Q&A: Sales & Trading to Big Tech

I've been asked by friends in finance about breaking into tech numerous times over the past year, so thought I'd do a Q&A to share more about the experience, do comparisons, and answer any questions that you might have

Brief background:
- Bachelor's in Accountancy
- Started in Hong Kong on Trading at a global bank and subsequently moved internally across Structuring / Sales roles in Singapore and onshore China over seven years
- Currently one year into an APAC Biz Ops role at a large tech firm

Feel free to ask away!

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Comments (21)

 
  • Analyst 1 in HF - Other
May 12, 2020 - 1:29am

One of my friends changed from an equity S&T role at a boutique to Amazon/Microsoft like firm (one year into his career). As long as you can pass the technicals, it shouldn't be too much of a problem (for the Software Eng role). If you are trying to do other roles, some people get mba, but I personally got offered for like Tech consultancy (architect) roles without one.

 
May 12, 2020 - 10:53am

I actually applied on the company's careers portal. Before the interviews, I did research on the company and used that to answer the case studies - but that's for a business opertions role. Definitely lucky that the recruiter was open to crossovers from non-IBD finance roles but once you get past the initial stage, I think it wouldn't be too difficult for a any monkey here to stand out from the other non-tech applicants.
With that said, I would suggest applying to different areas in tech depending on your background to increase your chances

 
May 12, 2020 - 11:04am

That's a tough question because tech firms tend to believe that the product is key - so how do you attribute the revenue generation?
However, there are sales/BD roles (that would be a natural fit if you're in sales or a senior investment banker), business ops roles like what I'm doing - where you might have an impact on certain line items, and even marketing/CRM

 
May 12, 2020 - 12:16pm

Thanks for doing this. Boutique IB analyst looking to make the switch to BizOps eventually.
1. What's your day-to-day look like?
2. How did you go about preparing for the interview?
3. What skills should I work on developing before starting the recruitment process?

 
Most Helpful
May 13, 2020 - 10:16am

3 parts to the job: 1) Data analysis, 2) Stakeholder management and 3) Program management
Depending on what deliverables are due, I'd spend my time across them. Usually I'm implementing some project or reviewing the results of completed projects.

I spent quite a bit of time researching the company and the department I was applying to. By understanding the business model and levers available for BizOps to pull, I was able to do well in the case studies. Additionally, I used examples of where I had improved operational processes.

As an IB analyst, you would already have most of the necessary skills. The biggest question is how you're able to apply them to the nitty gritty of the business. So dive deep when doing your research and think in terms of how a consultant would advise the team (except that BizOps actually has to implement the advice and live with the results!)

 
May 12, 2020 - 12:24pm

Thanks for doing this, really interested in this as I just started a junior s&t role in HK and am interested in pivoting to big tech a few years down the road.

While recruiting, how did you convince recruiters to even consider you over a comp sci major who has done tons of hackathons? Especially for SWE roles - I know you're in a biz ops role, but someone else mentioned that it's possible to get into SWE from s&t, but I'm wondering why would recruiters hire s&t guys who've only dipped their toes in Python/VBA/R and learned those languages through googling on the job over compsci majors?

 
May 13, 2020 - 9:54am

For SWE, you'd want to get really good - can't be a toe dipper. I'd suggest some kind of formal qualification eg. a Degree in Computer Science to get your foot in the door. Interview prep - try out Hackerrank or equivalent. Regardless of whether you want to do coding long term or move to management etc., it'll be hard getting in as an SWE without in-depth coding skills.

Personally, I was able to convince them by applying for a business role where such skills aren't needed nearly as much! So you have to understand your situation well and apply appropriately. Getting the interview was the tough part IMO. I'd suggest including examples of where you had improved operational processes and the like in your resume

 
May 18, 2020 - 7:26am

Treasury is pretty much the only natural fit. If you want to go straight into another role at big tech, it'll be an uphill battle but it can be done. Biz Ops / Sales Ops can work out, as they're open to taking people in from various backgrounds (Biz ops more so).
I'd suggest applying liberally and sooner or later, a recruiter will take a chance on you - then it's your time to shine

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