Jumping Ship 6 Months into the Job

voljol's picture
Rank: Chimp | 7

Hey Everyone,

Long time lurker first time poster. I'm a senior at a target school (think Wharton/Harvard) and I got a return offer from the sales and trading division of one of the better banks (think GS/MS/JPM) which I accepted sooner than I probably should have. Anyway, at my school there's been a lot of buyside full-time recruiting that has almost wrapped up and I think I've missed out on a huge opportunity to go straight to the buyside.

So my question is, can I lateral to the buyside after a couple of months at my current job if I network really hard. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for S&T and think it's a great career path but, at the end of the day, I think I might have been cut out for more of an investing/fundamental role. So the question, I suppose, is how much does S&T pigeonhole you and is it still possible to transfer if you do it early? Hell, bankers start recruiting again after 6 months for all sorts of places so can the same be said for S&T?

Thanks a lot everyone.

Comments (49)

Nov 3, 2014

wouldnt say its the easiest thing as you dont really have any skills 6 months into the job. From experience moving to the buyside from S&T is mostly about netowrking, connections and right place/right time, there is nothing formal like in IBD. I would say in a typical trading role there are probably two sweetspots for moving over to the buyside

1) when you are still a junior so can be considered to be an entry level hire at a HF but can bring something to the table (i.e. you are 2 years and have been managing risk properly for 6-12 months). In this case you can still be an entry level guy but have a definite advantage compared to university kids interviewing (most places this is the most junior they will interview for entry level however)

2) be a BSD and take your talents elsewhere

Anything middle of the road I think is fairly difficult

Nov 3, 2014

Bro...what were you thinking man...take a look at all the threads on here heck even talk to upperclassmen friends from your school. For your sake I hope you're on a vol desk like your username suggests. Anyway to give you my perspective, I'm still stuck here on the sell side after almost 2yrs, have had a couple looks from quant funds cos of my background but every single fundamental fund I got shot down at. For the fundamental investing positions you want, you honestly don't have a chance going up against IBD kids even from middle market banks. No joke. Maybe if you did high yield/distressed analytics, you might get a foot in at some credit funds. Also my advice is take school seriously - my grades weren't super and that was yet another nail in the coffin. When you're trying to make a jump like this every single bit counts...good luck and pm if u have questions

Nov 3, 2014

I left S&T after 7 months and went to the buy side. PM me if you wanna chat

    • 1
Nov 3, 2014

You can do it. There are TONS of funds out there (many bad or small/unheard of) that will take people. You'll have to network a lot and really build some relationships, but it can be done. People usually like the hire people they know/like since cookie cutter types are a risk (can do the job but who knows how they will be in the office etc.)?

If/when you leave after 6 months, be gracious about it, say it sounds like a fantastic opportunity that you could not pass up, and be friendly, helpful and keep in touch. You never know who you will run into and deal with again in the future...

Good Luck

Nov 3, 2014

So there seems to be a lot of conflicting opinions on this thread and I am not sure what is correct. It seems like an uphill battle but not impossible. Anyway, I did some personal research (namely looking at the Barron's list of top 100 hedge funds and looking at the bios of investment analysts and PMs) and a disproportionate number of people on the buyside seem to have trading rather than banking backgrounds. So, as an example, lots of credit/distressed hedge funds have analysts that are from credit trading, MBS hedge funds have analysts from MBS trading backgrounds, special situation hedge funds hire analysts from equities trading. So, I'm convinced it's possible on some level. Also, I have a problem with people saying that an S&T analyst can't go up against banking analysts early on for fundamental funds. At that stage (

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Nov 3, 2014

So there seems to be a lot of conflicting opinions on this thread and I am not sure what is correct. It seems like an uphill battle but not impossible. Anyway, I did some personal research (namely looking at the Barron's list of top 100 hedge funds and looking at the bios of investment analysts and PMs) and a disproportionate number of people on the buyside seem to have trading rather than banking backgrounds. So, as an example, lots of credit/distressed hedge funds have analysts that are from credit trading, MBS hedge funds have analysts from MBS trading backgrounds, special situation hedge funds hire analysts from equities trading. So, I'm convinced it's possible on some level. Also, I have a problem with people saying that an S&T analyst can't go up against banking analysts early on for fundamental funds. At that stage (

Nov 4, 2014

few things.

