Sales out of M7 MBA: Even worth trying?

PeterMBA2018's picture
Rank: Gorilla | banana points 627

Hey guys,

I'm a military officer in the process of applying to top MBA programs and hope to be admitted to Booth/Columbia for the class of 2018.

Assuming I get into one of these programs, how feasible is it to secure a position as a S&T associate for the summer and full-time? I am mostly interested in the sales part of S&T, and understand recruiting for these positions has undergone drastic changes in the last few years or so. Is it even worth it to try and secure a place as a sales associate at a bulge bracket bank or should I focus on other paths (such as equity research, which I'm also interested in)?

Thanks.

Comments (18)

Sep 16, 2015

I went to a T15 MBA, not M7, but I can shed some light on S&T from MBA programs. Basically, there is almost no formal recruiting process anymore. There is no on-campus recruiting and some banks (Goldman) refuse to interview any MBAs for S&T. However, it can be done if you're willing to hit the pavement hard. If you network well and really spend time making calls and meeting people, there are some banks who will take MBAs for internships/FT in S&T. In the past few years, my program has had people go to Barclays, BNP and UBS in S&T. Each person who did it had to network like crazy and basically convince the bank to take a chance on them. You may find it slightly easier coming from an M7 program, but it will still be an uphill battle. TL; DR: it can be done, but it's quite hard and will require a lot of networking effort on your part.

Sep 16, 2015

Honestly, you are better off applying to the plethora of veterans initiatives programs/internships if you are S&T or bust because these generally put you into a general pool and then your abilities/networking skills while you are at the firm determine where you ultimately end up.

Sep 16, 2015

^^^

Sep 16, 2015

MBAs don't really make you more attractive for S&T the way they do for IBD. also...the CFA is moderately useless for S&T right? for banking as well I'd say. That's more geared towards wealth management or maybe research and that type of thing.
With an MBA you could potentially pursue an associate IB position...

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Sep 16, 2015

It used to be the case that most MBAs ended up going into sales, and that if you wanted to do trading you had to make a good case for it.
That is no longer the case, as sales is now becoming just as quant as trading on the structured desks. The trend is shifting so that about the same amount of MBAs go into sales as they do into trading, with a smaller (but growing) number into structuring.

Sep 16, 2015

i think it's more the case that there are generally more sales positions open.

Sep 16, 2015

That may depend on the desk, though. On my desk we have twice as many traders as salespeople, and almost as many structurers as salespeople.

Sep 16, 2015

skins1, would you say certain product groups are more quant than others in terms of sales? Sounds like your commodity sales desk is pretty quantitative, any idea how it compares to other fixed income groups i.e. rates, currencies etc.

Sep 16, 2015

We hire traders out of MBA all the time... its not like the quantitative skills are THAT hard.

Sep 16, 2015

what do you think about mba recruiting?

Sep 16, 2015

Dmoran101: that's a good question, and I'm not really sure of the answer. Commodities is more quant, but part of that is because the area is still developing and growing so quickly. Some of the stuff in structured FX and rates is much more quant than in commodities, but they've been doing it for years so they have QA teams that have already developed complex models. Whereas in some areas of commodities you have to develop this stuff yourself real-time, which means sales people building option pricing models, or trying to develop ways to price new structures that have never been done before.

Cervantes--another good question. Recruiting, either MBA or ugrad level, will never stop, as you must have a constant inflow of new talent. That said, I could see it decreasing this year and next, as some desks simply don't need anyone (ABS Correlation trading, RMBS, etc.), so the bulk of the new recruits may end up being placed into the desks that are still growing (commodities, equity deriv., EM, etc.). That said, I honestly don't know, and I know that at my bank, at least, everyone is asking that same question. From what I hear it a lot will depend on how Q3 turns out, from bonuses to recruiting, all may rest on that....

Sep 16, 2015

Anyone wants to shed some light on what structurers actually do, type of education/skills needed, and income prospects?

Sep 16, 2015

the light has been shed many times in the past. this is getting tiresome.

Sep 16, 2015

Here's the thing: you have to pay a new associate much more than a new analyst, but they both have to start from square one on a trading desk. It is much easier for an MBA to jump into things on a sales desk.

Sep 16, 2015

That's not really as true these days as it used to be. On a pure flow desk, sure, I'll buy that. On any desk that focuses on structured products and derivatives, that is not true at all.
On my desk everyone is sales does stuff as quant and complex as what the traders do. In addition, on really complex structured deals traders are very rarely involved--it all falls on structuring and sales.
There is truth to your statement in one regard, however, and that's that most analysts directly out of undergrad are simply not polished enough to be put in front of clients right away, hence the sales desk tends to prefer MBAs, whereas a trading desk doesn't really care. And a structuring desk prefers analysts because they want someone who they can bury in a corner building pricing models until 2 in the morning every night....

Sep 16, 2015
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