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Breaking into Sales & Trading?

There's a ton of advice out there on WSO about breaking into investment banking, in terms of majors, target GPA, classes, internships, etc.

What advice would you guys have for undergraduate students considering prospective careers in Sales & Trading though? What sorts of majors, classes, and GPA cutoffs do recruiters look for? What sorts of internships, backgrounds and characteristics do successful applicants have?

I don't know a whole lot about S&T, so any advice is greatly appreciated.

Comments (239)

Oct 18, 2017

1 macro economics

2 computer science (programming, machine learning)

3 math & statistics (higher level stuff)

4 financial engineering (masters usually)

    • 2
Oct 19, 2017

Thanks a lot for the suggestions. What would you recommend in terms of a major to break into the industry out of undergrad?

Oct 18, 2017
  • 3.5+ GPA for your junior year application
  • Anything in fin for your sophomore internship
  • Trade on your own - it shows a lot
    • 1
Oct 19, 2017

Great thanks man. How would you recommend talking about personal trading in the context of a resume/interview? Would it be better to start an investment fund or just say that you trade as a hobby?

Oct 19, 2017

How would u start an investment fund??

Make a mock portfolio on MarketWatch. Then when you're more knowledgeable and comfortable, put some real money and sign up for Robinhood and Ameritrade and start

Learn More

Boost your resume and land a finance job by passing the FINRA SIE. 264 pages & 1981 smart flashcards written by a former 8X top Fidelity instructor. Try it for 0 bananas here.

Oct 19, 2017

stats + comp sci

Nov 1, 2017

What's your opinion on applied math as a major? Is an extensive computer science background necessary if you're well-versed in math/stats?

Nov 2, 2017

I would say comp sci is only beneficial to the extent that almost all prop trading today is done algorithmically. Firms appreciate the ability to code the programs that actually do the trading, rather than just developing the rules of the trading system in "normal" language.

    • 1
Best Response
Nov 2, 2017

S&T is big - do you want to be a sales guy or a trader, a quant or a cash trader/derivs trader/ algo trader, structurer, etc...?
People are banging on about math and computer science. It depends what type of trader you want to be etc... I'd say math would be more useful than computer science, the programming can be learned later on the job.

I read Liar's Poker, after that I told myself I'll never do this job. Ended up doing it for 8+ years before changing career path. Read about it first - your question is like asking "I want a job, what do people like in someone to give them a job?"

Pretty fucking broad question. Sure trade on your own and have one or two stock ideas, we don't ask you to have your own portfolio and a three year track record either...

    • 4
Nov 2, 2017

With your background, I'd go with adding the CS major and pursuing the MSFE. It's pretty easy to make a case to MSFE admissions with an Accounting and CS background, and you'll certainly get S&T interviews from the programs you listed.

I wouldn't waste another 1-2 years chasing the MSA/CPA as it's irrelevant if you're set on S&T.

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the input. You don't think the CPA is worth it, even if I do end up sticking with S&T? What about the CFA?

I just feel like I've come this far as an accounting major, I might as well fulfill the credit requirements so that I at least have the option to take the CPA and become licensed. I don't want to graduate without meeting the requirements, go to work, and then decide down the road that I want or need the license and then have to go back to school.

Nov 2, 2017

I think it's also worth noting that many of the BB recruit at my school, but mostly for mid/back office gigs. If I create an opportunity there, should I take it, or will I pigeonhole myself if I don't get recruited directly into S&T?

Several of my friends are going into the JPMorgan Analyst Program this year. I'm thinking that if I can't get into it right out of school, any BB job will strengthen my resume for an MSFE program.

Nov 2, 2017

If you can get into a mid/back office role, I'd take it because you could network internally to move higher esp at a middle market investment bank. Less likely at a BB I would think given the sheer mechanical nature of hiring. But also, if you can get into an analyst role straight out that would be ideal too and then try to lateral to BB S&T directly.

Nov 2, 2017

I would take an MSF/MSFE at a named school over a BO/MO role any day if you can afford it. BO -> FO is not easy.

Computer science I would say is more likely to help you get into an MSFE rather than help you with trading unless you are going to be wanting to do algo/HFT trading, otherwise VBA is really all you need and that can bepicked up on thge desk by any smart arts major, let alone a CS. Just something to keep in mind.

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks again for the advice. Here's what I'm looking at. I was planning to graduate in May 2014 with a B.S. Accounting, then go to graduate school, but I don't think I stand a chance of getting into an MSFE program (Berkeley, Carnegie, Cornell, and NYU are my top choices) with no full-time work experience, internships in portfolio management and accounting, and my gmat score. My GPA is a 3.43, my GMAT is only a 640 with a relatively low quantitative, however I didn't study, and I'm retaking it within a month. I'm currently taking a Kaplan prep course. I feel comfortable saying that I'll score between 680 and 720, and dramatically increase my quantitative score. Still, I don't think that'll get me into a reputable MSFE program.

As of yesterday, I added Computer Science as a minor (6 more classes), and Finance as a second major (3 more classes), which means I just pushed back my graduation date 1 year to May 2015. This will allow me to space out my classes a bit more so I can take fewer per semester and bring up my GPA. To graduate this May, I would have to take six courses while working 24 hours per week and taking care of my 4-month-old son. Life is coming at me fast.

Here are the additional classes I will be taking as a result of the added second major and minor. I'm wondering if pushing back my graduation date is worth it just to take classes that are more related to S&T. Though these classes will give me more exposure, my resume won't list the classes I took, just my majors and minor.

FIN-455: Financial Management
FIN-461: Financial Modeling
FIN-464: Institutional Trading

CIS-252: Intro to Computer Science
CIS-351: Data Structures
CIS-352: Programming Language
CIS-483: Network Security
CIS-321: Probability/Statistics
CIS-275: Discrete Mathematics
CPS-504: Intro to C++

So for those who are more familiar with the desired academic background for S&T positions, is it to my advantage to push back graduation for these courses? I suppose the alternative is to just graduate in May 2014 with a B.S. Accounting, and then go to a decent M.S. Finance program (U of Rochester) with no financial aid, add to the $60k I already owe in student loans, and still lack what may be a desirable exposure to computer science/programming.

Nov 2, 2017

in general, technical analysis is being laughed at by anybody apart from some spot FX and equity traders. I'd recommend not to overstress your technical analysis background because somebody could assume you have picked up bad habits. Also, a sell-side desk's primary responsibility is not to take prop directional positions, but rather make a market for the clients and hedge its position. So technical analysis wouldn't be really helpful. If anything, I'd say you mention your experience trading FX, but stress that you combine solid macro views with technical systems.

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the suggestions.

Have you ever worked in S&T before or are you simply talking about people in general looking down on tech analysis? I know that many of my friends who are into investing don't believe in it but I was kind of assuming that people wanting to go into I-banking just purely think in terms of fundamentals and dont really give technicals a real chance.

