Ask Monty09 - Energy Trading careers, interviews, firms, etc etc

monty09's picture
Rank: Almost Human | 7,020

Lot of energy posts popping up and would be happy to help..... few people on the site have a lot of energy exp but lets direct all questions to this post for a few days

Monty09

Comments (80)

Nov 15, 2012

I guess I'll start.

1) What distinguishes energy traders from say metals, softs, ags traders? (Personality-wise etc.. the product is obviously different)

2) Does the product you end up trading end up being luck of the draw? Trading crude sounds great, not to mention lucrative, but it seems impossible to break in without an extraordinary amount of luck. I picked crude because that is probably the most widely discussed, traded and liquid commodity in the world (excluding gold which really isn't applicable to this discussion).

Nov 15, 2012
  1. The market can call them what they want and I could care less. Energy Trader is a term most people know and use
  2. In many ways it is the luck of the draw. Depending on needs of business along with your skill set you could end up in a lot of different places. I know one person at my former shop got a trading seat simply because she spoke Spanish. They needed someone asap and she was only one in the group who spoke spanish. She was in a non trading role but moved over to trade
Nov 15, 2012

What is your sense of the relative strengths/weaknesses of a career across different market players? I.e., an oil major, a trading firm (e.g., Trifigura/Vitol/Glencore), or a bank (Morgan Stanley, Goldman, even Citi, etc). My sense is that banks may be more likely to be more into paper than physical, but I also know that's certainly not the case for, say, Morgan Stanley.

Nov 15, 2012
Sandhurst:

What is your sense of the relative strengths/weaknesses of a career across different market players? I.e., an oil major, a trading firm (e.g., Trifigura/Vitol/Glencore), or a bank (Morgan Stanley, Goldman, even Citi, etc). My sense is that banks may be more likely to be more into paper than physical, but I also know that's certainly not the case for, say, Morgan Stanley.

all are in the business of making money... when you have offers from each... pick what is best for you at that moment in your life

Nov 15, 2012
monty09:
Sandhurst:

What is your sense of the relative strengths/weaknesses of a career across different market players? I.e., an oil major, a trading firm (e.g., Trifigura/Vitol/Glencore), or a bank (Morgan Stanley, Goldman, even Citi, etc). My sense is that banks may be more likely to be more into paper than physical, but I also know that's certainly not the case for, say, Morgan Stanley.

all are in the business of making money... when you have offers from each... pick what is best for you at that moment in your life

Okay, fair enough. Which type of environment is more likely to foster/support developing one's trading acumen? Financial considerations and exit opportunities notwithstanding.

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Nov 15, 2012

do you think that quantitative finance will eventually take over the physical side as well, just as how it has been widely successful on the paper side for the past decade and a half

Nov 15, 2012
wizpro:

do you think that quantitative finance will eventually take over the physical side as well, just as how it has been widely successful on the paper side for the past decade and a half

no

Nov 15, 2012
monty09:
wizpro:

do you think that quantitative finance will eventually take over the physical side as well, just as how it has been widely successful on the paper side for the past decade and a half

no

why not?

Nov 16, 2012
wizpro:

do you think that quantitative finance will eventually take over the physical side as well, just as how it has been widely successful on the paper side for the past decade and a half

To begin with, it has not taken over the paper side of energy at all. The last month in NYC/Boston/etc power and natty markets straight up proves this, quants ain't running this market its relationships and fundamentals you need your ears to the ground.

When the goldenboy, writes "no", it means its a stupid ass question and to move on stop repeating dumb questions.

Nov 15, 2012

you do not have exit opts in trading.. your exit opt is to retire or start your own biz

Nov 15, 2012
monty09:

you do not have exit opts in trading.. your exit opt is to retire or start your own biz

Can you explain why you think this is the case? Some of these traders who trade physical have a wealth of knowledge about the world, about markets, about the assets of different companies/countries....you would think that the exit opps would be vast and lucrative.

