Trading Vs. I-Banking

I think it's important for us to be clear about the pros and cons of each of the two career paths and I'd like to consolidate some of the opinions that have been floating around about this topic on this thread.

Here's one impression I've gotten from speaking with people on both sides of the isle: Banking is for the typical ivy-league pencil-pushing over-achieving workaholic, while trading requires a somewhat less quantifiable "it factor" that typically manifests itself in the form of uber-competitiveness and the ability to withstand tremendous pressure.

So in an effort to stimulate a healthy flow of information, I'd like to ask anyone with any input on this topic to contribute their $.02. Some of the questions I'd personally like to see answered here are:

  • What do recruiters look for when hiring bankers vs. traders? What skills, talents, likes & dislikes are a good fit for what job?
  • Who typically makes more money between the two over the long run?
  • Which career path typically offers better work/life balance, satisfaction and flexibility?
  • What are some of the top locations for each of the two?
  • Who gets more tush?

Also, when answering, please make an effort to distinguish between the various kinds of trading, i.e. prop, S&T, etc. and different banking departments.

Why Trading?

Most of our users highlighted that they liked the competitive nature of trading as well as the meritocracy of trading firms.

dorsia reservations:
All I've ever wanted to do save for professional sports was to have been a trader.
I work at one of the top tier BBs (albeit in the BO, I'll get to the trading floor eventually or leave the street all together), and salary wise, most market makers (not even the hot shots that are prop guys) seem to have more fun with their job than bankers do, but again my views have shades of selection bias, as I'm only going off of a handful of bankers I know vs. many more traders.
There's risk, but rewards in intelligent decisions (most of the time) is something that draws me and most into it that go into the career. I also believe it was bondarb or revsly or one of the traders on here that said the job may be 24/7 but since you're actively using your brain, (as opposed to cranking out pitchbooks-sorry for the bias), its more enjoyable.

prospie:
Let me add a couple minor but possibly important points, although these are secondhand info that i've heard/heard:
  • a trader is not a trader. Even within BB S&T there are vast differences in terms of income/exit opps/hours/ lifestyle for a trader. Just because you're a trader doesn't mean you can some day move to a hedge fund and cash in on the bonanza. Some traders can never move to a hedge fund and will never make seven figures, simply because of where they started. It depends on what kind of trading, what your product is, etc.
  • Of course you can make a lot, but the median is probably pretty similar to the ibanking track. Shit, remember a couple years ago when Blackstone (or kkr?) was offering $1m over the course of 2 years for PRE-MBA associates. So you're 24, here's a million dollars. I doubt that happens much in trading.
  • For those who are arguing that a computer can never really replace a human trader, I have seen threads recently where guys on here were concerned about automated trading taking over a particular product or market.

Moral of the story, don't do it for the money. If you're on the fence about whether you should pursue a job in S&T, you're already not cut out for it.

someotherguy - Hedge Fund Vice President:
I am more on the electronic side of trading, and I can't really comment on numbers for either side- trading is a lot more driven by personal performance, and if you can establish a track record of making real money for a firm, you can get someone to offer you a percentage of your earnings. Traders on the other hand tend to be from more diverse backgrounds, or really I should say have far more diverse personalities.

Why Investment Banking?

Disney Disciple - Investment Banking Analyst:
I had experience interning in both trading and banking and choose to pursue banking full time for a few reasons:
  • I like the skills that I am developing in banking vs. trading which offers a more limited skill set
  • I like the exit opps from banking vs trading at a BB (PE, HF, Corp Dev)
  • While S&T is fast paced, your tasks a junior person are very predictable (markets may change by your day doesn't)
  • I like financial modeling and analysis

accountspayable - Investment Banking Analyst:
While this may be enjoyable to some, personally I would find that to be a reason not to do trading, and hence a huge factor for deciding between banking vs trading. Trading is much more of a niche career path than banking. Yes it is more meritocratic, but you will only be doing one thing your entire career. I can't imagine being on my deathbed 50 years from now and realizing that my entire career accomplishments can be written in a single line preceded by a $ sign. Yes, banking has more grunt work for a longer period of time, but you do learn more tangible skills that can be applied to other fields. For me, job satisfaction is worth much more than the amount of money I could make.

