GS Operations role, should I take it if I want to be a trader?!

jl5388047's picture
Rank: Monkey | 32

Dear Fellow WSO Members,

A 3rd party recruiter reached out to me for an Operations role(Trading Operations) at Goldman Sachs. It is a contractual role for 9 months, thus no benefits and etc. From my networking, GS is probably the hardest to transition from a MO role to a FO role, given that the trade support people are not even in proximity with the traders. Therefore, the interaction with traders are slim to none. What's your take on that?

Anyways, I told the recruiter to put me for an interview. I have no intention of accepting the offer even if I receive one. But my game plan is just to meet with the actual GS recruiter and hope to get that connection (for future permanent job openings) even if I do not take the role in the end.

Would love to hear some advice regarding my situation. I've graduated last month and I gave myself a three month-deadline to find a junior trader/assistant trader role before I consider taking a trade support mid office role.

Comments (30)

Feb 28, 2018

bump

Mar 1, 2018

Not the worst opportunity coming out of school and I've actually seen this happen before.. but probably won't get you on a desk. Like you've said trading operations have little to no facetime with the desk and are generally disliked by the traders. That being said depends on your previous experience, college major, GPA and drive. If you have been on a desk or buy-side in previous internships then it may give you a shot down the line.

If you take this role you'll more than likely have to transition to a smaller bank to get onto a desk rather than lateral from MO to FO.

    • 1
    • 1
Mar 1, 2018

Yeah from my mentors, they told me to be patient and don't take any offer that comes my way. I have already rejected numerous BO/MO roles because I want to give myself a bit more time to seek for an Assistant Trader/Trading Analyst role.

I will go for the interview since it is aligned with my other interview at MS. But thanks for your comment. I have been diligently seeking for trading roles at MMs and boutiques.

Mar 1, 2018

GS operations is much better than no job. Think of it like a 9 month paid interview. You will be in a good position to lateral to elsewhere in the bank for entry level roles (probably not front office, but back and middle office is a big organization).

However, don't let that dissuade you. Take the job, and then keep looking for jobs elsewhere. Its not like you already have a history of value to offer anyway. Once you are working at GS, you have the name on your resume, which will be a great spring board to better entry jobs at other firms.

just google it...you're welcome

    • 1
Mar 1, 2018

I saw it in that light too. But I have already turned down a decent amount of offers for operations role at other banks. And those roles are permanent while the one at GS is a contractor role. Meaning no benefits and I am not under GS, but rather a staffing agency.

I will go through the interview as it is well aligned with my interview at MS next week. And of course, I am taking a huge risk for being selective when it comes to job selection. In the meantime, I am still able to generate consistent income from trading for my living expenses and etc. But I really do appreciate your advice.

I came across your post asking about T3, I have a colleague from Wharton who went through their "training" program before and according to him, it was shit. It's simple technical analysis that he can easily learn online, but T3 makes you pay for the training. In addition, it's like an arcade shop as they would say. You use your own capital while they provide you the leverage and etc. He went through the program a year ago and now he's at Jane Street. Hope this brief info about T3 helps!

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.

Best Response
Mar 1, 2018

i wasn't aware that you had other offers for FT ops roles. In that case, i would suggest you take one of those...and then still keep looking for a better job. After working ops for 6 months, you will have learned just about everything you will want to learn about ops (yes, of course you won't have learned EVERYTHING about ops....but you'll learn most of it). I would suggest you try to get into ops for a product that you want to trade. JPM, CITI, BofA, etc...any BB firm will have internal opportunities.

To get into BB trading these days, the ideal resume is a quant with a masters or PhD in some hard science (math + programming). Most BB firms will pay for you to get a masters in a hard science and learn programming (some even have the courses in house for free). I strongly suggest you seek those out...and learn how to write code. Its really not that hard once you get started. I've seen A LOT of coders move into trading roles...and the tech silo of the BBs is easier to get into. Most people in tech don't want to move into sales/trading (some, but they are a minority). If you go into tech, and you really want to get into a trading desk, you will stand out.

