In the past, bond traders and bond trading managers were required only to stay on top of the news of the day and have a decisive and analytical mind. Now, bond trading is much more complicated, with predictive algorithms and complex market systems. This requires bond traders and their managers to have both an attention to detail and the ability to see the big picture. Additionally, trading managers must be effective communicators and leaders with advanced degrees and plenty of trading experience.
The first step is to get the right degree. Most employers look for a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, or finance, and the requisite master’s degree. No matter what degree you have, on your application, make it clear how your studies make you a qualified bond trader and manager, as your position will include both. A Master’s in Business Administration, with a bachelor’s degree in some financial field is especially attractive, as it shows an interest in management and leadership, as well as knowledge of the financial sector. During this time, absorb as much information about bonds as you can. If you can find a bond-related internship, that would be an excellent introduction to trading.
Next, gain some experience. This is obviously easier said than done, but it is essential. As you work as a bond trader, make a note of what you like about your manager, and what you would work on if you were the manager. You do not have to criticize your manager, simply internalize what you would do when you become a manager. Most institutions prefer for managerial applicants to have quite a bit of relevant experience. After all, in order to be able to lead effectively, managers need to understand bonds inherently and be able to make important decisions quickly. These skills can only truly be gained through experience.
As you prepare your application, make sure all of your degrees, jobs, and achievements are framed in such a way that they indicate you are an effective trader, manager, or both. Employers are looking for someone who will quickly and easily adapt to their organization, bringing fresh ideas to the bond trading department.