New York vs. Frankfurt for a career in finance

6 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

 

After a long time lurking, the time has come for my first post. I'm looking for a bit of career advice from any posters knowledgeable in the world of finance. I will be graduating with a Masters degree in Economics from Uni Freiburg in a few months and need to start thinking about the next step - getting a J. O. B. I'd like to get into banking, which for me entails a choice between Frankfurt and New York (my hometown). It's really a tough choice, as I definitely enjoy living in both countries and have groups of friends in each who would love to see me stay in their respective countries.

 

I'm really not sure whether my chances of landing a good job are better in Frankfurt or in New York. A bit about my background: I'm a 25 year old male US citizen. I graduated 2005 from a good liberal arts school, majored in PoliSci and German with a minor in Economics, then went to Uni Freiburg for a Masters in Econ where I also work as a student research assistant for microeconomics/finance institute. In addition, I've worked at/managed a student-run bar in Freiburg. After living, studying and working in Freiburg for 3+ years, I speak German fluently and accent-free (probably my greatest asset).

 

Basically, I would appreciate any thoughts, comments, or advice from posters who know a bit about banking and finance in these two cities. I can't say exactly on the nose what kind of work I'm looking for (i.e. Sales&Trading, Ops, Investment Banking, Risk Management, etc...) as I've been in the ivory tower for too long and don't know what I'd be best suited for, but pure number-crunching is definitely not my strongest point, but rather speaking and interacting with people, be they Germans or native English speakers. Nor do I know how the lifestyle, pay, hours, etc in each city shapes out - any information would be greatly appreciated.

 

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for any responses!

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Hello,

 

I think the workload is a great difference between the two cities.

I know a guy who is working with Commerzbank in a department that sets up loans for m&a deals. He told me that he usually doesn't leave after 7pm, so let's say that he is working about 45 hours per week. I don't know how many vacation days he has but probably around 26.

I don't know much about NY but from what I have heard the workload is much higher there and you get less vacation days. On the other hand the wages are probably higher there. I think you are in the cofortable position to be able to decide which culture fits best with your lifestyle. (Of course you can also work silly hours here, but if you decide to sleep in your office NY is probably the better idea moneywise)

 

I myself am working in a Corporate Finance boutique, 50-55 hrs per week, sometimes more, 30 vacation days. I am quite happy with that because my wage is probably above average and when I leave at 9 pm I always think of my next vacation.

 

I hope this helps a bit.

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Just remember, lots of lay-offs in the states right now in the finance industry and that theres a "recession"...I'd stick in germany for the time being myself.

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Hi

 

I work as an IB for commerzbank and have only started this job recently. I have graduated in July and have worked for another bank in ffm for the previous six month, so similarly to you don’t have that much work experience.

 

I have had a good look what possibilities a relatively "recent graduate" has.

 

I would advise you to start applying simultaneously as the procedure can take a really long time. I applied in December for this job and got it in March!

 

Another thing you might want to consider is that a lot of the positions you can apply for without any significant work experience have specified application dates. So most IBs situated in London open their online application systems in August/September and have them open for only about 1 or 2 months. I am pretty sure to also have seen similar dates for NY applications. On the other hand you can apply throughout the year in Frankfurt.

 

Good luck!

 

tc,

jenny

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