12/2/13

What are the perspectives and how does it compare to structured trading graduate programmes at investment banks?

Comments (33)

12/2/13

Is this your only offer?

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12/2/13

c4td0g:

Is this your only offer?

Would that affect your answer?

12/2/13

Of course. If it's your only offer you havae no choice but to take it.

12/2/13

c4td0g:

Of course. If it's your only offer you havae no choice but to take it.

I am asking about differences in perspectives between these two options though.

12/2/13

You wont trade there from that role

12/2/13

Vitol doesn't promote TAs to traders. You'll learn a lot about position reports/trading strategies but will ultimately move to another shop to trade.

12/2/13

blender:

Vitol doesn't promote TAs to traders. You'll learn a lot about position reports/trading strategies but will ultimately move to another shop to trade.

I dont see that happening much either

12/3/13

This is different from what I heard - I hear stories of people who are there for two years and are given a book to manage. @monty09 @blender what is your information based on?

12/3/13

Artur856:

This is different from what I heard - I hear stories of people who are there for two years and are given a book to manage. @monty09 @blender what is your information based on?

12/3/13

From my experience on their products desk

12/3/13

>

Financial Modeling

12/3/13

every TA that emails me asking for a new job

12/3/13

monty09:

every TA that emails me asking for a new job

You mean Vitol TA's asking for a switch? That's US?

6/3/15

Hi,

I would be interested if anyone has more information.

Thanks a lot!

6/4/15

Really? Seems like the question's been covered pretty thoroughly here.

6/5/15

@monty09 @blender Any idea what options tend to be available within Vitol for these analysts if they aren't given a trader spot? If they leave the firm, what positions can they typically get? Is it back to square one in risk somewhere else trying to prove themselves all over again to make it as a trader or do they have better prospects than other risk analysts? Given what I've read above, it sounds like you're no better off in this role at Vitol if you want to end up trading either at Vitol or elsewhere than you would be at any other oil trading firm. Could be even worse off compared to places which like are more open to promote internally to (junior) trader.
What are your thoughts? Is there any benefit to working as one of these analysts at Vitol compared to other places, besides the very slight possibility that you may make it into a trading position (which is possible anyway if you lateral from a firm that promotes you to trader more quickly)?

6/7/15
quester:

@monty09 @blender Any idea what options tend to be available within Vitol for these analysts if they aren't given a trader spot? If they leave the firm, what positions can they typically get? Is it back to square one in risk somewhere else trying to prove themselves all over again to make it as a trader or do they have better prospects than other risk analysts? Given what I've read above, it sounds like you're no better off in this role at Vitol if you want to end up trading either at Vitol or elsewhere than you would be at any other oil trading firm. Could be even worse off compared to places which like are more open to promote internally to (junior) trader.
What are your thoughts? Is there any benefit to working as one of these analysts at Vitol compared to other places, besides the very slight possibility that you may make it into a trading position (which is possible anyway if you lateral from a firm that promotes you to trader more quickly)?

Anyone?

6/17/15

Chances are slim unless you already had a bit of trading experience elsewhere.

7/9/15

Thanks but I'm not quite sure which part of my post this is an answer to. Can you elaborate?

7/20/15

@Quester It won't be a shoe-in to transition from a TA to a trader role. It's not that a TA background is discriminated against, it is just that junior trading roles are few and far between. And whenever there is an opening, you'll be competing with half the other TAs at Vitol and a bunch of aspiring traders from every other shop out there.

I would look at it more as a way to get inside a company with a good pedigree. If your interest lies with physical trading, they are a very good place to start. Not sure you'll learn much about trading strategies (will depend on the goodwill of the traders you work with), but in the very least you'll get a good grasp of the processing side if trades. What can go wrong, how differences are reconciled, etc. That is valuable knowledge. You don't need to be a TA for years to master this.

What you do next will be mostly up to you. In a company like Vitol opportunities (not strictly in trading) pop up regularly. Keep an open mind and go after what interests you. Just be flexible. International mobility is highly rated.

As for opportunities in case you don't get to move into trading at Vitol: you'll hopefully have a working knowledge of physical trading by then, compliment that with understanding the basic trading mechanics of a market or two and try to leverage that into a junior trading role elsewhere. Will it be easy? Definitely not, but you'll be holding a decent hand.

It all boils down to what other offers you have at the moment. In case this is the only firm one on the table, take it. It's a good starting point. And you'll be better off than most trying to break into trading.