Nov 2, 2017

will work; but from interviews, internship, networking events etc I've got a clue of what people look at. I recall once at a BB presentation in my school there was an IR MD and back then I had been exploring technical analysis ideas in FX, so I naturally brought the conversation to this. He kind of laughed in the beginning, then told me that some FX guys still believe it. In fact, think about it like this: would you be ever capable of convincing the senior guy in the desk that when you see a head and shoulders pattern you should buy USD? If you ever lost money using this rule you wouldn't be capable of justifying the failure; you would be shown the exit. However, if your argument to commit capital was "Unemployement is going to fall, economy is booming, the FED is gonna raise the rate, thus buy USD" and you still lost money, you could be given a second chance. If your argument was based on some sound mathematical model, again you would have some gearing.

Nov 2, 2017

I wouldn't try to appear too cocky to the interviewer. Based on what you wrote I feel like you are trying to impress everyone.

I would simply say that you have been trading, and as someone mentioned you can just tell them you use a top-down approach or something like that, and try not to impress them too much with candlesticks and the like. Sure you can tell them you look at the technical analysis as well, but you probably shouldn't focus on that too much. They might pacifically listen to you, or they might simply pick on you, and good luck defending your technical analysis.

Again this is all IMHO, I have only had a few interviews. And I didn't try to impress the people with my amazing trading skills. I actually told them straight away I've lost tons of money (which is true), but now I am starting to learn from my mistakes. I told them my approach: I like a company, I buy it. And I tell them why I like it, be simple.
It has worked so far for me.. We will see if I get an offer in the end :)

I want to work now! No, really. I want those 100+ hours/week.

Nov 2, 2017

I don't see whats so bad about technical analysis. There's been some evidence of market inefficiency (ever hear of the momentum effect?) I think if you are even close to establishing a SUSTAINABLE trading strategy to be profitable, you have a lot to bring to the table. Of course you would either need strong evidence of it working or a reason that it works.

Nov 2, 2017

Technical analysis as evidenced in algo trading is respected because it uses statistical measures to exploit the inconsistencies.
If you still believe in head and shoulders, inverse saucepans and the like good luck convincing anybody that you're capable of trading...

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the responses guys.

I apologize if I sound cocky in my opening post. I just wanted to give you guys a full background in order to get better responses. I'm definitely not planning to walk into my interview and brag about my technical skills.

And also, I do not only trade with tech analysis. I use fundamentals to pick a direction and technicals for best entry and exit points.

With all due respect to all those who have posted here, are there any members here who actually have experienced working as a trader in an actual bank who can answer my question? I know that tech. analysis is generally looked down upon by the general population, but I find it hard to believe that it is laughed at by all professional traders.

Thanks.

Nov 2, 2017

By the way, i have always assumed that professional traders tend to lean more on the tech side (paired with fundamentals, of course) while i-bankers focused on the fundamentals instead.

Nov 2, 2017

Emotional control cannot be learned by trading fake money. Only trading real money will prove anything. They will consider your mock trading a joke.

Nov 2, 2017

Some traders believe in that nonsense but they tend to be trading the less sophisticated products (fx, equities, etc.)

Nov 2, 2017

Pathus - I understand that. Which is why i will be starting a real account in the next couple of weeks so i can trade for a solid year before SA interviews time.

And Popping - that's fine with me, I'm looking to get into spot fx anyways.

So anyways...any real traders here who can give me some insights?

THanks

Nov 2, 2017

that's the real insight...we all have sat on a desk.

Nov 2, 2017

Ah ok,

Sorry for doubting you then Dmod. From my time here, I've noticed that many people who give advice have no real experience to actually back up what they are saying.

Could someone then please tell me what tools the typical trader uses then? I'm not looking to get into a quant-heavy desk so I'm looking for some information on "less sophisticated products" such as spot fx.

From my understanding of flow trading, it seems to me that profits come from marginal differences in prices in the brief time that a client order gets filled. You would make a profit if the real price is lower than the client's price and the opposite if the real price is higher (please correct me if this is wrong). Therefore, i'm assuming that the trader would have to have an idea of the short-term direction of the product being traded. Since most of this is intra-day, how does the trader determine the short-term direction using only fundamental analysis?

Thanks guys.

Nov 2, 2017
Nasir:

Ah ok,

Sorry for doubting you then Dmod. From my time here, I've noticed that many people who give advice have no real experience to actually back up what they are saying.

Could someone then please tell me what tools the typical trader uses then? I'm not looking to get into a quant-heavy desk so I'm looking for some information on "less sophisticated products" such as spot fx.

From my understanding of flow trading, it seems to me that profits come from marginal differences in prices in the brief time that a client order gets filled. You would make a profit if the real price is lower than the client's price and the opposite if the real price is higher (please correct me if this is wrong). Therefore, i'm assuming that the trader would have to have an idea of the short-term direction of the product being traded. Since most of this is intra-day, how does the trader determine the short-term direction using only fundamental analysis?

Thanks guys.

You are making a mistake in thinking that trades profit in the differences between when the order is placed and when it is filled.

Flow trading profits from the bid/ask spread, the difference is what the market maker pockets on the trade.

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for correcting me there, that makes more sense. However, since the client order is not filled instantly, doesn't the price difference between the time of the order request and the time of the order fill still matter?

Who takes the hit for slippage then, the trader or the client?

In times of slippage, if the client gets the requote and the trader profits on the bid/ask spread, then wouldn't flow trading be essentially risk-less for the trader? Why are they worrying about P/L then?

On the other hand, if the trader is obligated to fill the order at the price the client requests, then shouldn't he have an idea of where the market is heading in the brief period before receiving the order and filling the order so he could give a price to the client that would maximize the spread and minimize the chance of loss caused by a slippage? This second scenario is actually what i was talking about in my previous post.

Nov 2, 2017

Just a supplement.

Trading on the desk is very different from trading on your own for the sole reason of flows. You have to remember that you are actually reducing the bank's exposure, which is not quite the same as trading prop. The real dough comes from taking a position, not the bid ask slippage and what not.

No one really cares whether you do tech or fundamental as long as you make money.

Nov 2, 2017

nasir, a lot of banks still use technical analysis (salesguys from Lehman and Deutsche straight up told me they use technicals on their desk, traders from BP told me they use techs and trendlines, only exception I am sure of is Goldman which laughs at anyone trading techs).

technical analysis has an expected profit of $0 on average, so the banks that use it are still profitable thanks to their flow business. banks make money in flow by providing liquidity to their clients (bid/ask spread).

if you want a primer in liquidity, I would recommend reading
http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/pdfiles/ovhds/d...

Nov 2, 2017

wait wait wait...: it's a COMPLETELY different story if salespeople use tech analysis to convince their stupid clients to trade and whether traders at the desk use it.
and of course I stress: this only applies to equities and FX. It would be a suicide to trade e.g. CDS using technical analysis. I mean all this tech analysis thing is stupid nonsense. Why some people use it in let's say FX or Equities?because (in their opinion) there's nothing better.

ps: what is BP?

Nov 2, 2017

Awesome, thanks for that. It's too bad that Goldman thinks that way about techs. But I would actually say that my ultimate goal would to get on a good desk at Lehman Bros so that's really nice to hear.

Thanks for the link too.

Nov 2, 2017

Dmod, with all due respect, just because you and others haven't had success with technical analysis doesn't mean that it's stupid nonsense. I know a couple of fx and equities traders who use nothing technicals to achieve hefty returns on their accounts.

