BB S&T for Junior SA...What if a career in S&T is not for me?

Hey monkeys. This is my first post on here, would like to get some genuine advice, maybe from older people in the industry. 

I'm doing my junior summer in S&T at a GS/MS/JPM. I like the people at the firm, I like the S&T lifestyle, and I know I find the content of the job interesting. However, I'm not sure if I'm cut out for a career of fast-paced, instant gratification for the rest of my life. If I go into S&T for FT, I'll probably be in Sales, which I worry won't give me any hard skills.

I prefer long-term, strategic thinking, and I enjoy qualitative stuff like writing, though I can code and am fairly good at math (I'm just not the quant type). My main strengths are that I have good people skills (networking / communicating), have done lots of company early insights programs, and I'm generally good at learning things and problem-solving.

What do you recommend I do with this skillset? I could see myself at a HF doing some kind of research role, or at a PE or credit firm. I keep hearing that it's hard to break into the buyside if I don't go straight from undergrad or from 2 years of IBD. I just think it's ridiculous that I have to worry about pigeonholing myself when I'm literally still in college.

Should I get a CFA when I'm in S&T to show I at least have technical knowledge? Should I recruit for something else for FT? What are the exit opps even like for S&T?

Context: 4.0 at an Ivy / target, diverse

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Comments (7)

Apr 30, 2021 - 9:54pm
harden4mvp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You could recruit FT for consulting. Sounds like that might be up your alley and MBBs recruit more for FT anyway so it won't be an uphill battle like FT IB recruiting will be.

May 3, 2021 - 7:36am
bullbrickburd, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Interesting suggestion! I actually never considered consulting as a potential path, since I decided pretty early on that I'd pursue a career in finance (before I even knew what consulting was lol), but I have actually gotten the comment before that I'd be well-suited for consulting or law. Maybe I'll check it out. Thank you!

  • PM in HF - Other
Apr 30, 2021 - 11:34pm

It just an internship dude, you are not pigeonholing yourself with 4.0 from an Ivy by a SA stint. That said truly the skillet you mentioned is one that fits S&T will not lie. You will see soon enough.

Also why do you think they are going to put you into sales?

May 3, 2021 - 7:32am
bullbrickburd, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for your reply and for your perspective. The reason why I say I'd probably be in sales is that, between sales, trading, and structuring, sales is the one I have the most natural advantages in, compared to other people. As mentioned, I'm alright at math (did multi-variable calculus in high school) and programming (can program in Python and Java)...but compared to the actual quantitative types, I'm nothing. Not great at mental math either--someone actually put me on the spot once, asking me a slew of rapid-fire mental math questions. After I got a few of them wrong, he just said, "Don't be a trader. You'll get fired." I see his point.

When it comes to softer skills though--things like writing, networking, persuading people, having a good sense of aesthetics, etc.--I can do those pretty effortlessly, and I enjoy them. But I don't know if I want to be a salesperson forever. Structuring or trading complicated products (like securitized products or distressed bonds) seems cool, and they're both slower-paced than flow-trading, so maybe I could try those? It's hard to get a sense now though...

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  • PM in HF - Other
May 3, 2021 - 10:58am

The #1 skill most trading requires these days is "critical thinking" and the path to "critical thinking". No one "alright at math" can program Java/Python if did not take heavy stats or CS courses that will limit from some of the main products that require more indepth math. But beyond you have the mental capacity to handle majority of the work based on your grades/major/etc...

That interviewer wanted to put you on the spot to see how you would not read too much into it. Yes mental math is quick and being fast is fine, but the ability to prepare for the trading week on Sunday morning, going to bed knowing what data/etc you want to look at, the ability to connect small thoughts to larger themes is the core skillset now, we have excel/python for a reason.

The reason knowing some coding and database structures is good is because you can talk the language to the quants/IT so they can better get you the tools you need. Again someone whos can write well/speak well, can critically think will be able to know what kind of dashboards is needed over some super duber coder.

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May 26, 2021 - 9:52pm
salivapalth, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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