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Cornell vs Cambridge vs SMU

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  #141 (permalink)  
Old 27-04-2011, 11:25 PM
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California, after this bit of nonsense, I'm sure you didn't go to Stanford. Even Cal is a stretch. Perhaps it was University of San Francisco

Singapore does not compare to NY or Boston (for fund management) as a financial center by any stretch of the imagination. Bigger deals go down there and in finance you compete with the best in the world. As Frankie said about New York, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere".

Whether you are in IB, CF or a sellside analyst, you can earn many many times in the US what you could possibly earn in Singapore. You also work on more complex deals with much smarter people. It is the experience doing the complex deals that builds your value.

The only truth you have is that because Singapore's tax rate is low, if you earn A LOT of money, you can save at a very high rate. But don't you think the Bulge Bracket IBs have figured this out already an apply "tax equivalence" to their employees across their offices. Low level front office and back office people are paid differently in NY and Singapore. High Level front office people are paid largely on the revenue they bring in and if you are in NY, you will bring in far more revenue as it is a vastly bigger market than the red dot. Top level investment bankers adjust their residence for the best tax treatment, but they all work in NY.

For talented Singaporeans going to top US Universities, the best option is to cut your teeth in New York or London and when you have been promoted to a senior level and have acquired the experience of a top flight investment banker, THEN move to Singapore. That is the fastest way to reach the upper echelons of Singapore investment banking. Understandably, there was a recession and unemployment is high, but investment banking in the U.S. is coming back strong and it would be wise to get in now.
You know what, I agree with you for the most part. However, for the record I never compared Singapore to NY or Boston for fund management; as I've stated my experiences have been in California in tech, and I'll readily admit you're probably in a better position to comment on the other two cities with regards to finance. I've only said that Singapore is a finance hub (which it is) and not a tech hub (which it's not), which is not the same as saying it's the finance hub of the world. That said, you're right -- if you wanna go huge in finance, New York is a great place (perhaps the best place) to be. In fact, all the top brass of my company are there, and it's where the big decisions are made.

I also agree that you can probably find more lucrative and complex deals there. I'm not sure if I'll go as far as saying that those doing finance in New York are 'much smarter' than their Singaporean counterparts per-say (moreso if you want to go by pure book-smarts), but for the sake of argument I'll concede this point as well. I will say that in my opinion, they're definitely more aggressive and adventurous by nature in their business dealings, which can be a very good thing if it turns out well in the end. Again, I can't comment from firsthand experience, but from what I hear from friends and family working in NY finance (as well as other publications/sites/articles) the pay for these positions is pretty meager to average for the first few years; and thats if you manage to stick it out. For two people of similar qualifications, the pay in NY may be a bit higher, but I wouldn't agree with 'many many times' the salary, and this isn't even taking into account taxes and the sky-high rent.

I don't have enough personal data to make a stance on the tax-equivalence salaries across different offices, but comparing the entry-mid level pays of my friends and schoolmates across the world, it doesn't affect it much (from what I've seen). If anything, I'd say it's more of an inherent comparison to the local 'market rate' (why would a company want to pay more than is necessary to hire and keep the caliber of talent that they want?) - which of course takes into account tax / etc by nature - rather than a conscious evaluation of payscale by country according to taxes.

I'll once again agree that New York is a great place for finance full of smart and ambitious people. However, you have to also recognize that working there means you're also competing with the best and that you'll always be fighting for your spot / job / whatever. I've seen quite a few high flyers screw up bigtime here and lose their jobs, only to be given comparable or even higher offers immediately by competing firms. I'll admit I'm not qualified to say whether this is the norm or not, but I can definitely see the lack of competition once you get into the higher echelons here.

I completely agree with your last statement (for talented Singaporeans to go to top US universities and grind it out in NY / London, establish yourself and build a name then return to really reap the benefits). It's not too far off from what I advised, for those who have the chance; and if you think you can cut it, go for it by all means! But I have to warn that some Singaporeans may not be able to adapt to the ambitious in-your-face atmosphere and culture inherent to these cities and the people that they'll be up against.



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  #142 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-2011, 10:21 AM
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California, I have been reading your posts and you have come across as sincere and forthright, to the extent of even registering a User Name to support your authenticity.

Unfortunately, you are dealing with someone (possibly more than one person although I suspect there is only one) who is still in a state of denial.

The fact that you "grew up in the US, attended a top university" and got a "$6k +" per month job offer here instead of at "$60 k +" per month (even lower than the SMU graduates that he so despised) means that either your authenticity must be demolished, or his state of denial.

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  #143 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-2011, 01:13 PM
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Unfortunately, sincere and forthright doesn't mean right. You may mean the best but be completely wrong. It also appears that he has stretched the definition of equivalence between Singapore and California since his situation involves rich parents with lots of assets. Anyone who disagrees has a right to express it here. California is a young man feeling his way around his first job. He may have headed the wrong way, but he seems happy - at least for now.

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  #144 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-2011, 06:54 PM
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California, I have been reading your posts and you have come across as sincere and forthright, to the extent of even registering a User Name to support your authenticity.

Unfortunately, you are dealing with someone (possibly more than one person although I suspect there is only one) who is still in a state of denial.

The fact that you "grew up in the US, attended a top university" and got a "$6k +" per month job offer here instead of at "$60 k +" per month (even lower than the SMU graduates that he so despised) means that either your authenticity must be demolished, or his state of denial.
I'll second that. In fact, it seems most of the disapproval stems from failing to understand the choices available to California when he made the decision (requiring him to make a repeated response to what was clearly an erroneous assumption of what Cali was stating) or an insistence that only one view of "equivalence" is valid when there are really too many factors to account or discount. In any case, Cali, I think you've explained yourself well enough for others to decide based on their circumstances. No need to waste more time reasoning your way out of blind antagonism.
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  #145 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-2011, 10:05 PM
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Are you answering your own post?
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  #146 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-2011, 11:46 PM
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Are you answering your own post?
No (I'm 06:45 & the one who detailed the US/SG tax system differences earlier). Why? You can't believe that more than one person disagrees with you? So much for the "right to express" disagreement lol. I've better things to do than masquerade as another poster.


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  #147 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-2011, 11:48 PM
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Sorry, I meant 06:54pm
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  #148 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2011, 08:00 AM
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I'm confused. If you want any credibility, you should register a nick.
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  #149 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2011, 08:40 AM
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For two people of similar qualifications, the pay in NY may be a bit higher, but I wouldn't agree with 'many many times' the salary, and this isn't even taking into account taxes and the sky-high rent.

... for those who have the chance; and if you think you can cut it, go for it by all means! But I have to warn that some Singaporeans may not be able to adapt to the ambitious in-your-face atmosphere and culture inherent to these cities and the people that they'll be up against.
I'm glad you mostly agree. However on the above point, I'd also suggest that a S$6K employee of a Singapore-based investment bank isn't able to judge whether people in NY make many many times more than in Singapore....

Singaporeans can make it in bulge bracket investment banks. Singaporeans head major divisions of BB investment banks. If you think this way, you are unlikely to make it.
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  #150 (permalink)  
Old 29-04-2011, 01:45 PM
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If you want any credibility, you should register a nick.
You realise the irony of that statement, no? Anyway, I probably should have done so earlier. I don't have much to add anymore, unless someone has further questions on what I mentioned earlier, so I'm done for the time being. Have a good day.
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