I personally have seen its effectiveness as I have been quite successful using it for over a year now using a demo account. And yes, i know that demo trading means jack because the emotional factor is entirely removed and does it does not necessary mean that I will be nearly as successful trading a real account. However, the fact is that my demo account has been steadily growing using a primarily technical approach over the course of a year without major drawdowns should show that techs work at least to some extent.

And so what if it only supposedly works in fx and equities? Does the fact that it might not work in other products prove that it doesn't work at all?

Nov 2, 2017

Technical analysis can be used as part of a larger overall fundamental picture. Alone, it is worthless.

Nov 2, 2017

TA is used by EVERY professional buy-side trader in FX. TA is the ONLY THING that makes sense for short-run FX spot trading.
I think in sell-side traders might not have to use it as much because they have access to institutional trading flows and more information. They use it in their research for the buyside though.
I think many of us have read "liar's poker" and been dissuaded from TA by the accounts in that book. But I think we have to remember that each product is different. And TA isn't just the hokey stuff from personal investing books. Some of it is well grounded in behavorial economics and econometrics.

here's one of MANY academic papers on the validity of TA in FX:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review...
"Technical analysis is the most widely used strategy in the foreign exchange market... The weight of the evidence now suggests that excess returns have been available to technical foreign exchange traders over long periods....[but] there is no guarantee...that [this] will continue to generate excess returns in the future..."

Nov 2, 2017

now are there any undergrad econ majors here that want to make fun of research conclusions from the Federal Reserve? :)

Nov 2, 2017

haha, thanks for the info man, thats one hell of a sweet read. I have a lot to say about the fed's research and there are some problems with Fundamental analysis in general. But I'll keep my mouth shut because I don't want to turn this thread into a tech vs. fundies debate

Nov 2, 2017

I just accepted my SA spot at a BB in S&T. I used my experience "investing" in equities and "trading" FX on my resume and in my interviews. It was well received but it is very important how you spin it. I would advise you to focus on keeping up with the macro environment, carry trade, capital flows, etc over chart reading when explaining your FX trading. Regardless of the merits of TA people will be more impressed by your knowledge of these areas.

Nov 2, 2017

Cool, thanks for the advice. I'm actually making a much bigger effort to learn the fundamentals behind fx moves. It's just a bit more difficult for me to constantly follow because, with the exception of things such as interest rate differentials and broad economic factors, fundamentals just don't seem to work as well in fx. News reports often trigger massive moves, but it is near impossible to get in the market after the news without getting screwed by slippage and news items often don't move the market in the same direction for long.

Nov 2, 2017

well, if you still believe in the nonsense no problem. I will always be happy to be the trader taking the opposite position if my models and fundamentals say so :):)

Nov 2, 2017

I would say understand the fundamentals behind the technicals (e.g. why certain shapes form) and you would go further.

Nov 2, 2017

Full disclosure I am no FX expert but have been in the business for over 15 years.

First, will your experience help in the process? It depends. It seems like you have real passion for your product. That's great. That's what the firms want to see. But there were some things in your first post, that if said in an interview, could be red flags. You talk of a process you have "perfected". I can say with any serious product (like GBP/USD) unless you have generated at LEAST $100 million in profit for your firm you haven't even come close to perfecting anything, and even then, trading is always a work in process. But I'm not trying to make you feel bad at all. No one wants to take a potential trader out of college, or B school for that matter, and think that the this possible analyst/associate is already set in his/her ways and has lost the ability to be flexible.

Second, will you "still be allowed to trade using candlestick charts and support/resistance or would I be forced to trade the bank's method?" I have 2 FT associates on my desk. I like and respect them. Let me be even more specific. They work hard, are smart, and generate ideas in addition to executing directives. They do NOT trade on their own. They are still learning, and in fact they are learning on my P&L, but that is also great. This is how it works. There can be various levels of flexibility, but not close to having you trade the way you want with few constraints.

But the issues discussed in this thread are great issues to discuss with your interviewers. Talking about TA and FA, and the importance of flow, customer info, etc. and of course, risk management methodologies, will show you are thinking about the right things for someone on your level and are considering alternative ways of looking at your product.

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks a lot for the response bankbaron.

By "perfected", i simply meant that I have adjusted my TA strategy so that I feel that I no longer have to change it much in order to help in my trading. I am now primarily focused on adding more FA to my strategy and perfecting my emotions and risk management. But thanks for the heads up about that, I'll keep in mind to be more humble about my background.

By the way, are you working on a Trading desk right now and if so, which one? I'm assuming that the two associates at your desk are flow traders. Does the answer to that question change if they were prop traders?

THanks

Nov 2, 2017

I work in a BB in prop and run a mid-sized desk. So the associates are prop, but they are spending most of their time working on current/prospective trading ideas, liasing with risk managers and setting the calendar (which is an important part of my desk's process). Generally, after 2-3 years they could be putting on some small trades. They have tons of exit opportunities at that time (mostly to hf's but also to other parts of the prop operation) or could get promoted on my desk.

Separately I wasn't suggesting you act more humble on the "humble/arrogant" spectrum but more flexible on the "flexible/inflexible" spectrum. As you replied, word choice matters, and while "perfected" could connote "hubris" it, to me at least, first projected a sense of finality that just does not work in most trading pursuits.

Nov 2, 2017

"I work in a BB in prop "

which products?

Nov 2, 2017

and what's your background bankbaron?

Nov 2, 2017

thanks bankbaron

Nov 2, 2017

I find it amusing that some people on this forum consider TA "nonsense" and "laughable". You know what real nonsense is: OTC Derivatives and all the ridiculous "unable to mark-to-market" crap in the financial system. That is the true nonsense. And, how could these firms not see this coming?! I guess everyone forgets the LTCMs, S&L crises, etc. when the going was so good as it was the last 5 years in CDOs, CMOs, and all the other acronymed, BS products of "junk" debt.

But, I digress...

TA cannot be studied in a vacuum. Fundamentals are key to understanding the overall direction of a market: bull or bear. Once the fundamentals are known, TA gives somewhat of an edge in defining possible entries and exits. It's no surefire way to consistent profits, because nearly everyone else is doing it. Everyone would be rich, which isn't the case. However, oftentimes, TA is somewhat a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, until a trend reverses.

Good luck to you Nasir. I'm sure you will get what you want.

Nov 2, 2017

"You know what real nonsense is: OTC Derivatives and all the ridiculous "unable to mark-to-market" crap in the financial system. That is the true nonsense. And, how could these firms not see this coming?! I guess everyone forgets the LTCMs, S&L crises, etc. when the going was so good as it was the last 5 years in CDOs, CMOs, and all the other acronymed, BS products of "junk" debt.
"

I don't know, but I think afterthoughts are easy. It was a bubble and there was the same problems as in every bubble: When to stop riding the market to (currently) easy profits? There were MANY people that predicted this by the way. I think your second paragraph is kind of obvious, imo.

Nov 2, 2017

I've been bearish on all the OTC, exotic, and 1000-page prospecti-filled, financially-engineered products for the last 4 years. The US economy is almost entirely debt-driven, and it will end most unhappily someday, not for the I-banks, but for the American middle class. The transfer of wealth is starting to pick up.

