Interview with the Head of Equity Derivatives Sales - (Part 1/2)

AndyLouis's picture
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The following is an interview I did with the Head of Equity Derivatives Sales at a bank in the UK:

  1. What is your job title?
  2. I work in Flow Equity Derivatives.

  3. What are previous positions you have held and how many years of experience do you have?
  4. 5 years not including internships. I have always done the same job.

    Undergrad

  5. Did you go to a "target", "semi target" or "non target".
    Semi targets don't exist. I went to a non-target.

  6. What was the most useful thing you learned in ugrad that you apply in your current position?

    I cannot think of anything else except for learning that alcohol is not your friend... ESPECIALLY in work situations with colleagues, don't be the fool puking at the corporate party.

  7. What was the most useful thing you learned in ugrad that helped you get where you are now?

    Working for others for a low job...

  8. What was your most useful class and why?

    English and math - you need those desperately.

  9. GPA?

    3.6

  10. During recruiting, how were you able to set yourself apart from other competitive candidates at your school?

    I went and did a Masters; I did not do recruiting at ugrad.

  11. What kind of internships did you have during ugrad?

    I interned for a broker and interned for the government.

  12. Graduate

  13. Did you go to a "target", "semi target" or "non target".
    Target (London School of Economics)

  14. What was the most useful thing you learned in grad school that you apply in your current position?

    Nothing really, my Masters brought recruiters to us, and we did the rest of the job.

  15. What was the most useful thing you learned in grad school that helped you get where you are now?

    Networking - the only thing that will get you anywhere in life.

  16. What was your most useful class and why?

    None, you learned everything you need to know in the graduate program at your bank, or on the job.

  17. GPA?

    Merit (equivalent of 3.6 to 3.8)

  18. During recruiting, how were you able to set yourself apart from other competitive candidates at your school?

    I talked to recruiters, and pushed hard.

  19. Do you have any professional certifications (CFA / CAIA / etc.) ?

    I am currently working towards level III, and procrastinating in my studies by answering your questionnaire ;)

  20. If so, how has that certification helped you in your career?

    It has not really helped me yet, but at the moment given how tough the industry is, it's always a good skill to have if you want to reconvert into another financial related field

  21. On the job

  22. How did you initially "break-in" to the industry?

    I was forward with recruiters, and talked at recruiting events with everyone I could get a hold of, and followed up.

  23. What were some of the main factors in getting the job position you have now?

    I pushed, I was not an arrogant prick at the time, and I was interested in what they had to offer, while at the same time showing them what I had to offer to them.

  24. What are some of the specific things you do in your current position?

    I sell equity options and futures to everyone under the sun.

  25. What is a day in your life like during the workweek? Can you give us an hour by hour run down of your typical day?

    Wake up, go to the toilet, then shower. Take the tube to work. Get in at my desk, make sure my team is there already. Take 5 minutes to read what is going on, write some summaries for clients. Check my email. Think of ideas to push, call some clients. No day is the same as I always have something to deal with; whether a trade breaks down, or some other back office issue. With a bit of luck I'll get some good request for the day from clients and trade. I also do some futures trading, so that means when I am going to the toilet I take my blackberry with me, in case my backups are not responsive; and yes, I have traded from the loo before. I only disconnect when market shuts off, but then there is trading until New York closes, so I keep my blackberry close but if I miss an order it's not the end of the world (I am usually at the gym or home in the evening). I go out with clients some evenings, but to be honest now I try to go out with my friends more, as I have already got relationships with clients and it gets old to go out with them. I got a mortgage, a girl friend etc... So I am not as wild as a young analyst can be.

  26. What is your favorite part about the job? What is your least favorite?

    Favorite part is knowing that I am working 10 hours max per day, while my friends doing M&A will be working those 10 hours over the week end. More seriously, I moved company, and now I have a more managerial role, which allows me to look at the business from a different perspective, it's extremely exciting to see others in your old shoes, and focusing on producing as a team as opposed to just for yourself. Least favorite: the down time, since the crisis hit, there has been a lot of that; sometimes you get a month where it's just hell with no trades. Every day since I've been working it's been a struggle, where you worry about your job. It's not that glamorous...

