S&T at a Bank -> Prop trading?

Background: Current Maths student at Oxbridge.
Hi. I've recently been offered an internship position at a big European bank (not DB/UBS but slightly below) at their London office. However, long-term I think I want to work in a prop trading firm/do  something more quant-y, and I'm currently not sure whether I should take the offer. The reason I ask is from looking through profiles of people working at JS/CitSec/IMC/HRT/Jump etc., most traders there interned at other prop trading firms, rather than banks. Does anyone have any thoughts on this trajectory?
I could also do a masters and recruit for prop trading internships during my third year, but I'm not sure how firms would look at someone who already has an internship. If you have any advice for this, I would greatly appreciate it.  

 

- Do you have any other internship offers/interviews (doesn't sound like it from your post)? If you don't, then I think you should take the internship because at least you earn some money and get experience which would be useful to sell-side applications and potentially some of the trading firms. I don't think the internship will hurt your chances at all, but it may not count for much in some of the prop trading applications because of their trading style/etc. However, there are definitely people who have interned at a sell-side bank and then gone on to a prop trading firm. The other option could be to do some summer research with one of your tutors/lecturers/profs in the maths department - personally am not convinced this is a better option but can see what others think.  

- Re: masters, I guess that is up to you but I would definitely recommend staying around for fourth year unless you get some amazing job offer (I assume you will meet the requirements to get into Part III or Part C) or you really hate your course by the end of third year (no shame in that). You will be working for many years to come and won't be able to get those university/college years back. It sounds like you are in second year? If so, you could definitely turn this summer internship into a prop trading internship next year and/or a BB trading internship. Also, as you say, you get an extra year to recruit.

- Paths to prop trading are much easier at the entry level. However, there are obviously people who lateral later on, but that seems to be in scenarios where the firm is building out a new business area (e.g. credit, rates, commodities, etc.) and need people who have experience to help grow that business.

 

I'm currently a first year, though the offer I have is for 2025 summer as it came from a Spring Week conversion. I'm not sure what to do, because I haven't really had the chance to apply to prop trading firms yet, so I don't know if I could do better/find something that aligns more with my goal.

I'm really not sure if I should bet on myself or just not overthink it. Thanks for your advice :)

 

One of the guys JS is suing MLP over was from BB S&T. So it is doable, but you'd have to be on the equity derivs desk or derivs desks at least.

 
Most Helpful

What makes you think you can't go? if you go to the great desk in the European bank, you can definitely go to top quant trading shops. I assume somewhere like BNP, socgen? their top seats like AMM, exotics....etc quite a few ppl exit to top tier quant trading shops like Tower/Jump, Citsec..just do your simple search. ...not sure foroptiver/imc, but even quant trading can exit to other quant platforms in major HFs

Well it is best if you can join there from the start but there is always an opportunty even if you start at trading team in Big bank. It would be stupid if you don't take the internship offer especially in this environment just because you want to bet for tail event. Ofc you would have to compete to get to the best seat in the bank.

 

You're right. I think I'm overthinking it. I looked on linkedin at profiles of people working at CitSec/JS/Optiver etc. and saw they all had prop trading internships, so I panicked a little.

If I recruit for summer internships again at prop trading firms, having a BB S&T internship already won't hurt, right?

 

If it's one of the French banks (BNP, SocGen) they're known for being derivatives powerhouses. Have a google about their prowess as some of those who really pioneered the complexity of them.

I've seen people from BNP in particular exit to buy-side fairly easily, so shouldn't be problem. Although since you're oxbridge, I think getting a FT at another bank will be fairly easy with this on your CV.

 

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