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"Graduates applying for trading jobs need to clarify that they're interested in the money"

I've spent almost two decades working on trading floors in major banks in the City of London, and I've interviewed hundreds, if not thousands, of young people who are trying to get jobs in sales and trading. Too few are clear that money is their main motivator.

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Like Gary Stevenson, I came from a low income family. I went into trading because I wanted to make a lot of money and be rich. I would have done anything to be rich: I wanted to be a millionaire.

Today, though, students don't say that the pay is their reason for going into trading. They all say that they want to work with "smart people" or in an environment which "changes every day." Only 10% say that they're interested in the money. But these are the people I'm interested in.

Trading is about money and working in trading is about making money. Trading floors are not places for people with delicate sensibilities who can't take pressure. They are about discipline, risk and reward.

If you go into trading in the belief that it will be a nice, healthy environment, therefore, you will be disappointed, and you will not last. The people who succeed are those who understand this reality. You will be put under a lot of pressure, and you may not enjoy it. You may see behaviour you think is inappropriate. Your feelings may be hurt. But this is the environment, and it is one in which you will be paid far more than in any other job. 

You need to make it clear that you understand this at interview. You may think it's inappropriate to talk about money. It's not: if money is not your motivation, then trading is not the career for you.

Fabien Bernier is the pseudonym of a managing director on the trading floor of a US investment bank

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AUTHORFabien Bernier Global Editor

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