BP TDP Graduate London Progression

Hi guys - I recently received an offer for BP's graduate program in Trading and Shipping in London, which is structured as 3 years' rotational (1 year each in Analytics, Risk, Ops), with a view to become a trader afterwards.

Can anyone provide insight into comp progression during these years & as junior trader and what % of grads actually get a trading role? 

Just worried the risk-payoff after working for 3 years and stuck with no permanent trading role...

Comments (44)

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Other
Nov 26, 2020 - 1:20am

Some famous traders in the physical space have gone on to start hedge funds. Honestly,  there's not much upside leaving the physical side unless you're starting your own firm. However, my experience is from across the pond so unsure about London. 

Nov 25, 2020 - 3:50pm
SLB00, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's a good programme. I believe base is about 45k first-year, but hours are far more sane than banks. Not sure about conversion rate, but Glencore/Traf/Vitol love picking up ex-BP people. 

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Nov 25, 2020 - 11:01pm
GoodBread, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't totally understand what you are comparing this to that would be so much safer or lucrative. Good seats at BP are getting people in the 7 figures and the top crude guy typically makes more than the CEO. BP or Shell experience is almost a prereq to going far at one of the independent traders.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Comm
Jan 5, 2022 - 4:29pm

Interested in commodity trading but will be incoming at goldman sachs in the s&t division; how much preference is given to BP/shell traders when recruiting for trading houses?

Nov 26, 2020 - 12:38am
Juicy Elbows, what's your opinion? Comment below:

lol yeah man, you'll be fine. As GoodBread mentioned it is arguably the best entry-level job in commodity trading. I believe at the end of the program they have some kind of test that they give to the graduates to assess which ones will become traders and which ones won't. Not 100% sure how true that is but that's what I've heard. What other path do you think would be better to become a trader then this one?

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Dec 7, 2020 - 1:33pm

Yeah, I get that it's probs the best platform to become a physical energy trader.

And yes, HR mentioned bp has an "Assessed Traders Course" test to pass at the end of the 3 years - and you only get one shot at it - and depending if you pass/fail, you'd be eligible/not eligible for a bp junior trader job. Pass rate has historically ranged from 100% to 50% in the past few years (every year there's only ~4/5 trading grads in London tho)

I also have offers for top BB (GS/MS/JPM) S&T and ER - so am wondering which to ultimately accept

Dec 7, 2020 - 5:58pm
powerforward1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

if you're not sure you want to do the commodities industry, then the banks

  • 1
Dec 9, 2020 - 8:34am
SnTCX, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sort of off topic but is the scheme closed for this year? I gave up on trading after getting rejected two seasons in a row but I've decided I want really want to switch job and I thought commodities might be an easier route than in an IB (though I applied to BP, Shell etc last year and got rejected). Do you remember if the deadline has already passed? 

(This is for UK/London)

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Dec 9, 2020 - 6:40pm

The scheme is closed for apps a few weeks ago I think - not sure. I applied back in Sept.

IBs realistically hire a majority of STEM students for S&T in London these days, so physical commods are definitely a better bet if you are studying straight finance/business/econ. In my experience at London S&T ACs (and I did 6 last year...), the engineers (+diversity randoms) tend to make up the bulk of the hiring, even if their profiles seemed "weaker" than the straight finance students.

That being said, I believe joining commods via an energy supermajor or trade house is actually way harder than S&T IB in London. BP hires ~5 grads a year, Glencore hires ~2 grads a year, Shell doesn't even have a normal "graduate trading program" fresh out of University... and those are the largest shops out there.
GS alone takes >50 S&T summer interns in London every year, as does MS, JPM, etc.... add up all the sheer applications/grad openings-wise, getting into commods is straight up "harder". Yeah, you could argue "stronger candidates end up in IB S&T" and maybe that was the case a decade ago, but taking a quick look on Linkedin it's not true anymore.

Dec 9, 2020 - 7:56pm
powerforward1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

dumbass kids who interject crap b/c of whims rather than knowledge. Pretty common on internet platforms nowadays

Dec 9, 2020 - 7:36pm
harden4mvp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You have to keep in mind there are significantly fewer entry seats for commodity trading. In my opinion, having interviewed and recieved offers in both, the trading was way harder. When I interviewed for BP they said they had 400 applicants per spot which is pretty competitve.

