Where did you go to school and what did you decide to study? I pursued a double major in Computer Science and Business Administration at UC Berkeley. For me, computer science was always a no brainer because I always enjoyed solving programming problems. I viewed solving these problems more of a game than a challenge while growing up. Further, I chose business more so for the community aspect. Early on in college, I met people who were majoring in business that I really looked up to as not only individuals who worked extremely hard, but also were extremely purposeful with their work. I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to double major, as I couldn’t have met a better group of people to share my college experience with.
Did you always know you wanted to chase a career in Fintech? Not at all – in high school I thought I was going to be a software developer or maybe even a product manager. However, after going through the interview process at Optiver, I found myself actually enjoying the problems asked in the interviews. The questions were definitely not easy, but it allowed me to use all the skills I had built over the past few years. The amazing experience I had this past summer definitely cemented that initial interest I had, and I couldn’t be happier to start this upcoming year at the firm.
What was your position as an intern? My position as an intern mirrored the responsibilities of a full-time trader. After taking a 5-week derivatives trading class, my main tasks were performing simulation trading on the S&P 500 and also helping one of the teams on the trading floor. My particular team was the S&P Outright team, which used data analysis on both historical data and current events to make trading decisions. I found this perfect for my skillset, as I was both able to learn from experienced traders on their quick decision-making process, but also was able to leverage my computer science and data analysis skillset to code my own tools to help improve the team’s future decisions.
What was the most rewarding and or influential part of your summer? By far the most rewarding part of my summer was the great people I got to work with. I found great mentors in the form of my intern supervisor and my mentor. I am still amazed by how invested they were in my success – I remember one day my mentor stayed an entire two hours after work to make sure I understood a concept. Outside of those two individuals, I always found the traders so helpful whenever I wanted to shadow them or had a question.
What was the most surprising aspect of your internship, something you weren’t expecting to experience? Echoing my above point, I think the most surprising part of my internship was how invested individuals at the firm were in my success. Even though everyone had products that they were constantly trading, along with personal projects continuously keeping them busy, they still found time to help and guide me whenever I was curious about anything at all. There were even times when traders would come to the intern area just to help us out with concepts and to make sure we were having a good time.
Now that you’ve gone through the internship program and will be starting a full time position, looking back, what advice would you give yourself on that first day at Optiver? I think starting out, I was definitely intimidated by how incredibly smart individuals at Optiver were and how everyone had so much responsibility. However, as the weeks went by, I realized how much of a great resource everyone at the firm was. This was not only in regards to giving trading advice, but also sharing about their personal individual experiences at the firm and interests outside the workplace. I definitely think interns should chat and interact with as many people at the firm as possible and be proactive in reaching out. Taking every opportunity to participate in team events was definitely one of the reasons I enjoyed working at Optiver so much.