So, my advice (knowing more about you now) is to take a FT ops offer at a BB that has internal training or pays the most for continuing education (some pay 50%..others will pay 100%). Then as soon as possible, take the math and programming classes to get a masters in financial engineering. Then you'll be able to get a job as a desk quant....and after 1-2 years as a desk quant, if you have the aptitude, you'll get a shot as a trader. I've seen this happen over 10 times with different people on different trading desks. Its the most common path these days.

just google it...you're welcome

    • 2
    • 1
Mar 1, 2018

I'm a S&T analyst at a BB and a good friend of mine was able to make the transition from ops to credit sales. He would tell you two things: A) His path was definitely the exception rather than the rule. B) It all comes down to timing. Especially in a MiFid II world, banks are running their sales and trading desks incredibly lean. Seats don't turnover very often but when they do, and suddenly the IG credit sales desk goes from 3 guys to 2, they need to fill the seat ASAP. At which point, you'd need a senior salesperson/trader to vouch for you to get a shot. Then it's like drinking from a firehose to get up the learning curve and get your FINRA licenses (you def don't want to fail those).

tl;dr certainly possible but it requires a lot of variables to fall in to place. none of which you can control.

    • 1
Mar 1, 2018

Thanks for the response. I am glad everything worked out for your friend. And yup with a good amount of networking I have developed a decent relationship with traders from most BBs. The only variable now is when is that role gonna free up and how long shall I wait until it is my chance to go all out. Of course, these are the variables that I cannot control.

Nonetheless, I appreciate your response and I hope I can reach out in the future if I do have any questions.

Mar 1, 2018

Definitely man, feel free to ask me anything. One thing I will add, is that the CFA credential (and progress towards it) goes a long way when it comes to lateral moves at big banks. In opps you'll work pretty reasonable hours which will give you plenty of time to study. Even having level 1 under your belt will definitely help your chances.

    • 1
Mar 1, 2018

The fact that you've turned down permanent MO/BO opportunities tells me that you do not need the income and the only reason why it's different this time is because of the name. A job is indefinitely better than no job but there is no difference between GS ops and ops elsewhere. The name alone is not gonna help you if it's in BO. People who say otherwise do not know what they are talking about.

If you are trading for yourself I would imagine that this is not going to be possible if you take up another 9-5 job. Not to mention there will be a host of disclosure requirements and approval processes you have to go through to continue trading. I would not be surprised if they just put a blanket ban on PA for temps.

Traders do not like MO people who suck. They like people who are good and there are opportunities for good people to move over to FO (even though it's far and few inbetween). The problem is an MO person has to be good at their MO job first of all and well liked before they get the opportunity to prove that they are smart in a i-can-be-a-trader way. Despite the fact that most people think MO jobs are brainless and easy, any job will involve a steep learning curve within the first few months. A good MO person helps FO out in a tricky situation. These situations are resolved because people know the systems and processes, not because they are super analytical or can do maths or know the market. These are things that come with experience, not from being smart. Being a temp means that they will get you do the easiest/most menial tasks as there is little incentive to train you. If anything, I would argue that there are more opportunities to lateral if you are in a permanent role.

Ok on the flip side...
From what i gather, the thing you're selling is your trading experience and your understanding of the market etc, not the whole 'decent GPA/target uni/internship' package. You might have these things too idk. If this is the case, you are better off selling yourself directly to the desk and not to the recruiters. Traders = "what can you do". Recruiters = "how many boxes can you tick off". Even if you don't have direct access to the traders while on the job, you will know who they are/can easily find people who will tell you. From there, it's much easier to set up quick chats, ask them to teach you stuff, go sit with them etc.

Last but not least, it is tough getting into S&T purely because there are not that many entry level jobs... Don't put all your eggs in 1 basket. But then again, you only have to get lucky once. Good luck!

    • 1
    • 1
Mar 1, 2018

I definitely agree man. And I've actually put this post up because I want to take a step back to reevaluate my overall approach into the job hunt. And honestly, Goldman is well respected on the street or whatever. But I could care less about Goldman, as they generally pay less as opposed to other banks (JPM, MS, BofA, and etc.). And the role is actually more paramount, so I second that. That MO at Goldman is not different from MO at another firm. And yeah imagine how many people are trying to tell me that "GS is the shit man, you'll be stupid if you don't take it". And most of those people are just desperate to land a role, while having no sort of expectations of what their careers are.

Yeah that shit is gonna blow if they restrict me. But thanks for the warning.

Good one. I assume you have came across a decent amount of MO people who suck. Completely agree, any job involve a steep learning curve. You couldn't have said it better. And you're right, the fact that this is a temp role is just something that bugs me, while the other roles that I've rejected are permanent and essentially the same role. The reason why I've rejected was some of those MO/Trade Support roles are not near the traders. From my mentors, they said trade support is not a bad role ONLY if you can actually interact with traders. This way, it allows for internal networking and etc.

And yeah, l've done a decent amount of networking and trying to establish my network. So when a role does open up, I can perhaps ask for the trader at the firm to vouch for me. The timing is the variable that is indeed the most important and of course, not in my control.