Compensation Comparison on Wall Street

Our users shared that at the junior level, compensation is fairly similar – however, in trading as you get more experienced your pay is tied to performance so if you are good you can take home large sums.

Midas Mulligan Magoo[/quote:
A trader with real game can knock out in a year what an MB in IBD can over a career. The typical banker, however, will clock hundreds of thousands a year after a while, no matter what. No such guarantees in trading.

BillyRay05 - Asset Management Research Analyst:
Who typically makes more money between the two over the long run?: The median salary (and the correct answer) is probably the same for both professions in the long run. Too many people on this board think that 20mm+ traders are found everywhere. In the short run, bankers make more.

abcasdf:
In terms of compensation, a good trader makes a LOT more than a good banker for the simple reason that we are getting a % of our PnL and banker pay is pretty much a fixed bureaucratic ladder system. Being a trader is a TRUE meritocracy and you eat what you kill and if you can't kill, well then you go become a banker or flow trader. In my firm, we get paid 40% of our PnL once you make a trader once you make it out of the trading assistant program.
Since banking is more bureaucratic, it's probably easier for people to keep their jobs as a banker b/c as a trader, nobody cares if you did great work analyzing and building out spreadsheets if you can't translate that into PnL.
Also, bankers may make more at the junior trader/analyst level right out of school but that's because:
  1. We are letting you see our proprietary strategies in exchange for you just doing our PnL and bitch work so there's no reason for us to pay you a salary but since we know you have to pay rent, we do
  2. The amount you will learn just by being around successful prop traders should be enough compensation; you are learning to make money, not make stupid powerpoint presentations and kiss ass although we do appreciate it very much. After a while, you can go anywhere and make that money (usually after a junior trader program is done) so firms have to start paying you what you are worth or you will go somewhere else.

Check out our Investment Banking Industry Report to learn more about compensation in the industry.

What Do Recruiters Look for When Hiring for S&T or IBD?

User @BillyRay05", an asset management research analyst, shared advice about what recruiters are looking for:

BillyRay05 - Asset Management Research Analyst:
What do recruiters look for when hiring bankers vs. traders? What skills, talents, likes & dislikes are a good fit for what job?: Recruiters want bankers generally more polished (eloquent) and their traders with raw mental ability (that's why engineers do well). The trading/athlete phenomenon is due to the pressures on the job- pressures that athletes are familiar with. Nevertheless, both groups like pedigree and intelligence, and my desk is filled with Ivy Leaguer's

What Is the Work Life Balance on Wall Street?

Generally speaking, the traders work less hours in the office but will often be thinking of their portfolio outside of work. Bankers on the other hand are working almost 24/7 in the office.

BillyRay05 - Asset Management Research Analyst:
Which career path typically offers better work/life balance, satisfaction and flexibility?: This depends on your personality. One forces you to work 100 hours a week on BS models while making your life pretty miserable. The other forces you to be at work at 6:30, forces you to work 70 hours a week and stress out the remainder of your free time, making your life pretty difficult. One isn't easier than the other. They are just really different.

abcasdf:
I work as a prop trader on the International desk of a prop trading firm in NYC and I went to a target school so a lot of my friends are bankers...only a select few became traders. Personally, I only work 40-45 hours a week usually from 8 am to 4:30 pm and sometimes I'll stay late if I want to look into new ideas and build some things out. However, when I was a trading assistant/junior trader, I did work more hours just because I wanted to be the first one in the office and the last one out (as a rule of thumb, you should always be there when your superiors are there to support them and more importantly, learn) Also, I do find myself watching CNBC and reading bank research when i get home just for my own personal knowledge and I like to hear other people's opinions. When I am working though, I am sprinting the whole time unlike bankers which are pretty much running a marathon.

someotherguy - Hedge Fund Vice President:
Each has their own misery, hours in trading are generally better, though as markets are becoming more 24x7, that is not necessarily true in all cases.

