Ask Me Anything: Hong Kong / Singapore Sales and Trading Recruitment

Analyst 1 in S&T - FI

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to do an AMA about Hong Kong and Singapore Sales and Trading recruitment. Realized that most of the resources in this website are geared towards EMEA or USA, so I figured that this might be useful for candidates that want to work in Asia.

A bit about myself:

  • Did an summer internship at a BB in Singapore.
  • Secured a graduate job at another BB in Hong Kong.

I've been through different interview processes as well, so feel free to ask about the recruitment processes of different banks. Hopefully this thread would be helpful for those of you that wanted to work in Asia.

Feel free to ask about what kind of questions interviewers ask, candidates that they look for, bank culture, return offer rates, etc.

Keep in mind this is coming from an intern's perspective.

Comments (9)

Nov 30, 2019

I have three questions: 1. what did you get asked for in interviews? 2. Is it possible to recruit for FT positions not via a summer internship? and 3. Is it impossible for a candidate from Japan to apply and realistically have a shot at obtaining a job (esp in Singapore)? I'm a native English speaker but no Chinese, past experience in buyside and a BB

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - FI
Nov 30, 2019
annaxoxo:

I have three questions: 1. what did you get asked for in interviews? 2. Is it possible to recruit for FT positions not via a summer internship? and 3. Is it impossible for a candidate from Japan to apply and realistically have a shot at obtaining a job (esp in Singapore)? I'm a native English speaker but no Chinese, past experience in buyside and a BB

Hi Anna, thanks for your questions.

  1. Wide range of questions, but very generally speaking, banks in Asia often have two rounds of interviews- one phone call, and one superday (or final round interviews). Often times the phone call is quite easy- they are more often behaviourals than not. Superdays or final round interviews are tougher than phone calls, given that they usually test teamworking skills (e.g. working on a case study together with other candidates), technicals, and more importantly, behaviourals.

There are plenty of resources out there on sales and trading interviews, they're pretty similar to what interviewers will actually ask. As usual, if you want to go for trading, interviews are generally going to be tougher than sales.

  1. Very slim chances. Most of those that are recruiting for FT positions are often summer analysts who have worked in sales and trading, and did not get a return offer. Obviously there are exceptions, but in general, banks look for candidates with past experiences.
  2. It's possible. You do have to keep in mind that Singapore is especially strict with visas, and they are often looking for people with the right language abilities, even more so than Hong Kong. Usually, languages that are useful in Singapore would be Mandarin, Indonesian, Hindi, etc. I think you'd have a better chance of working in Hong Kong, given the larger headcount and the less strict visa policy.

Alternatively, why don't you work in Tokyo? Many BBs have branches there. You can always move to Hong Kong or Singapore- many banks have "exchange" programs.

Dec 3, 2019

Hi there. I'm a junior year student who will be starting a BB S&T SA in HK next summer - Would appreciate if you could shed some light on the following questions:

  1. Differences in culture between different BBs in Asia? Specifically for S&T
  2. Return offer rates for SA in HK?
  3. Tips for securing your preferred 2nd rotation during the internship?
  4. What was most helpful for you in obtaining a FT return offer?

Thanks for your help!

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - FI
Dec 3, 2019
dijkhed:

Hi there. I'm a junior year student who will be starting a BB S&T SA in HK next summer - Would appreciate if you could shed some light on the following questions:

  1. Differences in culture between different BBs in Asia? Specifically for S&T
  2. Return offer rates for SA in HK?
  3. Tips for securing your preferred 2nd rotation during the internship?
  4. What was most helpful for you in obtaining a FT return offer?

Thanks for your help!

Hi there,

  1. I can't say for sure- since I haven't really had the experience of working in different banks. Then again, very generally speaking- there isn't much difference since most of the employees in the trading floor are Asians (think Hong Kong locals, Mainland Chinese, Indians, etc). Obviously there are some more "international" banks- one that comes to my mind is Morgan Stanley. There are some more "local" banks, like Citi, HSBC. But in general, the stereotype that you see in USA won't be the same in Asia (e.g. GS was always known for its aggressive culture, but in Asia, it's not the case).
  2. Very variable from bank to bank. This year's ranges were from 0% all the way to 60%.
  3. I'm assuming this is Goldman Sachs? I can't offer more than the generic; be nice to everyone, have a lot of skills beforehand (e.g. VBA), talk to the next rotation early on in the internship, etc.
  4. Just get to know as many people as you can on the floor. Put yourself out there as someone who's sociable, skillful, and interesting. Some common sense is also very important. And also- network, network, network!
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Dec 3, 2019

How important was GPA when applying for roles in a BB? I am currently at a Second Upper (junior year) and was wondering if I still have a shot at a BB.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - FI
Dec 3, 2019
Prospect in IB - Gen:

How important was GPA when applying for roles in a BB? I am currently at a Second Upper (junior year) and was wondering if I still have a shot at a BB.

By 2.1, do you mean a Second Upper, or a literal 2.1/4?

If a Second Upper- it's completely fine. I've seen people with Second Lower (or sub 3 GPAs) make it into the industry. But- note that you're behind other applicants in terms of academics, so you need to make it up in other aspects of your CV.

If 2.1- sorry to say that it's a very long shot. Unless you're able to get D/ED/MD level for a referral, I'd say there's absolutely no chance that you pass the automated filters... But

    • 1
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Dec 3, 2019

Sorry I meant Second Upper!! Thank you so much for your response.
I am in a local 3 singapore uni currently studying accounting but only have one audit internship done in sophomore year. I never really paid attention to internships up till now. What would you recommend I do moving forward if I want to break into the industry (more so Equity Research or S&T) ?
Would doing an off cycle internship help?

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - FI
Dec 3, 2019
Prospect in IB - Gen:

Sorry I meant Second Upper!! Thank you so much for your response.
I am in a local 3 singapore uni currently studying accounting but only have one audit internship done in sophomore year. I never really paid attention to internships up till now. What would you recommend I do moving forward if I want to break into the industry (more so Equity Research or S&T) ?
Would doing an off cycle internship help?

As mentioned- Second Upper is completely alright! S&T compared to IB is less stringent on GPA (at least for Asia). They pay a lot of attention to what you've done in your past internships, how you are as an individual, and obviously the behaviourals

To break into the industry- at least for S&T in Asia, I see that there's no "clear path". You don't necessarily have to have a finance internship beforehand... but, in general, you want to show that you have interest in finance. This can be in the form of internships, as mentioned, or research, leading clubs on campus, etc.

An audit internship is a good place to start honestly. You did say you're already a junior- so it's best to do an off cycle internship, preferably in finance, of course. This way, you can defer your graduation, and become a better candidate in the 2021 recruiting cycle. Good luck!

  • Intern in S&T - Other
Dec 3, 2019
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