At the rate the FED is going, the US and global economy are about to enter hyperinflationary mode with all the liquidity and cheap debt being flooded into an already sick financial system.

There will always be bubbles and busts in the markets, because human behavior has never changed. But, when institutions of repute continue to flood the markets with BS products (fueling even more bubbles) along with tacit approval by the monetary authorities - read global central banks - clearly there is a recognizable pattern of abuse in the financial system.

Oh, am I a gold bug? Yes.

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the support man. I completely agree with your second point. There was a period when i first experimented with trading when I believed that I could get away with using a purely mechanical technical system without any regards for fundamentals. It worked for a couple of months but then I bet against the pound before it hit 2.0000 because I got a bearish price action signal bouncing off of that level. Therefore, although fundamentals during the time (if i had actually studied them) probably would have made me reconsider.

And what do you know? The price did in fact drop briefly. Then bam, it broke through 2 and that one single position ate away much of my hard-earned profits from the previous months.

After that pretty painful experience (i lost a couple of hundred bucks, which is a shitload considering i didn't have a job at the time and my entire life savings at the time was in the low 4 figures), I reconsidered my situation and decided to trade demo for a while and seriously read into fundamentals.

Now I carefully study fundamental factors before I even try to use technicals. I would determine the long-term trend with fundamentals and only trade full lots if the trade agrees with my fundie analysis. I still trade counter-trend sometimes on the evitable retraces, but i would use a fraction of my typical full position with much tighter take profit and stop loss levels.

Adding fundamentals has helped my trading dramatically and I finally feel that I can consistently make a profit with my positions. However, this is not to say that I believe FA>TA. They are very different tools and I don't think that they work as well separately as a synthesis of the two methods.

I've often heard a saying about TA vs. FA that has become the basic guideline for my trading:

"Fundamentals tell you what to buy, Technicals tell you when to buy".

I feel that using a purely fundamental approach might be effective if you plan to hold your positions long-term. However, in order to really exploit the cyclical nature of the markets and optimize profit potentials, using technical triggers to pinpoint entry and exit levels is the way to go.

Nov 2, 2017

If you know all this for a certainty, why don't you just forgo the whole work at a bank deal, call some people up and start trading their money.

Also, your tone has shifted from the first bit of the thread to your last post.

I think before you open a real account, you should spend 15 bucks and read some of Buffet's strategy.

"I'm not sure what the four 9's do, but the ace, I think, is pretty high."

Nov 2, 2017

Started in BB IBD analyst program, then went to prop desk as associate (wanted to get into trading). Then after 5 yrs was approached by someone in the business to run a book for a hedge fund. A few years later had an opportunity to join a couple of guys to launch a hedge fund which went well and then went back to a BB global prop operation to run a book there (my hedge fund numbers were good but after I made a few bucks I was willing to accept a slightly smaller payout for not having to market and having the global resources of a major firm behind me). Much better quality of life and I can focus on the investing side.

Don't want to say the product but it is a combination of equity & debt. More fundamental then technical.

Nov 2, 2017

Well, I definitely don't know all of this for a certainty. I didn't mean to come off that way. I was merely trying to defend TA's usefulness in trading.

The reason that I want to get into a bank is because I know that there is still a lot to learn. I also don't have the capital to trade my own book nor the proven track record to be able to attract individuals who'll let me trade for them.

Plus, if I trade my own book, a string of serious mistakes could effectively ruin me financially. On the other hand, even if I blow up a book at a bank and get fired, I'll probably still come up with a decent amount of money to trade with if i like and I'll at least have the BB on my resume which will help if I need to find another job.

Thanks for the strategy recommendation. I might check it out. However, I tend not to like to trade using other people's strategies as I don't feel like I have full control of my trading.

Nov 2, 2017

Alright, I have to say that you are actually a reasonable individual.
My post was sarcastic in nature and biting in tone, and you actually didn't rise to the bait. I am fairly impressed.
Obviously your points about working at a bank are spot-on. I consider myself a peer of yours (at least age wise-if the one listed on your profile is accurate and career aspirations) and I have a lot of the issues you mention in your posts with a slightly different angle.
My mention of Buffett's strategy wasn't that you should use and adopt it as your own, it would just give a general idea of broad fundamental analysis that could help you gain an additional perspective in your own trading. While I would agree that you need not fully adopt someone else's strategy, I think there are advantages of using what others have done well and incorporating parts of theirs into your own. Keep in mind though, as previously mentioned, that while working a desk at a bank, your trading strategy will be superseded by that of your boss and the bank.

In short, sorry for the accusatory post and I am impressed by your response. Best of luck to you in SA recruiting-Perhaps we'll meet along the way.

"I'm not sure what the four 9's do, but the ace, I think, is pretty high."

Nov 2, 2017

"My mention of Buffet's strategy"

Second pet peeve...there are two t's in his name. it's Buffett.

Nov 2, 2017

"Started in BB IBD analyst program, then went to prop desk as associate (wanted to get into trading). Then after 5 yrs was approached by someone in the business to run a book for a hedge fund. A few years later had an opportunity to join a couple of guys to launch a hedge fund which went well and then went back to a BB global prop operation to run a book there (my hedge fund numbers were good but after I made a few bucks I was willing to accept a slightly smaller payout for not having to market and having the global resources of a major firm behind me). Much better quality of life and I can focus on the investing side.

Don't want to say the product but it is a combination of equity & debt. More fundamental then technical.
"

cool, cheers.

Nov 2, 2017

bamp

Nov 2, 2017

network network and network --- if you get cool with the right ppl and they see that you are hungry -- and that you have more experience than the vast majority of applicants (a huge advantage that you posses) ....they will put you on ----

its up to you in terms of how hard you network / develop new relationships with relevant ppl that are in the business ....

you could make the argument that you were on the buy side for quite a while and that you are more qualified to be on the sell side relative to most candidates --- since you know the buy side in/out.....your experience is a huge asset --- dont forget that

just my 2 cents

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the advice. Yeah, I've been contacting people through the alumni network database and other means as well. Nothing has happened yet, but i realize that this is a long process. Plus I don't have any friends who work at these places, so it's extra tough for me.

Nov 2, 2017

Yeah, just network. You have experience which should give you an advantage. I would reach out to alumni or friends and let them know. Your in a lot better position than someone with no experience and out of school that is for sure.

Nov 2, 2017

That assessment is pretty accurate, it's very tough for even undergrads at "target" schools to get an offer!

But my advice would be to network as others have said. You can do the following:

1) Go to other target school's career fairs/presentations/information sessions
2) Join some unique clubs / associations to get to know people in the industry
3) Go to the Alumni center at your school
4) There is an event called the Boston Career Forum. I've never went, but a friend of mine did and she said that a lot of banks recruit there.

You can also work in operations, risk management, trading assistant, etc - other places to get your foot in the door. A lot of people on this forum would think this is beneath them, but I know a lot of people that transitioned into trading from this route. If you are a good networker and can get people to like you, you would have a good shot. Good luck!

Nov 2, 2017

what desk were you on?

