What is City Scholars and what does the program entail? Brenna: City Scholars is a partnership between the University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering and Tech companies in Chicago that is designed to increase Chicago’s tech talent pipeline. Our goal is to show students the great opportunities that are available to them in Chicago’s growing tech world and encourage them to build lifelong careers in this industry as well as here in Chicago.
How did you learn about DRW? I was referred by a friend who works at DRW. I joined DRW because I was looking for a company where people like each other and I was impressed by the longevity of the employees. Most people I talked with had been at the firm at least four years, and some more than ten. I wanted to work at a place where people are smart, motivated and emotionally intelligent.
Can you describe your interview experience? My interviews and onboarding processes were all coordinated by HR and handled via video calls due to team members and offices working remotely. Although it was a new and different type of experience, the entire process was very smooth. There was always an easy transition between each interviewer and my onboarding process was just the same. I felt connected to the experience in a similar way I imagine I would have felt if it were face-to-face.
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Can you tell us about how you apply your computer science background to your career? As a trader, I use many interconnected pieces of software to conduct research, identify trading opportunities, and manage portfolio risk. Having a computer science background allows me to have a richer and more precise dialogue with our technologists when it comes to improving our systems or suggesting new features. My quantitative and computer science background enables me to understand the fundamentals of a problem we’re facing and then quickly prototype and propose a solution.
Can you tell us about a time when you applied computer science to your role early in your career? I applied my computer science degree on my very first day of my very first job. I was assigned GUI development work on a chat application. Whenever someone joined or left the channel, the application would freeze. My senior team members were stumped as to why this was happening. They were smart and most had engineering backgrounds.
When did you know that a career in trading was the right path for you? When I was younger, I was really good at playing video games and had dreams of developing them through the first part of high school. Ironically, we had someone from the Chicago Board of Trade visit my economics class my junior year of high school to talk to us about trading. He explained that it was fast-paced, dynamic, objective, and very competitive.
I’ve been at DRW for a little over a year now and I’ve been doing systems administration, DevOps, and Linux kernel debugging for almost 25 years. Like most systems administrators, we’re generalists on the Linux Services Team, but my primary focus is writing code to automate our systems administration processes. Because our trading desks and developers rely on infrastructure that is reliable, ensuring deployed Linux systems are in a consistent state contributes to DRW’s success in the markets.
During my summer at DRW, I held the position as a quant trading intern, and was given a wide range of responsibilities on various teams – from equity index futures and index options to fixed income. I was fortunate to work on various projects with the other quant trading interns, and I even got to use some of the mathematical theory I have learned from my degree and apply it to a real-world setting.
Throughout my internship at DRW, I had the opportunity to gain exposure to various skills and strategies across multiple teams. I started off on the European Equity Index Options (EIO) team and rotated through to the European Equity Index Futures team. I also had the chance to work with the London Fixed Income team. Most of my internship projects were focused around building a model or processing data to output signals for the traders.
Take risks. In order to achieve the amount of success you set for yourself in your career, you need to take risks, work hard, and sometimes start learning new skills from the beginning. Once you can learn and adapt, career success isn’t too far behind. Be detail oriented. You will advance in your career quickly if you are able to effectively listen, ask good questions, and learn from those around you.
What are your team’s responsibilities? Most days, my team and I are facilitating transactions around the globe. On those days, I spend most of my time improving existing calculations and processes, conducting research and developing new tools. The market is very fast-paced – and some days the markets can be pretty unpredictable – on those days I work close with the trading teams to ensure our risks are in line with the market conditions and add rigor into measurements by applying quantitative techniques.
What is a challenge you have experienced at work and how did you overcome it? My role at DRW consists of managing relationships with prime brokers and exchanges, including working with desks to manage day-to-day issues and setup markets. This requires having my hands in multiple projects across the firm. Working closely with several departments means I need to be ready for obstacles and surprises from internal or external parties that can pop up at any given time.
Do your research. Whether it’s a remote or in-person interview, you should always do some research on the company and the role you are interviewing for beforehand. Additionally, if you know who you are meeting with, try to get a better sense of their professional background as well as their role within the organization. Print your resume. It’s better to keep your resume next to you to reference instead of flipping between different browsers on your monitor, which may indicate to your interviewer that you are not paying attention.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role? As a Quant Trading Analyst, I work on trading and research strategies along with assisting the day to day trading for my team. My team is a hard-working and smart group of people, and everyone contributes something different to the group – a necessity when we are working towards tackling a large problem together! What do some of your previous education and experiences include?
