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Gizmo


Total Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2010
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 03:53

I am graduating in a few months and would like to get into trading. I currently have two options and I have a problem with deciding between them. One is an analyst gig in Commodities Trading at a 2nd Tier BB (BofA/Citi/JPM) and the other is a trading assistant at a small MM (CTC/Wolverine/Ronin) - both in London.

My goal in life is to become independent in 10-15 years. Whether it means trading on my own or running a small firm, I want to be the boss of me.
Which career start would be better in this case? I don't care about the money at this point, I just want to learn as much as I can.

quantz


Total Posts: 237
Joined: Jan 2009
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 04:37
ultimately where you are 10-15 years from now will have little to do with where you start and a lot to do with what you do in between.

that said option number one has a much better risk/return ratio imo. also since when is JPM in the same tier as BofA and Citi?

Gizmo


Total Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2010
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 05:05
Thanks for your reply.

I only meant the commodity dept at JPM. From the people I talked with and posts I read on forums I got the impression that it is a lot closer to Citi/BofA than to GS/MS.

Another question... after you have been trading for a couple of years, is it easy to switch between asset classes, say go from commodities to FI?

filthy


Total Posts: 1259
Joined: Jun 2004
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 15:12

"ultimately where you are 10-15 years from now will have little to do with where you start and a lot to do with what you do in between."

could not agree more.

"that said option number one has a much better risk/return ratio imo."

could not agree less.

there are a lot of people in banks who are really not very good traders. the skills needed to progess at a bank are far more varied. you need to be good at politics and management to a degree that is far beyond that of a little firm. some of these people may also be good traders but that isn't exactly correlated.

but far more importantly, in time you want to be on your own. ie at a VERY small firm. you will learn how to do this better at a small firm, yes? in particular, a lot of the stuff banks trade is just not available to non-banks. you would be far better off learning to trade exchange listed things.

moving between commodities is possible but i probably would recommend not doing it. commodities is very knowledge based and each time you move you have to start again


"Game's the same, just got more fierce"

NikEy


Total Posts: 76
Joined: Mar 2008
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 16:43
What role have you been offered at JPMs commodity dep?

Gizmo


Total Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2010
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 17:54
Thanks filthy, that's some good advice.

So basically if I will start at the bank, before going on to my own thing I will probably have to move to a smaller firm to learn to trade exchange listed products.

I am slightly worried that starting with commodities at a bank will mean spending my career moving between corporations. Is that a valid concern?

jungle
Chief Rhythm Officer
CSD LLC
Total Posts: 3169
Joined: Jul 2004
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 18:00
What does "analyst" mean in this context?  Simple "entry level" or that you're doing research?

"EMU means, for instance, that the Union acknowledges the debts of all those countries that are in EMU." Delors, Feb-95

Gizmo


Total Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2010
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 18:09
entry level

knocks_rocks


Total Posts: 169
Joined: May 2006
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 20:42
My .02

Better to start at a bigger firm and develop your network. It seems sell-side guys have more opportunities down the road due to larger networks then pure buy-side from my experience. Find intelligent customers if you can and pick their brain. Be aware that there is a difference between skill and info (some guys just have better access to info and it's the sole edge).

Unfortunately as Filthy pointed out, I'm not sure you really learn how to 'trade' on the sell-side, more market-making or asset specific. In that regards you'll either have to find someone successful or create/learn a strategy through research and trials.

Although it may seem counter intuitive to develop a network first and then develop skill, both will be highly valuable in the future and in my experience there are more people with jobs who have the right contacts as opposed to skill.


"...because money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

sasquatch
Certified Headhunter

Total Posts: 330
Joined: Aug 2006
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 20:53
Hands-down: take the prop MM role. Not even a question IMHO.

benji


Total Posts: 196
Joined: Feb 2005
 
Posted: 2010-03-10 21:29

An awful lot depends on the specifics of the team, namely how much they are willing to teach you versus how much you are going to be just doing maintenance type of work. You can fall with a good/bad team in a small or a large company. Nevertheless, in a small shop, people's interest will tend to be more aligned with having a clued up junior. I can only speak for myself, but I started in a small prop/mm shop, and I got very good training and a fairly long leash to experiment things. IMHO, building solids basics of how the market works should be your top priority.

Based upon your longer term goals I'd advise you to go for the smaller shop, unless you have an outstandingly good vibe going on with the team of the large shop.

redandtheblue


Total Posts: 356
Joined: Aug 2007
 
Posted: 2010-03-16 12:08
it is really a bet on you. You can rapidly progress in a small shop and take on a ton of responsibilities quickly.If you do not progress, you will be paid less and have less security. In my opinion, you are young (and I assume little responsibilities), I would take the riskier choice.

Also, I am not sold on having to start over when moving between asset classes or commodities. If you have a solid statistical approach and great grasp of how markets work, you can develop trading strategies in anything that is liquid.

good luck

henderson


Total Posts: 175
Joined: Jul 2007
 
Posted: 2010-03-16 12:35
This is interesting to me because I have been on both sides. I started at with a chicago rates market maker went to the dark side then came back.

Lessons learned:
1. What you put in is what you get out in most cases. I busted my ass as a market maker and developed new strategies, read every article/thesis that I could, and worked 16 hour days for enjoyment...imagine that! On the ibank side, you won't have as much pressure and your workload although generally larger will feel lighter because of a larger team that will accompany you. In general, I feel you will get better quant exposure at a prop/mm shop.

2. What you won't be able to get as a quant/quant trader....moderate to advanced programming experience just higher end quant skills. Most programmers in the small shops are ex-citadel guys that don't share or don't know how to share their abilities. Go to a bank if you want programming experience.

3. Networking. I really don't see it is that different between sides.

Don't know if this is helpful or not; don't know if I am yet coherent yet 6am here. Will get caffinated and elaborate if needed.

Jurassic


Total Posts: 172
Joined: Mar 2018
 
Posted: 2018-10-04 12:32
@knocks_rocks Unfortunately as Filthy pointed out, I'm not sure you really learn how to 'trade' on the sell-side, more market-making or asset specific.

Could you explain a bit more about why you wont learn how to trade?
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