How did you get into meditation and yoga? I first started practicing yoga as a teenager after a serious sports injury left me in pain and immobilized. Yoga became an integral part of my physical rehabilitation - also a huge part of my mental recovery - and I began meditating as a means to increase focus for my rigorous athletic and academic schedule. I found that meditation helped me with my high levels of anxiety, and deepened my attention to the tasks of my day.
How did you learn about DRW? I learned about DRW through Brian, who manages the team I’m a part of. I was introduced to Brian and after hearing about DRW I was immediately drawn to the organization. I had a background working in the cryptocurrency space and Cumberland DRW happened to be hiring for a position I felt I was a strong fit for me and my interests. Can you describe your interview experience?
How have you facilitated the company culture while a majority of DRW’s teams work from home? Video call activities have helped replace our in-person events. It’s been great to see how employees are able to engage with co-workers they don’t directly work with, which doesn’t always replicate in a physical in-person setting. Interactive cooking and cocktail classes, trivia nights, wine tastings, fitness challenges, guided meditation, and book clubs are just a few examples of events we have continued to host virtually throughout the year that we try to hold at least a few times each month.
What was the transition to a remote work environment like as a result of the COVID-19 virus? We moved to a company-wide remote work environment on Monday, March 16, 2020. It all unfolded so quickly, and I was amazed by how easy and seamless the process appeared to be, although I know that a lot of our technology teams had been working around the clock to get everything up and running.
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.
Caitlin Axland – Assistant Facilities Manager Chris Walquist – Development Engineering Services Manager What advice do you have on how to stay prepared during unexpected work scenarios? CAITLIN: Adapt and be flexible. Situations like COVID-19 are unpredictable, but if you are flexible and quick to adjust, you will be able to find a creative solution to any problem that comes to light. CHRIS: Pandemics have happened before, but the likelihood was so remote that it hadn’t figured into my team’s disaster preparedness planning.
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.
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.
Remote Workouts Looking for more exercise? Peloton is bringing a remote fitness experience to the next level with a full library of classes ranging from yoga and meditation to strength and outdoor running. You can download the Peloton app to any device and access their free trial up to 90 days. SIGN UP HERE. Meditation Headspace is an online healthcare company that offers a variety of resources on their website and app specifically designed to guide individuals in steps that can help improve their overall well-being.
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.
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.
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.
At STATS, Dr. Helen Sun is responsible for all things product, engineering, and design, including her company’s artificial intelligence (AI) group. STATS, a sports data intelligence company, pioneered the space of sports data and analytics. In short - any sports related questions you might have can be answered by STATS. Currently, Dr. Sun is in a unique role, as her company prepares to transition from data analytics to AI powered software.
Carissa Although I don’t have much of my own robotics knowledge, working with the students at DRW College Prep has been an experience within itself. I started in October, and joined my colleague Bob (who started the DRW College Prep Robotics Team) every Thursday to share my programming knowledge with the students. Every week, we set out an objective or feature for the students to accomplish. It might be as complex as incorporating a new computer vision library into their program, or as simple as changing out a robot’s tire to get over a crater.
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.
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.
Coleman I’ve been playing video games since before I can remember, starting with the original Nintendo. This led me to PC gaming, where I have started to compete in tournaments. Although I started my eSports experience with StarCraft II, today I almost exclusively play Rocket League. eSports have exploded over the past several years, with teams facing each other in different games around the world. Because these tournaments can be played from anywhere in world, our DRW team meets up online to practice and all our practices are done using scrimmages.
From a young age, Steve Wozniak had a knack for computing. By experimenting with different processors, he found a way to create his own games and programs, including different versions of games like Pong. This work culminated in a collaboration with Atari on the well-known game Breakout when he was in his 20s. The Woz was on his way to becoming a leading force in the computer revolution. After inviting Steve Jobs to join him at a local computer club, they decided to work together to build computers for personal use, leveraging Wozniak’s knowledge of computers and Jobs’ understanding of people.
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.
