If you’re a student applying for a job in an investment bank, you probably have an idea of ​​the type of role you want to fill – most applicants think they want to work in M&A or trading . However, a veteran financial markets professional who mentors students says many of those he talks to don’t really understand how today’s trading rooms work.

“Students who want to become traders usually have a specific vision of what they think it will be like and it feels like the role of a trader of old,” says Daniel Weilenmann, an experienced FX salesman. “They think they’re going to build positions and make judgments about the market. In fact, the job of a trader in an investment bank is mostly about risk management, aAnd traders spend most of their time adjusting financial settings, consulting spreadsheets, or engaging in in-depth programming while browsing market data.”

For this reason, Weilenmann says that banking trading jobs are suitable for a particular type of person. – You will need to be happy to work alone with numbers all day. If you’re not, he says you should rethink.

“A lot of people are relationship-oriented,” says Weilenmann. “They love talking to people and interacting.”

There’s not a lot of that in the trade now. Many jobs are simply about performing trades, says Weilenmann. “You just manage order flow. You’re in the office, watching the system and making sure everything is working.

For this reason, Weilenmann says more students should consider careers in sales jobs at investment banks. “If you’re in sales, you can apply a narrative to the market instead of just calculating the numbers,” he says. While some sales positions involve selling a bank’s electronic trading capabilities as a whole, others still involve working closely with customers on a day-to-day basis and nurturing relationships over time.

It can be rewarding and interesting. As a macro trader, Weilenmann says his job is to understand how markets interact with events around the world and help clients trade accordingly. “The macro side of business is tied to everything that’s going on in the world. Every day is a spinning wheel and you see patterns that customers are interested in. »

Salespeople are generally more outgoing than marketers, but Weilenmann says extroverts aren’t always ideal: The best salespeople need to be great listeners so they can truly understand what customers want.

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