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Definition of Sales & Trading: Sales & Trading is the division of an investment bank that pitches buy and sell recommendations to clients (sales) and then executes on those trades (trading).
This is more difficult than it sounds because persuading clients to part with millions or tens of millions of dollars takes a lot of effort and trading large volumes of securities is complicated.
Traders spend a lot of time dividing large orders into smaller chunks, setting up buying schedules, and making sure that clients get what they want at a reasonable price.
At a high level, the recruiting process for entry-level S&T candidates is similar to investment banking. Steps typically include:
That said, there some aspects of the recruitment process are specific to Sales & Trading roles.
To have a realistic shot at landing a job in Sales & Trading, you’ll need to be able to point to a sequence of previous internships.
Then, you need to present that experience effectively on your resume. Our sales and trading resume template will help.
In S&T, employers want to see strong evidence for a passion for the financial markets. Your resume should reflect this.
Most of the advice in our investment banking networking article will apply, albeit with these caveats:
Most interviews for sales and trading will start with a variation of the “walk me through your resume” question.
From there, questions about the markets and investment/trade ideas may feature prominently. You may be asked questions about math and even coding, since these disciplines feature prominently in modern S&T.
For more information see our coverage of:
There are two major types of trading, with the third being a hybrid:
There’s also the question of what you’re trading, with equity trading and fixed income trading being the major categories there.
Sales & Trading features the familiar job titles and hierarchy of other banking and financial groups, such as:
Although deal size, level of authority and salary will increase as you move up the ladder, the work itself does not change.
At the junior levels, pay is not that much different from investment banker salary levels.
At hedge funds and prop trading firms, the pay varies more than in investment banking or private equity because firms’ returns are heavily linked to the market.
In general, you’ll start out in the low six-figure range and move closer to $1MM and beyond as you move toward the Partner-level.
S&T compensation may also be almost entirely or entirely performance based. So when things go well, you can make a lot, but when the economy tanks, you can earn nothing at all.
Sales & trading exit opportunities are more limited than in investment banking: you keep trading or you move to a different industry.
It’s difficult to move into private equity or corporate development coming from trading because the skill sets don’t have much overlap.
The longer you stay in the field, the harder it is to move elsewhere – so you should decide within your first year or 2 where you want to be.
On the sales side, you could move to a normal company and work in sales there more easily – selling products and stocks are different, of course, but overall sales is sales and it’s more transferable to other industries.
Like most well-paid roles with plenty of earning potential, Sales & Trading is a highly-competitive field – especially at the most prestigious firms.
The field is diverse. In some roles you’ll need weapons-grade math and coding skills. In others, your core skill sets will be sales and persuasion (coupled with a solid knowledge of the markets).
Some of the most relevant courses offered by Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street include: