Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lehman Brothers Investment Banking Workshop

Better late than never, let's write about the ibanking workshop Lehman Brothers held in the Canary Wharf offices on Wednesday. Thanks, Women in Business Club for setting this up! The way to Canary Wharf was one of the most exciting parts actually. Some idiot must have left his bag on the train, and while we first waited in Canada Water to have the bag evacuated, they suddenly decided to evacuate all of us rather than the bag and we had to leave the train and the station immediately. Then we were wandering around Canada Water for half an hour trying to find a cab or a bus, but it was to no avail. In the end we went back to the station and at some point they opened it up again and we could finally reach Canary Wharf. You almost walk into Lehman Brothers offices as soon as you leave the station, which is very convenient.

They brought us up to the top floor (31st) which had an impressive and beautiful view over the night lights of London. 10 of us were half an hour late and the panel was ongoing. There were Managing Directors from each division - Investment Banking, Investment Management, Fixed Income, and Equities. After the panel, we moved on to a drinks reception, and many more Lehman employees joined. There were analysts, associates, several women from the recruiting team and more senior bankers, so it was very easy to talk. I especially enjoyed talking to an equities trader who is trying to get more women interested in trading. He was telling me that every woman who walks through the doors of Lehman comes with the wish of doing sales, no matter what their personalities are. He urged us to open our minds and examine our strengths, and he said it is more than okay not to decide upon the role we think fits us best. You have to know what the roles are and what your strengths are, but according to him you have to keep an open mind about where you would fit. I like this approach, because it can be hard to make such a decision from the outside, it is much easier from the inside.

Overall, the evening was very informative and friendly, and many of us on the way back were impressed by the effort they had put in providing us with honest information and informal contact (as well as delicious drinks and canapés!).

Why has my memory blurred a bit by now? Because, on Friday I had the luck to be shown the Deutsche Bank trading floors in the City! I loved it! To be honest, I would have loved to stay right there and go to work :-)). What did I love about it? Well, I had some preconceptions about trading floors, or let's say I had seen another trading floor once many years ago where I didn't feel comfortable, but this one is NICE!

First of all, hardly anyone was wearing a suit, most were smart casual. Then, there were lots of women, I'd say 30-40%. People were young and seemed very cheerful. Another stereotype is that people eat greasy fast food in front of their screens, but actually they have a pretty stylish café in the middle of the trading floor selling smoothies, juices and salads, nice! Then all the country teams had their flags either on the monitors or on the walls next to them, it revived my memories of the world cup in Germany :-). Also, instead of ten screens and twenty telephones the traders all just had two large and very new plasma screens and one phone (plus mobile I guess), so it all seemed quite relaxed and healthy. Add to that the fact that they had beautiful exhibits of modern art on the ground floor and I must say I was very impressed. I hope to go back soon.

The coming week there are luckily fewer events, one big one is the stock pitch of the Investment Management Club on Wednesday, but sadly I'll miss it because I have to recruit some undergrads for my company in the evening. It is funny switching back and forth between the roles of recruiter and candidate :-). On Thursday we have our Microeconomics midterm exam and then Sundowners, the timing of the exam is great, right before our happy hour in the MBar, so you can walk straight from the exam into the bar and celebrate, well done!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for really giving us a flavour of the LBS MBA.
I have a question - if you want to be a trader in the UK how many courses do you have to take? Just thought you might know after the Lehman Bros. session

angie said...

Hi Michelle,

what do you mean by courses? Do you mean before joining or once you join to obtain an official qualification? Before you join I don't think you need to do anything, and then you learn on the job. Regarding the official qualification I think it can take 3 months or so till you can act on your own, but they didn't talk about that, sorry!

MBABlogger said...

Thanks for the wishes angie :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie
I used to be a broker here in Toronto, and you had, wnd still have to take 2 licencing courses before you can trade. If you don't pass the courses within the probationary time then you can't trade. It's obviously pretty basic industry courses(after an MBA it would be very easy). However I was just wondering if London was the same. Thanks for the info though. The blog is great. Keeps me motivated through the gmat studying!

LinuxGhost said...

Interesting comments about your visits to both Lehman's and Deutsche. I've got friends who work at both places and my advice would be to spend as long as you can trying to get a feel for the culture of the individual desk you are targeting as you possibly can. While firms have individual cultures (Lehamn's has a reputation for being ok and quite friendly - DB has a rep for being very ageessive and nasty at times) the culture of the desk will vary very much also. Cash Equities has a very very different feel from Convertibles or Credit Derivs for example.

For most UK asset classes to trade you have to take 2 exams (one regulatory and one asset class specific exam) - but these are easy 3 days of study + 2 days swatting multiple choice type exams. The firm invariably pays for them as soon as you arrive.

An interesting bulletin board if you're interested in trading is - quite quant focused (but then all interesting trading jobs now are!) and good to get a feel for what firms / desks are like.

Anonymous said...

Blogs like yours help me to decide if I should take my offer by Lehmman! Thanks!

Benny said...

I wish I had more time to post. I can't find the time.
Anyway, I decided to go to IB.
Are you also interested in banking?

mbayisyen said...

I had the chacne to visit a few banks as well such as Lehman and Db. Invitations for summer internships are out and I am happy to have received a few...Now, I have to prepare for them!

angie said...

congrats mbayisyen, that's very early for Europe, isn't it? Our finance recruiting takes place in January/February.

Good luck with the interviews!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog and a good post!
Sounds like you would be happy there!
Having completed computer science in the uk and a masters in eBusiness, I'm looking to get into the 'game'. Would you have any ideas about which are the best ways to get in?
I can't really continue to study, I need to start working come september or early in 08.
I would consider taking a MBA or equiv course in the future, but I'm not sure seeing as I will have a masters.

I'm unsure as to what my best option is for an entry level position to get into the 'game'. Trading or foreign exchange positions would be nice I think.
Any advice welcome! Best of luck in the big LBS!.