Interviewing for Trading Support: Need Advice!

Hi everyone,

I am currently a 1st year analyst working at a very niche commodities research shop with limited to zero growth prospects ahead career-wise given how small and lean my shop runs.

Recently, I've acquired the opportunity to interview for a commodities role at a large investment bank. Initially, the position will entail all operational oriented work such as confirmations & settlements, but the bank has a record of promoting confirmations & settlements guys to FO positions in the long run.

I passed through the first few rounds very easily. However, for the final round, the MD i'll be meeting with supposedly gave some push back on meeting with me because I've never previously completed operations oriented work in the past. Previously, all of my experience has been in front office analytic roles such as origination, trading, and research.

I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how I might approach this final round. I really want the role and have huge respect for the company. I've hit it off great with everyone I've met at the firm and truly picture myself working there in the long run and even though the position is confirmations & settlements I don't mind at all.

Long story short, I am interviewing for an operational role but only have FO experience but really love the firm, the position, and the opportunities it would open up for me, but am meeting with an MD that isn't particularly excited about the relevance of my background so I need tips or an angle on how I might be able to approach this issue and spin the interview in my favor as much as possible.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (9)

May 12, 2017 - 12:09pm

P.S. are there any materials I can study in the meantime relating to confirmations type work that I can look over in order to possible stand a chance?


May 12, 2017 - 1:57pm

Most importantly, be really prepared to answer why you want this role and seem genuine. If you only have FO xp it may look like you just want a foot in the door to move up in a year or so which is fine, but don't show your hand during the interview. Be ready for excel test, and/or excel questions - V-lookups, H-lookups, pivots at the very least. A lot of trade support work is in excel

May 12, 2017 - 2:36pm

Thanks for the guidance.

Is there any specific terminology I should drop/understand during the course of the interview which would help me show that I've done my research on the role and have a stronger-than-usual understanding of the work?

May 12, 2017 - 2:54pm

Not the greatest source for this, I'm a trader so I know what these guys do and work with them on some things but have never really been close enough to know a ton, and it varies somewhat from firm to firm. What I have notice is that the managers for these groups seem to love the fact that they make processes more efficient or at least have the opportunity to. So maybe if you can say you want the (somewhat) exposure to commodities with the opportunity to be in an innovative environment? Maybe use some keywords from the job posting, maybe say you enjoy seeing processes done from end to end? sorry I can't be too helpful for this, just whatever you do don't make it sound like this work is easier than front office stuff and you want a better work life balance.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
May 12, 2017 - 6:15pm

Don't want to burst your bubble, but if they promote people given past history. How old are these newly promoted people? If 28-35, you do realize you won't get into these spots unless they leave the company or retire in 30 years right?

What I'm saying is if they already promoted a new wave, you're behind and a long way away.

Secondly, if they are this deliberate over a confirm role it just reeks of a fake atmosphere. I stay away from these shops. And this is coming from an experienced trader.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

June 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (203) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (115) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (97) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (27) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (420) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (338) $82