I typically get into the office at 7:30am with the two other interns on my desk, and run a number of spreadsheets and scripts to generate data and set things up for the traders. The markets open at 9:30am, so any remaining time before the open is spent preparing for the day while having coffee and some breakfast. At 9:29am, we (the interns on my desk) are responsible for playing the “Leroy Jenkins” soundbite, a fun way of alerting the traders to the open being a minute away. While the market is open, the interns are responsible for fielding calls and other tasks required to keep the traders aware of their positions. During downtime, we are shadowing and learning from the traders or doing long-term coding projects. Between 11am and 2pm, we all go to Trader Education for a lecture, poker, or mock trading, and we have lunch with the other interns. The afternoon is spent back on the desk until the market closes at 4pm. For my desk, closing tasks are generally done in less than ten minutes, and after a short recap, we are free to leave around 4:15.
The collaborative, rather than competitive, environment among the traders is my single favorite thing about SIG. On the trading floor, people work together to achieve the best outcomes for the company overall, rather than for themselves. The traders I work with often help out and discuss situations with each other. They are keen to explain their thinking on specific trades to myself and other interns. I am also impressed by the flat organization structure at SIG – my desk on the trading floor turned out to be just a few feet from one of the company’s founders.
The focus on education is probably the most unusual thing about interning here. Since everyone comes from a math or science background, we were not assumed to have prior finance knowledge when we started. A lot of time and effort is devoted to bringing interns up to speed on options theory. The team in Trader Education works very hard to make the material intuitively understandable. Through use of strategy games, board games, mock trading, lectures, and pop science books on cognitive fallacies – you’ll likely find an angle that works for you!
If they are a quantitatively-minded person interested in finance, I would definitely recommend SIG. The company offers a very good starting point for a career in trading, with the intense focus and dedication to teaching new employees. Moreover, it has a stimulating environment with lots of discussion about news, games, and general pop culture between the employees. I have been positively surprised by the lack of “bro culture,” which seems to be the norm in many finance firms.
For interns, it is hands down the housing. SIG puts us up in housing at University of Pennsylvania, which is a huge reduction in both expenses and logistical hassle. When all of your friends are searching through Craigslist and Facebook groups to find reasonably priced summer sublets, you can focus on the exams that are most likely coming up (or just enjoy life!). Since all the interns live in the same place, getting together for meals or a casual poker game requires next-to-no planning.
I think I would have to go with the food scene. Philly has a lot of great mid-range places to eat and drink, so one can easily get a very good, cheap meal. SIG also takes the interns out for lots of good dinners, so as an intern you will not go hungry (more like very full, most of the time). Other great things are the Schuylkill river trail, lots of independent bookstores, nice cafes, and a low cost of living.
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