Brian – Director of Strategy for Cumberland, DRW’s crypto asset subsidiary Thad – IT Desktop Team Lead Zach – Head of Strategic Planning As DRW has worked to maximize the ability of our people to work remotely, what has been the biggest challenge for you and your team? THAD: Providing and assisting users with new work-from-home technology has been an exciting challenge for my team. From creating new remote setups to demonstrating how to utilize the equipment, we worked quickly to take common requests and create a standard template to provide information to users.
With large-scale tech projects involving office servers, infrastructure servers, AWS and other cloud-based products, Michelle enabled DRW to be efficient and smart in how we migrate our systems, which includes getting buy-in from our senior leaders on making the change. She’s a trusted mentor to engineers not only on her team but beyond and has built trust throughout the organization by openly sharing ideas and best practices to help the operations of other groups run more efficiently.
Angel As a computer engineer, the finance industry isn’t always the most obvious career path. Spending my summer at DRW was the perfect way to learn more about the space and figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my degree from McGill. I knew I was off to a good start when I was given my own project to own very early on during my internship. I was assigned to write a server to make an existing trading system more efficient.
Aleksa I had a really positive experience interviewing at DRW, and it didn’t take me long to realize it would be a great place to work over the summer. I’m currently a Quantitative Trading Analyst intern, which means I get to combine technology, research and risk management to help identify optimal trading strategies. Between collaborating with the senior traders and technologists on my desk, I’ve already learned a ton in my time here.
Alexis As an intern in DRW’s London office, my placement looks a little different than usual as it’s six months long. I was excited for this because I knew that I’d be able to spend a long time diving deep into the industry, and to see what life as a software engineer is really like. Working alongside real stakeholders – the traders who will be using the tools I’ve built – makes it a valuable experience.
Bryan I start my day reading venture capital (VC) articles on TechCrunch, Axios, or VC blogs – it’s a great way to start my morning as it’s an industry I’m very interested in. DRW VC focuses on investing in companies in the fintech space, which is quickly evolving. By taking the time to catch up on all that has happened over the last 24 hours, I feel like I’m setting myself up for success in my work for the rest of the day.
Jen When solving a problem, it all comes down to logic – if you don’t understand the basic reasoning behind what you’re trying to accomplish, it is impossible to solve. Since I’ve joined DRW as an intern, I’ve come to understand how truly valuable logic is, and how it affects not only my team, but the rest of the firm. I work on our Research Infrastructure team, and a good chunk of my team works remotely or in one of our offices around the world.
Jiang I decided to spend my summer at DRW for a lot of reasons. But, the experience I heard from previous DRW interns at my school was what sealed the deal. The Singapore office is relatively new, but it didn’t take long for DRW’s reputation to spread as a great place to work at the National University of Singapore. I was looking for a company to help me better understand what I want to do in my career, and an internship at a trading firm seemed like a perfect first step.
Yukun I knew my internship at DRW was going to come with a lot of unexpected challenges, but that’s what made me most excited. I’ve always had an interest in quantitative finance, so working at a trading firm like DRW was the perfect fit. During my time here, I’ve been solving real-world problems, which means the work I’m doing is really valuable. I’ve focused on using deep learning to predict yield curve dynamics over different conditions.
Where there is risk there is also reward, and the financial trading industry is one place that fully embodies that sentiment. But for many, the rewards can be much greater than merely seeing monetary gain. Life in this fast-paced sphere is unique, and its qualities do a lot to stoke the interests and work styles of the huge number of professionals who choose to live on or near the trading room floor.
Wen Bin Last year, I decided to join DRW as a Quantitative Research intern because I was interested in the challenge of a research position. Since I’ve joined my team, I’ve been given the freedom to come up with multiple ways to tackle a problem, and then bring those solutions back to my team for more guidance. My team is willing to take the time to give me pointers and suggestions to improve my ideas – and it’s helped me build a better understanding of the work I’m doing for the firm.
It’s not hard to find a good story in the tech industry. The problem is that due to the industry’s staggering gender gap, most of these stories center on the struggles and accomplishments of men. Stories about starting a company after dropping out of college or while working out of a garage command attention, but they’re not the only ones capable of inspiring and exciting the technologists of tomorrow. Read more at Built In Chicago.
