by Jerry Chi Comments (147)

Sales & Trading vs. Investment Banking, Part 1 – Recruiting

Investment Banking vs. Sales & Trading“So, how much food do traders eat?”

“Can you really make $10 million instantly if you’re a star trader?”

“Can I write about my gambling addiction and how much money I made with poker on my trading resume?”

You’re about to learn the answers to all of those and more, in this 2-part podcast series on Sales & Trading vs. Investment Banking.

Since I know close to nothing about trading personally, this one is an “interview” with Jerry, who does know a lot about trading – having done a trading internship, worked full-time at a bulge bracket bank and then started his own prop trading firm.

What You’ll Learn In This 40-Minute Interview

  • What you need to succeed in sales vs. trading vs. investment banking, and why none of them require “rocket science”-level math
  • What to do if you don’t have a pedigree, and why trading might be a good option for you
  • Networking tactics for both fields and the best time to cold-call a trader
  • The 3 most important points to highlight on your sales & trading resume, and how to write about your poker hobby (addiction?)
  • Interviews, telling your “story,” and how pitching a stock differs in sales vs. trading interviews

Listen to the interview right here:



  • 1:15: Intro to Jerry and his background
  • 1:45: Skills required for trading, psychology, and why you still don’t need to be a rocket scientist to succeed
  • 4:30: Who succeeds in banking vs. trading and the math required


  • 5:30: Recruiting at a bank vs. prop trading firm
  • 7:40: Recruiting for sales
  • 8:09: What to do with no real finance experience – and why exams and certifications aren’t the answer
  • 10:30: How to break in from unusual backgrounds and if you’re already out of school
  • 12:10: From programmer to prop trader?

Asia vs. the US and Language Requirements

  • 12:55: Recruiting in Asia vs. the US and elsewhere
  • 14:00: Language requirements in banking vs. sales vs. trading and what to do if you don’t know the local language

Networking and the Best Time to Call a Trader

  • 16:50: How to network like a ninja in both fields
  • 18:00: The best time to cold-call a trader (hint: not when he’s trading, eating, or abusing interns)
  • 19:23: How to approach traders differently from bankers, and why “business talk” might be a better strategy

Why the CFA Is Still Useless

  • 21:05: Are there any useful exams for breaking in? Nope, sorry, please try again…

Sales & Trading Resumes

  • 23:05: Sales & Trading resumes and which skills are not as important to highlight
  • 24:53: The 3 most important skills to focus on in your trading resume, and what to do if you don’t have them
  • 26:16: Should you write about your gambling addiction? What about knitting yarn or extreme sports?

All About Interviews

  • 27:45: How banking interviews differ from trading interviews
  • 30:22: How much corporate finance / valuation knowledge do you need for S&T interviews?
  • 30:48: How “fit” questions are different
  • 32:05: Why and how you need to tell your “story” differently and how to talk about your future plans in trading interviews
  • 34:34: Can you prepare for S&T interviews?
  • 35:50: How to pitch a stock and technical vs. fundamental analysis
  • 37:15: How sales interviews differ from trading interviews, and how you should pitch a stock differently

Sales & Trading vs. Investment Banking Podcast Series:

About the Author

Jerry Chi graduated from Stanford, worked in equity research and trading in Japan, and then started and sold his own prop trading firm in China. He earned his MBA from Wharton, and then worked at Google and Supercell in Japan.

Break Into Investment Banking

Free Exclusive Report: 57-page guide with the action plan you need to break into investment banking - how to tell your story, network, craft a winning resume, and dominate your interviews

We respect your privacy. Please refer to our full privacy policy.


Read below or Add a comment

  1. Hello Brian, I am going into a top 10 college in the UK in a month or two to study economics and have been interested in S&T for a while, and trading probably since I was 13.

    If I am able to get a BB S&T internship in my third and possibly second summer breaks, I will surely need another relevant internship on my resume from my first summer break. Where should I apply for this as I highly doubt any credible trading firm would accept a 19 year old with 2-3 years of further education. Perhaps I should apply for an internship in another area of the financial industry?… But what area would have lots of transferable skills to trading?

    What are your thoughts on where I should apply for my first summer break?

    1. Maybe apply for internships in another area of the bank, such as PWM (which everyone seems to do anyway). You could also apply to smaller hedge funds or prop trading firms that might offer internships to younger students.

  2. Hi, was wondering if I could get some advice on how to improve my applications for summer internships. I’m a 2nd year engineering student(international student) at a target in London. I’m interested in S&T and will be applying for summer internships at BBs(both London and Asia offices) this coming recruitment cycle. Would it make sense to do 8 weeks in a quant hedge fund in London and then go back to Asia(home) and do 4 weeks at a wealth management firm? Alternatively I could do 10 weeks in the asset management division of a regional bank at home. I’m not sure how relevant a quant hedge fund internship will be to S&T. But since I am an international, do you think it is better I do a London-based internship? To show that I’m not culturally distant? Or do you think it makes sense to do the asset management internship in a regional bank back home simply because it’s a bank that people at home will know and if my London applications don’t go well, it will at least help when applying to the Asia offices. My top choice is London though. Thanks!

