Intern Shares Advice on How to Get Started on a Project with Little-to-No Industry Experience
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. The projects have been super interesting and very meaningful. It’s especially rewarding to know that the EIO team is actively using the platform that we built during our rotation.
The most valuable part of the internship was working closely with the project mentors and the other interns on our projects each week. I always knew I could count on my project mentors to offer feedback on any of our work and answer any of our questions.
One of the most important things I took away from my teammates and project mentors was learning how to go about projects when I did not know how to get started, especially when I did not know the answers upfront. One example was when I was working on a volatility analysis project. I had to use several DRW libraries (which were new to me) and the set-up of these libraries was a bit different than some I had seen in the past! I knew that the only way to get started was to dive right in and adapt. Figuring some of these tools out had a steep learning curve, but it was really fun and engaging as well.
To anyone looking for an internship at DRW, or even a similar role, my advice would be to not worry if you do not have much industry experience. DRW did not expect me to have the technical skills right out of the gate, and you would be surprised how many skills and vocabulary you pick up along the way. When joining meetings, try to take in as much as you can, research what you don’t understand, and ask lots of questions – I know I did! Just remember that at the end of the day your mentors want you to grow and be successful.
Another piece of advice I would offer to anyone starting out is to make sure you have a good grasp of your basics. Ensure your mathematics and statistics skills are as solid as they can be. For example, I made sure that I brushed up on a lot of data science skills before my internship started, because I wanted to have a foundation of knowledge in certain areas before getting started. That saved me a lot of time in the long run!