My Summer at TT: An Experience I Wouldn’t Trade for Anything


As summer at Trading Technologies is rapidly coming to a close, I wanted to take the time to reflect on my experience as one of TT's 2015 summer interns.

First and foremost, I would like to say that I have no idea where the summer went. To say it went by quickly is an understatement, which I think, in itself, speaks volumes about how much fun I had at TT. Although, like most every college student (especially those who attend IU), I am incredibly excited to go back to school, I feel this excitement at a smaller degree than in years past—solely because that means leaving TT and the people that make it so enjoyable.

As I wrote in my initial blog post, TT was not at all what I expected it to be. I thought that I would be walking into a much more corporate environment and was taken aback by the cool, laid-back exterior—snacks, bar, game room, decor and all.

But now that I’m looking back, what I think is even more remarkable than the physical environment is twofold: (1) the trading environment as a whole and (2) what I was actually doing.

TT: The Next Generation…of Interns
TT interns grab some snacks from the kitchen and socialize at the Chicago headquarters. 

I’m just now starting my second month as a summer intern at TT, and to be honest, my experience was not what I originally anticipated.

To my surprise, I walked into a corporate playground—an oxymoron filled with unlimited snacks, any and every beverage you could ever dream of, an extensive game room, and—get this—a bar. I then got to my desk, which was adorned with yet more snacks and a picture of Eric Estrada (I, as a college student, admittedly had to ask who he was) awaiting my arrival. To say I was taken aback by everything was an understatement. And I was a little uncomfortable as I was the only one in the building wearing a blazer.

This all made me a little apprehensive as I was acclimated to a more corporate environment in past internships and experiences. I honestly questioned how people got work done with so many distractions—let alone how they stayed healthy with bagels every morning and Doritos at arms reach. That is until I actually started working and met the people I would be working with.


Great Talent Knows No Bounds

One of the greatest challenges of running a technology company—particularly when you’re not located on a coast and your name isn’t Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Facebook—is talent acquisition. Sure, TT faces plenty of other challenges as a technology provider in capital markets: our industry has had a tumultuous few years which have seen contraction, corruption and regulatory uncertainty; the only recently abating race toward zero latency was a story of significant capital expenditure as much as it was engineering ingenuity; the benefits that technology has brought to the trading world have often been overshadowed by its high-profile failures.

TT employees gather at the Chicago headquarters.

But the challenges we face running a technology business in this space are no match for the difficulty of building and maintaining a recruiting pipeline of the brightest minds. And when your people are more important than your product—after all, without the former, you'll never have the latter—this is a challenge that requires the utmost attention from the highest levels of an organization.

Finding success at this is as much a function of TT being an amazing place to work as it is finding the right people in the first place. Which is why I recently made several organizational changes to better focus the business, including appointing Katie Burgoon as EVP of HR, Drew Shields as CTO and Mike Mayhew as CIO. Together with them, I will be doubling down our focus on recruiting efforts, ensuring that we’re leaving no stone unturned in finding the best people and that TT is sought after by the best as a great place to work.

The Internship
interns at lincoln park zoo
Our summer 2014 interns (L to R): Ian Torres, Purav Shah,
Stephen Herring, Everett Hu, John Lefkovitz, Joshua Alley.
We recently concluded our first official summer internship program. While we’ve had students interning with us in the past, we wanted to make this summer a more formal (and fun!) experience.

Our internship program goals are similar to the TT University Program, which provides free access to our trading platforms, APIs and expertise to more than 50 universities around the world. The main goal of the University Program is to educate and mentor the next generation of financial leaders by donating our expertise and technology to universities worldwide. Whether the students are studying finance, computer science, engineering and/or economics, we want them to understand how to use trading technology in a safe, efficient way.

The goal of the paid internship program is to provide top students on summer break the opportunity to contribute enhancements that make our software even better, which in the process helps them become more advanced programmers and developers, and to enhance their understanding of the financial markets.