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Post MBA Trading career without finance background?

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Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2010, 09:07
Post MBA, I am interested in a trading career. I'm currently a business analyst in a software company and I've worked previously as a project manager and as a software developer. I've scored 760 on my GMAT, with 50 on Quant.

From what I've read, IB is the more traditional path for career switchers, post-MBA. How about trading? Do people who typically go into trading after their MBA come from a finance background? I'm sure it's hard, but is it near impossible for a career switch to trading without any prior experience?
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Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2010, 09:34
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I am sure other more knowledgeable members in the forum will respond to your question but I will contribute with a nice little anecdote:

This past summer while I was back in NYC, I went to various "happy hours" with Yale alums at my summer employer and met other Yale alums working on Wall Street.

One such person is a really senior guy (w Sales & Trading Background) who used to run the entire Global Sales & Trading Op at one of the big IB before retiring. He told me a story of how Wall St banks started to hire MBAs for trader roles 20-30 years ago.

It used to be that one did not need to know anything about finance or stocks to be a trader. Traders needed certain attributes to be successful. Many people who started out back in the days, started out as errand boys (many with only highschool diplomas).

Then around 1970's, more sophisticated financial instruments were introduced in the market for trade. This alum (who I will simply refer to as A) went to his HR person and asked them to send him some kids with MBA degrees for entry level trader positions. (around this time, kids with undergrad degrees went straight to MBA programs after graduation) The HR came back to him and told him that they didn't see much interest among the MBAs for entry level trader positions. A battled with the HR and the HR finally agreed to "send him few kids who came in for IB positions but ultimately rejected for those roles..."

A met 8 kids from schools such as HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Dartmouth etc etc. Rather than going through their resumes and etc, he simply asked them a simple question:

"If you want to work in my group, you don't need a MBA degree. You will not be trading anything. You will simply watch what others do, stay out of their way, and fetch their breakfast, lunch, and dinner....make coffee, and pick up their dry-cleaning, etc. Now how would you react if one of them asked you to go fetch a bagel in the morning?"

Out of 8 MBAs, A told me that 7 of them communicated to A that this was not the type of thing that they were looking for.

One person, however, answered: "What kind of bagel do you like and would you like that with cream cheese or butter?"

That person was hired right away, and later ended up becoming one of the top traders in the entire company.

The lesson here is.....you can get an interview for S&T if you can pull the right strings. It's not just MBAs who are applying for these positions, but I've seen Yale Law School grads applying to these roles as well. Nowadays, you may need to understand few things on financial instruments and how financial market works, but not every one is suited to be a trader.

A told me that to work in S&T, "Either you were born to be a trader or you are not...." because you need to possess certain traits/personality to work in these roles. You will be tested during your interview to see if you have the type of the personality to thrive in that bank's trading culture (every trading floor has different culture).

The fact that you are good in quant, satisfies one requirement to work on a trading floor. people do go into trading after MBA, but that world is a different beast altogether.
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Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2010, 07:38
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eminent wrote:
Another way to look at this is:

In sales and trading, your clients will be sophisticated hedge fund managers, institutional investors, etc.

In investment banking, your clients will be corporate management teams all across America.

What kind of person do you think you'd get along with better and be more effective working with? They're VERY different.

Hmm, a very interesting point to mull over. Thanks eminent!

Most banks talk about career switchers to Sales & Trading and have summer associate program for MBAs, so it's something that's possible even if unusual.

http://careers.jpmorgan.com/student/jpm ... /mba/sales
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Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2010, 09:43
nink wrote:
One person, however, answered: "What kind of bagel do you like and would you like that with cream cheese or butter?"

That person was hired right away, and later ended up becoming one of the top traders in the entire company.

The lesson here is.....you can get an interview for S&T if you can pull the right strings. It's not just MBAs who are applying for these positions, but I've seen Yale Law School grads applying to these roles as well. Nowadays, you may need to understand few things on financial instruments and how financial market works, but not every one is suited to be a trader.