Nov 15, 2012
pacman007:
monty09:

you do not have exit opts in trading.. your exit opt is to retire or start your own biz

Can you explain why you think this is the case? Some of these traders who trade physical have a wealth of knowledge about the world, about markets, about the assets of different companies/countries....you would think that the exit opps would be vast and lucrative.

you have a great deal of exp in a few products and while this is very helpful it is not highly transferable to other industries

Nov 15, 2012

if you are looking for a "path" try corp finance

Nov 15, 2012
monty09:

if you are looking for a "path" try corp finance

Okay. So my question was not about this.. I'm trying to get a sense for what the different players have to offer.

Nov 15, 2012

thanks monty, homepaging this asap

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 15, 2012

expenseaccounts, shut the hell up. monty is easily one of the top 5 most helpful posters here and doesn't owe anyone a god damn thing. Not saying to kiss his ass or anything but he answered the question. If you didn't think it was a helpful answer, there are much more constructive ways of asking that might even yield an answer.

Nov 15, 2012
expenseaccounts:
whatwhatwhat:

expenseaccounts, shut the hell up. monty is easily one of the top 5 most helpful posters here and doesn't owe anyone a god damn thing. Not saying to kiss his ass or anything but he answered the question. If you didn't think it was a helpful answer, there are much more constructive ways of asking that might even yield an answer.

Hey there, white knight, I don't see Monty not-answering your questions.

Every poster so far has asked a relatively nuanced question only to get a sentence fragment response. Above I put together just a few examples of people trying to get more information.

If Monty didn't want to answer questions, then Monty shouldn't have started a thread where he invited people to ask questions.

haha relax.. some of those questions are honestly not that great.... give me a bit and I will add some color but they are below avg questions... in any respect I will give a crap and provide some color

Nov 15, 2012
expenseaccounts:
whatwhatwhat:

expenseaccounts, shut the hell up. monty is easily one of the top 5 most helpful posters here and doesn't owe anyone a god damn thing. Not saying to kiss his ass or anything but he answered the question. If you didn't think it was a helpful answer, there are much more constructive ways of asking that might even yield an answer.

Hey there, white knight, I don't see Monty not-answering your questions.

Every poster so far has asked a relatively nuanced question only to get a sentence fragment response. Above I put together just a few examples of people trying to get more information.

If Monty didn't want to answer questions, then Monty shouldn't have started a thread where he invited people to ask questions.

dude relax. Don't take it personally. Every trader I know answers questions this exact same way. It's definitely different than how most people (including me) talks but if you read his responses he has answered your questions, just in a very short fashion.

Monty I have a question of my own: do you think alternative energy sources (ethanol for example) will become as heavily traded as current energy commodities (crude, nat. gas, etc)?

Nov 15, 2012

Hey Monty, you started at a BB as a power analyst for about a year. How did you transition into a power trading role so quickly?

"All I've ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work."

Nov 15, 2012
Linfone:

Hey Monty, you started at a BB as a power analyst for about a year. How did you transition into a power trading role so quickly?

I asked the head of trading at company x mas party how I could get on a desk.. he said to show him I wanted the job.. so I came in early and stayed late training on the trading desk when I was done with my work... few months later I got a seat

Nov 15, 2012

Do you think bankerella will be a widely traded commodity over the next 5 years?

Nov 15, 2012
Tommy Too-toned:

Do you think bankerella will be a widely traded commodity over the next 5 years?

call me [email protected]

Nov 15, 2012

Monty,

Do you think natural gas prices in the different regions will converge in the next 5 years? Over the past few years the basis market has been eroding with the new pipelines being built. With the exception of AGT which has been on a wild ride this week.

Nov 16, 2012
jimz:

Monty,

Do you think natural gas prices in the different regions will converge in the next 5 years? Over the past few years the basis market has been eroding with the new pipelines being built. With the exception of AGT which has been on a wild ride this week.

lot of people are thinking nat gas will came back in a big way inside of the next 2-3 years..... it has been flat for the most part last 2 years and while it has taken a run every few months... nothing to go crazy about.

Nov 15, 2012

Monty,
I remember you mentioning that you recently left your trading job to start a recruiting and advisory firm. Could you talk a bit about this transition and how things are working out at your new firm?

Also, anything new about next years energy rodeo that you can share?
Thanks

Nov 16, 2012
ReservoirEng:

Monty,
I remember you mentioning that you recently left your trading job to start a recruiting and advisory firm. Could you talk a bit about this transition and how things are working out at your new firm?

Also, anything new about next years energy rodeo that you can share?
Thanks

Things are going very well and the transition was not that bad at all. We are hiring a lot and entering new markets. I honestly feel like more of a phy trader now then when I was on a desk

energy rodeo is open to sign up and free for 2013

www.energyrodeo.com

Nov 15, 2012

Also, do you think John Arnold will ever come back

Nov 15, 2012
jimz:

Also, do you think John Arnold will ever come back

Bump

Nov 15, 2012
jimz:

Also, do you think John Arnold will ever come back

Bump

Nov 16, 2012
jimz:

Also, do you think John Arnold will ever come back

saw john saturday and pretty safe bet he will not open another fund.. he is however still vested in the market... his focus right now is on education reform

Nov 15, 2012

just wanted to drop in on this thread as i saw this on the front page along with a few bumpers..

excuse my ignorance that i know nothing about trading and am just calling out for question out of a wild gate.

How thin is the line between trading and gambling? Do you take other people's money to trade? And you make commissions off of trades regardless of wins or losses to clients?

Nov 16, 2012
slim_ibd_shady:

just wanted to drop in on this thread as i saw this on the front page along with a few bumpers..

excuse my ignorance that i know nothing about trading and am just calling out for question out of a wild gate.

How thin is the line between trading and gambling? Do you take other people's money to trade? And you make commissions off of trades regardless of wins or losses to clients?

the line is closer some days but it all depends. You def take a view of the market and back it with some $$... traders do not make commissions...brokers do....

Nov 15, 2012

I guess I do have one more question for an energy pro like monty99

How does one break into the energy industry, especially when you are not from Texas?

Do you have to study majors like petroleum engineering? If a business or finance background, how can get you noticed and break into the field if you did not go to a target school?

Nov 16, 2012
slim_ibd_shady:

I guess I do have one more question for an energy pro like monty99

How does one break into the energy industry, especially when you are not from Texas?

Do you have to study majors like petroleum engineering? If a business or finance background, how can get you noticed and break into the field if you did not go to a target school?

  1. it helps if you get my name right
  2. easy route is to do well in school and try to get in via an internship. however, houston is a larger market but def not the only one. you can find good jobs in the energy market all over the US
  3. You will see finance, accounting and economics as the 3 biggest majors but good smart people always get in as well
Nov 16, 2012

Monty has been very helpful.. Every time I've reached out to Monty he has responded quickly with very helpful answers.

Nov 16, 2012
pacman007:

Monty has been very helpful.. Every time I've reached out to Monty he has responded quickly with very helpful answers.

I'm not necessarily saying he hasn't been helpful in the past to some people or isn't capable of providing helpful answers in his field. I'm just pointing out that this particular thread doesn't look helpful at all, at least so far. And it doesn't seem like it has much to do with the questions themselves.

Nov 16, 2012
Going Concern:
pacman007:

Monty has been very helpful.. Every time I've reached out to Monty he has responded quickly with very helpful answers.

I'm not necessarily saying he hasn't been helpful in the past to some people or isn't capable of providing helpful answers in his field. I'm just pointing out that this particular thread doesn't look helpful at all, at least so far. And it doesn't seem like it has much to do with the questions themselves.

send any questions you have

Nov 16, 2012

This is perfect! My question is: Would you suggest getting my degree in Energy Commerce, or Finance? I've received mixed results. Some say E Comm leads to being a landman and such, others say its a good move. (I'm still a freshmen, so have some time to decide).

Your thoughts?
Thanks!

