⏳ Aug 2019 — May 2022
🗣 English, Japanese
✅ Work Visa
⚙️ Financial Services
📍 New York City,
👥 10,001+ employees
During my senior year of university, I had an opportunity to interview with Bloomberg at the Boston Career Forum: a job hunting event for bilingual Japanese. The reason why I ended up in London office instead of the Japan one was because the London office needed a Japanese speaker to cover Japanese clients during the night time. The first question many people may have is about visa. When non-British nationals work in the UK, they need a sponsorship from the company as well as a work visa. Bloomberg provides sponsorship for non-British workers, and it seems that companies willing to provide such sponsorships are mainly large scale corporations. However, I heard stories that some people received sponsorship from small to mid-size UK domestic companies where they interned before, so it’s possible that you don’t have to be a large company to offer sponsorship. In addition, a new type of work visa that does not require sponsorship has been introduced for graduates from outside the UK: the High Potential Individual Visa (HPI). There is a recent push to attract non-British high-skilled workers to the UK!
In Bloomberg all immigration-related procedures are outsourced to an outside consultancy, so there was no need for me to do the paperwork. The relocation process was not particularly stressful, as the company covered the costs of flight, rent for the first month and other relocation expenses. The search for a place to live after that was done through a local housing agency in London, mainly by visiting houses on weekends. The real estate market in London is very fluid, so you will rarely have trouble finding a place to live. However, as London is known for its very high real estate prices, it’s common among young people in their 20s and 30s to share a separate room in an apartment with 2-5 other people. Rent for two people is about 800-1200 GBP, while living alone costs about 1.5 times that amount. If you live in the suburbs, it will be cheaper, but there is a trade-off between commuting time and cost if the company is not fully remote.
About the company
Bloomberg is a fintech company that sells financial information devices (terminals) to financial institutions (traders, analysts, etc.) through a subscription model. You may know the name of the company from financial news, but its main revenue comes from sales of devices. The Analytics Department, where I worked at, was in charge of financial market analysis, customer support, and client onboarding for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Due to the variety of languages spoken by our clients, London office is full of multinational colleagues, including Italians, Spanish, French, and Russians. The environment within the company is quite international, so I never felt inconvenienced or alienated as a non-British person. Japanese are first placed in the Asian-language Speakers Team, which is made up of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean speakers. The team has night-outs and social events about once every two months. Even if you don't have any friends or acquaintances in London, you can still enjoy life here since relationships with colleagues extend outside of work. You will be going to dinners or pubs after work, or picnic on weekends. Also, since most of your peers are in their 20s and you spend almost every day together with them for the first 1-3 months through the training program, it is quite easy to make close friends. For better or worse, I would describe it as an environment of which is an extension of university.
My role and growth opportunities
I started out as a Product Analyst, providing customer support related to Bloomberg devices. After six months of employment I began specializing in the financial markets, specifically the bond market. Next I gradually expanded my work to include client onboarding. Finally, after my second year, I started holding seminars on bond market analysis, writing research reports, and teaching in-house seminars to junior analysts on the bond market. My work started to feel like it’s making full use of my expertise. One of the advantages of Bloomberg is the extensive educational curriculum that teaches you finance from the ground up. In my case, I majored in economics at university, so I had some background knowledge in finance. But even someone who studied in a completely different field, such as linguistics or political science, could gain a reasonable amount of expertise and knowledge in about one year if they put in the effort. In my first year, I was particularly interested in the fixed income market, so I took advantage of the remote environment of covid-19 and spent time studying, which felt like doing a part-time Master's degree. The company also pays for me to get my CFA.
The work hours are from 8AM to 6PM and there is generally no overtime. However, one of the disadvantages of Bloomberg is that you have a clearly defined schedule where you have to report to management in details (for instance, what you have done precisely from 1PM to 2PM). I think some people can get used to the micromanagement environment, while some might find it hard. At the same time, you are given a certain amount of autonomy and choice in what you do within the allotted time. Since the company itself values autonomy, you are not expected to only do assigned work. If you have an idea for a project you want to launch, your supervisor will most likely give you some guidance on how to realize it.
Salary and Living Costs
In terms of salaries, new graduates are paid roughly 40,000 - 45,000 GBP per year, and from the 3rd year of working in the company they get about 55,000 - 65,000 GBP. Of course this depends on the performance. Even though Bloomberg is a tech company, its wages are set at a standard similar to that of traditional financial institutions (investment banking, asset management), which are quite high compared to the average graduate salary in London. For example, I heard that salaries are in the range of 30,000 - 35,000 GBP for a new graduate in the Big 4 consulting firms. I think the standard of salaries varies considerably depending on the industry. As for living expenses, food cost is about 300 - 450 GBP per month, entertainment cost is 100 - 200 GBP, and fixed costs such as utilities are 150 - 200 GBP. Rent, as mentioned earlier, is about 800 - 1200 GBP per person, shared between two people. To clarify about the food cost, I was mainly eating out, so it is possible to cut down more if you cook for yourself. Taxes and National Health Insurance (which is mandatory) take away roughly 25% of your salary. If, for example, you want to save about 30% of your salary, you can either live in the suburbs and cut down on rent, or cook your own food and save money there.
Who do I recommend to work here
Regardless of your background, I believe you will be a good fit if you:
are interested in the financial industry or fintech
just graduated from college or will graduate this year, and don't have a clear career path in mind
want to learn how businesses are run and gain expertise in finance
want to work in an international environment while living in London