Nov 2, 2017

exotic equity derivatives

Nov 2, 2017

That is kind of strange. My case was pretty different from yours but it varies from bank to bank and desk to desk I guess. Most majors in my group were from engineering or mathematics. They had good GPAs too from top schools (ivies)in the US and the UK(oxbridge, imperial). Their experience though was nothing spectacular.

Nov 2, 2017

there were a lot of athletes who didnt seem to have any interest in finance.

Nov 2, 2017

What's top three?

Nov 2, 2017

MS, Goldman and JP

Nov 2, 2017

Some people disagree on how selective S&T is vs IBD. Some say that because there are so few openings, it's tough to get one of those spots. Others argue that the ratio of applicants to openings is just as competitive in IBD because IBD is so much more popular.

One thing is certain though: there are way more meatheads with low GPAs on the trading floor.

http://www.drmarkklein.blogspot.com/

Nov 2, 2017

thanks mark. Insightful as always.

By meathead he means someone that has basic social skills. Something Mr. Mark McDouche lacks.

"Oh - the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion?"

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Nov 2, 2017

.

Nov 2, 2017

what does "less impressive" mean exactly? Were the interns not keeping up with the job and tasks?

Though I must say its a bit surprising that with your product, the students didnt have more mathi majors than the IBD class.

Nov 2, 2017

are there more spots available in S&T as compared to IBD? if so, does S&T get more applications or is it IBD? If it is indeed true that IBD gets more applications with fewer spots compared to S&T, then isn't it safe to assume that it is statistically more probable to get an S&T offer?

Nov 2, 2017

also, do quantitative majors have a leg up in S&T recruitment?

Nov 2, 2017

depends on where you want to go.

Nov 2, 2017

well...i go to a non target...and was able to get superdays to two diff bb's for trading...where as for ibd...none of the banks would even look/consider me...juss my 2 cents..

Nov 2, 2017

I had easier time getting banking interviews... funny

Just finished a BB S&T internship also. Looking through the resume book the average gpa is about 3.6. One person below 3.4. And with the exception of some people recruited through a particular diversity program, i thought the resumes were pretty impressive. 40 some odd spots in s&t, much less than ibd i would think.

Nov 2, 2017

You lot are unreal. Who actually cares what your gpa is. It's all about making money anyway so just because you went to an Ivy league uni and have had your head in the books for the last 15 years doesn't mean you're going to be any good.

Nov 2, 2017

yea S&T is all about generating revenue. remember lewie, the mortgage trader @ salomon brothers in the 80's who started as mailroom clerks? you dont have to look waspy and slick with a harvard education if you want to be a good trader.

in my intern class i see a lot of S&T interns coming from engineering/math/physics backgrounds. a different set of talent pool from IBD.

Nov 2, 2017
untilted:

yea S&T is all about generating revenue. remember lewie, the mortgage trader @ salomon brothers in the 80's who started as mailroom clerks? you dont have to look waspy and slick with a harvard education if you want to be a good trader.

in my intern class i see a lot of S&T interns coming from engineering/math/physics backgrounds. a different set of talent pool from IBD.

yeah but the trading floor at banks has changed a massive amount since liar's poker. you don't have to be a genius to do anything at an investment bank (minus the quant stuff where you've gotta be smart), but it's more about just fitting in with your coworkers

Nov 2, 2017

Wow look what i have created?

Finally people start to realize trading is only difficult if you make it difficult. Buy low, Sell high. Sell high, Buy low.... Repeat.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Nov 2, 2017

So S&T is for dumb jocks and IBD is for prestigious snotty kids?

Nov 2, 2017

apparently

Nov 2, 2017

why on earth would anybody want to work in IB?

its like working minimum wage, except you work for a firm that is willing to let you have 24h days..
pathetic..
nobody should aspire to such a pathetic lifestyle, except hopeless virgins

Nov 2, 2017

i call BS on lower quality applicants going into s&t compared to ibanking if anybody is making generalizations here. both pools tend to be talented, s&t tends to be more exclusive because of the limited slots and the preferred undergrad degrees. that you experienced this situation wilsonjones is nothing short of a fluke. think possibility vs probability.

Nov 2, 2017

you know what? i take that back. i can only speak to the above with regards to trading. someone from sales will have to defend their honor.

Nov 2, 2017

sales ppl, especailly in derivs, know their products better than traders.
some traders barely understand what the products are for, but can hedge and calulate risk perfectly...i call that tunnel vision...although its not true for everything.
its not for nothing S&T go together

Nov 2, 2017

not exactly Pateman. youre prolly talking a hybrid sales role. they tend to do that in derivs, where the sales people actually structure as well. most sales jobs are not like this and even so, the traders still know the product better. its imperative that they do so. you have to know the nuances to price. the only way the traders may know less is if youre talking a flow trader vs sales-structuring hybrid role or a sales-trading hybrid role - this is a very specific case.

Nov 2, 2017

IMO S&T > IBD
GS S&T > GS IBD
there are fewer spots, the interviews are harder, u have the potential to make more money at a younger age.
Even at MM
Jefferies S&T > Jefferies IBD by far.

Nov 2, 2017

Different strokes for different folks. That's all it comes down to.

Nov 2, 2017

I did IB and S & T attop BBs. The S & T interns were a lot smarteras far as I could tell. Their resumes were pretty impressive, though not ungodly. Only a few slipped in w/out top test scores/ gpas - and I found out most of those had used connections in one way or another.

Nov 2, 2017

How do you know you want to do trading if you can't answer that question?

OP doesnt sound like trading material.........I think PB would allow give you some kind of interaction with the buy side and would benefit you (somewhat) in the future.

Nov 2, 2017

Neither are natural feeders to S+T, but if you are simply looking to do trading, operations is probably the slightly better route. Depending on placement, you could be right on a trading desk, interacting with the traders all the time.

In PB, you will have very little/no interaction with the trading side of your firm (their will be a chinese wall because you have access to your HF clients positions, so they dont want you talking to s+t). and at the junior level, you wont really have any networking opps with your buyside clients either. That being said, working in PB is a better general job than ops, less boring and you'll have better opportunities to meet people and do varied things.

in conclusion, if all you want to do is trade, ops may be a little better. but id consider PB a better job in general.

Nov 2, 2017

^^Agreed 100% w/ above post...keep in mind that PB is a FO role

Nov 2, 2017
Jay Buhner was sweet:

Neither are natural feeders to S+T

Which positions are natural feeders to S+T?

Nov 2, 2017
raj:
Jay Buhner was sweet:

Neither are natural feeders to S+T

Which positions are natural feeders to S+T?

I would like to know as well.

Nov 2, 2017

if you're going to jp take PB, ops there has zero chance of moving into a trading role from the people ive spoken with. not to mention the place is massive so your chances of winding up on the desk as a TA in ops is pretty slim

Nov 2, 2017

the pay will be better in PB and most of the firms rotate S+T through PB since its considered front office usually analysts that can't get placed in a good group they want and are desperate end up in PB. You will find it very hard to transfer into trading, however, I think it is still better than OPS

Nov 2, 2017

the pay will be better in PB and most of the firms rotate S+T through PB since its considered front office usually analysts that can't get placed in a good group they want and are desperate end up in PB. You will find it very hard to transfer into trading, however, I think it is still better than OPS

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for everyones advice,

Yeah I pretty much have zero experience in trading. Granted I've really only gotten interested in it after my internship, so about five months or so. I met with a bunch of people from different areas of the bank, banking was boring, research was ok, but not that interesting, but I loved the md in equity derivatives i met, loved the atmosphere, and I think I have the right skill set for the job. Same experience interviewing at MS (im from ny so I did face-to-face), loved the atmosphere, esp from the fi trading interview.

