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From Trading Analyst to Trader. Meet Bob, Trader at Optiver Europe

November 29, 2020

We had a chat with Bob Muijs, he started as a Trading Analyst at Optiver and is now a full time Trader at the firm. His interest in financial markets, combined with the excitement and energy he experienced on the trading floor got him hooked on trading. He holds a Master’s degree in Quantitative Finance and a Bachelor’s degree in Econometrics and Economics from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

What do you love about your work?
I really enjoy how you constantly have to solve small puzzles, often under time pressure, with the people around you. As a market maker, the traders are also involved in improving our trading logic and the algorithms when time allows, which provides a nice balance. On top of that comes the excitement of what the day might bring in terms of news and market flow.

How did you get started in trading and what led you to your chosen career?
My interest in financial markets was part of what led me to studying Econometrics, but to honest I did not really consider a job in trading until I participated in an Optiver recruitment event. I hosted Optiver while I worked for the faculty association during the Econometric Career Days in Rotterdam in 2014. I participated in a case study and really enjoyed the competitiveness of it – especially the market making game. I applied for the Trader Analyst role shortly thereafter.

How did the Trading Analyst role help you in your current career?
It helped me develop a solid proficiency in programming in Python, Excel VBA and PostgreSQL and in data analysis. Aside from skill, and perhaps more importantly, it helped develop an interest in what is happening in the markets and on the trading floor- to ask questions when things are unclear, and to challenge other people even though they might be very far ahead of you in terms of knowledge and experience.

What do you love most about working at Optiver?
Optiver was the first place I really had to constantly put in effort, to keep up. Being here now, I love how passionate everyone is about what they do, and everyone is always willing to help each other. Every day you are driven to improve by the people around you in a very direct but constructive way. This collaborative, high-pace atmosphere is something I thoroughly enjoy.

Every day you are driven to improve by the people around you in a very direct but constructive way

What makes you good at your job?
Having spent nearly one and a half years in the Brazil team now, the people around me are a constant reminder that there is still a lot I have to learn. That being said, the skills I acquired as a TA help out quite a bit for trading analysis and the projects you work on when trading is quiet. Additionally, I think I’m critical and proactive on any incremental improvements I think can be made. For us as a business it’s important to constantly pursue these minor changes; together they help us stay ahead in an incredibly competitive and fast-changing landscape.

Why would you recommend the TA role to someone else?
It’s a great way to get exposure to the extremely energising atmosphere on the floor and to get a taste of the problem-solving nature of our work. You’ll be seated right in the middle of all the action, which means that you can also learn a lot from the traders around if you aspire a career as a trader. Lastly, Optiver is fairly flexible in the arrangement of your working hours, which makes it fit in well with your studies.

Why should someone consider a career in trading?
The highly competitive nature of the industry and the constant push for improvements makes this work very exciting. You’ll regularly have intense and busy days, but those are also the most exciting days. It is generally at the end of these days that you feel most accomplished because you know you put in the effort.