I joined DRW as a Real-Time Trading Intern this past summer while finishing my studies in Economics, Finance, and Math at McGill University. I remember my excitement on the first day as an intern as my cohort convened in the cafeteria to eat breakfast. While I was setting up my desk and getting access to my Bloomberg terminal, the hustle and bustle on the trading floor – which now feels so familiar – was energizing and made me even more eager to dive into my work.
In this age of the Sunday scaries, people who are truly invigorated by their 9-to-5 may seem few and far between. A full 53 percent of workers aren’t engaged at work, according to a 2018 Gallup poll, and that same poll shows that turnover rates are only getting higher. Read more at FairyGodBoss.
Susan Kilrain has dedicated over 20 years of her life to naval service, and has broken barriers in the Navy and with NASA - which all started from her humble beginnings in Georgia. Kilrain had long dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Her father would often take her and her siblings to watch planes take off and land at a nearby airport. At this time, every woman she knew was either a nurse, a teacher, or a stay at home mother, but her father reminded her that she could be whatever she wanted to be.
DRW has long been at the intersection of technology and finance, so it’s no surprise they’re at the forefront of the latest financial revolution: cryptoassets. The principal trading firm and its cryptoasset subsidiary, Cumberland, are working to bring predictability and clarity to a rapidly-evolving industry. To do so, developers are building off the tools and expertise that have previously helped them create agriculture and fixed income market models. Read more at Built in Chicago.
Carissa Miller had just finished her master’s degree in computer science and was ready to leave the world of classrooms behind her. Previously a high school math teacher on the verge of burnout, she’d decided to make the leap to software engineering with little technical experience in her past and a lot of hope for more varied waters in her future. Read more at FairyGodBoss.
DRW plans to increase its Singapore headcount from its current level of 40, and many of the new recruits will be technologists, says Brook Teeter, DRW’s head of Asia, adding that he prefers not to set precise headcount targets. “You don’t necessarily need finance sector experience to join us as a technologist, which means we’re competing with technology firms for talent as well as financial institutions,” he adds. “We’ve found that candidates from the technology industry – whether at established players or startups – are very keen to learn about financial markets and apply their skills in our industry.
One year later – Matt: I developed a personal interest in cryptoassets by learning directly from the Cumberland team. I would often stop by after the markets closed on the grains desk to talk to my friends about the various assets they were trading, the underlying Blockchain technology, and the fact that these markets never closed. I was intrigued by the space so when I saw an opportunity to join the team, I reached out to talent acquisition and two weeks later I was working full time on Cumberland.
Scheduling your interview It’s helpful to respond to our email requesting a phone interview as quickly as possible, and it will help you move through our interview process faster. In your email response, please provide at least three times during your local time’s normal business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) that work for you. No need to include available time over the weekend as phone interviews are only conducted during the week – our teams like to enjoy their time away from the office, too!
Scheduling your interview When you are setting up your interview, be as prompt as possible when communicating back and forth with our campus team. We want to make sure we are getting you the best flights and hotel accommodations for your schedule, and quick email responses help us make that happen. Planning ahead If you haven’t received final details about your on-site interview, there’s no need to worry. We will send an e-mail the week of your on-site interview with everything you need to know.
If you’re applying for one of our Software Developer positions, your assessment will be coding based. Hereis a sample test on Codility to help you prepare. You can expect questions at varying difficulty levels that will assess both correctness and performance of your code. Codility tasks also vary – some may set up a scenario and ask you to write functions in order to get to a specific answer, others may have you pretend you are in a game and you need to help one player win.
Stand out Your resume is typically our introduction to you. Take a moment to look through the job description you are applying for, and adjust your resume slightly to highlight the key skills and attributes that make you a perfect fit for that role. It’s important to include specific things on your resume to help you stand out. At DRW, we value continuous learning and deep curiosity. Maybe you work in a physics research lab, you achieved the highest grade in your data structures course or you are president of the ‘women in engineering’ program at your school – these are all valuable indicators of how you would fit into the culture at DRW.