One thing holding me back from taking pb straight up is that its a 16 month rotation program + Series 7 + another 2 years in client services. Basically the md told me that they expect a return on their investment so they want analysts to stay on for the duration of the program.

While ops is only a 2 year program, with plenty of people jumping ship after a year. I basically had a great interview with fo credit over the summer and they said they would keep me in the pool if there were any openings.

Also i keep in touch with the derivatives trader, who is the lead recruiter for my school (mba alum), told me to get in the firm first and he would let me know of any openings.

So I guess the question now becomes:
1. ops + possible 1 year transfer into credit and then to trading?
2. pb to trading?

Also, in terms of learning more about trading in my spare time, is there anything else I can do besides having my own portfolio and reading up on books about trading?

Thanks

Nov 2, 2017

im really going to stress this and this is coming from someone on a trading desk. do not do ops unless you know exactly what you will be doing in ops. you could wind up in a completely different building allocating trades from clients, doing novations, doing settlements etc. these things are not going to get you into a front office job and you will not learn the skills the front office values doing these things. now if you get into an ops role on the trading floor where you work with the traders all day its much more of a possibility. you do realize that a lot of ops/trade support at jpm is downtown while the actual trading floor is in midtown. this is a big problem because you dont get the same working relationship with people, not to mention you can't ask questions to the traders when its slow, which will definitely stunt your development/product knowledge. I think you are being very optimistic about the chance to do ops 1 year and move into credit while that market is contracting. do you know this guy well (deriv trader) granted he is from your school but besides that what interest does he have in you and your career?

Nov 2, 2017

Don't do Operations. Its way too risky.
And more than anything it sucks.

Nov 2, 2017

you'll at least make contacts on the buyside that could come in handy. in ops, you'll be stuck wiping traders' asses unless you get lucky.

one caveat to keep in mind, with hfs closing up by the hundreds, prime brokerage is going through a bloodbath. job security is likely much higher in ops.

Nov 2, 2017

-

Nov 2, 2017

Saying "I can always apply" isn't the stroke of insight I was looking for. My name doesn't necessarily have anything to do with my job preferences, either.

I'm interested in S&T. Are there any harsh answers as to whether I have [b]a reasonable shot[/b] at breaking into S&T out of undergrad?

Nov 2, 2017

I'm in the same boat except a year younger and non-target, so if anyone can answer your question, how much does it change for my circumstance.

Nov 2, 2017

You'll be competing specifically with all of the other students from HYP with 3.5+, but a lot of them will have solid internships under their belt or demonstrated quantitative skills. Do you follow the markets? Are you active in personal investing? Those could help your case in a cover letter or interview. I'm assuming you are a liberal arts major, since you haven't taken many quant classes yet. Given that, and your strong leadership role, I'd say you have a better chance at breaking into Sales rather than Trading.

Nov 2, 2017

I have invested on and off in the stock market when I was in high school but had to quit in college to help pay off loans.

Given that I have a stronger chance breaking into sales than trading, what are my chances in sales on an absolute scale? Bad, reasonable, good? I assume you still have to exhibit amazing quant abilities to break into sales. Is this just something I will have to demonstrate on the fly in the interview?

Nov 2, 2017

You have a good enough chance that its worth your time to try for it.

You're going to have to give compelling reasons why you chose your presumably liberal arts major, why you haven't taken applicable course work, and why you have no relevant work experience. You will also need to show a strong interest in the markets. I wouldn't say you have to "exhibit amazing quant abilities," you just have to show them you are smart and able to do the job. also, I believe most banks dont interview for sales separately from trading.

good luck.

Nov 2, 2017

bad to no chance ...

no experience --> no reason to hire you, many banks recruit straight out of intern programs for the bulk of s&t hires (not like banking where you need a mass of people)

no demonstrated interest in markets -->
e.g.
have you ever dabbled with options? how will you compare against the same hyp 3.5 who could guess how to structure a reverse convertible for a client or who knows what volatility trading is? very simple task, but you have no idea (no investing club, no pa account, no personal algorithmic black box that trades the markets) ...

again, no offense, but you probably have no clue as to what's in the FX, rates, credit, commodities, or other markets.

younger people can get by with far less experience (still need SOMETHING), because that's what an internship is for ...

surprised if you get an interview, unless you have connections

Nov 2, 2017

The poster above is emblematic of the misconception people have of what it takes to get into S+T. No one in my first year analyst class could "structure a reverse convertible" and a first year analyst would not be asked to do this. You will be asked surprisingly little about your direct market and trading knowledge, they want to see an interest in markets and what drives them, and the ability to be able to do the work. Also, I'd like to meet the college student who has created a personal algorithmic black box that trades markets. If you've done that, you're not applying to S+T programs anyways.

Despite this, I agree with the above poster that your chances are more of a longshot. My entire s+t analyst class is made of the summer analyst class and kids who did s+t and banking at some other firms (lehman in particular). There was no one without a proper BB summer internship. Take it for what its worth, but remember that most banks are trying to expand their trading department right now.

Nov 2, 2017

Won't the HYP credential land me some interviews? And if I can get in the interview door, won't I be able to exhibit a genuine passion for markets and a willingness to learn quickly for success?

Are S&T first round interviews probable with the following resume?
http://www.razume.com/documents/11497
Tips on how to improve?

NOTE: Ignore spacing glitch on last 3 bullet points (razume did that).

Nov 2, 2017

Bump: can somebody please critique my resume I just uploaded in the link above?

Nov 2, 2017

By gap year do you mean 3rd year? If so, get whatever you can, preferably FO. SKEMA doesn't enjoy the same perception as HEC/ESSEC/ESCP as you well know but you are still likeliest to find something in France. A full year of internships should give you a decent shot at finding a summer internship in London.

    • 1
Nov 2, 2017

I appreciate your reply.
Gap year in France is between Master 1 and Master 2 (MSc). I think that's quite equivalent to 3rd year for undergraduate people.
I know SKEMA is not as well perceived as HEC-ESSEC-ESCP but several rankings such as FT or eFinancialCareers state that it's likely to find graduates in tier 2 and tier 3 banks in FO.

Do you think I may have better internship opportunities in USA/HK/Singapour/Latin countries than in Europe ? If I follow your reasoning I'd better find a FO position in France whatever the bank it is. But maybe I could find FO internships in tier 2 banks in countries far away from France or in "developing" countries in order to maximize the chance to find summer internship in BB or tier 2 bank later on ?

For the moment I really like what I hear about sales position (permanent contact with important clients and traders, negotiation, exit ops etc.) and I'm also interested in commodities (FO and MO office with supply chain management) as I worked for a huge hazelnuts merchant in France (kind of clients we had were Ferrero, Mondelez international etc.). However I've heard that Glencore and such recruits quite only experimented ppl. Do I have to specialize now or I still can wait a few years to better refine what appeals to me ?

