Listen, we all know how grad programmes work. Typically you rotate around several areas of a business, learning about various roles before coming to the end and either landing a permanent position at the company, or taking the skills you’ve learnt and applying them elsewhere… But what if there was a graduate role that was different?
Onyx has the answer; their Junior Trader Training Programme offers new hires the chance to accelerate their career and rise through the ranks of the company, taking on new responsibilities and gaining experience like nobody’s business.
Through vigorous training, supervision from senior traders and ongoing reviews new trainees will see their career soar. To find out more about this exciting opportunity, we decided to sit down with Lijia, a Senior Trader at Onyx.
Originally starting out on the Junior Trader Training Programme himself, Lijia has applied an entrepreneurial spirit at the company and quickly progressed into the role he’s in now. So whether you’re curious about what a role in trading is like – or you’re just looking for tips on job progression – here are some things to take note of:
What’s an average day of working at Onyx like?
Typically I’ll start the day using our trade strategies to make profit in the global market, which covers Asia, Europe and the US. The day is busy at certain points – depending on when each market is working. I’m also responsible for training the junior traders, giving lectures, hiring new graduates and seeking experienced candidates. In addition, I work on redesigning and optimising our assessment centre processes.
The firm also has a strong and intellectual gaming culture. We incorporate board games, poker and trading games into our work. Whilst it does make the work more fun, you also have to make educated guesses, outsmart others and think on your feet! So there are transferable skills that you can get from working this way.
Can you give us an overview of your experience of the Junior Trader Training Programme?
I joined Onyx in 2016, and at the time the training programme was around two months long. The first month was mainly classroom based; I attended lectures every day and undertook tests to prove my problem-solving skills, my concentration, abilities with numbers and presentation skills. I then work-shadowed another trader to learn how the system worked, learning trade input, trade entry and also how to troubleshoot if there’s anything going wrong.
I also got a feel of how the market worked, learning all the technical knowledge of the job which set the foundation for what I would do later on. So I definitely think that the Junior Trading Programme is incredibly comprehensive and practical, combining theoretical knowledge with tangible skills.
What opportunities did you get which helped towards career progression?
When I first started, I was assisting the traders to make decisions and also facilitate their trading process. Even then I was given a lot of tasks and decisions to make for the team. I was monitoring our position, so if something went wrong – which could have been a disaster – it was all on me. The responsibility was huge!
As I progressed into the trader role, I was covering the leftover markets – there are so many markets that are still wide open. I would say that this is the most exciting challenge. We don’t restrict people with how far they can go and how fast they can achieve their goals, but it is a lot about your performance – that’s what determines your progression.
What are the benefits of working for a small but mighty company?
Lots of people go for the brand name and prestige. Whilst Onyx may be small, we’re very big in what we do. We’re the number one liquidity provider of Light Ends oil derivatives globally, we’re at the forefront of innovation in this space and we’re one of the leaders in the area we work in.
I used to be an intern at a multinational bank, and whilst it had the brand awareness and was very structured in terms of training and organisation, I found it to be inefficient and have a lot of bureaucracy. Whereas in smaller companies like Onyx we encourage entrepreneurial thinking, which means you have the chance to be a self-starter and push for much faster progression.
If you’re an entrepreneur with an interest in finance or trading, then Onyx is the best place for you. We don’t have any kind of restrictions on the business we do. Once you prove yourself, you can set up your own desk, take a share of your own profit and work on your own. This is also not limited to just the trading space, we’re extremely flexible as a firm.
What advice do you have for any grads looking to progress in their roles?
Be extremely open; don’t restrict or limit yourself to certain industries or roles. Be curious about new things. For example, when I landed my first job I didn’t stop researching what else was out there, as I knew that there were other exciting opportunities besides the world of banking.
Through that, I learnt more about the trading industry and had a much more informed decision when choosing to join Onyx. Have a plan, always be ready for change and be extremely nimble.
You can find out more about the Junior Trader Training Programme at Onyx here.