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“I’m French and I’m starting at a London bank in 2017, Brexit or not. Here’s why”

Romantic Paris with Tour Eiffel

I’m French, I’m just finishing my studies at a grande ecole in Paris and later this year I’ll be starting a new job at an investment bank in the City of London, just six months after Theresa May triggers Article 50.

Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I should just go to New York and hope for the best. But I, like the vast majority of my fellow students in France, still want to work in London. There are some good reasons why.

1. It’s the best training ground in the world

I may decide that investment banking is something I want to do forever, or I could switch careers entirely after a few years. Either way, two years at a bulge bracket bank in London is a badge of honour that will bolster my CV. Everyone knows how competitive it is to get a front office banking job in London and employers are aware of how good the training is.

In two years’ time, London’s position as a leading financial centre might begin to wobble, but by that point I’ll have other opportunities available to me. Who knows, I could end up back in Paris?

2. Investment banks still want to hire us

Investment banks haven’t cut their graduate recruitment targets because of Brexit, nor has it impacted how or where they recruit. This means that a lot of the new recruits this year are coming from the EU and there are no plans to change this. At least, this is what the senior bankers have been telling us. It might just be to reassure us, but it worked.

3. We’re the favoured candidates

Believe it or not, investment banks in London don’t only want to hire from UK universities. A lot of investment banks have been fighting over students from top French universities. I’ve been through the application process for ten investment banks and have had multiple offers to choose from.

4. The world has not ended

The jobs that leave the UK because of Brexit are more likely to be focused the trading floor. I want to work in IBD, and the vast majority of these jobs are going to stay in London. Brexit has impacted M&A volumes in the UK – a 2% reduction year on year so far in 2017 – but a lot of the bankers we speak to are pretty optimistic.

The fact is that a lot of French students don’t bother applying for investment banking jobs in London because they think they don’t have a chance. Brexit is only going to make this worse. My advice – work in London while you can.

Amelie Petit, a pseudonym, will be starting her first investment banking job in London this September. 

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