A told me that to work in S&T, "Either you were born to be a trader or you are not...." because you need to possess certain traits/personality to work in these roles. You will be tested during your interview to see if you have the type of the personality to thrive in that bank's trading culture (every trading floor has different culture).

The fact that you are good in quant, satisfies one requirement to work on a trading floor. people do go into trading after MBA, but that world is a different beat altogether.


Ha ha, reminds me of "Jump!" "How high?".

Thanks for this information Nink. At this point I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do after my MBA. I will talk to a few traders and get a sense for culture and see if I can fit in.
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Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2010, 05:32
Another way to look at this is:

In sales and trading, your clients will be sophisticated hedge fund managers, institutional investors, etc.

In investment banking, your clients will be corporate management teams all across America.

What kind of person do you think you'd get along with better and be more effective working with? They're VERY different.
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Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2010, 08:23
nice site ^^^ kudos!
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Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2010, 14:40
jordanhendrix wrote:
nice site ^^^ kudos!


Agreed. Great site!
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Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2010, 08:36
nink wrote:
I am sure other more knowledgeable members in the forum will respond to your question but I will contribute with a nice little anecdote:

This past summer while I was back in NYC, I went to various "happy hours" with Yale alums at my summer employer and met other Yale alums working on Wall Street.

One such person is a really senior guy (w Sales & Trading Background) who used to run the entire Global Sales & Trading Op at one of the big IB before retiring. He told me a story of how Wall St banks started to hire MBAs for trader roles 20-30 years ago.

It used to be that one did not need to know anything about finance or stocks to be a trader. Traders needed certain attributes to be successful. Many people who started out back in the days, started out as errand boys (many with only highschool diplomas).

Then around 1970's, more sophisticated financial instruments were introduced in the market for trade. This alum (who I will simply refer to as A) went to his HR person and asked them to send him some kids with MBA degrees for entry level trader positions. (around this time, kids with undergrad degrees went straight to MBA programs after graduation) The HR came back to him and told him that they didn't see much interest among the MBAs for entry level trader positions. A battled with the HR and the HR finally agreed to "send him few kids who came in for IB positions but ultimately rejected for those roles..."

A met 8 kids from schools such as HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Dartmouth etc etc. Rather than going through their resumes and etc, he simply asked them a simple question:

"If you want to work in my group, you don't need a MBA degree. You will not be trading anything. You will simply watch what others do, stay out of their way, and fetch their breakfast, lunch, and dinner....make coffee, and pick up their dry-cleaning, etc. Now how would you react if one of them asked you to go fetch a bagel in the morning?"

Out of 8 MBAs, A told me that 7 of them communicated to A that this was not the type of thing that they were looking for.

One person, however, answered: "What kind of bagel do you like and would you like that with cream cheese or butter?"

That person was hired right away, and later ended up becoming one of the top traders in the entire company.

The lesson here is.....you can get an interview for S&T if you can pull the right strings. It's not just MBAs who are applying for these positions, but I've seen Yale Law School grads applying to these roles as well. Nowadays, you may need to understand few things on financial instruments and how financial market works, but not every one is suited to be a trader.

A told me that to work in S&T, "Either you were born to be a trader or you are not...." because you need to possess certain traits/personality to work in these roles. You will be tested during your interview to see if you have the type of the personality to thrive in that bank's trading culture (every trading floor has different culture).

The fact that you are good in quant, satisfies one requirement to work on a trading floor. people do go into trading after MBA, but that world is a different beast altogether.



Ha Ha ! Well said.

Man, would I be p1ssed if they hire a MBA in my team and he/she refuses to get breakfast
It is initiation ... the swallow your pride & ego kind

And it is high time people realize MBA or high school drop out, you are equally useful to a trading desk when you start off. The only thing that matters is your attitude.
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Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background? [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2010, 11:47
i am an energy trader going to b school and this post sums it up for mba's .. most dont accept job to return full time because they thought they would be big shots cause they had MBA
Re: Post MBA Trading career without finance background?   [#permalink] 18 Oct 2010, 11:47
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