BB Front office internship turned into middle office or nothing - need advice

Hey apes, essay inbound.

Posting anonymously just in case. Currently an intern at a BB in S&T. Started off on a structuring desk, did a ton of work with commodity exotics. My manager said he really likes my work ethic, I learn quickly, and know the markets well but suggested that I'd do better in a more fast paced environment. He recommended I go through internal mobility (my bank doesn't do rotations) and gun for a trading desk of some kind. I agreed with him, and did as he suggested.

Mobility was rough - very few trading desks available. They were FICC and told me that despite me doing well on the projects they gave me and the support of my team, they'd prefer to take the interns looking to make the switch from credit sales/research as they had already had experience with the products traded on their desks. Likewise, the sales desks saw my relatively quant-y background and said that their desks likely weren't what I was looking for (in a lot of cases, they were right). There were no commodity desks looking for new interns. No idea if I just got unlucky or they were just being diplomatic, but I don't think I'll ever find out.

The only desk interested in taking me on is treasury funding - issuing/buying back bonds, repos, etc. for the firm's balance sheet and as per regulatory requirements. The team is nice but from what I gathered this is a strictly MO role: there is zero market making, very little, if any, risk taking, and it's not even in the same building as I was in before. They were impressed and stated they were looking for someone to help out more on the technical end but this isn't what I had in mind at all going into the summer, and that hasn't changed. As for my old desk, they've just agreed to onboard two other experienced FT employees from quant research, so I won't be able to hop back into structuring either.

From what people have told me and from what I understand, I have 4 options:

  1. Accept the offer from funding, work my ass off, maintain ties with the trading desks, and hope I'm able to slide in when an opening appears. The money would certainly be helpful, but I've heard horror stories from people both within my bank and others about those who get trapped in MO/BO forever, and that the longer I spend there, the lower my chances get of ever breaking out.

  2. Reject the offer from funding, get into a top grad school for an MFE/MBA, and come back to FO/prop with a vengeance. This makes sense to me, especially as a non-target student (there are zero alumni at my bank), but from a financial standpoint, neither I nor my family are capable of affording this option.

  3. Reject the offer from funding, finish up my bachelors, and start recruiting from scratch. Given how most banks tend to get their analysts from the summer program, my main concern here is that I simply won't be able to get an FO role and not have a job at a BB, a worse version of option 1.

  4. Accept the offer from funding, and give up on trading. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with how my summer turned out, and I don't want this to be the end, but I'm really struggling to find information about funding desks and their exit opps. All my points of contact on the team have been there for 5-10+ years and don't seem to be interested in heading elsewhere. I don't want to risk bringing up leaving given how I haven't even started working full time yet, and the traders I've asked for advice don't know enough about the desk to give me anything concrete. If it isn't doable, I'd prefer to know sooner rather than later.

TLDR: Interned at BB S&T, only offer is for MO treasury funding. What do

Edit: No idea which the region keeps getting set as France, can't change it 

Comments (6)

Most Helpful
Jul 18, 2022 - 7:05am
hsmith15873, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey,

This is the difficulty with internships when headcount expectations change (happens all the time, which is unfortunate for students). I don't know anything about treasury funding, so can't comment on that. Nonetheless, a few things to keep in mind:

- Ask your manager to help introduce you to people on trading desks that he knows. That would be really helpful if your manager can effectively vouch for you.

- There is another option which I think you missed. You could accept the offer from the bank so you have a backup, then recruit for internships (not just FT) at other banks/HF/prop (I know many people who do these internships during summer after they have graduated, so not an issue if you are a rising senior). As you said, recruiting for internship is significantly easier than recruiting for FT.

- In FICC there are other quanty desks as well: Nonlinear rates, FX options/exotics, credit volatility. Have you contacted all of these desks as well (highlight your background to increase chance of you taking them seriously). You could try to spend time with multiple desks simultaneously, and then hope one of them has an opening for you.

- What about the other FICC structuring desks (i.e. the ones paired with the trading desks above)? Have you reached out to them to see whether they are willing to accept any interns? 

Lmk if that was not clear. Hopefully someone with more knowledge about treasury funding can chime in and provide more info.

  • Intern in S&T - Comm
Jul 18, 2022 - 8:16pm

You're right, worst comes to worst I should probably take the job and tough it out.

  • Didn't know about the possibility of interning again, will definitely try and do that again if something doesn't change
  • Old team has agreed to vouch for me but has said their word won't be worth as much for desks that aren't structuring and aren't commodities. The commodity trading desks seem to be a no-go (very few keeping their interns, most no headcount to spare, never asked for interns in the first place)
  • Currently looking into FICC structuring/strategy
  • Don't think the FICC trading desks are an option as of now, maybe an internal move later if I'm still around. I got some pretty detailed feedback from them - some along the lines of "your manager recommended you to us, so did everyone else's, we took the guys with FI experience, sorry kid" and some along the lines of "it was a really hard decision and you came close, we want you to keep in touch." Again not sure how diplomatic people are being vs how I sized up compared to others but I'll take what I can get and keep in touch

Thanks for your help, every bit of advice counts.

  • Intern in S&T - Comm
Jul 18, 2022 - 8:17pm

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