London is still the best bet for students from emerging markets (provided you can secure a visa)
For all the hype around the growth potential of emerging markets, and talk of a looming banker exodus from the City, London arguably remains the best place for students from foreign climes to launch their investment banking career, according to a report from eFinancialCareers.
If graduates from emerging markets want to make a significant contribution through an investment banking career in their home countries, the best way to do this is by gaining essential experience in London initially, suggested one senior banker speaking at this year's UCL Finance Conference.
"Investment banks' trading floors and corporate finance divisions in London are made up of people of all nationalities," he says. "The best advice I can offer to students from emerging markets is to work in either London or New York first, spend some time getting to know the key players, get some valuable experience and leverage off that for a role in your home market."
He added that he still believed London to be the key hub for financial services, and despite all the talk of a City exodus "bankers haven't left London in material numbers".
Banks have been increasing their graduate intake in Asia, to the point where in some cases it matches the number of places on offer in EMEA. But, as we've pointed to previously, students need some sort of connection to the region ? whether linguistic or knowledge of the business environment ? to be considered.
But it's also this local knowledge, and language skills, that are valued by investment banks' emerging markets teams in the UK. Indeed, this is increasingly being used by banks as justification for hiring students from outside of the EU, which are struggling against strict new quotas imposed by the UK Border Agency.
Even assuming you're able to secure one of these roles, how feasible is it to make an internal transfer back to your home country after a few years in London? It's not a shoo-in by any means, suggests Karen Martin, group graduate resourcing manager at Royal Bank of Scotland.
"Just because somebody originally comes from a particular country doesn't mean they are a natural choice for an internal transfer should an opportunity arise," she says. "It's very much on a case-by-case basis; if it's right for the business and the individual then we will consider it."
It also depends on which division you work in, with some banks developing particular functions in emerging market locations, meaning an internal switch across will be easier.
"In some businesses, such as Global Transaction Services, this is
becoming more common, as our business is growing in the emerging
markets," says Amy Thomas from Citi's graduate marketing, recruitment
& development department.