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American in London

 
#1 American in London
12/03/2013 13:11

VicCharlotte

Hello all:

First post. I worked in Deloitte Argentina in Project Management for an IT Offshoring project then moved to Supply Chain/Logistics. I'm looking for a list of small consultancies, possibly those hiring a Junior PM. I'm fluent in Spanish and worked in Insurance previously.

I don't have sponsorship and am hitting a wall at the moment. Any company with recruiters turns me down out of hand but I'm not sure how to locate more sponsor friendly firms.

Hope top consultant can help! Thanks for any advice

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#2 RE: American in London
12/03/2013 17:03

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to VicCharlotte (#1)

well, why would anyone go to all the trouble of sponsoring you to get a work permit here when there are people queuing up at their door who don't need permits? sounds like there's more in such an arrangement for you than the employer?

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#3 RE: American in London
12/03/2013 21:22

big mac to VicCharlotte (#1)

It's unlikely you will get sponsored by any firm as a junior. As BEP as highlighted, what are you bringing to the table?

Also, if a firm does want to sponsor you they need to complete a resident labour market test i.e. proving you are the only person in the EU that can do that job...this is a long and costly process so you need to have something that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Why do you not try transfer with Deloitte? - Would that not be easier?

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#4 RE: American in London
12/03/2013 21:57

VicCharlotte to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#2)

That depends greatly on the company and the circumstances which I find the position. Let me explain: the cost of sponsoring a visa was less than paying a recruiting agency for the successfully sponsored I know. The employers were glad to pay the lawyers fees at a fraction of the price.

Secondly, I would hope my background is unusual enough to demonstrate that I am not the common candidate. You're completely correct that there are long lines for entrance into competitive consultancies, but the ability to spot uncommon talent is a key component for any services enterprise.

BigMac: I faced exactly the problem you mentioned. They did not want to sponsor me at the junior level. I could have stayed until I was senior, but the 30% inflation and financial restrictions in Argentina forced a quick change.

I suppose the follow up question would be, "do I stand out enough to warrant sponsorship in an environment where Cameron has made a tenant of his success reduced immigration as a means of increasing employment?"

If you have suggestions as to how I can distinguish myself I would not only be open to hearing them but grateful.

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#5 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 07:52

tom1 to VicCharlotte (#4)

It's not how you can distinguish yourself perse, it's how the employer see's your skills and whether they think its worth the hassle to go through the visa process.

All you can do is get your CV out there and see what happens. Being honest, I wouldn't be too hopeful though.

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#6 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 08:43

Anon MCs to tom1 (#5)

This is a difficult one, BEP is totally right - no matter how much you try and say that your junior skills are "unique" most MCs won't be interested... I used to be part of the team reviewing CVs as an additional to my normal role in my MC and I can categorically tell you that those boys and girls were super smart and had lots of what we needed. There just wasn't a need to bring some super junior from the US to help us.

You need to expand on what these unique attributes of yours are. However, please be prepared for no doubt lots of funny/sarcastic comebacks from a fair few of the Forum members (eg ability to speak Spanish fluently does not count, a bunch of us in the forum already speak 3-4 or more languages)

However, one light at the end of the tunnel is surely the close relationship between US and UK? There must be some type of working visa that you can obtain for now to use for trying to get jobs, once in (ie they want and like you) you can then go for the full on visa that allows to stay longer?

Best of luck

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#7 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 09:13

tom1 to Anon MCs (#6)

I might be coming across as quite dismissive and a bit of a pessimist. However, I'd like to think of myself as more of a realistic optimist.

I'd recommend setting yourself a target (if your personal committments align of course) of saying being employed in the UK within 3-4 years. You could then take the view to source opportunities at a global firm in the US or within Europe and once in it's a lot easier to move across. Keep your options open.

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#8 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 09:28

pawan to VicCharlotte (#1)

Superb dear !!

Regards :-

http://www.facebook.com/pawandarkknight

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#9 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 10:09

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to pawan (#8)

I think the issue here is that, at a junior level, most firms just can't be bothered with going through all the work permit hassle. After all, why should they when they can get the same skills from within the UK without going through all of that trouble?

Also, regarding the point about being "uncommon talent"... well, everybody says that about themselves, don't they?

