I recently spent a month and a half working as an intern for Positive Equity, and after a great experience, I’d like to share all I’ve got from it, from the great theoretical information I learned, to simulation trading, meeting current and future traders and all in all – seeing what this career is all about.
We spent the first couple of weeks just researching the theory of trading: different markets, terminology, getting into the mode of thinking in ‘market terms’. After learning a lot from great books such as ‘One Good Trade’, ‘Market Wizards’ and more fictional ones such as ‘Reminiscences of a Stock Operator’, we sat down to punch in the grunt work with Hull’s first few chapters in ‘Options, Futures and Other Derivatives’. There we learned the actual information related to all these derivatives that we might stumble upon, and with that, we sadly, or luckily, knew more than about 80% of the general population.
We were assigned the DAX as our product of choice, and we were set to find and extract all useful information about it, from the basic contract specifications, trading times, to the more complex correlations and leading indicators. Our job was to figure out generally what was happening and so on.
It got really fun when we got around to trading, using the actual Stellar trading platform to sim-trade. I spent my first few days trying to figure out how it worked, where I click for what. It’s confusing at first for some reason, it’s not similar to anything you usually see. After a few days, you have a general understanding of the platform, you manage the in-depth customization, then you work on getting your news from somewhere, opening necessary charts, finding where you can follow the info you need, and bang! You’re ready. Once you’re ready, once you think you’re ready, you’ve only just begun. You are not ready at all, and you don’t know anything! The first days of trading are guessing – something is going up, okay, it might go up more. You soon realize you don’t know enough, you have little skill, no experience, and you’re the fool in this competitive world.
A few days go by and you notice you’ve been trading well in the morning; you check why and notice your product trends in the morning. You follow trends well. You lose all your money on the American open? It gets very chaotic, you don’t work well in chaotic environments. At the end of the sim-trading, you have many great patterns in your mind about the product you traded, how it might react to certain things, how it might run at certain times, but even more importantly, you see yourself in a different light. It was said by a trader called Stipe, ‘Trading shows you who you truly are.’ If I was to be judged like that, the market showed me I was often impatient, and how I get grumpy when I miss out on opportunities.
The spotlight of the Internship, for me, was stolen by the traders themselves. All great traders, with great personalities, and great minds, all willing to help a bunch of kids see what the trading world and life is. No number of questions was too much for them, and no amount of time spent helping was too much. They spent loads of time explaining what it takes to become profitable, and what it takes then to push yourself in this infinitely long but rewarding career. All of these magnificent people are extremely intelligent, yet care enough about this great company to pull people in. We spent loads of time going over our research and trades with the Head of Trading, Jason, another big mind with a huge knowledge base, so much edge, and a great way of teaching, where you teach yourself with his supervision. He tried very hard to allow us to really experience the development of a trader, even if it was just the beginnings.
In summary, I’d recommend this internship to give you a sense of what trading is about, especially for those who have a natural tendency toward competition, a good work-ethic and mental resilience. Perhaps you will be the next superstar trader…?