Exit Opportunities for Trading and Investment Banking

The exit opportunities are different for both professions. IB analysts typically go onto PE, a hedge fund, or business school. Working in corporate development or start-ups are also options. Traders basically need to stay in trading either for a bank or for a hedge fund.

zonk:
Banking: Lot of Hours, Compensation probably a little better than trading starting off but not "real" difference (10-20k differences don't really matter when your starting off), Work involves doing a lot of models all day and night long and preparing to sell banks services to clients, exit opportunities - hedge fund (surprisingly alot of hedge funds other than specifically quant oriented probably will be your suitor) / PE / Anything else you really want to do. 2or3yrs and most likely you will have to get your MBA (costly)

Trading: Hours are less but early mornings (ie. 6-7am). Very intense trading during the day.
Compensation v. similar to banking although depends on performance of your group. Exit opportunities? continue trading, go to a hedge fund, business school (not necessary). Opportunities are obviously a lot less but if you like trading, i would argue you want to keep doing the same thing.

Read More About Trading and Banking on WSO

Preparing for Investment Banking Interviews?

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Comments (185)

 
Aug 1, 2010 - 7:00pm

Wondering the same thing, I'm torn between persuing OTC derivatives trading or IB.

"The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path" -Frank Underwood
 
Aug 1, 2010 - 8:17pm

Your boy must have been talking about sales. Most of the top prop shops (especially in the Chi) have no interest in non-quant background people. As a matter of fact, many won't even talk to the soft-skilled business major crowd. You'll see some target kids get a shop based on rep and connections, but the general preference is towards heavily technical people and there are more PhDs in the game every day. The general train of thought as of late is "give me a comp sci, stat, engineering automaton" (though I'm seeing chemistry and physics frogs pop up on the radar) and I will teach him what he needs to know. The entrepreneurial types are too likely to bolt for their own shop once you teach them a system. For the record, by faaaaaar the most handy skill for trading today...pro-gram-ming.

A trader with real game can knock out in a year what an MB in IBD can over a career. The typical banker, however, will clock hundreds of thousands a year after a while, no matter what. No such guarantees in trading.

The tush goes Alpha every time. Like everything else, it's a matter of what your risk profile is, the situation then adapts to you. Keep'em swinging.

 
Aug 1, 2010 - 10:48pm

PussInBoots:
If banker presses B instead of M, in worse case scenario he'll get raped by MD at most.

Trader on the other hand will make the entire market go bananas for 40 minutes.

This.

Still not sure if I want to spend the next 30+ years grinding away in corporate finance and the WSO dream chase or look to have enough passive income to live simply and work minimally.
 
Aug 1, 2010 - 10:43pm

-Who typically makes more money between the two over the long run?
Traders can be done by 35 with a few billion, yet to meet one banker in same boat
-Which career path typically offers better work/life balance, satisfaction and flexibility?
depends on your goals..
-What are some of the top locations for each of the two?
NYC & London for both
-Who gets more tush?
does not matter on job, if you got game you got game

 
Aug 1, 2010 - 11:40pm

Let me add a couple minor but possibly important points, although these are secondhand info that i've heard/heard:

  • a trader is not a trader. Even within BB S&T there are vast differences in terms of income/exit opps/hours/ lifestyle for a trader. Just because you're a trader doesn't mean you can some day move to a hedge fund and cash in on the bonanza. Some traders can never move to a hedge fund and will never make seven figures, simply because of where they started. It depends on what kind of trading, what your product is, etc.

  • Of course you can make a lot, but the median is probably pretty similar to the ibanking track. Shit, remember a couple years ago when Blackstone (or kkr?) was offering $1m over the course of 2 years for PRE-MBA associates. So you're 24, here's a million dollars. I doubt that happens much in trading.

  • for those who are arguing that a computer can never really replace a human trader, I have seen threads recently where guys on here were concerned about automated trading taking over a particular product or market.

Moral of the story, don't do it for the money. If you're on the fence about whether you should pursue a job in S&T, you're already not cut out for it.

