What does your job involve?
Financial engineering is essentially financial consulting at a higher level, where you're working primarily on client site. Currently I'm on client site with one of First Derivatives big clients, State Street. The main job we do is review State Street's customers, and ensure that their customer profile is up to the latest compliance and regulatory standards for anti money laundering legislation.
How did you get your job?
I came to First Derivatives via a slightly longer route. I did Finance in college, which is a mixture of accounting and finance, and originally intended to pursue a career in accounting or audit. I actually did an internship in that field and found that it really wasn't for me, I was looking for something a bit more dynamic and refreshing. I did a Masters in UCC in Financial Economics, and First Derivatives came to UCC to do a presentation. They explained the breadth of the work they did and it really appeared to me.
What skills do you need to be successful?
The first thing is the appetite to learn, as you will learn a lot on the job. You need to have the appetite to learn and absorb information and then implement it in your day to day work. Attention to detail and being thorough is also very important. Today people are obsessed with efficiency and getting things done quicky, however sometimes it's more efficient to do something thoroughly and properly so it only has to be done once. It's probably more efficient at the end of the day. In consulting, communication skills are also very important. You need to understand the consultants problems and see things from their point of view and use your skills to solve the problem.
What skills should students develop?
Besides your academic knowledge and technical skills, I think people are neglecting their interpersonal skills and their communication and teamwork skills. In any job you're going to be working with people. Communication skills are so important.
What's the best thing about your job?
The main thing for me is how dynamic things are. I'm fortunate that with First Derivatives we get the opportunity to work with some of the biggest clients in the world and in some great locations. Currently I'm with State Street, but very soon I could be with a new client in a new location. So while I've learned a lot with my current client, the next client will be a whole new team, whole new situation and a whole new location and that variety is very appealing to me.