I have always been interested in finance because of my passion for economics and mathematics. I’m originally from Germany, although I went to high school and college in the U.K. I did an internship with another bank very early on in my education. I worked on the Derivatives Sales desk there, and loved the analytical aspect of the job. My summer internship with Credit Suisse confirmed that Derivatives Sales was the right spot for me. I also realized that Credit Suisse had a phenomenal culture.
I officially joined the company as an Analyst. Now I’m an Associate working in the Equity Derivatives Sales team in London. I cover a broad array of products and my job is to act as a liaison for our institutional investor, asset manager and hedge fund clients. We work with clients from the U.K., Europe and North America who are looking to invest in our region. I provide them with ideas for interesting trades, and my thoughts on the current market environment. Ultimately my aim is for the clients to earn as profitable returns as possible.
My role is one of the few jobs where I get to initiate an idea, present it to the client and then close the trade myself. From the first step to the last, I’m involved with the process. I find it very rewarding to do it all, from proposing the plan to making sure it all comes to fruition to ensuring that the client is happy with the transaction.
The culture here is very entrepreneurial. It doesn’t matter where ideas come from, it could be from an Associate or Analyst. If the idea is a good one and the Managing Director supports it, it can be acted on very quickly. We try new things all time. We want people to think independently, and the company wants to move forward and take action on good ideas.
I was also drawn to the international aspect of working with so many bright people from different backgrounds. I was brought up bilingually, speaking German and Spanish at home, and I learned English and French as well. I use my language skills on a day-to-day basis in my role: with clients and they are incredibly useful in such an international setting. For instance, I’ve got an Italian colleague to my right, a French co-worker to my left and someone from the U.K. behind me. We are all working together and everyone has a positive attitude. People want to work as a team, and that provides added motivation to do well.
I come in at about 6:30 a.m. before the market opens. Three days per week, we have a standing meeting to discuss the market environment, what might have happened overnight and any updates on our clients. As soon as the market opens, things get very busy. No two days are the same. It all depends on client requests and how the markets behave. We get busy again when the U.S. markets open and then things begin to slow down around 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The network you can build here is extremely valuable. When I started as an Analyst, I attended the introductory Analyst training program in New York. I met other Analysts who were assigned to similar roles in different regions all over the world. I’m still in touch with many of them on a regular basis. Access to senior management is also important and it’s easy here for junior people to interact with senior managers. If you want to learn and develop as a sales person and professional, everyone is very open to helping you, from junior peers to senior leaders.