 
Aug 1, 2010 - 11:46pm

prospie:
Let me add a couple minor but possibly important points, although these are secondhand info that i've heard/heard:
  • a trader is not a trader. Even within BB S&T there are vast differences in terms of income/exit opps/hours/ lifestyle for a trader. Just because you're a trader doesn't mean you can some day move to a hedge fund and cash in on the bonanza. Some traders can never move to a hedge fund and will never make seven figures, simply because of where they started. It depends on what kind of trading, what your product is, etc.

  • Of course you can make a lot, but the median is probably pretty similar to the ibanking track. Shit, remember a couple years ago when Blackstone (or kkr?) was offering $1m over the course of 2 years for PRE-MBA associates. So you're 24, here's a million dollars. I doubt that happens much in trading.

  • for those who are arguing that a computer can never really replace a human trader, I have seen threads recently where guys on here were concerned about automated trading taking over a particular product or market.

Moral of the story, don't do it for the money. If you're on the fence about whether you should pursue a job in S&T, you're already not cut out for it.

agree to moral and yes 24 year old traders can be offered $$$$

 
Aug 1, 2010 - 11:47pm

look, the whole athletes make good traders thing is way overblown. yes, traders like to hire other guys that have athletics background, but it is not nearly a big deal as it has been made out to be. To be a good trader, you need to be smart, most of the products today are very complicated and have a lot of different risks and other characteristics. Even for simpler products like government bonds, there is still a lot going on and you will see very smart people on all those desks. when i was interning at a BB on the agency desk, all the younger traders that had been around for a couple years were all engineering majors at school. so even on the sell side brains > brawn. but being a former athlete definitely does help, its just not a make a break type thing that some people make it out to be

 
Aug 2, 2010 - 8:39am

I am more on the electronic side of trading, and I can't really comment on numbers for either side- trading is a lot more driven by personal performance, and if you can establish a track record of making real money for a firm, you can get someone to offer you a percentage of your earnings.

I can tell you this though- bankers tend to be more of the wannabe old money crowd, and are the types of guys that will look at your shoes and watch when they meet you before they look you in the eye, which I personally detest. Traders on the other hand tend to be from more diverse backgrounds, or really I should say have far more diverse personalities.

Each has their own misery, hours in trading are generally better, though as markets are becoming more 24x7, that is not necessarily true in all cases.

Someone should really start a database where we can all input our numbers. Sometimes I wonder if that 26 year old sales chick is raking it in or not.

 
Aug 2, 2010 - 9:50am

Jr. Trader @ a bank with a lot of banker bud's. So my answers will not apply to you Chicago Prop guys (although I did intern at a reputable prop shop)

-What do recruiters look for when hiring bankers vs. traders? What skills, talents, likes & dislikes are a good fit for what job?

Recruiters want bankers generally more polished (eloquent) and their traders with raw mental ability (that's why engineers do well). The trading/athlete phenomenon is due to the pressures on the job- pressures that athletes are familiar with. Nevertheless, both groups like pedigree and intelligence, and my desk is filled with Ivy Leaguer's

-Who typically makes more money between the two over the long run?

Interesting question. The median salary (and the correct answer) is probably the same for both professions in the long run. Too many people on this board think that 20mm+ traders are found everywhere. In the short run, bankers make more.

-Which career path typically offers better work/life balance, satisfaction and flexibility?

This depends on your personality. One forces you to work 100 hours a week on BS models while making your life pretty miserable. The other forces you to be at work at 6:30, forces you to work 70 hours a week and stress out the remainder of your free time, making your life pretty difficult. One isn't easier than the other. They are just really different.

-What are some of the top locations for each of the two?

I say NY, but to each his own.

-Who gets more tush?

The operation guy, the artist, and the barista probably get more azz than most of the monkey's on this board. The fact that you used the word 'tush' suggests that you seldom lay the pipe yourself…

"Sounds to me like you guys a couple of bookies."
 
Best Response
Aug 2, 2010 - 6:04pm

I work as a prop trader on the International desk of a prop trading firm in NYC and I went to a target school so a lot of my friends are bankers...only a select few became traders. Personally I only work 40-45 hours a week usually from 8 am to 4:30 pm and sometimes I'll stay late if I want to look into new ideas and build some things out. However, when I was a trading assistant/junior trader, I did work more hours just because I wanted to be the first one in the office and the last one out (as a rule of thumb, you should always be there when your superiors are there to support them and more importantly, learn) Also, I do find myself watching CNBC and reading bank research when i get home just for my own personal knowledge and I like to hear other people's opinions. When I am working though, I am sprinting the whole time unlike bankers which are pretty much running a marathon.

