ULTIMATE CAREER GUIDES

From Tech to Finance:
Making the Transition a Success

Chapter 3/3

June 5, 2018

Congratulations! You’ve been hired for your first financial services role. Your first day is around the corner, and you may be wondering how you can prepare. In the final chapter of Citadel Securities’ Ultimate Guide to Tech Careers in Finance, our experts will identify some key steps you can take to ensure a successful day one… and beyond.

Assess the Status Quo and Your Fresh Ideas

Joining a new team can be nerve-wracking, but don’t let it intimidate you too much. Keep your eyes open and don’t make assumptions. Instead, take the time to learn and create thoughtful questions to ensure you are fully understanding the intricacies of the industry.

“Show intellectual curiosity as you go through your first few days and weeks. Your questions should be as thoughtful as your answers.”

Josh Estrada

You should simultaneously seek to understand the context for what was done previously and identify opportunities for innovation. As Nawaf Bitar phrases it, “Take the time to understand what came before you, how things got to where they are today and in what context previous decisions were made, regardless of whether you agree with them or not. Respect both your ancestors and your ideas. This balanced approach will allow you to put forward thoughtful recommendations and minimize any friction in executing on them.”

Step into the Shoes of Your Customers

Part of your job will involve consistently iterating with and getting feedback from your customers. Because collaboration is crucial to success at Citadel Securities, spend your first month connecting with these customers you’ll be working with closely. Understand their business and how you can be a productive partner.

It’s also helpful to identify team members at different levels, and in different parts of the firm, who can consistently offer counsel and expertise. Team members at Citadel Securities bring experiences from a diversity of industries and, consequently, can offer a range of perspectives on a single challenge.

Learn How a Firm’s Culture Manifests Itself

Speaking of culture, weeks one and two should involve a lot of culture absorption. “I learned a lot about the Citadel Securities culture before I joined the firm,” said Nawaf Bitar. “I spent my first few weeks at the firm filling in the details. I recommend everyone carve out time, as you onboard, to understand how a firm’s culture manifests itself in daily workflows.

Josh Woods summarizes, in this audio clip, how to thrive in a high performance culture.

The ability to be agile and adapt to new and changing surroundings will be a crucial part of your new role. As John Schuster puts it, “A candidate should be able to thrive in the fast paced, results-driven environment of finance.”

Results and integrity are inextricably linked in our industry. In fact, integrity is so paramount at a firm like Citadel Securities that your relationship with Legal & Compliance teams will take you as far as any other internal relationship. “Financial Services is a highly regulated industry, which presents challenges but also great opportunities,” said Steve Luparello, General Counsel at Citadel Securities. “Technologists who establish strong relationships with their Legal & Compliance teams will find a fresh perspective. More importantly, they will build a strong foundation for designing solutions the right way – with integrity and with a strong ethical basis.”

Through close collaboration with Legal & Compliance at a firm like Citadel Securities, you’ll strengthen your decision-making abilities and understand how to consistently exhibit sound judgment.

Map Out Goals

You should hit the ground running when you start at a new firm. At the same time, you should develop a clear understanding of what you’re running toward. Here are some steps to get focused on the mission-critical goals that your firm and team have in front of them:

Develop an outline for your guide to success
Thoughts are important to shaping your success
Decision should be focused on your strengths
  • Sit down with your manager to set a sequence of ambitious, but achievable goals for your first 30, 60, and 90 days.
  • Ask peers for advice on how they approached similar goals in the past.
  • Reflect on lessons learned, related to these goals, outside of your regular touchpoints with your manager.
  • Make sure these lessons learned translate into continuous optimizations to how you approach complex problems, long-term opportunities, and daily responsibilities. We recommend regularly documenting how you will act on the conclusions you’ve drawn.

“Your career success will consistently come back to asking and answering the question ‘why?’” said Nawaf Bitar. “Why do we tackle business problems using a certain approach? Why are you focused on these specific objectives? Why do you want this next position? Keep asking and answering ‘why’ and you’ll likely make a mark as a technology leader.”

Interested in a career in the financial services industry?

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Chapter 3 of 3
From Tech to Finance: Making the Transition a Success