours, extensive travel and the stressful lifestyle involved before you decide that you’re carved out for handling such roles.
Learn more about the dark side of investment banking.

How to get into investment banking in Europe

Getting into this highly competitive industry is definitely not easy. For undergraduates in Europe, many banks offer ‘A Spring Week’, or ‘Insight Week’ usually meant for first year students of a three year course or second year students where the course duration is four years.
This internship opportunity can be used to gain industry exposure, pick up some valuable skills and of course, networking. Then therere are longer summer internship opportunities also available. Showing your potential during these internships may help you land a full-time job once you complete your program.
A CFA qualification and a Masters in Finance can also help get into investment banking. An MBA program, though the most expensive route to get there, also sees top recruiters hiring out of the reputed business schools.
Your alumni network can be of great help. If you do not have any prior related work experience in this field, it would be worthwhile doing an internship before commencement of your program.

Investment bank recruitment in Europe

Here’s how the process works – Applications usually require you to fill in details related to personal information, academics, work experience and the role for which you’re applying.
Competency questions:
In this round, you’d be required to answer questions through which you ‘d have to demonstrate that you’re a right fit for the job. Be very careful to avoid grammatical and spelling errrors while answering.
Next would be an online test to assess your verbal and numerical skills, it may include testing your logical reasoning skills as well.
Assessment center:
Next comes the biggest challenge – the assessment center (comparable to the Superday in the US) where you’ll be assessed along with other short-listed applicants. Candidates are expected to spend at least one full day here where they would be required to complete case study (and role play), presentations, group exercise and interview rounds.
The time you spend at the assessment center is quite crucial, as you might be observed and judged for multiple aspects, based on which the final decision would be made.
So, give yourself enough practice with sample interview questions so that you are familiar with the structure and the length of the responses; let the answers be succinct instead of lengthy narrations.
Your body language, the content of your responses (especially focussing on what sets you apart from the rest) and the way you communicate can make a huge difference.
Keep your CV updated and customise it to line up with the job profile you’re applying for.
Keep your cool throughout the process and give it your best shot!
Read more about the top bulge bracket investment banks.
This article was originally published on MBA Crystal Ball.

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