2016 Asian analyst classes at Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Citi: what they studied, where they studied

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Local grads for US banking

If you’re hoping to land a front-office graduate traineeship at a US bank in Asia in the near future, you should be paying close attention to the people who’ve already done just that.

Over the past two months fresh analysts have been starting work at American firms in Hong Kong and Singapore. And some of them have updated their online public profiles, allowing us to see where they went to school and what they studied.

Are you at the right university and are you taking the right subjects to replicate their success?

To find out, we searched through the profiles of new front-office graduate trainees at Citi, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan in Hong Kong and Singapore.

While the results in the tables below are illustrative only (our sample includes people with up-to-date online profiles rather than the whole intake) they do reveal important trends about the banks’ graduate hiring.

Although there are a few grads from elite US and European colleges among the analysts, most of the group studied locally.

Within our sample, the Chinese University of Hong Kong is the main source of new front-office grads at Citi. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Hong Kong University are the top institutions for Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan respectively.

The local university percentages are considerably higher for 2016 trainees than they are for the banks’ total workforces, suggesting that these firms are upping their local recruitment from historically low levels.

For example, in our May analysis of Goldman Sachs Hong Kong employees at all rank, just 4% have degrees from the Chinese University of Hong Kong – but this proportion rises to 14% among the new analyst profiles.

Over the past two years banks’ campus recruitment teams have been making efforts to target domestic campuses. J.P. Morgan, for example, is offers so-called ‘seasonal internships’ in Singapore and Hong Kong, which are only open to local students.

Firms in Hong Kong need more Chinese-speaking bankers, while banks in Singapore are co-operating with government plans to localise the finance sector.

This rising demand can’t only be met by recruiting Asian students from overseas. “These days we always consider applicants from Hong Kong universities very seriously,” says an HR director at a global bank.

Grad recruiters stress that Singaporean and Hong Kong candidates applying from foreign universities haven’t been side-lined. “We’ll always hire from the Ivy League, but not all the best young people in Hong Kong have the means to go overseas to study, so we need to look locally too,” says the HR director.

US banks are only interested in local students with academics and extracurricular activities to match or beat their counterparts based in the US or Europe. Many of the grads hired by Citi, J.P. Morgan and Goldman this year have also done exchange programmes with elite foreign schools.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t appear that US banks in Asia are expanding the scope of the degrees they focus their hiring on – at least not for front-office positions.

As the tables below show, all three firms hired people almost exclusively with majors in traditional subjects such as economics, finance and business.

Image credit: AzmanL, Getty

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