Sam - Trading Analyst Intern My main task as an intern in Chicago this summer has been to forecast macroeconomic trends in the market. My work has involved beginning with a holistic view and gradually narrowing the scope of my research in order to add clarity to subtle trends. Some of the data I’m using exists internally with our research and market data teams, but I also spend time collecting interesting and relevant data from external sources.
Yunji - Software Developer Intern This week, I’m putting the final touches on my project before my internship ends. I’ve been building an application to improve upon the one my team currently has in place. I’m hoping the work I did this summer will provide my team with a new application that will improve our current system, and make my team’s workflow more efficient. Since I had to use Elixir (a language I’ve never coded in before), the process was challenging, but I had a lot of resources to help me along the way and love that I’m leaving my internship with a new skill.
Career Fairs / Info Sessions Check our calendar in late August to see what events we are attending in your area. We visit career fairs around the US, Singapore, Canada and the UK. When you stop by our booth, make sure you’re prepared to meet us. Take a look at our website the day before to get a better idea of what we do and what we’re all about. If you’re waiting in line to meet us at our booth, pull out your phone and scan our website to get a quick refresher.
I credit my career as a software developer to my parents, who were programmers themselves. When I was growing up, girls were often encouraged to pursue careers in education, law and medicine, while toys and hobbies related to technology were marketed to boys. Thanks to my parents, I was exposed to computing at a young age when they gave me a computer on my eighth birthday. In my schooling, they encouraged my interest in mathematics and science right up until I graduated from Concordia University in 2013 with a degree in software engineering.
Shannon: Udacity Design of Computer Programs - Peter Norvig My first pick, although not a book, is a great way to get experience designing more challenging applications and improve your Python skills. Taught by Peter Norvig, the Director of Research at Google, you’ll learn how an accomplished engineer approaches these problems. Peter will start you off with a challenge, give hints, and then allow you to fill in the rest of the code yourself.
Jimin: Going into this, I was feeling nervous, excited and ready for a new challenge. I got off to an interesting start – literally getting lost as I was navigating my way around downtown Chicago and getting used to the daily commute. In the end, I am so grateful for all of the experiences. I first heard about City Scholars back in October. The College of Engineering hosted a networking event with all the companies participating in the program.
After I completed a bachelor’s degree in international development and economics, I focused on finding a way to reconcile my interest in history and geopolitics with a natural urge to move towards banking or finance. A research analyst position seemed like the best of both worlds, and I’m fortunate to be in a role – in our Montreal office - that focuses on major news-making events around the globe. It definitely requires flexibility with your work hours.
Meteorologists predict weather patterns that ultimately impact people, products and services across the globe. First and foremost, weather impacts the lives of individuals, but beyond that it also impacts the economy. Hurricanes can shut down oil refineries, floods can wipe out crops, and heat waves can stress power grids to the breaking point. While one of the oldest jokes in the book is that meteorologists are wrong 50% of the time, those results wouldn’t cut it in real life.
Chicago has become the epicenter of bitcoin mania. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Cboe Global Markets were the first exchanges to launch bitcoin futures at the end of 2017. And one of the largest traders of cryptocurrencies is Chicago’s own DRW. Since the firm launched in 1992, one of its key principles has been diversification. That’s where DRW’s chief information officer, Seth Thomson, comes into the picture. The Quantitative Risk Management (QRM) and Citadel alumnus joined DRW in July 2007.
Kim Trautmann is the Director of DRW Venture Capital. Kim has been personally and professionally investing in financial technology for over a decade. How did you get into bitcoin? I was first introduced to the bitcoin and blockchain industry in 2013. I had a meeting with an influential investor and all he talked about was bitcoin. This was one of my most memorable early conversations because he knew so much about the space and couldn’t have been more excited.
Before his talk, Jason sat with a small group of DRW employees (and baseball fans) to reminisce about some of his early career milestones, including his first minor league baseball games in Auburn, New York. He shared one particularly memorable bus ride, “longer than any person should be on a bus,” when the driver stopped for 30 minutes for a bite at a roadside diner, leaving the entire team on the bus.
Read more at Built In Chicago.
CMU alumnus Alex Xiao is a trading analyst at the firm and offered students insights into his role in an information session. “As a student, there’s so much to learn and your time is so preoccupied with classes that when someone is here on campus and you get to meet them, talk to them face to face, develop a relationship, that helps a lot,” Xiao said. As a student in CMU’s Masters of Science and Computational Finance program, Xiao attended a 2015 DRW recruiting session on campus with eight other students.
