Q&A Sales and Trading Post Internship at a top BB (JPM/MS/GS)

Hello all,

I think now that my internship is coming to an end it would be a good idea to welcome an open Q&A about anything you had in mind. I'll try my best to answer all questions about the internship I had, recruiting, or just general questions.

I'm from a non-target/semi-target (kind of on the come up now) and am an incoming analyst for the FX Options desk next year. I rotated on Rates vol, Rates exotics, STIRT, and FX Options for some more background information. This website is a great resource for information and I wanted to give back in some way, so please ask away.

Comments (34)

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Aug 7, 2022 - 9:23pm

Could you touch on the quant skills required for different fx and rates desks? Also, could you discuss the sales side of FICC desks if you got any experience with that? Thanks!

Aug 7, 2022 - 9:29pm
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah for sure. So for Rates vol and exotics. Definitely a CS major will have an advantage. Personally, I didn't have any coding experience when entering the desk but I learned on the job. I built an algo that was able to extract SDR data and build out a simple chart that expresses what index it was and how much notional it was in whatever time frame they chose. I also built out a multi variant linear regression model so you able to see if certain tenors are relatively cheap or expensive compared to another. So Python, Pandas, C++, and R are used quite a bit. For FXO, honestly I didn't have to do much since QR did a lot of it. However, I still highly recommend you learn it. It's always good to know how the QR team is doing there job so you can get a better understanding of the desk, product, and how it can create efficiency in the desk.I didn't rotate on sales, so can't really speak to that side of it. I can say though (at least in my experience and talking with traders) sales is managing relationships with the clients even though traders do that as well. You make money on how much you charge your client. That's all the color I can really provide on that front.

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Aug 8, 2022 - 12:18pm

Thanks, super helpful. Could you touch on the non options side of fx and rates such as treasuries and spot fx? Thanks!

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Aug 7, 2022 - 9:36pm
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly, you know your competing with Iveys so try and create an engaging story to whoever you network with. For me, I started college off majoring in neuroscience for 2 years and then transferred to Finance. I've also been trading options for the past 2.5 years. I lost a lot of money in the beginning but I didn't give up like most people did. I was able to develop my own strategy that consistently made me money and then scaled it from there. I was able to turn 5k-> 82K from June of 2021 to June of 2022 (the volatility this year helped me a lot). Coming from a non-target you won't have the same resources as others so you have to be pro active, be resourceful, take things into your own hands, and honestly just how bad do you really want it.

Aug 7, 2022 - 10:53pm
DeltaBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man, thanks for doing this. Corollary to another question you've answered, but how mathematically intensive would you say FXO/Vol and Rates are/would you need to be (not speaking about "quant" skillset if that makes sense)? 

And super broad question, what's your opinion of the Equity derivs desk and structured products desk if you got a little wind on them while on the floor? 

Most Helpful
Aug 8, 2022 - 7:51am
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Of course, so any derivatives desk you need to be pretty good at math. Specifically probability and statistics. It would be good if you have some sort of knowledge on BSM as well. It gets more important when you get into the Greeks and how they can impact your position as banks have pricing models they use. So, for example if you have a portfolio and EURUSD goes from 1.0123 -> 1.0000 how is this going to impact your portfolio, crosses, will you be getting longer delta in certain baskets, gamma and gamma spreads, will you be getting delivered longer Vega/shorter, are you still earning or paying decay? These are just some of the things that traders think about.So you take these things into account and react (aka always having a plan and probability of things going certain way and what to do in each scenario). Equity derivs is always a good deal it's better than cash equities for sure. EDG is the best equities product to go into in my opinion based on what I've heard. But compared to macro derivatives group it's definitely considered easier (take that with a grain of salt it's still complex and hard). Just not as many factors that go into a micro desk compared to macro. SPG is always a complex product that gets paid very well

Aug 8, 2022 - 11:43pm
wsomonk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man, thanks for doing this! I'm also a non target student going to a BB next summer and I'm pretty nervous about not knowing as much compared to people coming from ivies. Is there anything you recommend doing before hand to prepare for the internship? Also what do you think helped you get a return offer? Thanks in advance!

Edit: to clarify my school only offers liberal arts so I have little to no knowledge on things like delta, spreads...etc...

Aug 9, 2022 - 6:09pm
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well first off, congrats on the offer!! Honestly I wouldn't worry too much about competing with Ivey league kids. I mean in my experience and personal opinion I really don't think it matters what school you go to. Are you smart, do you work hard, etc. there are really intelligent people that just can't afford to go to Harvard or maybe there are other reasons. I know that there were Ivey league kids that struggled during my internship and non target kids that struggled.

To answer your question though

1.) just have a lot of face time and be personable. A lot of people actually want to see you succeed. If you develop relationships with the people on your team I'm willing to bet they are willing to help you.

2.) have insanely good EQ. I cannot stress this enough. The amount of times this summer I had my team thank me because I knew when to approach them with a question compared to some of my colleagues. Write down what times the desk is busy and when's a good time to approach them.

3.) when you have questions about a project or whatever you are doing if the person is busy that's okay make sure you ask them when is a good time for them then. They know you have a deadline too so make sure you do that and create time so you can get your questions answered

4.) work hard. Plain and simple. It's very easy to tell if someone is working hard or is lazy. Especially if it's something you are struggling with. People will appreciate you trying your best, getting in at 6am and leaving at 10pm. The whole FILO thing is actually a very important thing I've noticed.