  27. How did your background (life up until graduating college) best prepare you for where you're at now?

    I liked econ and math, and liked money. So I went into finance. I looked at what best paid in Finance, and my brother told me IBD, so I went into that field. I never regretted it, as I was made for selling. However, I saw a lot of people get in here for money, and when it does not fit, they drop out in the first 3 years... I did sports competitively, and part of me always wants to be better than my past self.

  28. What is the company culture like at your firm? What is the size of your firm?

    I used to be at a massive BB, the culture was extremely tough. When I was poached by my current company, it was a breath of fresh air. Less stress and less people, I love it. However, it is thanks to having worked in a BB that I have gained all the experience I have. That experience is extremely valued in my current bank.

  29. What type of person (what background / knowledge / experience / personality) is best fit to do your type of job?

    For sales you have to be able to take criticism and be extremely detail oriented. Suck it up.

  30. Did you ever have a mentor and who were some other influential people who helped you along the way?

    Yes I had a person who was not really my boss, who helped me out and who I trust with everything. When I was talking to other banks he was the one helping me with negotiations etc... Never trust a head hunter, they are worse than real estate agents and brokers combined.

  31. Are the sacrifices you've made to date worth the benefit realized by you so far in your career?

    Absolutely. Every beating I took at my BB firm, and every beating I am taking in my small investment bank are worth every single penny.

  32. If you weren't working in finance, what do you think you would be doing?

    Drugs and rock and roll?

  33. What keeps you motivated?

    The new role I was given, and the different products I can sell. The constant flow and buzz on a trading floor and the excitement of money being printed.

  34. How much does money motivate you?

    Quite a lot, otherwise no one in their right mind would put themselves through that much intensity in a day.

  35. How much does someone in a role like yours make per year (base + bonus)?

    That's too American of a question.

  36. Have you ever considered leaving your job to start your own company?

    Yes, but you need money and experience for that. It's much harder to start up something than people make it to be. A lot of my friends have left banking to start their things, by choice or default. They are all struggling. It's not easy. Banking is easier to make money in by comparison. I have a house in London good savings etc... I am safe for 2 years+, in today's world it's something I value a lot.

  37. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

    It's too hard to know where I will be. The environment is too unstable and products change all the time.

  38. What do you do in your spare time to take your mind off work?

    I play sports, have a few drinks with friends, spend some time with my girlfriend. I also go to figure drawing and enjoy everything London has to offer in terms of art galleries and shows.

  39. What is your current work-life balance like?

    It's very good - the travel gets a bit hard, but that's only due to my personal circumstances.

See Part 2 Here (availble on Feb 7, 11:00 et)

Comments (10)

Jan 30, 2013

Very confused. Is there two people being interviewed?
1 & 8, 4 & 11, 5 & 12 same questions but different answers.

Jan 30, 2013
yeahright:

Very confused. Is there two people being interviewed?
1 & 8, 4 & 11, 5 & 12 same questions but different answers.

Seems some questions are related to UGrad and others to his Grad program

Jan 30, 2013
Bobb:
yeahright:

Very confused. Is there two people being interviewed?
1 & 8, 4 & 11, 5 & 12 same questions but different answers.

Seems some questions are related to UGrad and others to his Grad program

Good call, didn't realize it. I was only skimming the questions.

Good read.

Jan 30, 2013

Good stuff andy, keep them coming!

Jan 30, 2013

Loo trading at its prime

Jan 30, 2013

Mr. Louis should consider drawing a line between #7 and #8.

Undergrad
----------------
Graduate

Make opportunities. Not excuses.

Feb 5, 2013

lol "I also do some futures trading, so that means when I am going to the toilet I take my blackberry with me, in case my backups are not responsive; and yes, I have traded from the loo before."

anyone want to take a guess at how many big trades are executed in the loo every day?

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Feb 5, 2013

I like how it asks for your school.

Feb 6, 2013
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