Strategy and Product and the Rotational Development Program
Strategy and Product (SP) and the Rotational Development Program (RDP)* are closely connected — every full-time hire will spend their first year rotating through a number of Jane Street teams to dive deep into the day-to-day happenings and structure of the firm.
The one-year rotation is aimed at accomplishing a few things: (1) helping new SP hires gain context about our business and understand how all the pieces fit together, (2) providing a centralized learning and development curriculum for new joiners, and (3) developing connectivity across various areas of the firm. This inter-group familiarity is extremely valuable as individuals navigate existing and emerging project streams.
Over the course of the year, we’ll get a better understanding of each person’s skills and work styles, allowing us to place them in a group that best unlocks their potential in the years to come.
SPs are expected to remain flexible and focus on improving existing business lines or helping shape new ones at varying levels of complexity and scope. This work generally will involve a combination of “Strategy” and “Product” contributions. We’ve loosely defined strategy-related work as involving deeply tactical team coverage and process analysis, while product-related work encompasses prioritization, project scoping, and in-depth coordination of stakeholders.
*Note: RDP was formerly a Jane Street job title, in addition to the one-year training program, while “Strategy and Product” was formerly called Business Development. We recently rebranded the roles and training program names to more accurately describe the type of work individuals will contribute to. Learn more about the Rotational Development Program here.
The Strategy and Product interview process
The Strategy and Product interview process includes a HackerRank exercise, a Zoom interview, and a final round of in-person interviews.
The HackerRank exercise consists of multiple-choice and short answer questions and typically takes an hour to complete.
The video interview is focused on problem solving. 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. 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, we’ll dive into the questions that are a little more involved and also more representative of the actual work we do. We don’t expect you to immediately understand all parts of the questions you’re asked. 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 in a candidate:
Successful candidates are curious, organized, and open-minded. They approach interview questions thoughtfully and collaboratively. Most are comfortable working with numbers and logic. Perhaps most importantly, the candidates we ultimately hire are humble, pleasant to work with, and open to feedback.
As you prepare for your interview at Jane Street, here are a few tips:
Communicate clearly. As you begin to answer a question, clarify your thought processes along the way: are you thinking out loud, stating a fact, or making a suggestion? It’s important to verbalize how you think so we can best evaluate you.
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 within a problem and what remains to be discussed. We also recommend using concrete examples, if possible, to demonstrate how everything fits together from your perspective.
Don’t rush. We don’t want you to feel pressured to get an answer out as fast as you can. It’s ok to pause, think strategically about the problem, and communicate how you want to proceed. We’re looking to see how your mind works, not how fast you can reach a solution.
Learn from your mistakes. You aren’t expected to get things exactly right when first presented with an interview question. It’s more important that you’re able to realize mistakes, correct inaccurate assumptions, and find better solutions along the way.
When in doubt, ask. As you work through a question, you might be wondering what your interviewer is trying to optimize for. Accuracy? Efficiency? Speed? When in doubt, ask. We’ll certainly ask things of you throughout our conversations — 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…” It’s ok that you don’t have the complete answer — being humble about what you don’t know is something we appreciate. And as much as you can, avoid technical jargon, especially when you don’t completely understand what it means.
What we’re not worried about:
Prior knowledge of finance. We don’t expect you to have a background in finance or any other specific field — we’re looking for smart, curious people who enjoy solving interesting problems. All the information you’ll need for our interviews can be found in the materials we sent you. We highly encourage you to ask questions about any terminology or concepts you don’t understand and we’re more than happy to work through things that might be unfamiliar to you.
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. A correct answer is better than a fast one!