Spot’s 2015 Summer Internship Program

This summer, Spot Trading had the privilege of hosting nine of the brightest Sophomores and Juniors from around the country for our 2015 Summer Internship Program. The interns worked in our Trading, Software Development, and Research teams, where they enjoyed hands-on and classroom learning opportunities while gaining exposure to Chicago and the trading industry.

During the ten-week program, the interns worked side-by-side with Spot mentors and senior leaders in their respective teams. Our Trading interns were able to follow market activity and participate in mock trading with our experienced traders. In the Research team, the interns explored different web technologies to support new features in consuming street events and earnings feeds. Lastly, our Software Development interns deployed code, migrated reports to our new system, and tracked various analytics.

In addition to their experiences at the office, Spot’s interns enjoyed a variety of social and networking events. This summer’s activities included a boat ride on Lake Michigan, a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, beach volleyball, Lollapalooza, a friendly competition with CBOE interns, and a visit from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Every year we enjoy finding new ways to show off our fantastic city to Spot’s interns.

Let’s learn a little about some of the 2015 Interns.

Our interns are current students at eight different universities from across the country. In our Trading organization this summer, we welcomed a rising senior from Stanford University and a rising senior from Harvard University. Their backgrounds in Management Science & Engineering and Statistics respectively were a great complement to Spot’s trading talent.

Our Research intern was a rising senior from Michigan State studying finance/economics and computer science. His passion for the markets was evident in his contributions to the team throughout the summer.

Interns in our Development team joined from a diverse group of highly respected universities: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, MIT and University of Chicago. Their skills and enthusiasm had an immediate impact on the technology function.

When we asked the interns what they enjoyed about Spot’s program, we got a variety of answers.

“I’m continuously impressed with the caliber of Spot’s research department, and they’ve helped me to develop the skills necessary to be a great research analyst. I’ve been able to gain applied experience in equities and equity options and add value in my first couple weeks.”

“There are very few buy-side shops that have a structured training program for junior analysts, and I’m glad to be working at one that has such a great culture. The intern events and outings have also been awesome.”

“What sets Spot’s internship apart for me is definitely the culture of open communication. From the first day I arrived, I was given immediate access to all the trading apps, the ability to chat anyone in the company, and encouraged to ask questions about everything and anything.”

“People are incredibly friendly, open about what they do, and always willing to help you learn. As a result, I can build off a rich variety of ideas and apply them in meaningful mock trades and projects. I love being at Spot and have had a fantastic time working and learning with the team!”

“What fascinates me the most is the collaborative culture at Spot. People are always asking questions and learning from each other. It is because the people here are so approachable that this is possible.”

“Spot is a transparent company that provides its interns with total access to its resources from Day 1. As a result, they share with me their most important resource – time. They meet with me to make sure I grasp the material, discuss how and why they make particular trades, invite me to their desks, mentor me through meaningful projects, and execute mock trades with me daily. And the food here is great!”

“The internship has given me the opportunity and freedom to try new technologies while solving problems that involve complex software and architectures. I feel I am learning something new all the time.”

“The atmosphere is collaborative and competitive, and I really enjoy working with my group members and everyone at Spot. Interns are encouraged to tap into the vast collective knowledge of the firm and are welcomed and appreciated as much as any other employee.”

“Spot has been an outstanding experience for me. The company work culture is great; I never feel uncomfortable asking for help, tossing around ideas, and having a good time with other employees.”

“From a dev perspective, the sheer amount of projects and technologies Spot utilizes is both mesmerizing and intensely enjoyable to learn about. I couldn’t be happier with the workplace at Spot!”

From Spot’s perspective, there are significant benefits to the internship program.

Our CTO, Nigel Young states, “Having new engineers temporarily integrated into our teams has an invigorating effect. It brings in new ideas and provides us with an opportunity to mentor and teach. Through this process, it reaffirms our core cultural values of openness and collaboration.

“We are able to integrate new engineers quickly and the things that they deliver often have a meaningful impact on our business. By spending 10 weeks together it provides us with an opportunity to truly assess our compatibility; also enabling relationships to be built that can be strengthened as students reach graduation.”

According to Libby Steigman, Trading Desk Manager, “The most fun part of the trading internship is probably the mock trading that happens over the course of the summer. Combining strategies learned in the classroom or on the trading desk with good common sense and intuition, the interns find trading opportunities and ‘execute’ them. They are responsible for tracking, managing and trading their mock positions and hopefully learn a ton along the way.”

Other leaders in the firm noted the following about the internship program:

• As a company, we get to vet people throughout a longer, more extensive process and are able to evaluate our interns from several different angles.
• We are able to establish relationships with these people as well as with the schools they represent.
• The program refocuses us – the teaching process only re-enforces our own values and also brings in new perspectives, ideas, etc., and we are able to integrate them quickly.
• Everyone benefits as the interns work with us on actual systems and projects that impact Spot’s ongoing activities.

As we look back on the summer of 2015, the interns were a big part of everything we did at Spot. Their enthusiasm for new opportunities was contagious, and their impact was noticeable in many areas throughout the firm. Spot continues to realize the value of our internship program, with many current employees coming from past internship programs. Ours is a constantly evolving program, and one that we are excited to continue to invest in for years to come.

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