How can I get into derivatives trading with a non-STEM degree?

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    Hey guys,
    I'm currently entering my first year of economics and maths at a semi- target university. I am interested in going into trading at an investment bank in the future and have been applying for Spring weeks. Although I'd take any trading job over no job, I am specifically more interested in the more complex derivatives as those desks are more quantitative and technical and are harder to price. Plus, it seems tha those are desks apthat will stay in the future and won't be as easily replaced by algos.

    The problem is that I'm not really doing a STEM degree (it's half STEM and there are quite a lot of quantitative economics and maths modules though) and I'm at a semi target as well so I might be at a pretty large disadvantage. And since I don't get to choose what desk I'm on, is there a way to show that I'm better suited for complex derivatives desks? I'm very good at numerical stuff and I do have a good understanding of how some derivatives are priced.

    If I manage to get a SW, is there anything I can do to get fast tracked into a more complex desk?
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    state a preference
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    Have a look through Hull: Options, Futures and Other Derivatives - it's the bible for derivatives trading.

    In your applications mention a preference, but don't make it sound like a necessity - at this stage you just need experience with any desk. Also, when they say 'talk about a news article that interests you', try and find something that relates to the desk you are most interested in. For example, I want to work on Rates Exotics, so I always try and talk about monetary policy from the Fed, BOJ etc.

    Also pay attention to which internships assign you to a specific desk and which are rotational. J.P. Morgan host 'super-days' where you interview with 3-5 desks, and if successful you are then placed on one of them for the entire internship.
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    People who work in exotic derivatives tend to be French so you probably won't get a place in an exotics desk or fit into the culture. I've heard they even speak in French and not English at those desks, so learn French first of all if you want a chance.

    Secondly, take as many maths modules as possible and do a Masters degree at a target university in something like financial math - people at exotics desks usually have a postgrad degree, more than other desks.
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    It's imperial and Oxbridge students that get hired into the more exotic trading desks, along with French people for the Grandes Ecoles.
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    (Original post by akbar0123)
    People who work in exotic derivatives tend to be French so you probably won't get a place in an exotics desk or fit into the culture. I've heard they even speak in French and not English at those desks, so learn French first of all if you want a chance.

    Secondly, take as many maths modules as possible and do a Masters degree at a target university in something like financial math - people at exotics desks usually have a postgrad degree, more than other desks.
    Can I have more information regarding the French part?
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    (Original post by glebp)
    Can I have more information regarding the French part?
    Most people on exotic derivatives desks in London come from the French universities where they have strong finance programs that specialise in exotic derivatives. I've heard this as well.

    There are a few people from UK universities but it's mainly French.
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    Also OP, I wouldn't recommend entering the world of trading now. Trading jobs have little potential for the future- pay is slated to half of what it is now and more and more of the work is being done by algorithms. The best jobs in the future would be for people who can make those algorithms. Also, it's not like banking in the sense that when you do lose your job you won't have any exit pops p, unlike banking where you could go into PE, HF, VC etc..
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    You can still get in but you might struggle at the job compared to the pure maths graduates from the top units.
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    (Original post by BigTraderBoi)
    Hey guys,
    I'm currently entering my first year of economics and maths at a semi- target university. I am interested in going into trading at an investment bank in the future and have been applying for Spring weeks. Although I'd take any trading job over no job, I am specifically more interested in the more complex derivatives as those desks are more quantitative and technical and are harder to price. Plus, it seems tha those are desks apthat will stay in the future and won't be as easily replaced by algos.

    The problem is that I'm not really doing a STEM degree (it's half STEM and there are quite a lot of quantitative economics and maths modules though) and I'm at a semi target as well so I might be at a pretty large disadvantage. And since I don't get to choose what desk I'm on, is there a way to show that I'm better suited for complex derivatives desks? I'm very good at numerical stuff and I do have a good understanding of how some derivatives are priced.

    If I manage to get a SW, is there anything I can do to get fast tracked into a more complex desk?
    It's not a deathwish if you're not doing a STEM degree (idgi, you're doing Econ and Maths?? That should suffice anyway..) nor is it a hard prerequisite.

    I would just say apply to stuff, and once you're on the trading floor try to spend time with the more complex desks if you can.

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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    It's not a deathwish if you're not doing a STEM degree (idgi, you're doing Econ and Maths?? That should suffice anyway..) nor is it a hard prerequisite.

    I would just say apply to stuff, and once you're on the trading floor try to spend time with the more complex desks if you can.

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    Ok thanks. What would you say is the most complex out of the non-exotic desks? Like out of the vanilla stuff
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    (Original post by BigTraderBoi)
    Ok thanks. What would you say is the most complex out of the non-exotic desks? Like out of the vanilla stuff
    Rates derivs
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    Econ and Maths is more than enough - improve your CV / cover letters. Tailor it for derivatives.
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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    Rates derivs
    Thanks. Are people applying to markets Spring weeks expected to have an idea of what they want to trade or whether they want to do sales or trading or does he bank just decide for you?
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    You prove won't get into exotics desks because of your degree (they prefer imperial and Oxbridge maths/engineering) but you can go into something quantitative like rates and then network with structured rates traders or exotics traders and try and get into it that way. That has happened a lot from what I've observed on LinkedIn.
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    Exotic trading desks, even at the big banks, don't even hire new people every single year. You'd need to get into any trading desk and network with exotic derivs traders and then if a position happens to open up they might consider you.
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    (Original post by ilikecats12)
    You prove won't get into exotics desks because of your degree (they prefer imperial and Oxbridge maths/engineering) but you can go into something quantitative like rates and then network with structured rates traders or exotics traders and try and get into it that way. That has happened a lot from what I've observed on LinkedIn.
    (Original post by squish562)
    Exotic trading desks, even at the big banks, don't even hire new people every single year. You'd need to get into any trading desk and network with exotic derivs traders and then if a position happens to open up they might consider you.
    Thanks everyone. TBH I'm not quite sure about the whole trading dream, its just too risky for me. Maybe something like investment management might be more up my street. Bit more calm
 
 
 
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