A common misconception about operations I should clear up.

operations is the least glorious job in banking, but it does get a much too negative reputation. The reason for this is that a lot of posters (about half I would say) think the only thing in operations is trading ops, and fail to differentiate between operations workers and operations analysts.

The bank I'm at has about TWENTY THOUSAND people in investment banking operations, but the analyst class is barely 30. A vast vast majority of workers aren't/werent in an analyst program. This is the really boring, repetitious work you here about in operations a lot of times (the scanning, the faxing, the data entry type of stuff).

When people do talk about operations analysts, they seem to think the only thing in operations is trade processing type of work. Whereas this is a major area, if you are a top recruit their are other divisions.

I got assigned to a group that is project based and helps make decisions on investments, outsourcing, divisional changes, etc....basically almost internal consulting.

I don't really blame a lot of people for not knowing this - I didn't know much until I went through orientation - but its not necessary as dead end as people make it out to be if you get a good placement and are in an analyst program.

Comments (25)

Jul 9, 2009

it is not a dead end in terms of moving up within that line of business, which is a perfectly legitimate job. The reason why people here give it shit is because they either work in IB and therefore are only interested in front office positions OR all the college kiddies here that don't know much beyond what they learned from the posters here think that its bullshit to say you work at GS/MS, etc. if you are not doing work that the bank is known for. A distinct third category which is also strongly represented here is people that didn't make it into IB/S&T or did so at a small bank, and are pissed that OPs people get respect for working at Goldman when they're not even doing "real work".

Best Response
Jul 10, 2009

I will back this topic up as well. I have just finished my second year in the ops analyst program at a BB (think MS/GS/DB). Working one year in a PWM role dealing with hedge funds and other alternative investments. And about two months ago switched to a role supporting one of the quant trading desks in the AM division.

Granted it is true that part of my day involves doing the basic ops work such as following up on failed trades, yelling at custodians for sending old share values after rights issues, etc... But the daily grind takes up less then half of my day.

As ops analysts we are expected to improve processes, design systems that make the work-flow more efficient through collaboration with the FO and technology, overall there is quite a bit of out of the box thinking, attention to detail project work, etc. that is required of our roles.

I am not saying that ops analysts are doing the things FO people do, I am not trading, not doing allocating assets, not sourcing new clients. But we are expected to be experts in the products that we work with and be able to collaborate with our FO counterparts with the full knowledge that it takes to help them achieve their goals in making money and solve their problems quickly and without them worrying about whether we will have problems doing what they need.

I have tremendous respect for the leadership in our department, they have great knowledge and experience, and have been in many different roles with different business units all over the world with the firm.

The hiring in ops at our firm is very competitive. We have our own target schools that we recruit from (obviously its not the top 10 business schools). For example I am on a recruiting team for one of the state universities that we target and every semester we get 200+ resumes, conduct about 40 or so first round interviews and end up hiring 4-8 of the best candidates.

As far as people that post on WSO with regards to ops positions go, I agree with subprimevictim with the fact that most opinions are not coming from people that actually work as ops analysts but people that have worked in either ops positions at banks where you are only required to do the basic "fax a trade, reconcile an account" roles and not much else or base their opinions off of hearsay or their experience of looking at ops from a FO perspective at a bank where they dealt with only the ops folks that are in the basic roles I described above.

This post is not meant to put ops on the same level as IBD analysts, that is not the point. Anyone who is talented enough to get a job as IBD, S&T, ER, etc. at a BB can get an ops job at a BB with no problems at all. But WSO monkeys need to understand that not everyone goes to the top 10 schools and works in IBD. It is incredibly hard to get into those schools (as you know they all have less than 10% acceptance rates), but it also is not a walk in the park to get a BB ops role either for a finance or engineering major from a top 50 school. I commend the people that are smart and driven enough to get the FO roles that they strive for from their early years as an undergrad, it is an extremely difficult road on which most people do not get to the finish line. To conclude BB ops is not something people should look to avoid if they are not on a path to the FO, (I know people that did not get hired for FO and their ego would rather have them be unemployed than do something which they only have knowledge about based on negative hearsay). I had to work my ass off to get to where I am today and have no regrets and am extremely proud of what I have achieved and the experiences that I have had at my age. I hope to keep steaming ahead with full force for the bigger and better.

