Be Like Travis

BellaMike Bellafiore's (Bella's) BlogsLeave a Comment

I talked with a recent college graduate the other day. Nice kid. Well dressed. Polite. From one of those upper middle class lacrosse playing Long Island towns. On paper an excellent fit for most trading desks. This young man has no business being on a trading floor, considering being on a trading floor, or hoping to be on a trading floor. He is not interested in trading.

How do I know this? Because he doesn’t do anything, hasn’t done anything, wasn’t thinking of doing anything to learn about trading. I got the old “I-find-myself-watching-CNBC-often” answer to the question of an example you are passionate about trading. Please. Come up with a better answer if you want a job at a prop desk. Make something up if you have to (well don’t do this really). But please do not sit in front of me and use the old CNBC line when I have a pile of candidates who have traded, read trading blogs, and can reference one of my previous posts. Please. I am asking very nicely. Please.

I did a favor for an old friend of mine and took a call from a recent graduate looking into Wall Street. Nice kid. Played lacrosse in college. Great school. Very very polite. Will be a star when he follows his passion. After one minute on the phone I could tell he was not interested in trading. The call was very short. At dinner later that night my friend gave me $hit about not at least interviewing the kid. I suppose that was a good point, but let me be clear, it would have just been to build this recent graduate’s interviewing skills. Because there was not going to be a second round at SMB. He was not interested in trading.

And then there is Travis. Travis is in high school. He and a friend came to visit SMB to learn more about trading. Again, he is in high school. His friend already trades. Travis and his friend flew from middle america, over a holiday weekend, to learn more about trading. Most kids his age are planning that huge party for the 4th and trying not to get caught. Or they are scheming how to get that local hottie to accept a movie date to the latest action thriller (this is a very good use of your time by the way gentlemen).

Come to think of it, how the hell did Travis get invited to one of our Tradecasts if he was in high school? Charlie. That must have taken some maneuvering. How would he even know who SMB was? How would he know who to contact at our firm to get an invite? Charlie. I need talk to our Floor Manager.

Think about when Travis graduates and he interviews at a prop firm. HR will ask,”What in your past demonstrates your passion for trading?” Travis might reply, “I have traded since HS. I read alphatrends, SMB’s Blog, The Big Picture, Mish, Jeff Miller, Abnormal Returns, Steven Place, The Kirk Report, Seeking Alpha, T3 Live, Kass, Tickerville, Dr. Brett, etc. I run our school’s student portfolio account. I interned at SMB one summer, then JPM’s prop desk, and Morgan Stanley sales trading during the school year. Right now I am long Gold, short SPY, short the Euro, long treasuries, long AAPL, long BIDU, with some options positions in the VIX.”¬†Imagine if you wanted a job on a prop desk and answer like Travis. Talk about a WOW answer!

Do what you do! Be Like Travis. Life is too short, with too much opportunity, and too important not to be the best at what you do. And to be great generally means starting early, working hard, having a passion for your work, and doing everything you can think of to succeed.

Leave a Reply