At Citadel Securities we believe careers should be personalized instead of hardcoded. Through a new series, “My Career Roadmap,” we want to help you make decisions about your career – based on insights from our team members. We’re thrilled to launch this series with Gabi Wilewska, a member of the FICC Sales & Relationship Management team at Citadel Securities. Gabi recently celebrated her one-year anniversary with Citadel Securities and walked us through her expectations before joining Citadel Securities, her experience over the last year, and the future milestones she expects to achieve.
Gabi, thanks for talking with us for the first “My Career Roadmap” profile. What were your expectations before starting your career at Citadel Securities?
I felt a mix of excitement and apprehension when I first started to think about joining Citadel Securities. I had read and heard that the expectations were high at Citadel Securities. I knew that Citadel Securities attracted an accomplished workforce and often assigned significant responsibility early on. At first, the challenge seemed intimidating. However, as I went through the interview process, I became increasingly excited about how much I could learn at the firm and the impact I could have with clients.
How has your actual experience compared with those expectations?
Indeed, Citadel Securities is filled with talented people and sets the bar high. What was eye opening to me, however, was the level of support Citadel Securities provided to meet these high expectations. I immediately received support from teams across the firm. In addition, it was clear to me that from day one my managers were going to be my advocates and teachers. I felt as though the firm was rooting for me to win.
I also realized that for those up to the challenge, it’s incredibly fulfilling to work at a firm that is a true meritocracy – where we’re empowered and rewarded based on results. The firm handed me a great deal of responsibility right when I walked in the door. Yes, I was a bit nervous about this. But I quickly saw the path to handling those responsibilities and more.
Beyond that, there’s an exceptional focus on continuous learning. I actually did not have experience working for a market maker before and started my career in asset based lending. Despite my untraditional background, Citadel Securities took a chance on me based on the potential they saw.
Let me put this another way. The bar was set high, but I was given everything I needed to jump over the bar.
You were given a new role with greater responsibility within your first year at Citadel Securities. What were some of the most valuable resources Citadel Securities offered that allowed you to progress in your career development?
Most importantly, I had an extremely supportive team, and that has made all the difference. They were there to answer my questions during my first few months in the role and made sure my hard work was recognized. I also found mentors along the way who were invested in my success at the firm. Mentorship is highly valued and encouraged here.
Second, learning opportunities are always within reach. The firm has extensive online training materials and convenes forums to share best practices. I took advantage of these opportunities and parlayed the combination of new skills and knowledge into a new role.
What are some of your future milestones and how will you partner with the firm to achieve those goals?
If my first year was all about learning the breadth of our capabilities, and opportunities within market making, the next chapter will be focused on going deeper into a few asset classes. I want to continue to increase my personal value proposition to clients.
My other goal is to increase my adaptability. I always like to say that change is the one constant in this industry. I learned that you have to be ready for change at any given moment and if you are able to quickly adapt and prove your worth, you’ll be rewarded for that ability. I walk in, wear 20 different hats, and take on many different roles. In short order, I expect to be able to pivot between roles more quickly.
The next question is ‘how do I achieve these milestones?’ The firm has been great at cultivating one-on-one mentoring opportunities. Now, I’m looking to collaborate with my managers on how to exceed expectations – relative to my individual goals and the firm-wide goals. It’s fair to say that Citadel Securities has influenced me to continually challenge myself. I don’t want to just meet expectations, I want to significantly exceed them.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone considering joining the team?
Consider what’s possible – for you to impact the markets and your career. The firm has high expectations because we’ve seen what’s possible when exceptionally bright individuals aim to make an exceptional impact each and every day. If the endless possibilities excite you, you know you’re on the right path.