    1. It’s best to do a London-based internship, and the quant hedge fund one would be highly relevant to S&T.

  3. Hi, I am currently a finance and math major student in US. I am about to start networking with people in both investment banking and S&T fields. However, My real passion is more towards trading. I read that many areas in S&T today have already been taken over by “computers” so my questions is how much of S&T especially-trading- today still requires humans?

    1. Humans are still involved, but the field is smaller than it was a long time ago (say, 10 years ago). If you really want to trade, there are still opportunities, especially with more complex products.

      1. Thank you, would you suggest that it would be better then to also network consistently in IB to at least try to get a foot in the industry even though it is not S&T ?

        1. You can do it if you want, but your chances of getting an offer will go down because it takes a lot more time to manage two recruiting processes. So you should pick one as soon as you can.

  4. Arjun Bendre

    Hi there,

    I am a sixteen year old high school student in the UK and I hope to, one day, be in S&T, hopefully in a Bulge Bracket bank. How would I maximise my chances of breaking into the industry successfully from now? Should I start networking at my age? Should I be doing anything specific?

    Thank you very much!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      You can start watching movies on trading and perhaps intern at a brokerage house/trading floor to learn about the industry. You may want to read all the articles here to gain an in-depth understanding of the industry too.

  5. Claud Smith

    Hi, Just wanted to Know something
    I come from an accounting background and wanted to get in to S&T, more interested in the trading side of things. Whats the best book that I could read in order to understand how a trader actually trades and what they look at in exectuting trades, and how they make money from the trades. Is it true that a solid understanding of Technical analysis is the basis of trading?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I don’t have any recommendations off hand but may help. I think best is to experience it

  6. Simple question: Who earns more?-Sales guy or Trader? (I’m doing Fixed Income Sales & Trading internship next year)

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Complex answer: It depends on how good you are.

  7. Hi, I am still a bit confused with the “trading” side of an investment bank. From what I read about trading, it seems they are merely brokers for the sales people. If all they do is devise ways to execute a large trade, where would the risk, P&L, etc come in? Wouldn’t they just be no different than brokers? Thanks!

    1. It varies based on the bank and group – there are agency traders, but also prop traders (less common nowadays) and then a grey area in between… please see:

  8. James Townsend

    Hi! I currently have an interview for Goldman Sachs and their Sales and Trading group. I previously came from technology consulting and have no relevant trading experience at school. However, I am the president of several clubs and am apart of a band. Do you have any idea how I can spin my experiences so that I can convince them of my intention to switch to sales and trading? Thanks!

    1. If you have no trading experience it will be tough – maybe say that you think like a trader because you are always thinking about the risk/reward profile and take an analytical approach to decision-making, and you have also done some trading on your own and enjoy following the markets… if you don’t, you should read up on them quickly and come up with something decent to present because it’s almost impossible to win an S&T offer without following the markets.

  9. RiskReverse

    Dear Author, Team and Whoever might be on board:

    Talking about trading in particular, I have an ultimate question, is it all about luck or is there any edge in it?

    Recently a 1st-tier bank organized an on-campus ‘trading competition’ which is actually nothing but a card game where you could have an advantage if you played 100 rounds maybe, otherwise it’s just plain luck. I had all the ‘luky’ cards in the demonstration round, but when the real game came I’ve got all the shitty ones and finished perhaps the last among 50+ participants and was covertly laughed at even by senior bankers.

    I believe I simply have a syndrome of bad luck in trading and everything related. I’ve been trading forex for the whole last year w/my own account and I assure you, the moment I place a trade the market immediately goes the other way and never looks back! In one moment I had 15 more or less random positions in a portfolio and they all were in red. Not just couple of pips red, I’m talking long-term 1000+ pips way red. The moment I stepped in to reduce exposure and wind down some of the trades was the day the trades magically turned ‘my way’ but without me on board. I was buying oil when it was 110, 105, 100 all the way to 92. The moment I was liquid, frustrated and out, the market turned VERY SAME DAY and never looked back at 92 level (it’s at 100 now).
    How come I always get it wrong?? I literally made a forecast for 10 currency pairs and looked it up a month later – I’ve got all of them wrong! Close to impossible, or well improbable in terms of odds.

    How do the top banks or prop firms do it? Talking about trading education it’s all noise with people selling systems online and various scams. I did 5 years of economics and can’t make sense of any market to save my life. Listening to all the “experts” to me everyone seems to be right, but the question is how you weight all the arguments and determine the likely end outcome?
    Is it all about insider info or where I can get a proper education on this or is it a pure luck? I really don’t see the edge. And pls don’t tell ‘use yourself as a contrarian indicator’.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      All these are great open-ended questions. Re why you always get it wrong – many traders make wrong decisions, but they also make rights ones and learn from their mistakes and bounce back up. In terms of your particular situation, I’d leave that to readers. I don’t think its pure luck, all about insider info or proper education. It’s experience, talent, passion for the markets, resilience, determination, ability to discern noise from news, and confidence in going against the grain.

      You may find insights from these books:

  10. Just wanted to let you guys know that the pdf links to the transcript are not working on this page or part 2. I don’t have time to listen it, but I can definitely read the whole thing. Would love to have it back up. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *