Did you already during your studies aim for a job in finance?
Not really, I selected the program at DTU since it was a mix of qualitative and quantitative courses. During my first year, I realised that it was the application of quantitative methods that I found interesting. My plan was then to start as a management consultant, and I set this dream to the test during an internship. Even though I really enjoyed the working environment, the diversity of projects and my colleagues, I just noticed that something wasn’t quite right, something was missing. In the same period, I had applied for a summer internship at Nordea Markets (you can actually apply for a summer internship 2023 in Markets now!). Being an eight weeks’ rotation program suited me very well, since I was not familiar with all the various career options that exist at a trading floor.
The internship at Markets was a very positive experience, and I got the opportunity to start full time after my studies in a graduate position, aiming at starting within the Investments team. Nordea is very good at facilitating internal moves to accommodate ones aspirations, and so, my original graduate plan changed six months before my first working day. The high yield trader in Norway was promoted to Head of Sales, and there was an open spot at Trading. I saw this as a golden opportunity to get hands-on experience of the financial markets, and was thrilled when I got the chance to start there as a junior trader.
What’s a typical day for you – work flow, tasks?
There isn’t really a typical day as a trader. The common denominator is our local and global morning meetings, to prep the team for the day ahead. Personally, I enjoy a somewhat ‘quiet’ morning with time to get my head around recent markets moves and news. So, I try to get to the office early to prep levels before the morning meeting. After the market opens at 9:00, anything can happen! There could be large moves after CPI numbers, leaving us calculating levels throughout the day, or it can be rather calm and we can, for instance, explore and find new trading opportunities or work on modelling to improve our programs.
To give a bit more insight to the tasks and role as a trader, I’ll go a bit into details here: HY (High Yield) is a OTC (Over the counter) security, which means that there is not a central exchange, but the product is being traded directly between two parties. Trading’s role is to create a market in the bonds that we trade for our clients/investors. We are then left with the risk on our books, which makes risk assessment a large part of our job.
What’s the best thing about your job? What motivates you?
I guess I’m a rather competitive person. As such, I enjoy the rush of the high pace environment here, and the short feedback loop from a decision is made to the result is evident. Our days are quite vibrant, and you are free to create the financial models you see fit, or do analysis you think could be interesting for your area. There are, of course, always useful help to get from colleagues in research, sales and other traders, but in the end, you have to make the final decision and take responsibility for the outcome. That suits me well, and I find it very exciting to use mathematics in irrational markets, and set my analysis to the test.