Glencore or Trafigura graduate program? (or others)

Background: Undergrad student looking to jump into physical metals trading (main interest is in copper, zinc, lead concentrates)

Just trying to get a better understanding of the differences in the way these firms are run and, ultimately, which offers better prospects for a grad entering the space.

On the surface, it seems as if Trafigura has more opportunities for international exposure earlier on with its Global, Shanghai and Montevideo Graduate programs (willing to go anywhere). Also, my primary interest being in metals, Trafigura has a metals program starting in Geneva or Shanghai. On the flip side though, I've also read that Traf doesn't tend to make its grads traders and prefers to hire traders from elsewhere.

Glencore only has a graduate programme for oil but it seems as if Glencore makes more of its graduates traders.

Also considering roles in mining giants in logistics/commercial or the masters in Geneva route.

I was wondering if there are any people with experience on any of the grad programs or those in the industry who would be able to give some input.

Comments (5)

Sep 12, 2019 - 12:49pm
WSO Monkey Bot, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Sep 29, 2019 - 8:48am
GoodBread, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You start in traffic at Glencore. Very hard to get in unless someone there puts your resume in. Traders seem to be a mix of people who started in the industry at Glencore, and people with significant experience at a miner/producer. Trafi seems to have people who were at miners/producers/Glencore.

Most Helpful
Sep 29, 2019 - 10:30am
YoungDumbFullOfRum, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Believe you're right: Glencore, as far as I can see (in Europe), only has the "global trader / commercial graduate" programme for their oil division. Honestly, I have no idea how you'd get into Glencore's metals department fresh out of uni.

Traf, on the other hand, have graduate programmes for both oil and metals. What's more, while at Glencore I think it's pretty common that you stay in the office you're hired to, Trafigura likes to move people around - for your last rotation as a graduate, you're often posted somewhere "abroad".

A key difference, however, is that very few graduates at Trafigura end up becoming traders. It even says on the graduate website that their programme is not expressly a programme to become a trader. Conversely (and this is only a guess), I'd say that if Glencore are advertising their graduate programme as a "global trader" scheme, you stand a better chance of eventually being given the chance to trade somewhere down the line. This logic seems to be supported by the fact that Trafigura routinely hires externally to fill trading seats, whereas, as far as I can make out, Glencore does not.

It's also worth mentioning that, as per their website, Trafigura's oil scheme is for those with little-to-no experience, whereas their metals scheme seems to have a preference for those "with a few years of experience". Unless you've got a decent amount of internship experience under your belt, I'd have a long think about how committed you are to the metals market and whether: i) You'd rather work somewhere else (e.g. mining) for a few years and then transition; or ii) Try your hand instead at oil.

At the end of the day, I think they both look like phenomenal opportunities. Regardless of which shop you end at (if you're so lucky), each programme is very much what you yourself make of it. Neither place is just gonna hand you a seat on the trading floor - both processes are gonna be very competitive both to get into in the first place and, subsequently, to transition to a risk-taking role. I'd apply to both (why not?) and see where it gets you - if you get offered both seats, that's a different conversation to have later on.

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes" - Oscar Wilde
  • 6
Sep 15, 2022 - 11:33pm
Matsby, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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