  • Intern in S&T - Other
Dec 9, 2020 - 10:22pm

What I liked about the BP interview process was they never asked any BS behavioural questions like 'tell me about a time you innovated' or 'if you could be a fruit what would you be' or 'tell me about your 3 strengths and weaknesses' or even 'why commodity trading'. Straight technical case studies + group exercises = more of an assessment for raw aptitude imo

Unlike the BB S&T interviews these days in which they pick off dry and boring questions from a list provided by HR.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 11, 2022 - 10:21pm

Unlike IB competition , which mostly consists of starry eyed prestige whores and those looking for a low risk path,  for commodity trading  you'll be competing with petroleum engineering students - who have an interest + strong technical background - as well as econ majors who've known S&D since they set up a lemonade stand at 2 years old.  In other other words, the competition is more and *much* tougher.  The kids who get in are absolute stars and even then they get humbled by other stars in the program.

Dec 10, 2020 - 6:31am
SnTCX, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the replies. I didn't know that commodities trading was actually harder to break into. I had just assumed as it was less well known as people at my uni didn't appear to be clamouring to get inside like they did with IB and prop shop S&T that it must be easier. I didn't realise it was just due to the number of spots available. 400/1 odds don't look good though I think most IBs are at about 200/1 now. Congrats on making it in anyway. 

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Dec 19, 2020 - 11:35pm

Cheers. There's a few 'niche' roles out there that pay exceedingly well in the UK, but students generally don't realize it because there's very few entry-level headcount in the industry compared to IBs or consulting. Physical commodity trading is definitely one of them, and off the top of my head... real estate private equity, secondary advisory (e.g. Campbell Lutyens) and shipbroking (e.g. Clarksons) are also examples

Jan 5, 2022 - 2:50pm
UniGrad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Slightly different situation, but I have a MBB consulting offer as well as an offer from BP for their trading programme. Thought it was an easy decision and was very ready to turn down BP until I saw this above thread. Any advice on what I should look for/ anyone with a similar experience? I've never had a trading internship before so not sure what to expect there, but had an MBB internship and quite enjoyed it. Given that the trading programme appears so competitive and has good exit options (+higher pay), should I reconsider?

Most Helpful
Jan 5, 2022 - 3:15pm
Rotterdam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you have a real interest in physical commodities? A guy working at a refiner trading their gasoline length is going to be a very different person than your typical consultant. As an anecdote, I got a buddy that trades Permian crude for a trade shop and he doesn't even know what MBB or target uni means. Just a good ol boy from Texas that is smart and has that type of personality that people love to be around. Not saying you will come across that in a London office but just saying in the physical commodity space the people tend to be different than your MBB/banking type. Physical commodities is all about understanding the bigger picture of what is going on and driving prices, having intimate knowledge about the supply chain you're focused on, and being able to tie that all together to execute. As a physical trader you're not dealing in Powerpoint presentations and CAGR. You are figuring out how to make sure that cargo of gasoline gets to where you want it to go despite the port you typically deliver to being shut down for a hurricane. You are on the phone in the morning talking to your counterparties trying to get a pulse on why they think basis is screaming and how fucked you are since you got caught short.

I am not a consultant so keep that in mind but from the outside looking in, and from what I have heard from friends, consulting is much more putting together presentations, coming up with ideas, crunching the numbers, etc. but there is very little execution of the strategy and putting out any fires that come up along the way. Physical trading is coming up with ideas and crunching the numbers but mainly it is about executing. As a consultant you get paid to come up with solutions. As a trader you get paid to come up with solutions AND execute those ideas.

Jan 6, 2022 - 12:20am
marcellus_wallace, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is a very well detailed response. Likewise many people I have worked with could never spend a day in the shoes of a consultant in fact many find them annoying and their whole profession. That said I do know people who are at consulting firms and were in trading roles before also know some that moved from PE/trading and back forth. It is unusual you find people interested in both career but for sure on the more "data analytics side" you see people could live in both worlds. 

I think since you said you really enjoyed MBB internship maybe should stick with the MBB path if you do have some inclination that you love "econ 101" and the lifestyle of trading (personal account, crypto, etc) then I would say to seriously consider the BP program. As far as exits I think MBB exits >>> BP.

I think hours in BP TGP would be better but as you know grow in your career. Per rottedam, "sleep is a luxury" due to the example he explained...and countless others. 1 cold winter is all one needs to get grey hair.

  • Junior Trader in S&T - Comm
Jan 6, 2022 - 4:45pm

Agreed. consulting is a fukin joke. They are a waste

Jan 6, 2022 - 12:53pm
UniGrad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Prospect in ER
Jan 8, 2022 - 5:48am

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