David How long have you been playing poker? I’ve been playing poker since I was a kid, but started getting semi-serious in 2014. What is the most challenging thing about poker? In terms of challenges, I really enjoy trying to break down a hand after it occurs. In real time, you have to try to make the best decision you can, but if you’re ever in a similar spot in the future, you can be prepared.
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.
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.
As traders and technologists, we use data to inform every decision we make. The same goes for DRW College Prep, where data shapes an individualized approach for each student and motivates students to thrive in high school and beyond. With a short four years to prepare DRW College Prep students to get to and through college, Superintendent Michael Milkie, Principal Jennifer Reid, and Dean of College Counseling Danielle Mack lean on data to use those years most effectively.
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.
Montreal Our Montreal office held their holiday party at Salon Richmond, located in Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighborhood. The whole office all sat down together for dinner, followed by music and dancing. The Volunteer of the Year award was given to one employee for his work with Service à la Famille Chinoise du Grand-Montréal – an organization who supports recent Chinese immigrants as they settle into life in Montreal. Chicago Nearly every DRW Chicago employee chose to spend their Saturday at the newly renovated Grand Banking Hall at Wintrust Financial Corporation.
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.
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.
As the daughter of refugees who came to the United States to make a better life for their family, Reshma grew up with a passion to create opportunities for others. Reshma was captain of the debate team in school and a political science major, and learned throughout her formative experiences that everyone deserves to have access to economic opportunities. So, at 33, she decided to take a risk and run for the U.
Chelsea: I’m a senior in computer science at a small liberal arts school. I love my school, but the opportunities in technology are more limited than at large schools known for computer science. The Grace Hopper Celebrationof Women in Computing is the perfect place for me to get the type of exposure and networking that I need to start my career. The second I got there, I hit the ground running.
Speaking in our Chicago office 13 years after he wrote “What Should I do With My Life?”, Bronson shared how resilience fuels risk taking and the connection between competition and risk taking. Resilience is a risk-taking tool Bronson explains that it’s a myth to think there is one single passion out there for each person. In fact, the happiest and most successful people are able to make the best out of any situation, finding passion in anything they try.
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.
Dr. Richard Davidson, known as “Richie” to his friends and associates, is a leader in applying rigorous scientific research to these questions as founder of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He recently visited our Chicago office as part of our speaker series, which gives our employees direct access to big ideas, breakthroughs of interest and exceptional people from outside the company. Dr. Davidson shared his research into well-being and how to build a healthy mind.
Rachael: A few years back, I was a regular at a local spin studio. I enjoyed the community and regular exercise, but it started to feel stagnant after a few months. I wasn’t being challenged, and decided I needed to try something totally new. I had tried every fad in the book – yoga, running, spin – and I had grown tired of them all. I needed a new reason to stay engaged and challenged in my fitness regimen.
It’s hard to develop an intuition about what is fast versus what is simpler to write, test and maintain, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of not confirming an assumption. I once traced unexpectedly poor performance back to code that purportedly prefaulted some memory into the process. In fact, the compiler was smart enough to notice the code wasn’t using the memory it was touching and happily optimized the whole prefaulting code away!
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.
DRW: Why are you so passionate about C++ versus other languages? Jason Turner: With C++ we know exactly what the compiler is doing, we know exactly what it’s going to execute when we go to run our programs. You’re not going to get that combination of safety and performance out of any other language. It gives us a lot of compile time guarantees. If we are writing a program that’s doing something that doesn’t make sense, there is a good chance the compiler will catch it for us.
Trader at DRW London: Throughout my whole life, I’ve enjoyed swimming and cycling, so a few years back I decided to give running a go and compete in triathlons. When I first started training, my only goal was to get out there and enjoy it. I swam, cycled and ran with passion. I used my training to really appreciate how lucky I am to be able to run, swim and cycle – three sports I love.
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.
Our founder and CEO Don Wilson once shared, “I am most interested in projects that have a long term impact on improving the community in which we live. Nothing comes closer to accomplishing that than education.” With that mission in mind, DRW worked with the Noble Network of Charter Schools to support a high school in the Homan Square neighborhood of Chicago – just six miles west of DRW’s Chicago headquarters.
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.