In terms of compensation, a good trader makes a LOT more than a good banker for the simple reason that we are getting a % of our PnL and banker pay is pretty much a fixed bureaucratic ladder system. Being a trader is a TRUE meritocracy and you eat what you kill and if you can't kill, well then you go become a banker or flow trader. In my firm, we get paid 40% of our PnL once you make a trader once you make it out of the trading assistant program. We also do hire a few flow traders or prop traders from the banks if we feel they have an "edge" that we currently do not have. Every trader on my desk is up at least 1.5 million this year on my desk or more and we of course have 1 guy who is up 7mm+ this year (not me =( ) However, the options desk is down this year because the volatility of volatility has been so high but that isn't their fault but yes their compensation will take a hit this year although I don't think any of them will be let go.

Since banking is more bureaucratic, it's probably easier for people to keep their jobs as a banker b/c as a trader, nobody cares if you did great work analyzing and building out spreadsheets if you can't translate that into PnL. I enjoy picking off traders who don't have a clue what they are doing and I'm sure other traders do too so you see why bad and mediocre traders must be let go (so you can pick them off when you go to another shop) Also, bankers may make more at the junior trader/analyst level right out of school but that's because 1), we are letting you see our proprietary strategies in exchange for you just doing our PnL and bitch work so there's no reason for us to pay you a salary but since we know you have to pay rent, we do 2) the amount you will learn just by being around successful prop traders should be enough compensation; you are learning to make money, not make stupid powerpoint presentations and kiss ass although we do appreciate it very much. After a while, you can go anywhere and make that money (usually after a junior trader program is done) so firms have to start paying you what you are worth or you will go somewhere else.

Just my 2 cents but I'm biased but I will tell you that I'm mid 20s and I make more than all my banking friends by a good margin and I have no ladder to climb - the market and margin calls is who I report to.

 
Aug 2, 2010 - 6:55pm

ngtrader:
the market and margin calls is who I report to.

While this may be enjoyable to some, personally I would find that to be a reason not to do trading, and hence a huge factor for deciding between banking vs trading. Trading is much more of a niche career path than banking. Yes it is more meritocratic, but you will only be doing one thing your entire career. I can't imagine being on my deathbed 50 years from now and realizing that my entire career accomplishments can be written in a single line preceded by a $ sign. Yes, banking has more grunt work for a longer period of time, but you do learn more tangible skills that can be applied to other fields. For me, job satisfaction is worth much more than the amount of money I could make.
 
Dec 17, 2012 - 3:22pm

I d like to add my bit to this. I ve worked in trading and now I am in IB.

Meritocracy in trading

I am not sure on this one. You can quantify the result of your work by a $#, but I believe there is misconception on this among new joiners. In banks, with prop stuff not being the core of the business, the majority of the trading does not require the special talent or quant edge that people in prop shops are looking for.
The whole game in both Trading and IB is incredibly political at big banks. I have seen people with very questionable p&l figures move through the ranks in a trading environment by striking the right chords with the bosses.

High-flyer pay

We constantly hear stories of some 25 year old traders raking in 7 digit sums while I have never heard of such a thing in IB.

I think this is misleading because people going in to the industry get the impression that once they get a trading job, do well, they will be in the news. This may well be the case and good luck to anyone who does pull it off, but the reality is a combination of landing in the right team, having a boss you are a natural fit with, and your desk doing well.

There is great dispersion in terms of performance among trading desks within both prop shops and banks.
Consequently the culture from one desk to another can be completely incompatible. Within the same bank you may easily find rates to be the natural home, while finding yourself absolutely incompatible with people in equities.

I believe trading success is a function of finding the exact right product to trade. A great FX trader can be a mediocre performer in equities and vice versa.

