July 8, 2022
This blog post is part of a series describing PreparationTech’s pilot program which organized internships for more than 20 high school students at Ignatius Gymnasium in Amsterdam with technology-related companies in the Amsterdam region. The goal of the program was to show students how technology is transforming every field and industry and show what it's like to work at a technology-focused company. Students also met role models who provided study, training and career advice.
The challenge was clear: find internships for students studying advanced mathematics who wanted to be placed at a company which “uses real mathematics” in interesting ways.
PreparationTech placed three students at Flow Traders, “a technology company operating in global financial markets, using [its] proprietary technology platform to quote bid and ask prices in thousands of financial products. [The company] also provide[s] liquidity in financial products, historically with a focus on exchange-traded products (ETPs).”
Students participated in an on-boarding session for new traders recruited by the company. Later, they had the chance to speak with Dennis Dijkstra, the company’s Managing Director (an alumnus of Ignatius), and then learned about three important divisions: finance, quantitative research and software development. The highlight for all of them was visiting the trading floor where billions of euro are traded yearly.
Students learned that Flow Traders' employees have different backgrounds: finance, econometrics, math, statistics, physics, chemistry, engineering, business administration, human resources AI, machine learning and IT. While certain positions require PhD and Masters degrees, others require hard technology skills such as software development and coding obtained through higher education but also training programs and real-life coding experience.
Everything came together once the students visited the trading floor and spoke with the traders. One student described the trading floor as “spectacular” while another was surprised that the traders don’t have to work on the weekends and that the trading floor is “surprisingly relaxed” given the amount of trading and money involved.
All students stated that they are now more likely to take technology-related courses to prepare for careers in finance and economics. In the words of one student, the internship was “quite the eye opener!”.
Tips from Dennis Dijkstra, Flow Trader’s Managing Director for students interested in tech and finance:
“Start following what's happening in the financial markets by keeping up with the news. Set up a mock or real trading portfolio or participate in trading competitions. Play games of statistics and strategy, such as poker or chess. Spend some time practising your mental math skills by visiting Calculation Rankings or Rank Your Brain.”