DRW hits the 25-year milestone in 2017. What started as Don Wilson trading in the Eurodollar options pit at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has evolved into much more than a trading firm. And there have been countless employees over these 25 years who helped make this happen – throughout the summer, we’ll share stories from a few of them.
I first heard about DRW during my junior year of college at UNC-Chapel Hill, targeting a front office summer internship. That internship would lead to my first job as a Trading Analyst, a new role as Head of Campus Recruiting and Education and now to being the Leasing and Asset Manager for Convexity Properties – a DRW Company. It’s been a really interesting career path.
DRW has changed significantly over my 12 years. We’ve grown in size, moved offices, brought in the food (we didn’t always get breakfast and lunch!), acquired other businesses, started new trading desks, stepped up our holiday party game, opened new offices, and invested in real estate. But one thing has stayed the same along the way – DRW never stopped learning.
From my first interaction with folks at DRW to now, I’ve been impressed by the wit, intelligence and commitment to continuous learning. When I started, I had no idea how to research strategies, assess risk and then actually complete a trade, but I was smart, driven and curious so they wanted to teach me. They were eager to bring on people who shared the same values and, at the same time, challenged how things were being done.
A big turning point for me was our visit to the Chicago Board of Trade during my first Super Day. The energy and excitement on the floor was incredible to see and, just a few months later, I was interning on the floor, verifying trades and learning as much as I could. I was given direct access to experienced traders who would give me detailed answers for every question I had. The way I approach investing today stems from the fundamentals I learned that summer.
I returned a year later, and learned just how quickly the markets evolve. Some traders had moved from the pits to computers upstairs – immediately shifting that same energy from the floor towards building cutting-edge systems. The team that had taught me so much about trading evolved with the markets, and were now teaching themselves, and each other, a new way to approach trading.
We quickly realized a need to formalize this education happening around the office. We all had to know how to trade and how to understand the advanced systems underpinning our trading activity, while creating a strong pipeline of talent with new skill sets. That was when I transitioned to campus recruiting, and worked to formalize the recruiting and education process. I worked directly with traders, engineers and researchers to understand what skills they needed at the desk. I would find the right people, figure out where our knowledge gaps were, and then build an annual education program around that.
Taking a strategic approach to education immediately took off. What started as a weekly meeting evolved into a six-week long training program teaching interns, new hires and experienced employees about trading and programming for the financial markets. Putting this program in place and seeing students grow into successful traders, researchers and engineers (a few have become partners at the firm!) was an extremely rewarding experience.
Then, the financial crisis happened and the markets changed once again. Seeing opportunity, DRW began to build out our real estate arm and we needed someone to manage leasing and assets. What I learned as a Trading Analyst and as a Campus Recruiter prepared me perfectly for this job – analyzing risk and finding the right people to stabilize and add value to assets. Now, the assets I work with are more tangible than financial instruments, but I still maintain the same approach and the same focus on growth. I’ve been able to tweak my career path to align with my strengths three times under the same roof, each time supported by leadership.
That leadership is still as open minded and approachable as they were 12 years ago. Good people attract other good people, which makes each day enjoyable – in any role. I’ve been able to make lifelong friends at DRW. This place is family to me.