Within the trading floor the quality of jobs varies enormously, most roles are not the glamorous trading roles people look for, while in IB there is substantially less dispersion, and the skills you gain are very transferable between teams.

Having said all that, if you one has a good understanding of where exactly within trading he wants to fit in, and has the interest in the business, trading is definitely more rewarding.

If you have to ask how much it costs, you cannot afford it
 
Dec 25, 2014 - 1:41am

IB vs. Trading: Day in life, salary, bonus, etc. (Originally Posted: 07/21/2006)

Hi,
I will be a junior at a target school next year. I'm looking forward to interviewing and i am hoping to land a summer analyst position for summer '07. I am quite familiar w/ the banking sector due to these wonderful message boards and from reading books. I either want to do banking (M&A) or trading (Credit Derivatives or Equity Derivatives). Can somebody with INSIDE KNOWLEDGE explain day-in-life and compensation characteristics for the two?
Thanks

 
Dec 25, 2014 - 2:17am

Ibanking/Trading Career Plan (Originally Posted: 09/05/2006)

My plan is to do ibanking for two years and then try trading at a bank or hedge fund. If trading doesn't work out I will go to b-school and will have my ibank training to fall back on if I want to continue with banking, private equity, or go into an industry after b-school.

Could someone please tell me if this is a good plan? I like the idea of trading but I am afraid that if it doesn't work out I will be kind of screwed.

Also how easy is it for ibankers to transfer into trading after two years? Do they start out at the bottom again? I am assuming that it easier to go from ibanking to trading then the other way around.

 
Dec 25, 2014 - 2:28am

Intro, Trading vs. IBD (Originally Posted: 02/08/2007)

Hi guys, first time poster so be gentle. Allow myself to introduce...myself: 25 male, currently working at an I-Bank in NYC. However, I am not in IBD or Sales and Trading. I am in Pricing group (we price fixed income securities), concentrating on CDS. However, I will be attending Cornell MBA in the Fall and need some advice: We have to choose if we want to do Capital Markets or IBanking fairly quickly because we get put into Immersions that specialize. Now, I think I am made up to do Sales and Trading, just because I interace with those guys daily and it seems like a great atmosphere. However, I dont know too much about I banking. I assume I would be entering as an Associate instead of Analyst after MBA, but want to know the pros/cons of Sales&Trading vs. I-Banking. Any insight would be helpful. Thanks!

 
Dec 25, 2014 - 2:50am

Trading vs. IBD (Originally Posted: 12/02/2007)

I'm planning to transfer to the finance industry after I attend business school, but am having trouble deciding between trading and investment banking.

Background: I'm in the military, military academy grad (top 5% of class, 760 GMAT) I double-majored in Economics and Chinese (I'm an Irishman from Detroit; Chinese wasn't a purposeful GPA booster) I don't do anything quantitative in the military. I have the time to take all three CFA exams before business school and some extra calc/linear algebra. I have straight A's in econometrics, stats, finance, and accounting. I earned A's in all my calc-requiring engineering courses but only B's in calc freshman year.

I'm trying to figure out where I'm more likely to succeed and which division will pay me more. I know a few military folks who've gone into S&T, but they're all in sales. (I think) I wouldn't like sales as much as the IBD or trading. My goals are to live in Manhattan, enjoy being around my colleagues, and retire to a beach house in Duck, NC as soon as possible. Thoughts?

 
Dec 25, 2014 - 2:58am

IB or sales/trading? (Originally Posted: 04/25/2010)

I am currently pursuing my MBA at UofM Ross's evening MBA program. I will be done in summer or winter 2011...just depends on when I want to finish. Main reason for pursuing an MBA was to switch careers to i-banking.
I've been doing a lot of reading (this forum, vault/wetfeet guides) trying to get a good gauge for which role(s) I will be best suited for.

I've been in sales (mortgages) for the last 9 yrs, 5 in management...so I initially was leaning towards institutional sales. I'm very confident in my sales abilities and feel that I can succeed right away in this role. Plus the work/life balance for a sales position is one that really appeals to me...I am married with a new born. However, exit ops seems to be limited...can you even make a transition to HF/PE coming from sale?? and once in sales, it seems like it will be difficult to make moves to areas within the same firm if you desired. And income potential isnt as high as other positions.

