Posted on 31/05/2019 by Greg Clarke
On May 28th, MThree had the pleasure of welcoming a group of enthusiastic STEM students and graduates to learn about the world of FinTech and the careers on offer through our Alumni Graduate Programme.
The evening featured talks from senior tech experts at Barclays, Paul Sampat and Rohit Deshpande, plus graduate consultants Jeanne and Cassandra, who are working in tech roles at investment banks on our Alumni Programme.
Hosted by the MThree Women’s Network at the Alumni Academy, the event aimed to encourage more women to begin exciting careers in tech. To kick off, Lexi, Kat and Fred from MThree HQ gave an overview of MThree and our Alumni Graduate Programme.
Next up, we launched straight into the technical aspects of working in FinTech at a global investment bank. Starting with a talk from our first speaker, Paul Sampat, Head of Equities Electronic Trading Technology EMEA at Barclays.
Paul has over 20 years of experience in finance and technology. He started as a BA and moved to testing, development, support and architecture. He now runs a development team of 130 people. Through relevant technical explanation and examples, Paul explained how banks are now “technology companies with a banking licence”’.
Paul went on to focus on two main areas, Modelling and Engineering.
To demonstrate how an engineering degree translates to working in a bank, he used the analogy of a farmer with a crop of sweet corn that will yield in 6 months. The farmer doesn’t want to, or can’t, wait 6 months to see the yield. They ask the bank to guarantee a price now, so they can plan and move on. The bank knows what to pay the farmer through modelling. The team builds software models where all inputs (e.g. rainfall, sweetcorn price, cost of raw materials) will go in, and produce a number that predicts the time required for the sweetcorn to yield sufficiently. Developers are modelling how a number of factors impact something - and can achieve a price through modelling in under 200mS.
Paul then moved on to explain algorithmic trading, using the example of a client wishing to purchase 1m shares of Vodafone. He went into specific detail on how the complex process works, and how each function is completed in a fraction of second, with no human intervention and without a single click. How does the bank ensure they get the correct order, and don’t duplicate it in the event of a comms issue? They will need to check if the client can trade that amount and examine every open market. The cost of executing needs to be assessed, and result in the cheapest price for their shares.
Next, Paul went through exactly how banks have evolved. In the last three years, he’s seen them change and put technology at the centre, increasing the demand for tech skills while offering exciting careers to graduates who are passionate about tech.
Our second speaker, Rohit Deshpande, explained in detail the different roles within a FinTech team.
He explained how a DevOps engineer will work together with a Business Analyst, and how it is the responsibility of a Business Analyst to communicate the business needs of a particular project and manage its processes. Product Development Managers need to know how technology fits into the business, and manage teams accordingly. He also spoke in depth about the key programming languages and key skills required, for these roles - HTML5, Python, Java, C++, Azure, and more. Developers build trading platforms, and production support make sure the applications are up and running.
We then heard from Cassandra and Jeanne, two of our talented Alumni. Jeanne started off by sharing her experience entering FinTech with an economics background, and how MThree helped her to realise how her skills could be used in FinTech. Cassandra spoke about MThree’s training and support, and how her best career moment so far has been an opportunity to take a leadership role on a project her team were working on.
During the Q&A, there was an option to discuss the effect of automation on trading floors. Paul was able to inform our attendees of the likelihood of this, and reiterated that traders will continue to have an input on what to buy and sell, but technology and automation are absolutely at the core of most banking processes.
Paul stated that the most important skills are having the right attitude, and the ability to lead a team, as well as having the ability to learn. This was echoed by Rohit, who stated that with the right attitude and problem solving skills, banks will invest in growing your skills and coaching you to become a valuable team member.
The evening finished with networking, where attendees had the opportunity to chat with the speakers and learn more about their experiences.
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