    • 5
Jul 10, 2009

"To conclude BB ops is not something people should look to avoid if they are not on a path to the FO, (I know people that did not get hired for FO and their ego would rather have them be unemployed than do something which they only have knowledge about based on negative hearsay)."

ya i went to a target and struck out FO, a lot of my friends didn't have operations as a back up, and are unemployed/teaching english in random countries/law school.

Oct 29, 2009

^ Teach for America is quite "selective" too. I wouldn't dismiss teaching so quickly.

Nov 17, 2009
1styearBanker:

^ Teach for America is quite "selective" too. I wouldn't dismiss teaching so quickly.

In TFA you teach subjects at American schools. He's talking about teaching English in Vietnam or something, which has pretty low entrance requirements.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Oct 29, 2009

TFA is pretty tough to get into. They "weed" out the people doing it as a 2nd option

Nov 17, 2009

trailmix or subprime, are there particular ops divisions you would say are more "interesting" than others? i.e. securities ops, derivative ops, PWM ops, etc.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Nov 17, 2009
nontargetguy:

"i have been working in goldman sachs operations since i graduated school 4 years ago. i'm making over 125k comp + bonus, more than the average undergrad "front office" trader or i-banker. again, i say average. of course you will have your freaks of nature with tremendous talent who pull in the mega big bucks, but that's 1 out of 500. i can only laugh at the above posts about ops being the bottom of the firm. ask anyone who's working in the front office. they're all wondering if they will be losing their jobs at the moment. since my position is absolutely required for the firm to operate, i sleep well at night, and enjoy riding in my new porsche 911 on the weekends. "

How true is this?

hahaha

I'm making it up as I go along.

Nov 17, 2009

i don't disagree ops being a great position but that guy is a tool haha

Oct 29, 2009

Aw shit I knew it! I'm handing in my resignation tomorrow and going to GS ops, where the back office rules the front.

I bet all those idiot 499 out of 500 bankers are walking to work while the REAL ballers (operation analysts) get to drive the 911's and bang the hos. And he's right, ask anyone in the front office, aka me, and I will tell you I am sooo scared right now I thank god everyday for the back office who are saving my ass.

They are the real managers and leash holders to our financial institutions. When the back office says jump, I ask how high? Sometimes if I'm lucky I get invited to hang out with them but it requires me playing bitch in the middle and taking cumshots to the face from the entire back office one by one. Dang those guys are some real ballers, I hope I get into back office this year! crosses fingers

Jan 27, 2010
1styearBanker:

Aw shit I knew it! I'm handing in my resignation tomorrow and going to GS ops, where the back office rules the front.

I bet all those idiot 499 out of 500 bankers are walking to work while the REAL ballers (operation analysts) get to drive the 911's and bang the hos. And he's right, ask anyone in the front office, aka me, and I will tell you I am sooo scared right now I thank god everyday for the back office who are saving my ass.

They are the real managers and leash holders to our financial institutions. When the back office says jump, I ask how high? Sometimes if I'm lucky I get invited to hang out with them but it requires me playing bitch in the middle and taking cumshots to the face from the entire back office one by one. Dang those guys are some real ballers, I hope I get into back office this year! crosses fingers

Well, there's certainly a lot of people in operations who are focused on competently executing their responsibilities rather than less important things like the group you work in, school you went to, or what kind of suit you wear. If you're lucky, you may be working for them some day.

Nov 17, 2009
subprimevictim:

Whereas this is a major area, if you are a top recruit their are other divisions.

That's why you're in ops.

Nov 17, 2009

does ops even interact with the IBD? I know in trading ops is needed plenty, and also the reason many traders want to knife people.