Going the IB route will lead to higher income potential, better exit ops, etc...but I basically wont see my family for the 1st couple of yrs. Plus I will be 36 when I graduate. Will i even have the drive/energy to pull all nighters regularly alongside twenty somethings?

Thoughts/advice??

 
Dec 25, 2014 - 3:19am

Differences between trading, PE, IB, HF, etc. (Originally Posted: 09/17/2014)

I spent this past summer interning, and I was amazed at how much clearer an industry becomes once you work in it. So I was wondering if anyone can enlighten me on what the important differences are between these industries. I don't care much about salary differences; I'd rather know where are entry-level employees doing the most research? How do exit opportunities work between these industries? How do the players in each of these industries interact with each other (for example, maybe a prop trading firm needs to be careful about huge institutional/HF orders, or maybe a PE firm is taking the investment recommendations of an IB)? Or anything else that seems to be helpful for someone like me, who hasn't had too much finance experience. Thanks!

 
Dec 25, 2014 - 3:21am

Investment Banking vs. Fixed-Income Trading (Originally Posted: 12/26/2014)

I haven't made a decision yet over whether to work in investment banking division or fixed-income trading when I graduate from university. Which summer internship is better after freshman year. I guess a summer internhip in IBD will be better for learning financial modeling etc. What do you guys think about?

 
Aug 2, 2017 - 9:50pm

What division do I fit into: S&T or IB? (Originally Posted: 05/28/2014)

I am currently interested in a career in both investment banking and S&T. At the moment, I am unsure which division best fits my personality and strengths, and where I might have the potential for success (if finance is for me at all). I do prefer the look of IB slightly more than S&T, I would also like to know what skills you would say are the most important for investment banking.

  1. I have strong analytical skills

  2. Very good at mental arithmetic

  3. I have quite good instinct, I can tell whether someone is trying to rip me off or I straight away know what type of person someone is straight away as I meet them.

  4. Lastly, I like to think of myself as quite sociable. (I'm assuming this fits more sales?)

I don't mean to come off as conceited or anything, I'm just trying to see whether a career in finance is for me or whether I should look at another industry. Any comments will be appreciated, thanks.

 
Aug 2, 2017 - 9:52pm

You should ask to shadow someone in S&T and see what you think. Dont sit there like a mute deaf. Ask questions about things that will really give you a good idea what the job is about.

I'm not sure if there's real shadowing in banking other than meeting people, shaking hands, and spending a few minutes or getting coffee. Either way, do the legwork and put in some effort. No one here knows you so it's pretty useless to ask us.

 
Aug 2, 2017 - 9:53pm

Parker11ston:

3. I have quite good instinct, I can tell whether someone is trying to rip me off or I straight away know what type of person someone is straight away as I meet them.

Never, ever say anything like this in an interview. In order for something to be meaningful, there would have to be people who would not think this about him/herself. Nobody thinks they are the type who is easily duped.

Of course, I guess I don't have to tell you this, since you're so good at reading people. I was just a little worried, since you thought it was worth mentioning here.

 
Aug 2, 2017 - 9:57pm

why'd you guys choose banking over trading, assuming you did? (Originally Posted: 10/16/2006)

Was it the exit ops? I'm about to enter banking and sometimes wonder why didn't I go for trading. Trading seems meritocratic (you make money, you earn money), your skills are very concrete, and if you're good, then it's smooth sailing ahead. I guess what had concerned me were exit ops (what if I didnt want to keep trading), and satisfaction with my job (I'm just shifting securities around, which I guess I could justify as providing liquidity).

 
Aug 2, 2017 - 9:58pm

Tons of exit ops. As everywhere it depends how good you are at trading. But then if you're good then you wont quit. Some exit ops could be:

  • HF trader aka prop trading for a bb.
  • Buy Side Trader working for a PM of some fund.
  • Starting your own HF! Hey everyone else is doing it.
  • Selling your own trading systems for $19.99 and promising the 'sheep' to make millions in 2 weeks.

...and tons more!

 
Aug 2, 2017 - 10:03pm
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