This is the third of four posts is our blog series exploring the wide variety of qualities and skillsets that go into becoming a successful trader at IMC.
We caught up with Ermes and Rik to chat about their experiences as quantitative traders, known colloquially as quant traders, and to hear what they think is the key to success as an IMC trader. The answer, according to them, is flexibility.
Our conversation with Ermes and Rik started with a discussion of what quant traders actually do. For anyone considering a career in the field, how do you explain your job? “We trade through computers and algorithms in real time. We also analyze data from previous trades and use our findings to amend the team’s models.” Both also work in close collaboration with developers, so find it useful to have coding experience themselves.
“Some of us concentrate more on interacting immediately with the market, looking at trades that are happening and making changes in real time based on that. Others focus more on algorithmic and modelling work. But these really aren’t clearly defined roles – there’s a continuum and you can work at different points along it.”
Ermes and Rik are quick to point out that IMC is a fast-paced environment, no matter what role you play, and that it can be most interesting to find yourself switching between them. “It’s a play between doing what you like, and what the desk needs at the time,” Rik says. “Things change rapidly, and flexibility is an advantage. You need to adapt yourself.”
On the subject of adaptation, Ermes and Rik reflected on what the future of trading might hold. While the principles of trading have always stayed essentially the same, evolving technologies are influencing the way we work at an increasing pace. The potential for AI to impact how we process data could revolutionize the entire industry’s approach to trading.
In the meantime, we continue to be on the lookout for the next generation of world-class traders. There’s no need to know in advance what aspect of trading you’re most interested in or best suited to. You don’t even need a background in finance. What you do need is a competitive spirit, an eagerness to learn, and a readiness to collaborate with the people around you. The rest will come.
Explore current opportunities for interns and graduate traders and Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.