Nov 16, 2012
RaiderHelp:

This is perfect! My question is: Would you suggest getting my degree in Energy Commerce, or Finance? I've received mixed results. Some say E Comm leads to being a landman and such, others say its a good move. (I'm still a freshmen, so have some time to decide).

Your thoughts?
Thanks!

Finance would be my first choice as its known most places. Tough for me to put $$ on an Energy Commerce degree because I dont see it as much. Not to say its worthless but we tend to group things into what we know the best.... Of my desk of 12.... 8 were finance majors

Nov 16, 2012

Hiring seems to be getting incredibly competitive at the entry-level. Stuff like real-time trading in the US now requires you to have prior experience and at EDFT in London, scheduler positions require you to have worked in Contracts, for which there seem to be no job postings. How do you get this initial experience?

Nov 16, 2012
GoodBread:

Hiring seems to be getting incredibly competitive at the entry-level. Stuff like real-time trading in the US now requires you to have prior experience and at EDFT in London, scheduler positions require you to have worked in Contracts, for which there seem to be no job postings. How do you get this initial experience?

a lot of the entry level roles of the past are career jobs now. I would suggest trying to just get in the door in a back or mid office role. once in a firm its very easy to network and keep your name in the hat as new jobs open up

Nov 16, 2012

Monty, hope everything has been going well since you left the desk. Couple questions for you...
- What are your thoughts on FERC considering to require power traders to be licensed? I guess with all of the market manipulation investigations currently going on, they're trying to get certain individuals out of the industry.
- If you were to make a lateral move, would you shy away from power desks at the big banks due to uncertainty of dodd frank outcome and go to a trading firm like edf/cargill/const/etc? If not, why?

Nov 16, 2012
ebs0521:

Monty, hope everything has been going well since you left the desk. Couple questions for you...
- What are your thoughts on FERC considering to require power traders to be licensed? I guess with all of the market manipulation investigations currently going on, they're trying to get certain individuals out of the industry.
- If you were to make a lateral move, would you shy away from power desks at the big banks due to uncertainty of dodd frank outcome and go to a trading firm like edf/cargill/const/etc? If not, why?

I took a few exams while on a power desk so not shocking that ferc wants people to get licensed. Most were to make sure you knew what you were doing... lot of plants only want people who have taken exam xyz working their units and include such requests in their EMA's

I would never shy away from a role if it fits into your goals.... in trading you are never looking at a career move.. its always a 1-3 year move..if at 3 years they are keeping you happy... stay.. if not.. leave... I never took a job thinking I would be there long....

Nov 16, 2012

Hey monty09 i have a question.
I'm trying to get an internship in a commodity house in Europe. As others said the market is pretty tough right now and I would take any opportunity I could get.
Do you think it is worth it sending resume to all possible firms or it's useless if their websites don't mention that they have an open position ?
My school is not engineering focused and I can't find any alumni in the field, that sucks.
I'm not so sure that sending resume is that useful in this business given all the comments I read everywhere about how much relation are all the rage...
Do you think that I can add on my resume some books i'm currently reading (oil 101 for example) that demonstrate that I have a special interest in the field even I haven't finished them yet/ I don't know them from heart ?
Any additional advice you could give me would be VERY VERY VERY much appreciated.

Nov 17, 2012

Thanks for all the responses so far Monty!

This one is for anyone in the physical trading space. Were Jack Schwager to write a "Physical Commodity Market Wizards," who would you want him to interview?

Nov 17, 2012

Hi monty. Thank you for opening this thread. I have a career question. I joined a broker (think of GFI, Tullett Prebon, ICAP) right after college and focus on coal derivatives (voice and screen) 4 months ago based in Singapore. The firm is not looking to have me involved in physical side. I am now looking to learn more about physical and then eventually break into trading (paper or physical) in a physical shop or fund. Could you please offer any suggestions of how i can best position myself to reach that goal? When will be about the right time to start looking for exit opportunities? Is it faux pas for a broker to reach out to his clients for reference? Thank you.