Thanks a lot mate. Really appreciate your response!

    • 1
Mar 2, 2018

dont do it, it damages your brand.

Mar 2, 2018

Thanks for the response mate, If you can elaborate some more and share some stories, it would give me a better perspective.

Mar 4, 2018

I currently work in Tier 2 BB S&T Analyst, personally I have seen numerous individuals who have moved from operations to the front office. Bear in mind that for my firm the operations team still sit in the same building hence it might have been easier for them to network with the front office.

From what I know with GS, is that most of the operations function sit in Jersey City Office hence might be tougher to network with the NYC guys.

Mar 5, 2018

Got it! That's primarily my concern as well. Although it may sound funny, but where one sits is quite important, especially if one wants to have facetime with the traders. I will definitely look into it to see whether the office is in the Jersey City office or at the NYC office.

Thanks for the response mate, cheers!

Mar 5, 2018

Some options, in no particular order, with additional paths available if you're an opportunist:

GS Ops -> small operational consulting firm -> big4 advisory

GS Ops -> full time -> top 30 MBA

GS Ops -> mid/small bank ops -> mid/small bank FO

GS Ops -> boutique FO

GS Ops -> lateral to Ops at competitor (JPM, Citi, DB, etc) -> network your ass off -> ???

Obviously if you can get FO, just do it, but the reality is that GS's name on your resume will help land other roles

    • 2
Mar 5, 2018

Thanks for the additional paths available, I will definitely put that into consideration going through the interview process. And yup, I am looking into FO sales analyst roles as well.

Cheers!

Mar 5, 2018

There is a 0.01% chance that you will be able to lateral internally from a BO role to FO internally. Trust me as someone who made the journey out of ops you are considered highly expendable and if you want to do something FO, you will be miserable to meaningless work in ops.

Mar 5, 2018

Hi Clemson, if possible, may I ask which route you eventually took to exit out of ops? And I am glad you are successful in doing so. I'd love to hear your story!

Cheers!

Mar 7, 2018

sadgfasdf

    • 1
Mar 7, 2018

I am really happy to hear everything worked out in the end. And it makes total sense that they want you to be productive since day one instead of spending too much time to train a candidate. Got it, competence = past experiences and IQ = prestige of education. I am sure since you did not attend a target school, it was indeed very hard to even land an interview during that time.

I graduated from a semi-target that is well reputation in NYC, but most of my alumni got into MO/BO roles. At the moment, I am just cold-emailing and sending out LinkedIn invitations to the current practitioners of my desired role. It has been working quite alright, response rate of 7-8%. Like most would say, you only need one person to vouch for you.

And got it! Since it's only been a little over a month since I've graduated, I will continue to be patient and hopefully land a FO role in three months (a deadline I've set for myself). And wow! I really find motivation in your experiences that you were willing to take unpaid internships. It really shows your tenacity and determination to break into IBD (assuming that is the ultimate goal).

Thanks a lot mate for your time! I will take your advice and continue to trade (funding my living expenses) and learn programming as that is quite essential given what my connections have told me.

That definitely helps, cheers!

Mar 8, 2018

A 7-8% is typical but that's great that you're at least getting into the networking grind. Have you thought of taking level I in June?

    • 1
Mar 9, 2018

I have thought about it as a potential way to work at a buy side, however, if I were to continue academia, I will most likely get a MFE which is just more eye-catching in terms of my goal of becoming a trader. If anything, I will just take level 1 in December. From what I recalled, level 1 is offered two times a year while the latter levels are once a year. Good luck to you if you are taking the other levels.

Cheers!

Mar 9, 2018

I've seen people transition from MO into Trading roles at top tier BB firms numerous times. It comes down to intellect, luck, and timing. While you're there make sure you try your hardest to forge good relationships with traders and learn from them about how they operate, as it's obviously quite different from personal trading.

Good luck. If you receive an offer, take it. GS on your resume will push you far, and I've personally seen about 3 people so far make a similar transition at GS over the years.

    • 1
Mar 10, 2018

Thanks a lot mate. Knowing that you witnessed these occurrences, I will definitely keep it in mind.

Cheers!

Mar 14, 2018

moving from Ops to desk still can happen but it's tougher than you think. however...given the quality of people you will work with in Ops, it's also that much easier to stand out if you are truly driven and work hard. i went from HF ops intern to small bank MO to BB MO and now in S&T of the same BB. wasnt easy but definitely not impossible.

    • 2
Mar 14, 2018
Comment
Mar 14, 2018
Comment