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Knowledge Is Power: A MarketsWiki Education Journey

“There is a lot of competition out there, but that is what our markets are all about. It is the essence of what we do. We innovate because of competition.”

With those words, CME Group Chairman Emeritus Leo Melamed kicked off the inaugural MarketsWiki Education event in 2013. We have come a long way since then; the event has expanded its reach each year and in 2016 will visit five cities, beginning in Chicago July 12-15, and on July 19 in New York. Chicago registration has closed. For more information on the event series and to register for New York event, click HERE.

Leo Melamed’s History of Chicago Markets (2013)

The goal of the series is quite simple. We connect industry professionals with students and young professionals and give them the information that will inspire a career in this industry.

Innovation: Past, Present and Future

MarketsWiki Education events pull in a broad swath of industry participants, who speak on a wide variety of issues relevant to new entrants to the financial markets and to job seekers in general. Some of our past speakers, such as Melamed and fellow financial futures pioneer Richard Sandor (MWE Chi 2013), who developed the first interest rate contract in the 1970s, have acted as industry historians in their MWE talks. Others, such as Trading Technologies’ Katie Burgoon (MWE Chi 2015), talk about the transition from open outcry to electronic markets and lessons learned along the way.  According to Burgoon, the floor trader mentality can prepare everyone for success.

Katie Burgoon, Trading Technologies (Chicago 2015)

Other speakers, such CME Group’s Derek Sammann (Chi 2015), John Avery of FIS (Chi 2015) and Cinnober CEO Veronica Augustsson (London 2014), show how the market came to embrace and thrive on electronification and technological progress.

In fact, innovation is a key theme at MarketsWiki Education events. In our first series in 2013, there was not one speaker who said the word “blockchain.” Now, in 2016, as distributed ledger technology has evolved from payment mechanism for illicit online transactions to the forefront of the FinTech revolution, the topic has become a prominent feature of each session.

Don Wilson, DRW (Chicago 2014)

Technology has also featured prominently in the presentations from algorithmic traders such as DRW, Spot Trading, Wolverine and others.

Swag, anyone?

What does the next generation want? First and foremost, a job, or perhaps a foot in the door to that first job or, at minimum, some tips on how to get that foot in the door.

MarketsWiki Education events aim for all of the above. Some, such as MarketAxess’ David Krein (NY 2015), RCG’s Scott Gordon (Chi 2015) and Paul McCormick, a London trader who runs a jobs site called Opening City Doors, offer straight-up, no-nonsense career advice. Bats’ Kapil Rathi put things a little more bluntly.

Kapil Rathi, BATS  –  Confidence

“You’re starting with a clean slate. You haven’t done anything wrong to anyone — yet. Nobody hates you day one. I call it the honeymoon period.”

Some of the presentations are out of the box and over the top. In the London 2014 series, all-star rugby lock Hugh Vyvyan, who had just transitioned from the pitch to the sales office for Saracens Rugby, offered up a lesson in transitioning.

Hugh Vyvyan, Saracens Rugby (London 2014)

“You have to work incredibly hard to survive. That’s a fact of being a rugby player, and that’s a fact of life.”  

Vyvyan was followed by FIA Europe CEO Simon Puleston-Jones, who channeled his inner Pharell in a rousing talk called “In pursuit of happiness.” Matt Scharpf used his guitar to show how music is layered, simple yet complex, and rewards innovation. Just like financial markets. In 2015, Euronext UK CEO Lee Hodgkinson offered a lucky audience member 5 quid if he could run in place with his arms moving faster than his legs. He did not win the money, but everyone in the audience learned that everything is possible, but nothing is easy.

“Except trying to eat three donuts in one minute without licking your lips,” says Hodgkinson. “That’s still impossible.”

At the start of each session, each participant is given a raffle ticket, and prizes are awarded between each speaker. Prizes can be combinations of industry swag such as t-shirts, caps and battery packs to big ticket items such as an iPad. The Institute for Financial Markets gives away a Series 3 Exam study course (a $200 value) at each session. All participants get a nifty MarketsWiki Education backpack stuffed with industry goodies.  

Phupinder Gill, CEO, CME Group (Chicago 2015)

But perhaps the greatest gift offered by the series is the chance to network with the industry “movers and shakers.” One participant said he had a nice one-on-one chat with CME Group CEO Phupinder Gill at the Chicago 2015 series, and a couple months later met up on campus with a CME Group recruiter at a networking event. When he told the recruiter about his experience, he was told, “I have worked here five years, and I have never had a one-on-one with Gill. I have never even met him!

That is the power of MarketsWiki Education.

 

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About Author

Doug Ashburn is a former editor-at-large of John Lothian News. He left in late 2016 and is now the managing editor of T3 Custom.