Thanks

Nov 2, 2017

You should probably try to cast a wide net in your applications. It's a tough market out there and as time-consuming as applications are, you want to aim for a lot. Just remember that applying outside of Europe is usually difficult for Visa/competitive issues. If you are applying for a job in Tokyo and a Japanese guy who went to U of Tokyo has the same stats, you better have something that really stands out.

Considering your previous experience you could try to network your way into an internship at a place like Louis Dreyfus, Cargill or Barry Callebaut. Pretty specialized but those are great jobs in of themselves.

    • 1
Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for your reply.
I'll start to canvass in January searching for sales assistant (FO-MO) positions in tier 2/3 banks but also in the places you've just mentioned where maybe I could have more chances to break in thanks to my related background.

I will really strive through cold-emailing/school network to find something decent for a first experience wherever the place. I'm confident the FT ranking (which can be critiquable though) could allow me to benefit from a better perception of the Msc in a foreign country than in France. I hope so...

Nov 2, 2017

Perhaps, I wouldn't bother applying in the U.S. though, its virtually impossible to find an internship unless you are interviewed on campus or have serious connections/are incredible at networking.

    • 1
Nov 2, 2017

I meant non or less elitist cities/banks in hot spots such as HK, Switzerland and maybe Mexico. I'm currently living close to Monaco and I know there are some desks here but I'm not sure about the reputation or the kind of positions offered.

I've a contact at ML in NYC I'll try something there.

Nov 2, 2017

What are the main skills required for sales position except negotiation/commercial skills and high knowledge about the market we are specialized in ?

Do we have to be as efficient in mathematics as quants and structurers ?

Nov 2, 2017

Definitely don't need to be that good in math. I'm sure the question had been asked before here.

Nov 2, 2017

I've searched for it and nothing came out with those key words.

Thanks for your reply I appreciate. I'll start prospecting on a worldwide-scale in January and I'm currently beginning to read S&T related books in order to be capable of performing itw I may get.
Books :
-The black swan
-Liar's poker

Nov 2, 2017

Hi guys,

What do you think about my chances to get an internship in prop trading firms such as First New York & cie ? Is it harder than finding something in large ou MM banks ? I guess that might be a great experience. I have some internship offers at Natixis (sales assistant-middle office) but it is not that known overseas.

Nice afternoon

Nov 2, 2017

No harm in trying. There aren't a lot of shops like FNYS out there anymore but it would be a great place to work if you are good. (Assuming they are still around, since I'd heard they were in trouble last year.)

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the information. Therefore I'll do some cold-emailing to prop shops all around the globe. My first targets would be those located in NYC, SF, London, Asia and South America... I hope I'll find something decent.

Being good you mean as an intern or full-time employee? I'd be delighted to have a mentor during the internship (not sure if it still exists in S&T and even in the banking world in general).

Nov 2, 2017

I mean full-time, in the sense that prop trading is a job where you truly have a chance to differentiate yourself through performance. I'm not sure it's your best bet if you just want to leverage it into a full-time position at a BB in S&T (although much better than nothing). See what you get but don't shut the door on Natixis just yet.

    • 1
Nov 2, 2017

Not to be rude, but
if you dont have a green card just forget about the US.
Even people from top notch schools in Europe don't get interviews in the US if they require a Visa.
Your CV will not be read unless you have a big backer.

Nobody is going to pay a Visa to a random dude from eurpoe when they have dozens of people in the us from ivy leagues applying. And this is not even considering the fact that your school is not that good to start with.

Nov 2, 2017

I agree with Zafrynex but France is not bad you get 45 days off/yr when working in a bank

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the replies.
I'm tired of France (social and economical factors) and making money in Paris especially is tough (taxation, bad standards of living).I won't go into details on this subject but if you have questions I will anwser.

Some alumnis of the MSc work in NYC, London, HK, Switzerland (Credit Suisse, UBS). What kind of experience I might have in order to get green card paperwork done by the bank/shop ?

Nov 2, 2017

You need to go to school in the US if you want a chance at a work Visa there. The only French guys I know working in NYC on a permanent basis went to college or grad school in the US. Your other option is to work for a few years in London/Paris and get transferred. A VIE is another possibility.

Nov 2, 2017

I can achieve the MSc in the US because my school owns a campus in Raleigh (NCSU). Maybe this plus decent experience would help me a lot.

Nov 2, 2017

Best US Graduate programmes (Wharton, HopkinsNotre dame etc.) are MBA and require several years of experience. As you said I need to network hard to bridge the gap between my school and the requirements of any S&T internship I may find.

What do you think about a MSc in the US ? I know Carey has one but will it really increase my chance to get something decent ? Will it be tough for a foreigner like me to get into it ?

Regards

Nov 2, 2017

COuldnt be bothered to read all the replies, but french schools are probably the most represented in London BB trading floors, probably even more than Oxbridge.

Nov 2, 2017
derivstrading:

COuldnt be bothered to read all the replies, but french schools are probably the most represented in London BB trading floors, probably even more than Oxbridge.

how is that possible?

Nov 2, 2017

Yes they enjoy an old good reputation from the past.
I'll try to find decent internships for my gap year. If I have some problems finding something after being graduated in 2016 I will lean over MSc from targets-schools (LSE, Wharton, NYU, HEC-ESSEC-ESCP...).

Thanks for the help

Nov 2, 2017

Salut tonixity :) I think I went to the same bschool as you :)

It's pretty difficult to find a half-decent internship for a while now. Most ridiculous answer I got was from BNPP that in order to even be considered for a 6month internship in M&A you should have already had a previous 6mo internship in M&A..
Just a piece of advice: avoid Luxembourg. I'd call it BOland.

Colourful TV, colourless Life.

Nov 2, 2017

Salut Bonus :) Glad to meet some ppl from my school here. In which field do you operate?

Thanks for the information. I guess it should be easier to find in S&T than in M&A.

Luxembourg is not so bad in auditing. I've heard a lot from people of our school working there at P.wc and earning good money with nice benefits (taxation, days off...). However I don't have any feedback from other corporate finance areas such as ECM or DCM.

Nov 2, 2017

Look in London.The french consulate says we are between 300 000 and 400 000 in London alone !! Since there are so many frenchies working in finance, the HR departments based in London know +/- the french schools.

I feel like im in France here except for a few things wich are different (mainly lower taxes, good service in bars and restos). Rent is just a bit more expensive than paris but salaries are overall higher...

Just give it a try !

ps: dont go to lux, its as boring as people say it is...

Nov 2, 2017

Btw, there are loads of specialised nuts & seeds commo traders based in london. Apply to their traffic/scheduling desks and u'll learn a lot about logistics and how things work in general. Give it a few years at a bit of luck and you might get a chance for a S&T position

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the information.

What do you think about Louis Dreyfus, Cargill or Barry Callebaut that GoodBread suggested ? Maybe specializing in commodities could close me some doors ?

Nov 2, 2017

All the firms mentioned by Goodbread are great and the competition is tough. Don't expect to get hired by these firms to be a walk in the park.

Concerning the opportunities question I am quite biased since I work at an electricity desk; I would say there are plenty of opportunities :P You could think that you will be stuck in commodities forever, but so could you in any type of product or sector... it all depends in how you play it and how smart & hard you work.

