The New Direction for Investment Banking Jobs

The old slogan used to be, “Go West, young man” to seek one’s fortune. Today, it seems the opposite is true, as skyrocketing growth and better salaries are luring more business school grads to Asia, and particularly to China.

Businessweek reports that at top U.S. b-schools such as Chicago’s Booth, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton and Northwestern’s Kellogg school, the percentage of MBAs taking┬ájobs in Asia has doubled. This is not just a short-term response to the current economic downturn, but a long-term structural shift towards a more international and mobile market for investment banking talent.

And it’s not only Asian students who happen to be studying in the U.S. who decide to return home for job opportunities. The article lists many examples of U.S. students seeking their fortune in the East. One of them, Andrew Maywah, 32, was working for Oracle (ORCL) in Silicon Valley before entering graduate school at Wharton. Now he’s juggling job offers from three Chinese companies. In Maywah’s words, “It’s like the Wild, Wild West. There is just so much happening there. I want to be at the center of it.”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong is hot, too. MarketWatch reports that Hong Kong’s finance sector has seen a major reversal of fortune and now has a big shortage of people to help out in the finance sector.

Those switching jobs right now are likely to get salary increases of 15% to 20%. International banks are leading the recruitment drive for investment banking jobs, and there has been an increase in hiring among hedge funds and private equity groups, too.

The article quotes Mark Enticott, associate director at the recruitment agency Michael Page International in Hong Kong as saying, “We are starting to get back to that situation which we haven’t see for a year and half, where we really need to start sourcing from overseas and start relocating people.”

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