Back in 2011 I was 22 years old and had just finished my MSc in Physics in my home town of St. Petersburg in Russia. My work experience was limited to research in a lab and though it was challenging and interesting, I wanted to take a turn in my career and find a job in the field of finance. In order to gain more knowledge of the industry, pursuing an MSc Finance at LSE was a great idea. It was positively surprising (and overwhelming) just how many different roles there are in the finance industry. Hence during my first couple of months at LSE, I was exploring where exactly my passion belongs.
Eventually I came to realise that trading suits my analytical and curious mindset better than corporate finance or consulting for instance. I tried not to be picky and sent some applications for trader positions to major banks in London for full time positions. As competition was fierce and having no previous related work experience, I found my applications were declined several times. Nevertheless, I kept searching until I came across Optiver at one of the LSE careers fairs. Optiver is a specialized trading firm primarily focused on market making with headquarters located in Amsterdam. Optiver caught my attention as it was so different from other companies there. There was a mental test offered to check the individual’s numeracy skills. Of course I was not the best, which motivated me even more in the application process as I could prepare for the test. At Optiver I was given a chance to show my technical skills during the face to face interview and got a full-time job.
Having been at Optiver for 4 years now, I could not wish for a better workplace. The atmosphere is inspiring, people are friendly and results driven, tasks are often practical, but can be complex. It was possible to get accustomed to all the trading techniques and tricks on the way. That is why learning agility is as crucial as a strong mathematical base for the trader role. I enjoyed being in London for my studies and for work I had to move to Amsterdam. It proved to be a lovely city with enough diversity and international culture. We have more than 40 nationalities in the office and we manage to get along well. It is worth noting, that speaking Dutch is not a prerequisite to joining Optiver.
As a tip in job hunting, I would recommend being flexible and open for opportunities. A graduate job is an important step to building a successful career.