7/20/15

Thanks for the info @Chewie ! Would you say that there is much of a difference between moving into a junior trader position at a shop like Vitol compared to a less well-regarded, but still decent place such as a Socar/Eni/OMV/Petrochina?

Let's say you are doing well at a Vitol in a commercial analyst or similar role, are waiting to get your lucky break for a junior trader job internally and you get the chance to move into a junior trader position at a mid-tier firm first. Is there an argument to be made for staying put at your company and waiting an extra year (or more) for the opportunity rather than leaving and immediately getting that junior trader role? Will a junior trader at a top shop definitely get paid more/have access to more (complex) trading opportunities or strategies/learn more/have a more appealing resume for future jobs etc.? I know your PnL is a huge factor once you're in that trader role, but does the environment present at top shops give a junior guy any sort of short-term or long-term edge/boost compared to other places?

7/21/15

Hi @quester

Those are a lot of (hypothetical) questions. I'll start with the last one: yes, I believe starting your career in a place like Vitol gives you an edge compared to starting out at a smaller player. Socar/Eni/OMV/Petrochina can be very decent places to work and learn, but they just don't operate on the same scale (and more importantly culture).

If you can choose between a Vitol offer or one of the others you mentioned, the latter can still offer great opportunities, but across the board I'd pick the former.

As for jumping at a junior trader position elsewhere: it all depends on the specifics of the situation. But again generally speaking, I would be in no rush to leave a dominant player unless it's clear you won't make the cut there at all. At the start of your career, it is most important for you to learn. For that, it's best to be around brilliant and motivated people. And you tend to find a higher concentration of those at companies like Vitol.

7/23/15

Thanks again for the insight!

12/25/15

@Chewie Do you think there's much difference in terms of training in a commercial analyst job at Vitol compared to Trafigura, Mercuria, Glencore etc.?
@blender Can you comment on your experience at Vitol? Were you a commercial analyst? Did you feel like it set you up well for the future and what doors have opened up after that job?
@monty09 What types of jobs have you seen the Vitol commercial analysts make? How do they compare to other candidates for similar jobs in other companies?
Hope I'm not asking too much

7/15/15

Can you elaborate a bit please?

7/19/15

It's possible to be promoted from TA to junior trader, someone did it before however do note that the chances are slim as there's surplus of traders out there and they usually like to hire traders externally.

Chemically speaking, alcohol is a solution.

7/23/15

Starting out as a TA at Vitol and then joining a SOCAR/ENI/whatever as a junior trader could probably help you hit the ground running there. You would get some production asset experience that is pretty hard to get at Vitol and might be able to come back with a book of customers/contacts a few years down the line...

3/5/16

bump

3/17/16

I don't know what a Commercial Analyst is--maybe it's what they call a Trading Assistant now. It might be a good role to try to leverage, as long as you also hustle, to a trading position at another shop. In my experience, Vitol and other commodity houses will only hire experienced traders.

3/28/16

Yes, it's basically a trading assistant. Sounds like it might not be the best role to jump into if you basically need to try and convince someone at another shop to give you a shot at being a junior trader when that someone probably has 100s of other people from other firms asking him for the same job and that someone also has juniors within his company who he knows/trusts that he'll probably give priority to...

1/1/17

P.S there is 1 big whale who trades gasoline for Vitol in the U.S up to 1 million bbl a day.

At the end it's always the same one or two Shot Caller pulling the trigger its biggest collateral: Credibility built in the firm and the outside credibility built with counterparts in the Platts E-Windows (houston, Ny Harbor). Trading in a physical environment is different than screen trading where you have zero performance risk.

In IB, Sales/Distribution , I expect the Analyst to become an Associate. For a TA in a commodity trade with a physical dimension, I do not see the exact same path.
**

Vitol has 300 employee-partners owning the firm (not all the traders are partners but most of them are). If you do well, you become one of the owners.

QB could profile the importance of the trader position at Vitol. TA would start you more as a linebacker. (not to disrespect this position but to show its relative importance).
Even if you shadow Tony Romo during the whole season are you going to be QB against the Denver Broncos ? **
There is always an exception to this rule: DAK Prescott which might has been proved the best rookie QB ever.

I certainly agree with most of you on two points
-1 TA is never trading in most of the companies.
-2 the base expectations is that not many TAs will become traders (despite all the HR touting you so).

Read my AMA, did I trade for Vitol or Mercuria-No, but did I trade with them ? -over the last year yes.

It's possible to become a Physical trader, the possible path is a smaller faster ship with a few and horizontal hierarchy.

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3/30/16
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