Business Development Internship &
Rotational Development Program (RDP)
The Business Development internship and the Rotational Development Program (RDP) are closely related—Business Development interns may have the opportunity to return full-time in the RDP. The official job descriptions are available here, but to give you an idea of what these programs involve, consider the following example:
We want to trade stocks listed on an exchange in a country we’ve never traded in before. Before any trades are done, we’ll need to answer a few questions:
- Who’s allowed to trade stocks in this country, and what are the trading rules on this exchange?
- How will we connect to the exchange to send our orders? How will we record trades in our official books?
- What fees or taxes will we have to pay?
- Once we’ve entered into a trade, how do we ensure that money and shares change hands? Who will hold our shares for us? How do we finance those shares?
- Which regulatory bodies need to be notified when we do a trade?
To answer these questions, you’ll need to work closely with various groups within Jane Street. As you work with these groups, your project may come to involve additional considerations:
- Our reporting obligations may differ depending on the legal entity we use to conduct our trading
- Different brokers may charge different fees for trade execution
- Banks may offer better financing if we move other trading over to them as well
Where do you start? What do you say when someone asks you whether we’ll be ready to trade in a month? Internship and RDP graduates learn how to push these types of projects along.
Of course, it takes a long time to get to the point where you can comfortably manage such a project. We’ve found that training people to do this requires a balance between breadth and depth of knowledge. To that end, you’ll be exposed to a broad range of groups during the RDP and internship, and ultimately accumulate the needed skills and knowledge to become deeply involved in a single home group.
After a year of rotations, you’ll better understand how our Infrastructure groups fit together, and once you’re placed on a team (like Compliance, Operations, or Finance), your inter-group familiarity will be extremely valuable. Over time, your work will evolve from small pieces of larger initiatives to group-specific process improvements, and eventually to projects with implications for many groups across our firm.
Our process includes a take home exercise, a phone interview, and an on-site interview (or a virtual “non-site” interview, depending on current circumstances).
The take home exercise comprises a written and technical portion that typically takes a few hours to complete. In both parts, we’re mainly looking for accuracy and concision. This is our first opportunity to see your ability to operate within system constraints.
The phone interview is focused on problem-solving. You can expect us to ask questions like these, although we don’t use these specific questions anymore:
- How many pennies are there in Manhattan?
- What’s the angle between the hour and minute hands on an analog clock at 9:30 a.m.?
You may need to try a few methods to get to the solution, and we’ll encourage you to think of ways to sanity check your answers. We’re interested in hearing your thought process—it’s fine to make mistakes, as long as you try to catch and correct them.
If the phone interview goes well, we’ll invite you to come on-site at your local office (or to a virtual “non-site”).
At this stage, the questions are a little more involved and also more representative of the actual work we do. For example, we might ask the following (again, we don’t use these anymore):
- A U.S. regulation states that participants in a secondary offering can’t short sell in advance of that offering. What’s the purpose of this rule?
- Our lending counterparties will lend us money based on the amount and type of collateral we pledge to them. Given some set of constraints, how much money can we borrow?
We don’t expect you to immediately understand all parts of the question. We’ll start the interview by introducing relevant concepts and defining any industry-specific terms. You’ll be encouraged to ask clarifying questions along the way so you have all the information needed to answer the question, and so we understand how you’re approaching the problem.
What we look for
Successful candidates are curious, organized, and open-minded. They approach interview questions thoughtfully and collaboratively. Most are comfortable working with numbers and logic. Maybe most importantly, the candidates we ultimately hire are humble, pleasant to work with, and open to feedback.
A few other tips:
- Approach the problem methodically. We’re interested in your ability to structure your thought process. How are you deciding what’s important to think about? What might you be leaving out? It’s often helpful if you periodically summarize which issues you’ve addressed so far and what remains to be discussed.
- Communicate clearly. As you walk us through your thought process, try to clarify: are you thinking out loud, stating a fact, or making a suggestion? Use concrete examples if possible to demonstrate how everything fits together from your perspective.
- Correct your mistakes. Candidates aren’t expected to get things perfectly right when first presented with the interview question. However, it’s important to us that you’re able to realize mistakes, correct bad assumptions, and find better solutions.
- Ask why. As you work through a question, you might be wondering what we’re trying to optimize for. Accuracy? Efficiency? Safety? Why does each part matter? When in doubt, ask. We’ll ask the same of you—we can learn a lot from hearing your thoughts on how a process should work, where information should flow, or why a rule exists.
- Know what you don’t know. State your assumptions and what effects those have on the solutions you’re proposing. We appreciate it when candidates say, “I’m not sure, but my understanding is…” Another tip: avoid technical jargon, especially when you don’t completely understand what it means.
What we don’t look for
- Prior knowledge of finance. All the information you’ll need for our interviews can be found within the materials we send you. We highly encourage you to ask questions about any terminology or concepts you don’t understand.
- Speedy mental math. We look for candidates who are comfortable with quantitative work, but we don’t spend a lot of time multiplying or adding large numbers in our heads. As we often say in our interviews, a correct answer is better than a fast one.