Working in the investment banking division (IBD) of a large international bank can be a tiring experience. Hours are usually long and sleep is usually syncopated. By the second or third year, most people are usually seriously feeling the burn.
What, therefore, if you could start out in a third tier investment bank for four years, have over a year’s rest, and then come back refreshed to work in a better job in the top tier? Mightn’t that be a pleasant experience?
Such has been the career path of Anurag Agarwal. Agarwal is a former Nomura IBD analyst who’s just joined Goldman Sachs in London after 16 months seemingly out of finance altogether.
Anurag didn’t respond to our attempts to contact him, so we haven’t spoken to him for this article. Goldman Sachs too did not respond to a request to comment.
Before rushing to copy Agarwal’s relaxation technique, however, it’s worth considering that his time out may in fact have been mandated by the British government. As an Indian national, Agarwal began working for Nomura’s IBD team in Mumbai, where he spent two years before moving to London and spending another two years working for the Japanese bank in the City.
As such, it’s highly likely that Agarwal moved to the UK on an “intra-company transfer visa.” These visas, which are available to non-EU nationals who move to the UK by transferring with an existing employer, prohibit holders from swapping to another employer without first spending at least 12 months out of the country. In other words, even if Agarwal wanted to move to Goldman in London immediately after leaving Nomura, he probably couldn’t: the British government probably insisted that he spent 12 months or more working somewhere else first.
James Perrott, an immigration lawyer at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said this is commonplace when banks in London are hiring someone who came into the country on an intracompany transfer visa: “it’s impossible…to move on and work for a competitor without leaving the country for 12 months.”
It’s reassuring, then, that Goldman was seemingly prepared to wait for the British government’s immigration restrictions to lapse. It’s also nice to think that Agarwal might’ve had a good rest in the process. He will, likely, need it: despite already having four years’ experience as an analyst, he’s joined Goldman’s IBD team as an analyst rather than an associate (even though GS now promotes after two years).
Meanwhile, Goldman has got the best of all worlds: a highly experienced, highly rested, banking analyst who’s joined below his potential pay grade. Hiring analysts who previously worked in London on intra-company transfer visas has its advantages.