Broker Trainee Program

So an apology is due. It has been entirely too long since my last post, but there’s a good reason for the hiatus.

I was recently accepted into a Stock Broker Trainee Program, sponsored by Charles Schwab!!! I start on Monday.

That’s the good news. The other stuff that caused me to put WordPress on the back burner was to focus on getting as much of my school reimbursed by Amex as possible before I jump ship. This process is a pain, takes forever, and I needed to know that I wasn’t obligated to pay it back once I quit.
I did quit my job at Amex, which was tough. Oh, I also bought a house! And I am now just over halfway through my MBA program at Grand Canyon University (which is up almost 50% btw since I bought 40 shares back in March, $LOPE). Killed this Marketing Management course which wraps up this Wednesday.

Getting into the program was intense. I first had to apply online. My application was ignored. Then weeks later I get an email inviting me to a “Bridge Forum” to meet the company. I met the hiring manager for the Broker Trainee Program, as well as the recruiter, and got all the advice I needed to proceed. About a week later I got an email saying they received my application and then set up a time for a brief phone interview. After that brief (30-45min) phone interview, I was invited to take the SIFMA assessment – which was the hardest test I’ve ever taken in my life. Apparently I passed it because they then invited me to a face-to-face interview with two managers, which I prepared for the night before and nailed out of the park, if I don’t say so myself. Then they said I could formally apply, this meant 5 years of residence info, 5 years of past employer info, credit and criminal background checks, etc. which took about a week to process. All together, the whole process took about a month and a half from beginning to end.

Let me know if there’s anything else you want to know that I may be able to answer for you.

-Bill

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About williamk82

William Kohlmann is a student at Grand Canyon University’s Ken Blanchard College of Business where he is earning his Masters in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Finance while working full-time for a leading financial institution. He is an Eagle Scout from Troop 105 of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, aspires to be an entrepreneur, and currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his beautiful wife, Krystal.
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10 Responses to Broker Trainee Program

  1. Holly S says:

    Hey Bill,

    I wanted to say nice blog, also I am going through the same ordeal you are describing above, the Broker Training interview process. I was wondering if you could possibly give me any advice or recommendations for the preparation of the Sifma exam. Or any feedback would be helpful!

    I have a masters in Public Administration and some work in more basic finance so I am not too confident about it! Nice work on the MBA, I think in a year or so I’ll go get mine.

    Good Luck with everything!

    • williamk82 says:

      Hi Holly! Congrats on deciding to shoot for the broker trainee program, it’s a great way to get on the fast track to a great career in finance. Honestly, I get asked that a lot about how to prepare for the SIFMA and spent a good two days trying to google any practice exams I could find – to no avail.
      My best advice is to get a good night’s sleep, don’t eat anything that’ll irritate your stomach, and when you get there – realize that you belong there and that you’re smarter than at least half the others there, despite how smart they may look. That’s it, because from what I know it’s not whether you score a certain percentage or higher to pass, but rather they take the top 50% (more or less) no matter what the numerical scores wind up being.
      It’s a lot of calculating dividends. So you have to know how much a quarterly dividend will be based on the price per share and dividend yield, that sort of thing. There are some tax questions, and you may have to determine which yield is better, a 4.5% compounded quarterly versus 5% annually. It’s a very tough test, but they’ll take you even if you score a 50%, as long as the other half of the candidates scored less than you.
      If you have any questions let me know!
      Good luck and stay in touch!
      -Bill

  2. Holly S says:

    Hey Bill!

    Thank you so much for your positive energy and detailed feedback. I feel much better after reading your comment! You are more helpful than any other resource I have found.

    I do have one question for you, and possibly this varies by location? However, my recruiter emailed me saying I could use a calculator, pencil, and scratch paper during the test. Was this true in your case?

    Everything I’ve read online says calculators are not permitted, which I can understand, but without pencil and scratch paper I would be significantly be slowed down. Anyway, just thought I would ask to ease my mind a bit.

    Thanks for all your input!

    Holly

    • williamk82 says:

      Well the first half was a logic test, like: The Director said he will definitely resign as soon as the majority of the sales staff resigns. The majority of the sales staff intends to resign by the end of the year, and half have already resigned. The Director will…
      A) Definitely resign
      B) Probably resign
      C) Possibly resign
      D) Not resign
      E) Not enough information

      Don’t assume or make up stuff here. The answer would be C.

      To be honest, I don’t feel that I’m bad at logic but I felt math was my strong suit and remember thinking after the logic part was done “Whew, good thing I’m better at math.” But the math part was harder. Mostly because we couldn’t use a calculator.

  3. Jerusha says:

    Hello Bill, I would love to chat with you about the broker trainee program. I took the test the first time and I could not pass it. I am currently an employee and student at Grand Canyon University. I earned my bachelor’s in Finance and Economics from the University and now I am doing a dual MBA in Accounting and Finance at Grand Canyon University. I really want to go into investments. Any advice or companies you can provide recommendations for will be helpful.

    • williamk82 says:

      Hi Jerusha! I’m almost finish earning my MBA in Finance at GCU. What could I help you with? I suggest you Like all the recruiters for major investment firms like Schwab. By the way, both Edward Jones and Vanguard have MBA rotation programs where once you graduate you can join them to work for a couple months at various different roles. That might be something you want to look into more. Let me know however I can help!

  4. carter says:

    bill,
    Great post looking at joining the program as well. I was hoping I could possibly shoot you and email with questions and talk about the interview process and working at schwa. my email is carter.achilles25@gmail.com and I would love to hear from you.

  5. Andy says:

    Bill,

    I just came across your blog and find it very helpful. Like the others, I’m in the process of interviewing for the Broker Training program, I had the phone interview today, and am waiting to schedule the in-person interview (most likely end of the week). Do you have any info you can give me on what to expect? Anything helps. You’re more than welcome to email me at Apat81@gmail.com.

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