Breaking into S&T as a grad with no summer?

Gonna save everyone some time by being short and keeping it BS-free. If you felt like I said something that didn't add up please call me out so I can fix it. Any help is super appreciated. 

I am an international student doing accounting and finance at a Russel group, not a target school but maybe a semi-target depending on who you ask. I f'd up this year by applying to IBD instead of S&T cause I felt like I was going to be outshined by people with a STEM background. Now I have no IBD offers, but getting familiar with IB division helped me know that's not what I want to do. From my research, most people who break into S&T get a summer at a big bank, but that's long gone now. I interviewed with a bank from my home country specialising in derivs last week but summer internships are alien back home so might be a long shot, they said they'll see if they can squish me in for 3.5 months before I start my third year but we'll see. Any suggestions if I still want to break into trading next year as a grad if I don't get a summer in markets? I think I'm pretty sharp but self-aware enough to know a future in quant is slim so I don't know if it's worth it to try and apply for these firms such as jane street, I feel kinda pigeonholed as trading doesn't have boutiques, unlike PE or IB. Also idc that much about salary, I just really enjoy markets and want to work a job I don't hate so feel free to add any suggestions that I might not have thought of even if the pay is unappealing.

Comments (10)

Kubix, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Breaking into trading (even on internship lvl) without any touchpoints and without a STEM degree is very difficult imo. There are Botiques (propshops) like Flowtraders or Optiver but those are very quant focused and most of the ppl working there are hardcore stems. 

Id do the following: Try get a sales internship, if you are so keen on trading id stick to flow desks (sales-trading, aka a very high paid telephone job). Maybe youll find an exec trading internship somewhere, this could work out (also AMs have these kinds of traders, in the end its order routing and hanging in bloomberg chat all day but its still trading).

Credit agricole in LDN does offer various internships in markets, most of them go 1 year and noone wants to do that so this may be a case.

Im not from UK but my first internship in S&T (in Germany) was in a satellite office of a bank with strong bonds to SMEs (something like Commerzbank) where they would sell FX/Rates derivs to those SMEs in the region so they can do some heding. Maybe you have something like this in UK, but im also aware off-cycle internships are more of a german thing. In germany theres tons of off cycle S&T internships in the smaller banks.

Also have a look at AMs in general - they offer loads of internships.

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MU0000, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah, I'm aware of my shortcoming for quantitative stuff, I understand a lot of the concepts behind markets like order flow as I trade myself but I was more leaning towards cracking into the sales side. I still think executing orders for large clients could be fun and teach me a lot. Funny enough the bank I applied to in my home country also does FX and rates derivs for SMEs to hedge with, was hoping this could give me enough xp to tackle a role in ldn after graduation. Idk if off-cycle is an option for me but I'll give it a look, also I'll try and focus on applying to AMs more.

  • 2
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  • Works at Akuna Capital LLC

Looking at a Level 2 orderbook on Robinhood is only the start. There are lots of concepts in the markets that they don't really expect non-stem majors to pick up on at some of the quantitative trading firms. Quantitative Finance is heavily rooted in academia. We do have some non-STEM majors here on the trading side who are really good at understanding options theory and have done it for so long they've learned the language and focus on trading and not as much coding the logic behind fitting a vol surface etc, but there are few and far between who don't have some sort of programming experience now.

Breaking into the sell-side and focusing on sales is a good way to start, it also helps you pick up the markets from a holistic perspective, and some of the macro execution traders came from a sales-trading background as described above.

Kubix, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ive seen some people switching from sales to trading (high touch trading though) so thats defo possible. I even saw PMs from "normal" AMs like Fidelity etc. move to Quant Funds (these people had quant finance background but not too stem heavy) so if thats the way you wanna go you can try a master with this direction (Im also opting for that). 

Those SME-Hedging Sales Desks are a great intro and can defo work as a "feeder" for city internships on big desks. Just go through the banks in UK that rely on this SME Business (big foreign banks wont likely do this kind of business at all). If youre more keen about warrants and equity derivs, "public distribution" internships are also a great 1st internship. Its more marketing than sales but you learn a lot about the interesting stuff. SocGen and HSBC are very active in this field. 

Otherwise, as you said: AM Sales is great. Its a common exit for people who got tired of S&T, this is great for networking and securing possible follow up internships. Worked for me quite well. Lots of Banks also have their own Asset Managers, even Brands better known for their CorpFin Botiques like Lazard and Rothschild.

I hope you get your S&T internship though - itll surely work out somehow!! I also was very unconfident considering a career in S&T because of my general management background, hardcore non target etc. but in sales and even some trading positions this does not really matter. These people are very smart but they mostly developed their skillset on the job, not in university. Makes sense when you see philosophy students from Oxford in S&T. Sure, at places like Point72 or Janestreet its the other way around: those ppl can utilize concepts from theoretical physics for writing algos and stuff but they often dont even know what a yield curve is. Just be confident, noone in Sales will expect from you to be a hardcore STEM person, just know your shit about how markets in general work. You can do this!! 

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MU0000, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the words of encouragement! Sounds like you believe in me more than I do lol. I'll try my best. Also, is there any specific way that you suggest I go about finding these opportunities that isn't through the company website? I'm familiar with public distribution but don't remember seeing internships like this available.

Kubix, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hmm, not really an idea tbh. I just crawled through the company career sites. Another thing i forgot: If its for the worst try Wealth Mngmt and then pivot from there. Markets Research is also an idea !

EuroQuant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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