Path to Physical Commodities Trading

Hi all,

I am a first-year university student at a top Australian target university (Unimelb,USYD) and I am seeking guidance on how to secure a job in physical commodities. While my university has a strong pipeline for traditional front-office roles such as equity research, investment banking, and sales and trading, I am unsure of the necessary path and experience required to land a graduate program role in commodities such as the BP TDP, alongside scheduling roles at trade houses and supermajors in major commodities hubs like Singapore and London.

After browsing LinkedIn, I am still unsure of the required internships and majors needed to break into this field. I understand that there are no guarantees in the industry, but I would greatly appreciate it if someone with experience could provide some insight on this matter. What specific skills, experience, or majors are needed to secure a job in physical commodities? Are there any recommended internships or programs to gain experience in this field? Sorry for the ramble but would really appreciate someone with experience to provide some insight.

 

The first thing you should ask yourself is what commodity you are particularly interested in. Do you like power/natgas, oil, metals, ags, petrochemicals & NGL's? Figure that out first and then come up with a good explanation as to why you like that commodity. Don't just say, "I like xyz commodity because of the tangibility aspect". Ok.... but why exactly is that given commodity or market appealing to you? One of the most important things that you can do is to really craft your story and to sell yourself. Being a good wordsmith can take you very very far. Next, just make a list of all the majors, tradehoues, refiners, midstream companies, brokers, commercial wholesalers, etc.. and keep your eyes out for any job posting they have and apply to them all and anything commodity related. Since you're in Australia, research all of the mining companies and see if you can find some kind of supply chain or operations type internship. Maybe try and find an internships working for a midstream company or refiner in some kind of operations role? None of the tradehouses take any interns, except for one case where I have seen an undergrad who networked is way into one. Obviously keep your GPA up, participate in investing clubs, reach out to people and listen to their stories, and take a couple probability and statistics classes on timeseries, montecarlo, etc.... Maybe consider majoring in math as that will give you a good foundation. And of course learn python. 

 
Most Helpful

At your stage, you just need to worry about getting past the HR resume screen and a couple of interviews where no one will expect you to know anything.  So good grades, a technical skill (there’s no shortage of data analysis or process automation at these companies), and reputable internship experience is useful- much like any first finance job.  

What kind of Internships- just find something in the industry, in finance, or impressive sounding.  Cover letter- if necessary, just have a genuine interest in commodities (you are only writing to HR as no trader will look at that).  Apply all over as it’s a numbers game.

 

Here are some steps:

  1. Gain relevant experience.

  2. Pursue relevant majors or subjects.

  3. Network.

  4. Be open to different roles.

  5. Apply for graduate programs.

Good luck!

 

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