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#10 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 10:20

VicCharlotte to Anon MCs (#6)

Unfortunately there isn't a work visa agreement established for Americans. With London being a major center of attention for job seekers in Europe and the Commonwealth in addition to the government looking to reduce immigration, the natural losers in said initiative are Americans (North & South excluding Canada), Asians, and Africans. The only long-term visa readily available at the moment is the student visa which is also "generously" available to the losing regions. If you are willing to commit 20k Sterling to the UK you can stay, but visas afterwards will likely still not be available.

I congratulate and admire anyone who has 3 or more languages under their belt, but I wouldn't go as far as to say my fluency in Spanish "doesn't count" in a blanket statement. Language is key, but only if you're trying to unlock the market where it is spoken. That is another issue here in Europe. As the Spanish economy is in shambles, the European application of my 2nd language is somewhat irrelevant and French or German would be much more applicable. In that sense maybe you're right that my Spanish "doesn't count" because there seems to be more of an Asian than a LatAm focus from the European perspective.

Bushy, I suppose you're right. You could make the argument that we are all unique or all the same, but that doesn't get recruiters very far. "Unique" is well overstated. I believe my background is "unusual" and for a firm concerned with LatAm I would at value at the Junior level.

Tom1, BEP & Anon, thanks for your input. Realism is always better than cheerleaders when looking for information. If I want a warm hug I'll find my girlfriend--who is the reason for my interest in London. I may have to convince her that the US is the place to be with the improving economy while the UK appears to still be sputtering.

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#11 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 10:54

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to VicCharlotte (#10)

Further to one of the earlier suggestions, I would definitely try an internal transfer within your current firm. I would have thought that would be by far the easiest way to get relocated over here?

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#12 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 11:04

Anon MCs to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#11)

Or, or, OR - don't you want to break into the LatAm market BEP!?!

If so, I have the perfect (unique) candidate to help you!

Tadaaah! Problem solved.

Next.

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#13 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 11:21

Camster to VicCharlotte (#10)

I congratulate and admire anyone who has 3 or more languages under their belt, but I wouldn't go as far as to say my fluency in Spanish "doesn't count" in a blanket statement. Language is key, but only if you're trying to unlock the market where it is spoken. That is another issue here in Europe. As the Spanish economy is in shambles, the European application of my 2nd language is somewhat irrelevant and French or German would be much more applicable. In that sense maybe you're right that my Spanish "doesn't count" because there seems to be more of an Asian than a LatAm focus from the European perspective.

I dunno.....

Santander gets 50% of its revenue from LatAm. 26% of that from Brazil. Hmmm..... or was that Telefonica??? Nope, Santander. But Telefonica also get fair portion from its Latin American operations.

Mexico is a huge market! The Mexican telecoms scene has been opened up a bit more. So..... don't underestimate your Spanish skills. But you might want to complement that with Portuguese and Asian languages.

Edit: In case not clear, you can try applying to the UK/EU, leveraging your unique strength of language+knowledge of key emerging economies in LatAm. This should make you stand out a bit.

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#14 RE: American in London
13/03/2013 20:07

big mac to Camster (#13)

I feel your pain VicCharlotte, due to the changes in the immigration law I had to leave the UK last year. I have been sponsored and will finally be coming back 13 months after my first interview! I still don't even have the visa yet so this is assuming they don't deny it becuase the reviewer is having a bad day!

I'm sorry to say but junior PMs are a dime a dozen and you need to find something that separates you from the rest. I'm not senior at all but I was lucky to have instrumental roles in some very big programmes at very large banks whilst I was in London so this firm wanted to me come and work for them. It was just right place right time and my area.

I think an internal transfer is your best bet, or marry a brit ;)

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#15 RE: American in London
14/03/2013 16:03

VicCharlotte to Anon MCs (#12)

Anon, I am more than casually interested. If you'd like my information, I'd love to know more.

Big Mac, thanks for your story and congrats on securing employment. London is one of the few truly global cities and while I can go to the states and try to move laterally (as was mentioned and is a good option) I would obviously love to be directly employed here.

