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A day in the life of…
Graduate Junior Trader at Exponential Trading
Saahil Relan studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics/Space) /Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney in 2017, and is now a Graduate Junior Trader at Exponential Trading
I wake up to check my phone for any notifications and see how the markets have moved overnight. I’ll also have a read of the trading notes sent out by the night traders. This usually gives me a good indicator as to how busy the day will be. The market seems to have rallied a little and it looks like there may be some big opportunities today if it continues to rally at the pace it has last night. I make my way to the gym to get in an hour of exercise before I start my day.
I catch the bus into work and I’m underdressed compared to my business counterpart sitting next to me. I dress super-casual because work is about being the best you can be at any time. It’s got nothing to do with what you’re wearing. It can take me up to an hour, but I utilise my time by always reading the news for any moves in the derivatives, stock and bond markets.
I’m a little early! I pick up a coffee for me, the other junior trader and my manager before we get stuck into our jobs. They do the same for me when they’re early and we have a good relationship outside of work; always looking out for each other.
Trading is all about preparation. We have to know our positions for the day, at what levels different instruments are trading and how they have changed overnight. Based on this, we can prepare for the various scenarios for the day and adjust our strategies accordingly. My manager asks me what I think we should be doing for the day and where I think we will make the most money. I give him my thoughts and he agrees.
The markets are busy, and I am able to trade our strategy effectively. My manager will ask me questions every few minutes to test my knowledge of the market and our strategy. He always wants to know if I’m focused, I know my role in executing strategy and I’m prepared for what may happen. The firm’s developers go down to get coffee for the office and ask me if I want something. I can’t leave the desk during this time period unless it’s important, so I give them my order and get back into trading! Our in-house chef prepares a fruit salad for the office and I have it delivered to my desk.
The market is quiet, so I take this opportunity to stretch my legs and grab some breakfast. There is lots of food in the office and I like to head for the cereal. Our head trader is in and wants to know what my target is for the day. I discuss our new strategy, and he stress tests any weaknesses may not have thought of. Part of the job is being confident and having solid rationale to back your actions. I want to do some analysis of an opportunity that we missed the day before so I use the rest of the hour to build my analytical model and then explain to my manager and head trader why we missed it and what we can do better next time.
The market is in a frenzy! The stress level in the room is high, traders are shouting directives at each other and I can feel the adrenaline rushing through my body. The day is about to get exciting!
I’ve been trading aggressively for an hour and my lunch is ready. Our chef has made something delicious and I’ve been able to smell it since this morning. I can see most of the office heading towards the kitchen, but I can’t leave my chair but focused on trading the opportunity, so my lunch will have to wait.
The market calms down and I eat my lunch at my desk whilst I review what has happened in the day. We traders discuss where we performed well, and we where we performed poorly. I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon adjusting our positions for the night-shift traders who come in at 5pm.
The night traders come in and I attend the crossover meeting. We usually discuss what has happened throughout the day and how our positions have changed.
I have to write the notes for the day. There been a lot of movement and trades throughout the day and I have to document all our trades, PnL, and the market behaviours. For the big opportunities I will have to evaluate how we traded compared to other competitors in the market and discuss strategies to outperform them in the future. Unfortunately, being the junior on the desk means that most of the note writing and feedback is undertaken by me but it’s part of journey to becoming a better trader.
I’m on my way home and reviewing my to-do list. I always have a lot of life-admin pending and I like to get that out of the way when I get home. I’ll be having dinner, finishing my tasks and squeezing in a TV show before I sleep. I’ll need some time to wind down my brain from rigorous activities during the day. It’ll probably be 11pm before I’m embraced by the comfort of my bed.
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