Middle Office At Bulge-Bracket?

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by NYCFinest, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    One of my friends just got offered a middle-office position at a bulge bracket. (Clearing/Settling trades, etc). How hard is it to move from middle-office to front-office at one of these large companies?

  2. I'd imagine pretty difficult, especially at a bulge bracket firm. In the end though, it always boils down to personal connections. I'd suggest your friend get to know the traders in the front office and then always make it known, especially during performance reviews, that he wishes to go work in the front office.
  3. Well, he is right out of college. Would it be better for him to work in the Middle Office for now, and talk to HR about moving to the Front Office when they hire college grads from next year's graduating class?

    In effect, he'd spend about a year in the Middle Office, and then move to the training program for recent grads in the Front Office - he'd lose about a year but this is what he really wants. Does HR even allow these sort of moves? I know the banks allow recent grad hires to take a year off before working, so it would be like the same thing.
  4. The middle office job is essentially a foot in the door. He can prove himself while he's working there and have the opportunity to get to know the people in the front office and the people who make the decisions. Sure there's gonna be some politics here, but since he will be known to HR it will be a huge edge to him. If this is what he really wants to do, then I suggest to go for it! We can't always go for the gold our first try, life doesn't work like that... we work hard and go step by step. Make sure your friend doesn't loose sight of that next step though...

    You haven't really mentioned what other alternatives he has, and it would be really important to take those choices into consideration. If I were in this situation though, I would do it without a moment of hesitation.
  5. Please stop talking about what you don't know.

    Middle Office is dead-end. Little chance of movement within the firm, especially a bulge-bracket firm.

    I'm sorry, but that's the truth. I have friends who tried this route while we were at school, it just does not work at the big firms. The fact is that Middle Office hiring standards are quite low and middle office itself is labeled as dead-end braindead work on the street. Taking that direction has been played out, hence even more barriers have been put up.

    At a smaller firm or a hedge fund, it is a good route but at a bulge bracket firm, forget it. If you think getting good with the traders means anything, you are not aware of how hiring at big corporations works nowdays.
  6. Hydro, no need to be combative. "Please stop talking about what you don't know" seems to be thrown around on this board pretty often.

    In my first reply I said it would be extremely difficult, especially given it was a bulge-bracket firm. He listed no other options so I suggested that his friend had nothing else to lose. I am fully aware of the fact that there is little lateral movement at BB firms, and I outlined that the only real possibility of a horizontal transition was through the slim chance of getting to know the traders in the front office. It is not the route I would choose to take, but I would take it if given no other options and had a burning desire in that field (which is the situation his friend is in).

    Anyways, I'm just trying to give the kid an honest reply. No one was replying and I hate when that happens to my threads... so at the very least by getting your input, it seems that this has worked.
  7. Don't be so sensitive. There is no hate, I was correcting your post which is misleading.

    The fact is that once middle office goes on your resume, it leaves a mark. So while you think it may be a bonus, it will actually constrain the individual.

    As for getting to know the traders, that will happen, but it will not be of much benefit. The only reasonable route is to do middle office for experience, then try to go to a smaller firm or fund where the middle office position will be more expansive and will have more responsibility. There, the person can transition to a unique hybrid role or even to a pure trader position.

    At bulge brackets, Middle or Back Office are not testing grounds for potential Front Office employees. They don't want ambitious individuals there who will leave, they need lifers. HR at big firms does their best to make sure of this. HR is not your friend, so knowing them is of little benefit.
  8. While moving from middle to front office is very difficult, it is NOT impossible. The "best" middle office job is in trade settlements, because you get to interact with traders/assistants on the desk. That is the opening. How one exploits it is up to the individual.

    Top 10 courses of action:

    1) do not kiss ass to those above you, kiss ass to those below you. (you can pass off ur work to back office types trying to do the same thing that you are)

    2) go the extra mile. most middle office people are ham and eggers and will teach you how to do the job by doing the least work possible. Figure out what you can do that will make the front office people you deal with job easier, then do it.

    3) Obviously befriend those on the desk, but not in a sniveling sort of way.

    4) take every opportunity to interact through company events and accept any op to go out drinking. If you are a generally likable guy and a marginal candidate, you will be recognized.

    5) DO NOT DEAL WITH HR. EVER. Guys on the desk have the ability to hire you before HR even knows there is an opening.

    6) Enlist help. Do you deal with a big client? Kiss his ass and then let him go to bat for you.

    7) Be patient. Make your intentions known to your contacts on the desk, but not in a pushy sort of way. Ivy league types are the only guys who feel a sense of entitlement, most others believe in paying your dues.

    8) Get Lucky. The more you interact with people on the desk, the more you'll have an opportunity to shine. It will also give you an op to see who is a social trainwreck, who is about to leave, etc. Win by attrition.

    9) Don't be afraid to go over/around your immediate boss. While you'll catch some heat in the short term, who cares? you want out of middle anyway.

    10) Have fun. Who cares if you get canned for screwing up? What did you really do? Screw up your MIDDLE OFFICE career. LOL You wanted it to end anyway. Just make sure you have a great story to tell. Cuz traders love great stories.
  9. I apologize, I wasn't trying to come across as being offended. It was more of a thing out of respect; I didn't want to rile up someone of your standing on these boards. I sometimes find ET forums to be a stack of dynamite waiting to be lit. In any case, it's my fault as I should have articulated myself better.
  10. What about going to MBA school and then trying to get a front-office internship from there? Would that still look bad on the resume for MBA school? His grades are alright, 3.4+.
    #10     Mar 12, 2008