Before you go: do your homework Before the info session on your campus, we recommend doing some research. First, visit your school’s career services to learn as much as you can about the recruiting process and the companies visiting your campus. Plan your schedule around the companies that pique your interest. Each school has an endless amount of resources available to help you find the right internship or full time job.
Although this is an exciting time, there’s a lot to think about as you plan for your first job, and the first stop is often your campus career fair. What’s the best way to navigate these events? Our campus recruiters have attended dozens of careers fairs and met with thousands of students. Here‘s what you can learn from their expertise: 1. Build a Roadmap Before you head into what can seem like an endless maze of companies, figure out exactly where you want to go.
He was most recently a Portfolio Manager with Citadel’s Fixed Income division, where he specialized in macroeconomic interest rate strategies. Prior to Citadel, Adam held roles with Brevan Howard and Credit Suisse First Boston. “Adam is an experienced fixed income trader, and I’m excited to bring someone with his talent and leadership to this role,” said Don Wilson, Founder and CEO of DRW. “Fixed income trading has been a key area of focus for DRW since I founded the firm while in the Eurodollar options pit, and Adam’s presence will further strengthen this focus.
That same day, I had to go to the CME to gain access to the floor. This trip included a few very long and silent elevator rides with our CEO Don Wilson. I’m happy to report every day (and elevator ride!) since has been much more comfortable. I really feel at home here. I’m surrounded by intelligent and kind people all working towards a common goal. Although I spend about eight hours a day thinking about trading, I’ve connected with my coworkers through the activities I do outside of my actual job responsibilities, particularly our charitable efforts.
Early on, Levy knew she wanted to be a lawyer, and after law school she thought she’d found her place as a corporate attorney in a law firm. Thirty-two years later, giving an interview from her office with DRW, a Chicago-based financial trading firm, she expresses amazement at the twists and turns, which she says have been all for the better. Read more at Vanguard Law.
Matt: During a summer in high school, I was a clerk in the grains pits at the Chicago Board of Trade. DRW was a regular counterparty, so I got to know the firm’s traders well. From there I went on to intern at DRW twice during college, and I started working full time here after I graduated from MIT. In just a few short years, I’ve had a really broad view into trading – from running sheets in the pit to working on a primarily electronic trading desk.
Leading up to the 3rd Annual Little Black Dress Night, we’re giving you the special chance to get to know some of our featured guests. Kimberly Trautmann is director at DRW VC. ChiTech: What led you into entrepreneurship? Kimberly Trautmann: I got my first taste of entrepreneurship when I started a jewelry business in high school. I made jewelry and sold it to stores. Now I help other entrepreneurs build their businesses as an investor.
Thomson spoke with nine students last week about seizing any opportunity that come up. He lives his life by taking chances. “Every day, I’m uncomfortable,” Thomson said to the students. “I’m always stretching and growing.” Thomson spends part of his time bringing coding skills to diverse communities. He’s driven by making tech an equal playing field, which makes him a perfect fit with ChiTech’s Mission and values. “We haven’t done a good job preparing students, veterans, whoever, for the jobs of the future.
Like many of my peers, I started down the path towards Silicon Valley. Most of the companies I was interviewing with had big names and even bigger products that I had used or heard of before. But, as I got deeper into the process, I saw more of what my actual day to day would look like at these companies. I would start out as a junior developer, sit in a small desk in some corner of a huge global enterprise and write code that would have a minimal effect on the application as a whole.
Godbolt addressed a crowded electrical engineering and computer science classroom filled with primarily EECS undergraduate students, discussing his career path and the financial trading field. Read more at The Michigan Daily.
1. Show Your Passion Our people are passionate about what they do, inside and outside of the office. They might be passionate about new tech projects, economics, coding languages, or mentoring students from DRW College Prep. We look for candidates with similar passion, so think about what matters most to you and be ready to share it. 2. Be Confident First impressions are important, and walking in with confidence goes a long way.
I came to my career choice the way many students do—trying a few things until something sticks. When I started college at the University of Chicago, I was interested in science and math, but wasn’t really sure what to pursue. Eventually I decided that what actually interested me was using math to solve problems and, after some exposure to economics and finance, I realized that applying math to markets in a trading environment would be ideal.