Did you know that Chicago is universally considered to be the number one place in the world for trading? With that having been said, it's not surprising to learn that the most frequent question I get asked is how I got my start in this business and what route I took to get here today. The financial district in the Loop is literally crawling with thousands of young, hopeful professionals determined to follow in the footsteps of a proven, successful trader.
Trading continues to be one of those careers that many people are obsessed with, particularly in finding the path of least resistance to the ever-elusive pot of gold. Movies such as Wall Street and Boiler Room show how an eager individual interested in finance may virtually become rich overnight.
My story isn't the stereotypical rags-to-riches, feel-good biopic where the protagonist beats the odds to move from the factory floor to the trading floor. I did, however, start at the bottom without having any friends or family in the industry and worked my way up by virtue of my relentless work ethic and innate sixth sense for trading. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign–Urbana in 2001 with a BS in finance and a concentration in accounting. Like many other seniors applying for their first job, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my postcollege life. I had attended the typical career fairs, interviewing for everything from investment banking positions to financial adviser jobs; but from the very outset ...