Renewed Interest in Finance Late in Undergrad -- Advice Needed

Hello all,

I am currently a junior majoring in quantitative economics with a 4.0 -- basically economics with some advanced stats, graduate level econ, and advanced math. Two years ago, I transferred from a target school to my state's flagship (a non-target) due to personal family reasons that have since resolved. Up until the beginning of this fall semester, I had been dead-set on going to law school straight out of undergraduate, but I have recently decided that I would much rather enter the trading sector, with a specific interest in quant trading and commodities.  Because of the last-minute nature of this decision, I have absolutely no finance related internship experience. Additionally, I plan on finishing up an economics research paper focusing on oil/natural gas this summer which should be published by next fall. 

My question for you guys: what would be the best strategy for me to enter into the trading/commodities sector given my background? Should I opt for a masters degree in stats/data science/financial engineering in order to garner more experience and time to get some internships, or would another strategy be more advantageous? 

Any advice would be much appreciated 

 

Have similar background, might be able to give some advices. Not necessarily related to the advice but just curious—why the change of career interest? Law to quant and/or commodity trading?

What products are you interested in?

 

I have been interested in going into finance since damn near the eighth grade (actually opened a dummy account on WSO then lol), which is one of the reasons I worked so hard to get into a target. When I transferred so early in my college career to a non-target, I abandoned all hope of going into IB/S&T out of undergrad and instead opted for the "next-best" option career-wise for me, which was law. So trading has always been on my radar, and getting into economics research and quantitative Econ courses have really helped me realize that it is the career I would prefer.

As far as products, I am primarily interested in energy, but have no real preference. 

 
Most Helpful

That makes sense. I also did a math econ major, and now do gas and power trading. There are definitely a lot of products, energy included, that you will enjoy if you like what you learn in school.

Being in your junior year rn is "late" for banks' FO summer programs and some other shops' and funds' structured programs, but it's not late for all internships and most certainly not too late that you have to do a master's. I think the big picture right now is 

1. get any internships you can. Maybe some operations roles at the shop you like. maybe a logistics role at utilities. maybe just corp fin at a energy related F500. Or at the very least just ask local boutiques if they will need someone. Going to a state flagship is sufficient for a decent internship next summer. And since you are just a junior, what experience you have doesn't really matter that much. Heck, some shops' TDP still take new grad with zero energy experience. You will be fine.

2. keep an eye out for good grad programs. For energy trading, the path is mostly: you either start in a rotational program, a risk/ops role and work your way up to trading, or in very rare cases start out in FO and find a seat you like. The rotational program at BP is good. Also apply everything like Philips 66, EDF, utilities, Gunvor, Glencore... etc. If not, network your way to a seat at any shop that trades energy.

3. You don't need to be an expert in O&G, and it's kinda impossible to learn commodity trading without working in it. But general knowledge and technical skills will help. Learn some basics of how to build S/D models etc how to use Python, read old analysts' VBA codes. 

4. If for the whole next two years, nothing works out for you. I think you will probably be in a good position for grad school anyway. Consider some MFE or I've also had colleagues who got master in financial math etc. You will be eligible for on campus recruiting again.

I wrote some algorithms from time to time to help and code a lot while trading energy but don't think I am qualified to answer how to get a job as a QR or QT like the traditional sense of quant. So the above is just for energy trading. I will say the field really does not play the game that IB analysts are playing, with the SA offers in sophomore spring or bust, and you don't really need to stress yourself out. Feel free to ask about natural gas and power if you are interested too.

 

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