5.) help other interns. You should try and help anyone with anything they have. This includes interns. It shows teamwork and that you are willing to help others.

6.) insert yourself into the machinery of the desk. Whether that is morning emails, overnight news, maybe an analyst prints something out every morning do that for them, anything to make their lives easier and become a part of the desk.

7.) talk with seniors as much as possible. Ultimately they are the ones making the decisions so if you can get close with them chances are you will get a return.

Things you can do to help prepare. I can't really answer that unless I know what division you are going for but nonetheless keep networking with the firm. Ask to go visit as well shows you are proactive and determined.

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:19am
ben87, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What type of technical questions were you asked in interviews? 
Besides options and greeks, can you give some examples of topics I need to be knowledgable about during the interview process?

Thanks

Aug 10, 2022 - 11:18am
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Definitely, so my interview was mostly technical probably a 70/30 split between technical and behavioral. Keep in mind though I had options experience so that was expected. I got asked the basic questions like what's your view on the market, what's a trade you would put on, the tell me about a time questions…I wouldn't expect most applicants to get the same questions I got when it comes to the more technical questions.

Some more technical stuff was if you had. A call option ATM and the stock went from 150–>135 in 10 seconds and 10 seconds later went back to 150 and it kept doing that for 10 minutes would you make money, lose money, or be neutral?

How does gamma effect a position, what are some characteristics of Vega. Those are just some I kind of forget the rest to be honest.

Things you can do is ALWAYS have an opinion. It's not about whether you are right or wrong, it's about the way you think and can you articulate a reason as to why you have that view. Be up to date on the markets, be personable, make the interviewer smile and laugh (remember they have to work with you for 12 hours a day so a big part of the interview is do they like you)

You'll know if it's going well if it feels more like a conversation rather than an interview.

  • Prospect in S&T - FI
Aug 10, 2022 - 2:59pm

call option ATM and the stock went from 150–>135 in 10 seconds and 10 seconds later went back to 150 and it kept doing that for 10 minutes would you make money, lose money, or be neutral?

Is the answer that we'd make money because we're long gamma?

Aug 10, 2022 - 1:35pm
GoatandSheep, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey there, thanks a lot for doing this! I was wondering if you can share some thoughts on Macro factors such as government policies. Do those play a heavy role when you are trading FX or you guys were more focused on the math aspect like daily volatility and the greeks etc.

Aug 10, 2022 - 3:23pm
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

All the above. Every aspect is just as important. You need to be aware of what's going on at all times around the world. Whether that's macro policy, elections, Brazils CPI, etc. nothing can get overlooked. The macro policy is just as important and the math/technical aspect. You also need to have day weights for each event and how much needs to get priced into your vol. without going into too much detail, everything is equally important.

Aug 10, 2022 - 4:05pm
mynameisnaabro, what's your opinion? Comment below:

2023 summer analyst here- just wondering how much of the day did you notice the traders pricing vs actual market making? I mean like updating pricing models vs actually executing trades. How flowy were the desks you worked on? Were the traders pretty much locked in 9:30-4:00?

Im so excited to intern next year. I wish I could just be there already.

Did you have a notebook where you just wrote stuff down with all info/questions?

  • Prospect in S&T - FI
Aug 10, 2022 - 4:24pm

mynameisnaabro

Did you have a notebook where you just wrote stuff down with all info/questions?

Def do this from day one, most/all of the interns at my firm did.

Aug 11, 2022 - 12:00am
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To answer your question more precisely I guess, updating pricing models and executing trades kind of goes hand in hand. In order to make a price for a client you have to update the model and whether the clients accepts/doesn't you then execute/don't execute. So they go hand in hand. There's also like different things you have to consider. Some clients get different pricing like HFs will get a different price than real money. Also are they a special client? Do you have a good relationship with them? Like a huge aspect of this job that often gets overlooked is RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT!!! As a trader you still have to manage the relationships with clients (it isn't just sales)Rates vol:pretty flowRates exo: slow paced but very complex riskSTIRT: balanced I'd say slows down after 1 (London close)FXO: pretty flow until 1 (London close) also very proprietaryAlso yes bring a notebook!! Write down everything

Also my hours were FXO everyone is dialed in from 7am-5:30pm

9:30-4 that's equity markets since FX is OTC and trades 24 hours a day pretty much all week we run a global book. So London hands it to us, we hand it to Tokyo, Tokyo gives it to London.

Aug 16, 2022 - 10:26pm
stealthforce, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey! Thanks for doing this. I'm a rising sophomore studying CS at a target. Was just wondering how you went about recruiting in sophomore year - what books did you read, your timeline and networking process. Furthermore, did you do a finance related internship over sophomore summer as well?

Thanks!

Aug 31, 2022 - 12:06pm
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man, so I was a neuroscience and cell biology major until halfway through sophomore year. So I was already late to recruiting and what the hell to do. I busted my butt o start networking. I would send out 20-30 LinkedIn messages a day and connect with as many as possible. That really how I managed to get into the industry. In terms of books, I relied more on experience and mentors. Like I said I traded on my own and was able to find some kind of success based on what mentors provided me. I was committed to a small firm until a recruiter called me up to apply. So I did and then I got a superday from it. Next thing you know here I am.I would recommend, networking as much as possible, read the WSJ, Bloomberg news, FT, any resource you can to keep up to date. From there develop your own opinion on the markets and find ways to let your intellectual curiosity take over.

Aug 31, 2022 - 11:42am
travybel, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Aug 31, 2022 - 12:07pm
ghost9851, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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