Nov 18, 2012

Thanks for taking your time to providing guidance monty, I recently interned at a BB in physical trading, nearing graduation, I am having difficulty securing a full time position related to physical O&G trading. I am mainly interested in Gas and Power, and so far have cold called many companies in Alberta, where I reside and quite a few firms NY and Houston, so far people are receptive toward me sending a resume but no responses.

  1. Do you have any suggestions on how soon to be new grads could go about searching for junior trading analyst positions?
  2. If I was start contacting firms in the US, which regions or specific companies do you recommend I focus on (the boom in Calgary slowed down a bit from a few years ago, haven't had much luck searching for entry level positions in midstream/marketing)

Thanks!

Nov 19, 2012
TheHoustonFlight:

Thanks for taking your time to providing guidance monty, I recently interned at a BB in physical trading, nearing graduation, I am having difficulty securing a full time position related to physical O&G trading. I am mainly interested in Gas and Power, and so far have cold called many companies in Alberta, where I reside and quite a few firms NY and Houston, so far people are receptive toward me sending a resume but no responses.

  1. Do you have any suggestions on how soon to be new grads could go about searching for junior trading analyst positions?
  2. If I was start contacting firms in the US, which regions or specific companies do you recommend I focus on (the boom in Calgary slowed down a bit from a few years ago, haven't had much luck searching for entry level positions in midstream/marketing)

Thanks!

BP has a pretty good new graduate program in Calgary that will get you into their IST group. TransAlta and Direct Energy both have new graduate programs that will rotate you through a few areas including trading.

Nov 19, 2012
YYCTrader:
TheHoustonFlight:

Thanks for taking your time to providing guidance monty, I recently interned at a BB in physical trading, nearing graduation, I am having difficulty securing a full time position related to physical O&G trading. I am mainly interested in Gas and Power, and so far have cold called many companies in Alberta, where I reside and quite a few firms NY and Houston, so far people are receptive toward me sending a resume but no responses.

  1. Do you have any suggestions on how soon to be new grads could go about searching for junior trading analyst positions?
  2. If I was start contacting firms in the US, which regions or specific companies do you recommend I focus on (the boom in Calgary slowed down a bit from a few years ago, haven't had much luck searching for entry level positions in midstream/marketing)

Thanks!

BP has a pretty good new graduate program in Calgary that will get you into their IST group. TransAlta and Direct Energy both have new graduate programs that will rotate you through a few areas including trading.

Yep, BP definitely has a great program, but very hard to get in. They are looking for summer interns right now, but the Full time positions were already done, which I applied to. Interns gets first dibs, this year they were looking for 1 new position, tough competition.
Thanks for the pointers on Direct Energy and Transalta's program, worth looking into

Nov 18, 2012

I am hoping to get into Energy IBD or PE, but I would prefer to stay on the East Coast where my family is, instead of moving to Houston. Do you know if there are alot of opportunities over on this side? I am asking this because I know you run your own recruiting firm and wanted to know if its common for Energy to have offices in places like NYC.

Nov 19, 2012

Hi Monty,

I got some questions I hope you can answer for me.

I'm currently working as a sell-side trader (equities), but looking to get into energy trading. I am 29 years old, with a couple of years of experience all in banking/S&T but coming from a non-traditional background. Zero experience in energy, but a lot of affinity and I know what's going on in the market.

Realistically, how likely is it that I can get a decent position in energy trading? Should I aim for a mid-level position or back to a junior role? Also, what kind of skills do you think I'm lacking? I don't mind putting in a lot of effort to get up to speed.

Thanks!

Nov 19, 2012
Panic:

Hi Monty,

I got some questions I hope you can answer for me.

I'm currently working as a sell-side trader (equities), but looking to get into energy trading. I am 29 years old, with a couple of years of experience all in banking/S&T but coming from a non-traditional background. Zero experience in energy, but a lot of affinity and I know what's going on in the market.

Realistically, how likely is it that I can get a decent position in energy trading? Should I aim for a mid-level position or back to a junior role? Also, what kind of skills do you think I'm lacking? I don't mind putting in a lot of effort to get up to speed.

Thanks!