1. you said in your OP :"at the end of the day, I think I might have been cut out for more of an investing/fundamental role". i assume this means you want to be an investment analyst in a fundamental equity/credit strategy. correct us if we are wrong, BC this is the assumption i was working off. if you are into structured credit or macro or quant funds then disregard everything i say

2. credit funds may hire people from credit trading, but most likely to be execution traders (certainly the case if you're a junior hire). if you want to be an investment/research analyst at a credit fund you are either coming from ibd or a desk analyst position in s&t. be very careful when you see fundamental hedge funds hire from trading - the more fundamental their approach the more likely it is that there will be a clear distinction between execution trading (what the s&t ppl are hired for) and investment analyst/research (what i assume you want to do)

3. i concede mbs/structured credit - the ones i know mostly hire from trading. but based off your OP i didn't think you were talking about this

4. absolutely not true that you have any chance against banking analysts (applies only to the roles i described - as said above, if you are into structured credit or macro or quant funds then disregard everything i say). banking analysts tear apart financial statements and put together models efficiently every single day for an entire year. you, on the other hand, will be in charge of putting together the lunch order for your entire floor, getting coffee, booking trades, dealing with back/mid office/risk, shooting the shit with clients who really just want you to stfu and show them a good price...now, you think pershing or greenlight is going to pay you good money for those skills, vs. a banking analyst? hmmmm. let's not even talk about getting the job, even if you got the job handed to you, i highly doubt you would be able to do it as well as an ex-banker.

harsh truth but better you learn it now than after wasting 2 years of your life...and counting...

Nov 4, 2014

I'll try to be nicer about number 4. You can definitely make the jump into equities (I think credit/distress/ss would be tough), but you'd better have a great relationship with the head guy (PM) who will want you as an individual, to join - not easy to do in 6 months. Most shops like Pershing etc, will want hardcore analyst types that have IBD/ER/PE experience (ie. modeling in their sleep), but there are plenty of funds out there for you to chase. Once again, these funds might not have much capital under management, be able to pay or even be any good.

Of course in addition to networking, you have to bring decent ideas (sometimes this may run counter against your desk) and show the ability to get through research quickly. You will probably also have to develop your own investment thesis and present stock ideas of your own (not necessarily as a part of your job but your own research). You also might have to start on the ground floor (ie. free or literally for peanuts).

I think the big thing is that getting a job at the Pershings of the world is super tough. Having a top IBD name/PE name isn't enough. They have to have a need/want, like you, AND you need the skills. There are thousands of people that could probably model well enough to their standards (ditto for PE shops and others), but it comes down to other things as well. The modeling etc is just probably a pre-req, unless you want to teach Ackman tennis or something (look this up).

Your advantage is that you are young, so if you make some sacrifices, can pull it off...

Good Luck

Nov 3, 2014

You also have to remember that in the big hedge funds, that lots of people came from prop trading backgrounds (ie. trading bank and personal capital) much of which is not around or hidden today. That means most of it is now flow trading, ie. executing client orders... Plus people who joined/run those HFs joined/started stuff at a different time, when there were a lot fewer fuinds around and people were figuring things out. Now that's not really the case.

I'm the of the belief that it can definitely happen, especially if you are young, hungry, cheap and well-liked. Guys will give you shots, but you'll have to work it. A lot depends on the fund as well. A distressed product salesperson might have to be much more technical, than say some FX salesperson (I could be talking out of my rear here - so if I am, someone with experience, please do correct me). Both will be on an S&T desk but they are selling different products with different timelines and different skills needed.

Good Luck.

Nov 5, 2014

My personal opinion is that you can definitely hop. Credit (structured, investment grade) and distressed funds seed pretty heavily from trading desks at the associate and VP level. Prop trading desks use to be THE place to poach talent and made bankers look like little gals playing with barbies but some of the current desks at various banks still "make markets" by building unusually large inventories of certain assets without taking much customer orders.

TL:DR. If you are at a good bank with a target background, dropping a resume gets you an interview. No promises after that but if you are a bro and people like you, everything works surprisingly well.

Source: Screened rezzies before on behalf of MD.

Nov 5, 2014

In that case, would you recommend (to someone still in school) to do PT and then move to the buy side? Is that an easier move than S&T to a HF?

Nov 5, 2014

I mean there are so few PT jobs nowadays. If you can find a PT group at a good bank (Wells Fargo, RBC-process of spinning off, Macquarie), I'd seriously consider it.

Nov 5, 2014
jcpenny:

some of the current desks at various banks still "make markets" by building unusually large inventories of certain assets without taking much customer orders.

Not sure which banks/desks you mean but there are strict limits to how much inventory they can build...unless you mean a volcker exempt product like spot FX or UST or loans

Nov 5, 2014

What product are you trading? Credit trading to credit investing is certainly possible, but something like commodity trading to fundamental equity investing will probably need FT grad school to make the transition.

Nov 6, 2014

Thanks for all your comments. Just for clarification, I said I'm interested in fundamental investing and, indeed I am but, more broadly, I just want to be taking the risks that I want to take and to be putting money behind my views. I'm on a derivatives desk and it's exciting job for sure but a lot of what we do is market making and hedging and I am a lot more interested in taking proprietary positions, if they can be so called. I feel after Volcker and the regulation that's been imposed on banks, there's a lot less leeway to be doing this sort of thing on the sell-side. Essentially I view myself as a prop trader/investor who has been put into a liquidity role. Anyways, from what's been written here, I think there are definitely opportunities to move to the buyside, if it is done early and with persistent effort. A lot of the discussions on this forum seem to suggest that trading curbs opportunities for future mobility significantly. I am inclined to disagree with this view simply because on any given year the number of banking analysts looking to hop around dwarves the number of traders. Therefore, mobility on the trading side is a lot less publicized and much more of a black box. Anyone have any further insight to add or think my point of view is wrong?