There are many aspects in commo's that are not touched by pure financial jobs. Think of all the logistics behind, the operational risks, the leverage involved, the crazy volatility... All this on top of the financial number crunching to achieve an arbitrage opportunity. I would argue that a job at a commo trader at a senior level (trader/sales/origination) would require a much larger set of skills than on a pure financial job, but that is my own opinion.

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks for the information.

These aspects of commodity trading appear really nice to me (geopolitic factors, logistics and delivery...) but as you said I still have time to specialize and my first aim is to find decent internships for my gap-year.

I'll let you know if I have some offers

Nov 2, 2017

bonne merde !

Nov 2, 2017

In a reverse order:

1. BB S&T FO is certainly viable. If you don't make it, you should blame it on yourself and not the cards you've been dealt (you'll go to RSM which I heard places well into London BBs, and your experience/internships also seems all right). That goes for your chances as well.

2. Probably yes, let go of WU. you got limited space on that 1 page CV so make the info there worthwhile.

3. From MO to FO? Very rarely happen, bad idea. Aim for FO, you could make it.

4. Do something interesting for the summer, you got OK experience/internships but lacking heavily on the EC side. Go volunteer in South Africa or somewhere, even if it will require a greater deal of expense; it will pay off.

Also I think you are over complicating this. Reach out to alumni on LinkedIn with a short InMail, ask for a phone call and talk to them, be professional, ask intelligent questions. Make sure your CV and cover letters are polished to the maximum extent (WSO got a good service for it anyway) once you will be applying (rocking the competency questions is also a must). Prepare for the online tests as well, those can be a dealbreaker.

About the language skills: yes, being able to speak your mind intelligently is important. For banking you have to be on a native level, for trading it's a much more solid but still you got to be very good at English (obviously). I think that's just an excuse; I mean you have been living in England for 3 years, didn't you? That should have geared you up language-wise.

Also I'm not sure which country you are from (big or small), but given that you are not from the UK you could capitalize on that. Reach out to BB employees who share your nationality and speak the same language (obviously you should do it in your mother tongue). So far it worked very well from me (but that should depend on how big your country is).

Nov 2, 2017

You are not even an undergraduate yet. Enjoy your life.

Nov 2, 2017

If you do STEM, you can always get an MFE from a target if needed.

Nov 2, 2017

Math > CS > Finance, in order of difficulty and time spent studying for the same grades. Choose your major based on what you're good at, and what interests you the most. If you can hit ~4 constantly without too much effort, then you should be fine when you add in extracurricular and networking.

Offshore liffe

Nov 2, 2017

EE is hard and history is boring...no wonder low gpa.... s&t isnt that critical with gpa compared to ibanking....get some good internships and bring it up to a 3.0...then maybe?

Nov 2, 2017

anything finance related on your resume?

also, how did you do in your probability and stochastic processes classes?

Nov 2, 2017

I think your job now is to try and get info interviews at as many shops as possible...If you can demonstrate you're intelligent in those, you'll be able to land something either from them or their cronies...

Nov 2, 2017

No, nothing finance related on my resume.

My problem is that I only got interested in finance very recently. Prior to that I just wanted to put in enough effort to understand the material and get reasonable grades, and devote the rest of my time to other (intellectual) interests.

The probability and stochastic processes classes, which I did well in, were what piqued my interest in finance/trading. I also plan to take stochastic calculus FE and information theory classes next year.

I've done a bit of reading on the subject and the job seems a perfect fit for me, but I'm now feeling frustrated that a low GPA might stand in the way.

Nov 2, 2017

Also, can anyone give me advices regarding small-ish prop trading firms (like jane street capital), HF's and MM investment banks?

Do they generally have lower GPA barrier? Which ones are good to apply to/work for?

Thanks.

Nov 2, 2017

Also, can anyone give me advices regarding small-ish prop trading firms (like jane street capital), HF's and MM investment banks?

Do they generally have lower GPA barrier? Which ones are good to apply to/work for?

Thanks.

Nov 2, 2017

Hedge funds do not have lower barriers, I know that much. The IBD forum has a sticky with an extensive list of MM and boutique firms in all different US and int'l regions. Go take a look there.

Nov 2, 2017

Would be interested as well on behalf of my girlfriend...

Nov 2, 2017

probably not

Nov 2, 2017

yo need a sponser for 7,not sure for 63

Nov 2, 2017

You have to be employed and sponsored by a firm to sit for the Series 7/63. It's not an exam you can just sign up for.

Nov 2, 2017

Thanks.

Nov 2, 2017

the Series 63 if you want. You need to fill out a U 10 and just pay the fees. I just took the Series 63 - Thats how I know.

Nov 2, 2017

You actually don't need to be sponsored anymore. With that being said the cost of preparing/sitting for these licenses on your own outweighs the benefit it would bring to your resume. It's the experience that counts. If your experience has absolutely nothing to do with trading then take those on your own.

Nov 2, 2017

can't take the 7 without a sponsor.

Nov 2, 2017

1) yes if you're good/smart. post undergrad analyst on a trading desk can lead to you carving out a piece of a market-maker's book so that he can focus on higher volume instruments / names etc. Do you know what kind of trading you would like to do?
2) the line is only blurred when HR is pitching you the position. It is not blurred in real life. there is a 1 in 1000 chance that a trading support analyst gets lifted and wakes up one day as a prop trader cinderella style. Additionally as a support tech analyst you are thought of as second-rate by the trading desk and that stigma generally never goes away.
3) yes - open to target FT analyst program. Talk to HR about getting in the rotational S&T analyst program at the bank.
4) S&T analyst is a generic title wielded around by bank HR within a generic rotational program where you may experience both institutional sales and trading, then after a few weeks you are placed based primarily on need, but potentially your interest if you are politically savvy.
5) enter an S&T program at a lesser bank, become a trader, build a p&l in a specialized / up and coming product, go out with headhunters, HFs, and other sell-side traders 6days/week, and then get bid away from a more legit top tier bank for more money. This is like a 3-5 year plan though and is contingent on p&l creation.
6) sell-side market making can be a less lucrative job vs. buyside portfolio management at a mega HF fund complex. Your parents wont know what you are doing anyway ;)

My background: buyside asset management out of undergrad, many friends as sell-side market makers finding us liquidity

Nov 2, 2017

1) Commodities trading interests me the most. Mind you that I've had no real trading experience, but I like the idea behind commodities. They're one of the few products people trade that actually matter and where supply & demand dictate prices (in theory). With increasing global growth, especially in emerging markets, there will be an increasing need for commodities in the future. There are abnormal factors such as delivery costs that affect pricing. Trading is done mostly through futures contracts, etc.
2) Can you describe the responsibilities of an entry level trading desk analyst from a trade support analyst so that I can be clear on how they are different?
3) My understanding is that these programs are mostly open to students currently on campus. How can I gain access to these programs?
4) I'll take what I can get.
5) I'm okay with a 3-5 year plan. Nothing is easy in life and things worth having are even harder.
6) Very true.

Thanks for your detailed response... much appreciated!

Nov 2, 2017
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Nov 2, 2017