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Old 13.07.2011, 00:06
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Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

Greetings fellow forumers!

After reading various posts on this forum I've, unfortunately, become somewhat pessimistic regarding my actual chances of moving to Switzerland.

I thus decided to ask for your opinions before getting too upset about it.

I'm an unemployed British citizen with, wait for it; zero years of work experience (apparently).

I'm in my late twenties and have an MSc in Quantitative Finance. I was initially planning to do a PhD and so did a relatively tough MSc thesis in the field of financial mathematics for my preparation. However, I ended up having a very challenging 500hrs+ (thanks Matlab bugs) experience without my lovely advisor who, despite always being late, also never understood more than 15% of my work. I since dropped the PhD thing and went to a few interviews and almost got a position in investment banking but was ultimately turned down due to some very unlucky circumstances.

I'm now very poor, discouraged and simply trying to reassess my priorities.

So what am I doing here? Well, I would like to migrate to Switzerland (mountains + skiing = sing me up).

However, there's always a 'but' or an 'if' when it comes to my circumstances.

On a serious note, I'd be happy modelling and trading exotic derivatives but would also accept a job in McDonalds (e.g. sweeping the floor) if that is all I could get in Switzerland.

So, basically, I'm hoping that somebody here can share any relevant experience or provide tips on how one should proceed in my situation.

PS - In all fairness, there are a lot of things I 'could' do e.g. setup a simple corporate network with servers, web design, 3D modelling etc but since I have no official "work experience" I don't think any of this will add up to anything.

LANGUAGES: I can't speak French or German yet

Am I doomed?
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Old 13.07.2011, 00:18
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

why don't you finish the phd and get a job at a bank? they're always after quants.
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Old 13.07.2011, 00:37
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

The best thing to get relevant work experience is to work for (almost) free - why don't you apply for an internship (at a bank or insurance company, for example)?

A McDonalds job will not give you relevant work experience, it can give you an income, but you do not need to waste your time with it longer than necessary.

See, even if you completed your PhD - will you have loads of work experience then? It is just very difficult for many (if not most) graduates to find their way into the corporate world - eventually you will succeed.

Good luck!
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Old 13.07.2011, 01:14
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

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I would like to migrate to Switzerland (mountains + skiing = sing me up).
If possible, you actually might want to spend some time visiting here first, before deciding you want to live here. I say this because there are many more aspects to Swiss culture beyond the "mountains and skiing." And I would just hate to see you make such a drastic move only to find that you regret it and that Switzerland is not what you'd hoped it would be...

But perhaps you have already spent some time here, and that it was sparked your dream? Well, I have heard that many PhD programs here are taught in English. And also to your advantage, I think that many jobs in banks here are primarily English-speaking jobs (though I'm not entirely sure). But either way, life here is certainly much easier if you do speak the native language. My happiness level here improved dramatically once I learned enough German just to function normally in everyday life.

I wish you the very best!
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Old 13.07.2011, 01:27
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

CH is not a country for young people IMHO, after the kids etc leave then yes perhaps. It is also Horrible to get your first job here. all the administrative jobs are taken by the CFC's and you are not gonna tell me you did all that studying to then go and work in Macdonalds , sorry to say but that would be the worst choice you could make.

also I noticed in Switzerland it is very much on who you know and how much experience you have. If you know nobody and have 0 experience then I wouldnt even bother. Perhaps you could do a paid PHD or something like that. Otherwise you might get lucky and get an internship which will not pay enough to support the enormous cost here.

IMHO I say no, pick a different country to get started afterwards you can always decide
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Old 13.07.2011, 01:31
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

Getting some work experience (paid or not) is probably some of the best advice you can get. If you can afford to work for free or for a low wage, you could find that it will give you the experience you need for further work and will land you with some useful contacts too - which might prove useful when job hunting later.

From your profile I see that you live in Scotland. Switzerland is quite different from Scotland, however you could spend a short break in Switzerland (or do some research if that's not possible) in order to make sure it's the right move for you. Things that you'd have to consider would be where in Switzerland could you most easily find work (and be happy too), bearing in mind the regional language differences too.

As another poster has mentioned, you'll probably be able to get by okay without the language knowledge (especially in the cities of Geneva and Zurich), but sooner or later you should consider learning one of the national languages (German, French & Italian - we'll forget Rumansch for the time being ). It would make your stay more comfortable and is the best way to get the most out of life in Switzerland.

Personally I reckon you should stick in Scotland and finish your PhD but if you have considered all of these points and have some real (and workable) ideas already, then I wish you the best of luck!

PS. If you want to do some further research on the particularities of Swiss life, this forum is an excellent place for it.
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Old 13.07.2011, 02:07
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

Oh wow thank you for your input everyone!!!

So essentially nobody will be impressed in Switzerland and offer me a job unless I know some people there or have very relevant work experience.

Which sort of confirms my fears that it would, ceteris paribus, be simpler to get a highly paid job in UK and then move to Switzerland through work .

Almost everyone in my group started working in top companies immediately after their thesis yet I decided to go and ski...for 3 months! When I came back all of the jobs were gone . I also can't stand the graduate recruitment process (just feel too old for it) and haven't yet managed to answer their preliminary questions because there is always just one correct answer i.e. the one undegrads memorise from a book.

It looks like my plans just aren't going to happen this year. I'm just really really really tired of UK weather, lack of Zee Alps, and pretending I'm interested in doing primitive analyst work to gain "experience" which we all know means very little in real terms.

This year, Switzerland+McDonalds => London+Investment Banking

I think my biggest problem with interviews is that I find lying difficult i.e. I'm too down to earth and it's not helping. I mean, come on, why would anyone go through 8 years of education in Finance (from plain easy to very difficult) if not to hope for an early retirement and a billion in a bank!? Nobody actually enjoys financial modelling or wants to 'learn' about investment; certainly not after studying more of it than one would ever need in their career.

The sad thing is though; I've wanted to migrate for years and always thought it wasn't a good time.... nothing has changed

I hope I won't be like Del boy since this time next year I really DO want to move!

PS - What is the WORST thing about living in Switzerland? For example (in UK), my view is that the dreadful weather and lack of snow is what's killing it for me in UK.
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Old 13.07.2011, 02:18
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

worst thing here is (you can look it up in several different threads but of the top of my head:
the people are far from welcoming
you earn ok but keep nothing at the end of the month
the country shuts down at 19.00

why does it have to be Switzerland, go to Australia or something with your english passport.
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Old 13.07.2011, 02:22
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

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...

PS - What is the WORST thing about living in Switzerland? For example (in UK), my view is that the dreadful weather and lack of snow is what's killing it for me in UK.
Good luck with achieving your dream of moving to Switzerland. Meanwhile, take a look at this now legendary EF thread - Backwards Switzerland - and which might go some or all of the way to answering your question.
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Old 13.07.2011, 02:36
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

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Oh wow thank you for your input everyone!!!

So essentially nobody will be impressed in Switzerland and offer me a job unless I know some people there or have very relevant work experience.

Which sort of confirms my fears that it would, ceteris paribus, be simpler to get a highly paid job in UK and then move to Switzerland through work .
I don't agree. I ended up partly in Switzerland, because salaries for graduates are better here than in Germany - or pretty much all other places in the EU. Cost levels are high and for an experienced guy is the salary difference actually not too big anymore - but there was a huge gap what a starter made here.

You are from Europe, highly qualified but inexperienced = relatively cheap. Why don't you just go ahead and apply to all the typical candidates. Many have a graduate program which gives you a lot of experience in different department in exchange for a lower salary - if you don't know what exactly you want to do this might be a good option... I have no idea about quantitative finance, but it sounds something not only banks, but also the many insurances here might be interested in.

So typical websites to check out:
Banks: UBS, Credit Suisse, Julius Baer, Clariden Leu, ... plus a thousand others here
Insurances: Swiss Re, Zurich, ...

Just go ahead and apply. Maybe it takes some time, but I am sure you can get a chance if you work for it.
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Old 13.07.2011, 02:36
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

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worst thing here is (you can look it up in several different threads but of the top of my head:
the people are far from welcoming
you earn ok but keep nothing at the end of the month
the country shuts down at 19.00

why does it have to be Switzerland, go to Australia or something with your english passport.
Ha ha about the Australia bit (I'm assuming that was sarcasm since the only artificial ski slope there got shut down due to lack of interest )

But the "country shuts down at 19.00" bit sounds very important to be honest. Both of my local supermarkets are open 24/7 and whilst I used to laugh at the typical American comments about, well, most things; I sort of got used to this and am now thinking...ah nah... I'd build my house from wood if I had to we'll survive!

But just to clarify, does that mean there is no night time skiing!?
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Old 13.07.2011, 02:39
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

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Ha ha about the Australia bit (I'm assuming that was sarcasm since the only artificial ski slope there got shut down due to lack of interest )

But the "country shuts down at 19.00" bit sounds very important to be honest. Both of my local supermarkets are open 24/7 and whilst I used to laugh at the typical American comments about, well, most things; I sort of got used to this and am now thinking...ah nah... I'd build my house from wood if I had to we'll survive!

But just to clarify, does that mean there is no night time skiing!?
Easy: You need to get used to this forum. On the top right corner of every post can you for example see the location of the poster. "Bulle" is French for "out in the sticks".
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Old 13.07.2011, 03:03
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Re: Migrating to Switzerland - My Wishful Thinking?

I've just collected my jaw from the floor .....apologies go out to Anthony. There IS skiing in Australia... I mean, I've studied Australia in reasonable depth before (or so I thought) and just now realised there's a thing called New South Wales...which has ski resorts. So, like, there is stuff happening outside of Sydney then?

But ok, point taken
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