Nov 17, 2009

You guys are just lying to yourselves. I worked at a BB MS/GS in fixed income collateral management which was one of those groups that got summers and analysts from the 10-40 ranked b schools so it was a pretty decent group but I DREADED coming to work. EVERYONE that I spoke to wished they can work in F/O but couldnt because they are mediocre. Their lives are now over because they are stuck there for life. The funny thing is most of these people would never openly admit this and they acted like they are hotshots because they work for MS/GS

Feb 1, 2010

OK.

Jan 27, 2010

JPM's OBS program is their Operations feeder system. Horizontal movement is limited. This program also includes placement into their Prime Brokerage division (as it was put here during the Bear acquisition).

Jan 27, 2010

JPM's OBS program is their Operations feeder system. Horizontal movement is limited. This program also includes placement into their Prime Brokerage division (as it was put here during the Bear acquisition).

Jan 27, 2010

Good post programmer but I think he was being sarcastic.

Jan 27, 2010
fembotma:

Good post programmer but I think he was being sarcastic.

That's why I'm poking fun at his attitude. And if God has a sense of humor, I can guarantee you he will be working for a former ops guy sometime during his career if he's able to survive long enough in finance.

Jan 27, 2010

Not going to disagree with subprimevictim, but all those things many ops analyst "discover" after they go in to orientation is exactly what the training programs should be telling you. If the banks needed someone to just fax or staple paper they will hire someone part-time at $8/hr. An ops analyst's job is to work himself out of his job. The ops position only exists because there are flaws in the execution of trades or what have you when the expecation in the FO is that these trades should be executed seamlessly. So just like any job, you can either tie yourself down with the day to day, reconcile accounts, even a trader can do nothing but flow, but the better analysts analyze what they do and improve on the process, make a VBA to do the boring shit. I myself once upon a time got into ops by talking about nothing except STP during interviews. But the reality is, where consulting is a top down initiative where you work in a rando company and present to upper management about changes they want to make, in ops you get your coworkers and or friends fired if you do your job too well.

Jan 28, 2010
noexplode:

Not going to disagree with subprimevictim, but all those things many ops analyst "discover" after they go in to orientation is exactly what the training programs should be telling you. If the banks needed someone to just fax or staple paper they will hire someone part-time at $8/hr. An ops analyst's job is to work himself out of his job. The ops position only exists because there are flaws in the execution of trades or what have you when the expecation in the FO is that these trades should be executed seamlessly. So just like any job, you can either tie yourself down with the day to day, reconcile accounts, even a trader can do nothing but flow, but the better analysts analyze what they do and improve on the process, make a VBA to do the boring shit. I myself once upon a time got into ops by talking about nothing except STP during interviews. But the reality is, where consulting is a top down initiative where you work in a rando company and present to upper management about changes they want to make, in ops you get your coworkers and or friends fired if you do your job too well.

I don't get it, can you explain a little bit more on how you get your friends/co workers fired if you do your job well.

Jan 28, 2010

I wonder if anyone would take an ops job at a bank if it wasn't for the hope (illusion) they they could one day move to FO. If you are going to do ops, why not just do corporate finance or something? At least you wont get shit on daily by traders/IB/ everyone else.

Jan 27, 2010

It's a lil exageration, but it happens. Hypothetically, if you have a team settling trades reconciling accounts in Jersey, then an analyst comes along and finds that instead of having majority of BO staff concentrated in NE, you can spread them out from Jersey, an office in Wyoming, and office in India, an office in London for better support of the trading desks across different time zones. Next thing you know, you won't need half of those analysts in NJ and you are being sent to India to train a new team. Those other anaylsts who just settled trades lose their jobs, kind of like up or out. If you say an ops analyst is like a consultant this is the type of stuff these analysts do.

Or with a less intense example, if you make the process of settling trades more efficient, so instead of 10 people supporting the fixed income desk it only takes 6, then a few people will be out of luck. When I was in ops I always had the feeling that my whole floor was dispensable.

Jan 28, 2010
Comment
Jan 31, 2010