Career path a trader


Is it possible for a trader to puruse the banker’s route of 2 years analyst -> B-school MBA -> HF/PE/VC ?


Possibly- what is it exactly that you are trying to achieve, and what is your situation?


I will be starting university this October and is simply trying to plan which Spring Programme to apply to. A trader’s role and schedule seems to fit my personality more. However, my plan is to enrol in a B-school and eventually work in a PE/HF/VC. I’m not sure whether S&T, instead of IBD, will make this more difficult or even unlikely.


It depends on your personality really. I find meeting a lot of people that what they think they want and what they actually want are quite different things. Jobs, particularly the jobs your mentioned, [[investment banking]], [[trading]] and sales all require quite acutely different personality types, much in the same way the difference between being a builder and a lawyer.

Let’s start with a simpler question… what university and degree course have you applied to?


All I have to understand each career is a handful of information from compnay website, online forums, Vault/Wetfeet and Monkey Business/Liar’s Poker - some of which are quite resourceful IMHO. I’m mostly drawn to trading mainly because of the relevance to current news, meritocratic environment and scheduled lifestyle. However, I really can’t say that I’m a perfect match without having been on the trading floor.

I assume you aren’t being patronizing? It’s quite difficult to tell these thing on the internet. Economics at Cambridge.


If you are doing Economics then you are quite qualified to do both [[trading]] and [[investment banking]]. You could also do sales, but I would think that you are aiming too low if you went for that.

Generally speaking, trading requires a higher aptitude for technical things. If you prefer to work with numbers rather than words, and are very calm under pressure , trading is well suited to you. If you prefer to interact with people, give advice and do more ‘business’ type things, [[investment banking]] is probably better.

In terms of cash making, an average investment banker will do a bit better than an average trader, but a great trader will do much better than a great investment banker.

In terms of what you want to do afterwards (you listed [[private equity]], [[hedge fund]] and [[venture capital]]) - trading will help you only for working in a [[hedge fund]]. For the other two, you will be more suited to either doing [[investment banking]], or, better still, going to work for an [[accountancy & professional services]] firm like [[PwC]] and getting an [[ACA]] - this will give you a much better chance when applying to [[private equity]] and [[venture capital]] places.

When you are starting out though, any experience counts so just go wherever you think you will learn the most.


Thanks for all the advice!

However, I don’t think firms will prefer accounting to investment banking. Moreover, it’d be pretty tough getting in to a good B-school with accounting work experience.


That’s true- many would consider the [[ACA]] as worthwhile as the [[mba (master of business administration)|MBA]] but it all comes down to what path you want to take!

I have worked for both [[private equity]] firms and [[venture capital]] and I know what skillset they need- decent accounting experience is a must. If you want to convince yourself, find some of these firms, look at the board of directors and see how many of them are [[ACA]] qualified, including in comparison to [[mba (master of business administration)|MBA]].


This is a rather interesting thread! So chrism; given the choice (if you were thinking solely of future career prospects), would you go for an ACA qualification or an MBA?


[[ACA]] I think. There’s nothing to stop you doing both, but [[ACA]] gives you an edge you just cannot get elsewhere.

I would definately go for an [[ACA]] and maybe if I felt like I wanted something else, I’d do an [[MBA (master of business administration)|MBA]].


Having had exposure to both trading and IB, I can tell you if you want to do BS -> PE/HF/VC, in the long run your trading job won’t stop you doing it. However, in the short term, it may be difficult to make the transition as you would not have IB experience. HFs are the most liberal bunch among PE/HF/VCs and so it is not uncommon for a trader to work within merger arbitrage team in the HF for instance. In the long run, if you are a successful trader you may also consider investing in a small start up and take it from there. Richard Farleig is a real example of a trader becoming a successful VC (h ).