Career advice

I am a CFA charterholder & i have a BBA (Finance). I have 7 years fx sales experience with a local bank in Dubai & i havent been able to find a job anywhere/any bank/any city. So basically my charter has been useless so far, which i got about a year back. I am working in Dubai & I am looking to become a professional trader. I don’t mind starting as a junior trader or even as an intern. Unfortunately, i haven’t been able to get any interviews, let alone job offers. I have tried to network, cold call, applied to companies directly, recruitment agencies, applied for positions which can lead to become a trader, tried to move internally, nothings worked. I had started my job hunt two years back & its just not worked out. Since, i have an interest in trading i have done it on my personal account (FX, indices and commodity futures) & i have read a few books on professional trading. However, since i do it part time i don’t find enough time to do justice to it. My job pays me alright but because i really have a passion for trading i don’t want to settle with the current job & give it a go for a career in trading. I don’t have any dependents & responsibility so i won’t be affected a lot if i stop getting a fixed income. I still have a chance to live my dream. The long term dream is to be a trader who consistently generates returns (no restrictions on what the asset class is). Now i have two choices: 1) Quit my job, move back home (to India) & trade independently with my savings (at the cost of leaving a decent paying job & a high chance that i might fail (like most people do at trading)) 2) Go to a uni do an MQF or MCF (in Baruch/Carnegie or another similar type of school) & try and get recruited to a money management firm from campus as a trader, this choice would give me a better learning experience & skillset than the previous choice. Need some serious career advice.

Hello, OP. I have been a derivatives “trader” for a US bank for several years. I’ve met people of all ranks in diverse roles at different companies. My perspective is that it’s naive to think that there is a “dream job” out there waiting for you. Sure, some jobs are better than others. However, if you single mindedly pursue one arbitrary role, you might become blind to other opportunities that come along the way. I don’t know what exactly you mean by being a “professional trader”, but for most people, it’s not realistic to have a long term career which consists of sitting in front a screen and prop trading day after day. Maybe there is some characteristic of trading - intellectual stimulation, work life balance, or maybe just money - that is appealing to you. Perhaps you can decompose these characteristics and figure out how to find a role that is satisfying, but is not restricted to a single kind of job function.

Further education can be a good way to transition into new roles. However, you be as realistic as possible about the difference that these programs can make. Also, consider your own background whether or not a particular program will help you personally achieve your goals.

Baruch and Carnegies financial engineering programs are very competitive. Do you have a strong background in mathematics and computer science? If you do, I say go for it, it would open up some doors for you particularly in derivatives.

@ohai - thanks for your advice. I think you have an understanding that i am looking to be a day trader, who are glued to their screens all the time. So just to explain myself better i am open to other opportunities but being a prop trader would be my preferred job which i am really interested in. I don’t think having a passion for something is bad thing. And i dont think all prop traders are glued to their screens all the time. Infact from the little that i have read, being successful in the long run is more to do with discipline and strategy. My main motivation is that of interest and ofcourse the money is attractive but thats not the only reason you trade. If money is the only reason you probably wouldnt last long in a trading job. Realistically, it would make sense for me to try and move to a bigger financial centre or a multinational bank in a similar fx sales job and then try and move internally to a front office job. But that hasnt worked out for me and that’s i am considering further education. I did some cost benefit analysis of doing a masters degree in quantitative finance or masters in finance and i am yet to decide on what could be the best move. Also, considering my background probably an MBA or an Ms Finance could fit in my profile better than a MQF. However, by doing these programs i really don’t know what career opportunities could open up & whether it would be at least close to doing what i am interested in. Anyway, its all work in progress and i would appreciate if you have any more advice for me. Thanks again!

@Ramos4rm - no i dont have a mathematics or comp science background & i have been told by people that getting into these schools without background is difficult & surviving through the course and even bigger challenge. If i do decide to apply for these programs i would have to literally build a background & then apply. Would there be anything else you would advice me to do?

This is a question asked by many people in the UK and also the US.

They are so used to having a job and working for somebody else for years that they sometimes feel as if it is impossible for them to get another one.

A job is a commitment, and you need to be sure you are ready to commit to the job you are applying for.

If you are unsure about the commitment, don’t be in too big of a hurry, and don’t worry if you put your name on the wrong jobs.

If you are not ready, don’t put your name on the wrong jobs.

You will waste a lot of your time and effort. Also, a resume is a form of a business card, and you are selling yourself.