Camster, I appreciate the advice and am on the war path to find a company that has a need for LATAM market knowledge. Mexico is a huge market. Additionally Colombia (where I lived and studied Spanish) and Panama have just signed a free trade agreement with the US, so I'm looking for my niche.

On that note, if anyone has any suggestions for companies that focus on LatAm in trade or services I'd be grateful to know.

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#16 RE: American in London
14/03/2013 16:42

Mr Cool to VicCharlotte (#15)

The man from del monte alwAys seems to be in Latin American countries and is well known for his positive response.

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#17 RE: American in London
16/03/2013 17:20

DiamondSea to Mr Cool (#16)

Some facts:

1 - Once and for all, the Deloittes, PWCs and even McKs of this world open offices all around the world for a reason: to have a local presence in a specific market. So no, it doesn't bring much value to have an American in the UK when you have already an esablished practice and a labour market full of British people anyway.

2 - British Big4s and such will hardly ever engage in work in any mainland European language. They have their Spanish, Italian, French whatever practices for that. So, again, being fluent in Spanish or French is virtually useless with these firms. It'd make more sense to talk about it if you were applaying to a Spanish practice. Again, I'm afraid you are one of the many cases of AngloSaxon people who think the world owes them a career the moment they get B2 level in anothr language. Well, truth is that at 30 something you are many German, Swedish, Belgian, Spanish, Greek people are out of high school these days. Not that much of an achievement, sorry to ruin it for you.

My suggestion would be to apply for American Deloitte and then transfer to the UK after a couple of years or something. As far as I can remember, US employees can move virtually anywhere else since any other geography is considered to be of a lesser tier and supposedly anyone in London/HK/Sydney would be happy to have you so long as you speak the local language.

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#18 RE: American in London
18/03/2013 10:34

VicCharlotte to DiamondSea (#17)

DiamondSea, you seem to be floating among three points here: sour grapes, aggressively Anti-American banter and repeating what others have already posted.

"British Big4s and such will hardly ever engage in work in any mainland European language. They have their Spanish, Italian, French whatever practices for that. So, again, being fluent in Spanish or French is virtually useless with these firms. It'd make more sense to talk about it if you were applaying to a Spanish practice. Again, I'm afraid you are one of the many cases of AngloSaxon people who think the world owes them a career the moment they get B2 level in anothr language. Well, truth is that at 30 something you are many German, Swedish, Belgian, Spanish, Greek people are out of high school these days. Not that much of an achievement, sorry to ruin it for you."

First off, I'm not AngloSaxon. Secondly, I don't think I'm owed a job. I do think that I am a good employee and hard worker who can contribute if given the opportunity. Thirdly, I'm years off from 30 but thanks for suggesting my erudition causes you to believe I have lived longer. And finally, if you're going to be disparaging about the fact that my 2nd language isn't up to snuff because other people speak more languages, than please sort out your English. You are ironically saying that I haven't achieved much because my language is unimpressive and can't manage to state your point without muddling it in the language you're employing. Additionally my "B2 level in anothr language" involves living, studying, and working in South America for over 3 years.

Everyone previous to DiamondSea (is that your hip-hop name by-the-way? Like the little diamond-loving-cousin of Frank Ocean?) has been very helpful at pointing out the challenges. Thanks to everyone else who has posted.

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#19 RE: American in London
18/03/2013 11:59

tom1 to DiamondSea (#17)

DiamondSea, wanted to come back on your points.. In all honesty, I don't agree.

1) I understand your point but disagree, most of the firms you mentioned will have a very diverse culture. I don't just mean religion mixes, but languages spoken, nationalities etc. As you'll probably be aware clients of such firms will be global clients. Ill give you an example... an initial project is pitched/sold in the UK, the consultancy deliver some good savings/performance improvement and Mr/Mrs Client ask for said consultancy to help them with the Brazilian function. Requesting that whilst they need the local resource to deliver some of the work, they would like some of the initial consultants to go out to Brazil and lead the project.

2) So you're saying that no one needs to speak other languages in Europe? What rubbish, whilst a lot of communication is in English. I know of at least 2-3 £2mil+ pitches that were won, not solely Ill point out but were aided by individuals having local language ability to communicate with those on the "shop-floor" so to speak.

3) No need for me to write anything here as I have no experience of Deloitte, but understand the logic.

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#20 RE: American in London
21/03/2013 10:07

DiamondSea to tom1 (#19)

I do agree with everything, especially the anti-american sentiment : )

I am not Anglo-Saxon either, I have bilingual proficiency for two languages and sufficient-for-business-level for other three.

I totally understand that the critique to the tone of my delivery, but if you take away the crap (one has to have fun one way or another and sure I'm not the least useful participant on this forum!), what remains is

1 - MOST (80%?) big international players (20k+ employees?) in professional services (management consulting, big4 "consulting", IT consulting) do have strong international presence exactly to cover all markets without unnecessary crossborder travel and taxation issues (ever tried to send consultants in Norway or Switzerland?).

This translates into Italian firms recruiting Italian people, Polish firms recruiting Polish people, French firms recruiting French people. There is some slack in this given the fact that most European nationals can move to another EU country and work there with basically no further complications for the employer than a national would entail. Unluckily for you this does not apply to people from outside the EU, hence the recent sharp in international sponsorships from UK firms to AU, US etc people.

I'll concede that an Accenture type of firm might be more flexible about this because they don't have that legacy attitude Big4s have due to their accounting/legal side.

2 - Languages are a fantastic thing and I'd even dare to say you are worth a person for every language you speak fluently. But they are not as important as people think in the type of firms specified in point#1 of this reply. Again, back to the case of VicCharlotte, I don't think his/her fluency in Spanish is a particular advantage if he/she wanted to apply for a London office of a firm. UK partners/directors of a Big4 firm mostly sell work which will be delivered by English speaking people to English speaking clients. Esceptions are very rare. The diversity that was mentioned is mainly with the junior levels and, again, mostly regards EU nationalities that do not bring significant additional bureaucratic hassle. It dies out as the ranks go up.

Tom1, your figure alone is irrelevant. What percentage of yearly sales does it represent? Would a local contractor have covered the language just as well without requiring a fulltime employee to have that skill?

Despite their supposedly international "flare", I'd say that only 5% of the work done by Big4 consultancies is international and needs languages other than English (might be a bit higher for US practices). Make that 25% for an Accenture type of firm (and again, one thing is intra-EU work, one thing is the rest) and maybe 50% for MBB (especially UK and US offices, but there again they always work at CXO level so everyone speaks English anyway). These are all gut-feeling stats coming from 3 years with a Big4 in London and many contacts/friends working for MBBs or Big4s or big IT consultancies in the UK, US and EU.

To conclude, back to the point of VicCharlotte

1 - Languages are a lovely thing in general, but as more and more people can speak English, their importance when it comes to work is decreasing, especially West European languages

2 - Fleuncy in Spanish does not bring a significant advantage when applying to the UK office of a big international professional services firm (it could be different if you applied to the Madrid office or to a Spanish firm with strong presence in the UK e.g. Santander?)

3 - Not having a EU passport does bring a significant disadvantage when applying to the UK office of a big international professional services firm

You do the maths.

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#21 RE: American in London
28/03/2013 17:58

VicCharlotte to DiamondSea (#20)

@Diamond Sea, the tone in the second post is much improved and that is appreciated. I think you've managed to make some relevant points after a string of .

The crowd sourcing has resulted in an unfortunate consensus for my bid to live in London.

If anyone has any more ideals, I'm up for getting creative as I'm in my last few weeks in London.

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#22 RE: American in London
03/04/2013 13:39

Camster to VicCharlotte (#21)

Vic,

Unfortunately, the UK market at the moment is rather bad. I personally believe that there are far too many 'mediocre' firms fighting for a shrinking UK/EU pie.

LatAm is growing. There are opportunities in APAC. Africa even. I would suggest looking at these places, build up your career there, then maybe when things in the UK/EU pick up, your standing/rep then will see you headhunted into a UK role.

Same here. Final few days (back) in the UK. If anyone fancies a drink, I am happy to oblige. With that, I think I am going to help myself to a Vodka Red Bull :) Need the energy - lol.

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#23 RE: American in London
05/04/2013 10:42

VicCharlotte to Camster (#22)

Camster,

Will you still be in London next week? I wouldn't mind grabbing a drink, talking consulting or whatever with people in London

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