Just an anecdote but one of the traders I work with was trading equities in south america for a few years and transitioned over to crude at about your age. He did ops roles for 1.5 years before at the same company and then moved into a trading role.

Nov 22, 2012

Thanks, good to know.

Nov 23, 2012

Read through the forums and understand that McCombs MBA is the way to go for Energy Banking in Houston. Is this the same for breaking into major oil trading/finance leadership development programs?

I'm getting all my MBA applications together and wondering if McCombs MBA in Energy Finance would be better because of the regional network or do the leadership development programs recruit from more prestigious programs such as Columbia/Booth/Tuck.

Thanks!

Nov 23, 2012
BRM21o:

Read through the forums and understand that McCombs MBA is the way to go for Energy Banking in Houston. Is this the same for breaking into major oil trading/finance leadership development programs?

I'm getting all my MBA applications together and wondering if McCombs MBA in Energy Finance would be better because of the regional network or do the leadership development programs recruit from more prestigious programs such as Columbia/Booth/Tuck.

Thanks!

With all due respect that type of thinking in general is generally a turnoff for trading. McCombs MBA is a great program, and is one of many. Rice is another great MBA program that energy companies recruit heavily from. Texas A&M is probably the most energy-focused school in the country. TCU and SMU are also great schools that get recruited heavily by tons of energy companies.

That is all before I mention that your MBA is significantly less valuable when applying for trading roles than for banking roles, because it is so much less necessary. It might not help you much at all.

Also, most energy companies recruit from the really good schools in the South (even though most kids on here won't accept that there are incredible schools down here as a matter of pride, the energy companies disagree) for many cultural reasons as well. The type of kids are, in my opinion, pretty different. I don't think many kids from Harvard would enjoy working at BP, just as I don't think many kids from Texas A&M / LSU would enjoy working in IB in NYC.

Nov 25, 2012
Tupac:

With all due respect that type of thinking in general is generally a turnoff for trading. McCombs MBA is a great program, and is one of many. Rice is another great MBA program that energy companies recruit heavily from. Texas A&M is probably the most energy-focused school in the country. TCU and SMU are also great schools that get recruited heavily by tons of energy companies.

That is all before I mention that your MBA is significantly less valuable when applying for trading roles than for banking roles, because it is so much less necessary. It might not help you much at all.

Thanks for the info. I understand about an MBA not meaning shit for trading. I'm going to reach out to my school/military network (once I'm home longer than 4 months/year) and see if there are any opportunities down there. At the same time, I plan on applying to top MBA programs as my backup plan.

I'd love to work in the O&G industry and live in Houston....how's the space industry holding up there? My wife has an astro degree and wants to work in the space sector. I hear they've been getting slaughtered lately with thousands of lay-offs.

Nov 23, 2012

Hey Monty. It's been a while since I've been on these boards. You know of my recent job change into international equities and I would like some advice on breaking into Commodities. I went to your first Energy Rodeo and it was very insightful. I want to ultimately work as a commodity trader for a HF and wanted to know, from where I'm currently at, how I should go about transitioning.

I met with an MD from JPM and talked to a Director at DB, both in commodity trading (JPM Metals/DB Energy) and they both said I should try to leverage my MO position in Equities to an MO position in Commodities. I've been at the new firm for only 2 months and was wondering if you think it's too soon to try and transition over (actually I think the company guidelines state I have to be here for a year before applying elsewhere in the company, but I'm not sure if there has been/will be exceptions).

Both individuals at the other firms are keeping an eye out for MO Commodity roles and the DB guy said he'll let me know if a jr. trading job opens up.

Thanks for any advice.

Nov 27, 2012

I'm curious, University of Houston is mentioned on most lists of reputable schools for their energy program but it's usually ranked near the end. What is the trade off or advantage to attending UH being that you actually "are" in Houston and might be able to score a local internship where others perhaps might not be able to. When I look at alumni of all the big energy companies, it seems like most of the firms have at least one of the higher ups who went to school at UH. Doesn't that help as well?

Nov 28, 2012
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