Nov 9, 2014

I was on a derivatives trading desk and now am in a fundamental investing role on the buy side. It was a struggle overall but can be done. Pm me if you want.

Nov 9, 2014

I would say if you can work and go to school at the sametime do it. You need exp with the degrees.

Nov 9, 2014

going to graduate school is a valid reason to leave a job, switching to something else causes some bitter feelings at the place you are leaving behind. I think your motivations are sincere, I wouldn't worry about it too much just go for it. All said and done, you are early career so you will probably give them value in excess of what they pay you and you get some good experience while you plot your next move. Do it man.

Nov 9, 2014

Thanks a lot for all of your help guys. Any more opinions on this?

Nov 9, 2014

I would say definitely take up the role. Business analyst is pretty good experience and isn't worth passing up even if it's at a smaller firm. Give them about 3 weeks notice you are leaving to continue education and they should be ok with that... They can't give you a bad review if you do really well. Anyway references you can provide yourself - so just make sure to get a few seniors to really like you, so even if you do leave, they'll be willing to vouch for you.
And yes you need a good school with relevant experience - so def take the job. Some experience is better than none.

Nov 9, 2014

If it's a good opportunity for you, then take it. If your current boss gives you a hard time, then s/he's not looking after your best interests, which is all more reason to go.

Nov 9, 2014

Let me get this straight, you are a trainee right now and just got a FT offer for a BB in London? so you would go from trainee to a full time employee? This sounds like a no brainer to me, and talk to your boss maybe they can make a full time position for you if you bring up the situation and if she says no just take the other offer.

Nov 9, 2014

If it's a better opportunity and bettter offer I'd take it in a heartbeat. You'll need to explain it later on but it sounds like a logical move.

Nov 9, 2014

"At will employment"

Your employer will show no loyalty, why should you?

Just don't burn any bridges

Nov 9, 2014

Look at your offer letter if you still have it. It usually has the terms for signing/relocation bonuses. May vary by firm but I know that for mine, I have to stay for a year, otherwise you have to repay the bonus + interest. Technically, it's considered a "loan" contingent upon other shit.

Nov 9, 2014

^Agreed. You will probably have to pay back the full bonus. The move in bonus you got was / is being taxed. However, the firm will expect the full amount returned plus any other incentives like early signing bonus. Wait a year, and if its still that bad, lateral.

Nov 9, 2014

What will you do when you switch bank if you don't fit in the new team?

No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money as well.

Nov 9, 2014
Yohoo:

What will you do when you switch bank if you don't fit in the new team?

That's obviously a legitimate question. However, I felt that the fit was better during my current interviews than when I interviewed with the last team. Also, one of the reasons I took my current job was more because I didn't have any other options and wanted to start work. I figured I could move later on, so I fit wasn't the biggest issue at the time.

Nov 9, 2014

Are you interested in megafund or top HF recruiting later on? If so, move to the top BB.

I would not weigh the sign-on bonus as a factor in your decision. It's very small relative to what you'll be making a few years down the line, and your career trajectory is much more important.

Re burning bridges -- people switch banks all the time, and analysts are no exception. As long as you handle it tactfully, you shouldn't worry too much about it.

Nov 9, 2014

Sorry no advice but just curious how did you get the option to move to the other bank?

Nov 9, 2014

Switch. If you already have the offer, as long as you intend to stay for ~2 years you are fine. You are especially fine if your resume lists the 6 month stint with a title/description that shows you were a "trainee".

The worst thing is to work at a place when you would rather be elsewhere, especially when you had the opportunity right there.

Nov 9, 2014

I think instead of saying trainee I would say to put intern as saying trainee would look like you were taking the training that the first bank spent their time and money on to a new bank to use.

Nov 9, 2014

No one will look badly at you taking what is clearly a different (and better) opportunity. Anytime you change location it is an impactful move and it appears to be less "hoppy."
But do not make another move if you can help for at least 2+ years if you can help it.

Doog37

Nov 9, 2014

As long as the next job is at least 2-3 years you'll be fine. This is DOUBLY so with your first couple jobs out of school.

Nov 9, 2014

Thats' tricky, too many job moves in a short time. I would stick for another 6 months and then look for another job. Just say that the opportunity you were proposed did not turn out as good as you thought it was.

Nov 9, 2014

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Nov 9, 2014

why do you care about going back? if you are good youll get payed no matter where you go. also, if you are killing it at a "lower" bb, then im sure blankfein would love to take you back. trading>risk, forget about some of the retarded posts on this site about prestige.

Nov 9, 2014

agreed with PnL. if you're good, you're good, and esp for S&T, you'll get paid.

Nov 9, 2014

i would definitely go with the job that you would like at a lower bank, rather than hate your job because of a brand name. Remember people outside the industry don't give half of two shits what the company is, its about enjoying the work and making that cash.

Nov 9, 2014
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