International Women’s Day Highlight: Melissa Krumdick
Melissa Krumdick has worked for Belvedere Trading since the summer of 2016, as an S&P Derivatives Trader. Melissa graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Notre Dame, with a Bachelor of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics. When choosing a profession, Melissa knew she wanted something intellectually challenging, rewarding, ever changing, and applicable to her educational background. In honor of International Women’s Day, she shared with us how she found her path at Belvedere Trading, and what advice she has for young women embarking on their career journey.
BT: What were you looking for in your first job after graduation?
MK: Before considering a career in trading, I had three very different internship experiences. I was the project manager of a research team at UCLA, spent a semester working at an ethical hacking company in London, and worked as an actuarial intern in Chicago. Each experience was valuable, but none struck me as what I wanted to do full-time with my degree after graduation. Ultimately, I was looking for an opportunity where I could apply my background in mathematics and statistics to a field that I felt was truly interesting and evolving. It was important to me to find a career path where I could see myself grow both professionally and personally. Finance, and specifically trading, while at the time foreign to me, was the type of exciting challenge that I wanted to explore.
BT: What inspired you to become a trader?
MK: When I was choosing a profession, I was looking for something not only intellectually challenging but also exciting. I wanted to choose a career with enough complexity to afford continuing opportunities, to learn new things, and improve the performance of my team. Having majored in applied mathematics and statistics, I was drawn to the analytical problem solving and quantitative nature inherent to trading, and I’ve found that being a trader on Belvedere’s S&P desk has given me the engaging and meaningful work experience that I wanted.
BT: Describe your role at Belvedere. What skills have you learned from your current position?
MK: I’ve been a trader at Belvedere for about two and a half years now, and I’m currently a trader on our S&P desk. I trade options on the SPY ETF, primarily electronically, and manage the SPY positional risk. Trading trains you to feel confident making quick decisions and to translate these decisions into action. There’s an emphasis on consolidating a lot of information at once and continually updating what you understand about your position as it changes. While quantitative thinking is essential, from assessing the biggest risks in your position to evaluating your past performance, communication skills also play a big role in your overall performance. When trading on a larger team, like the S&P desk, relaying information efficiently and effectively can be crucial.
BT: What do you love most about trading?
MK: I’ve found trading to be a very rewarding profession, with a big emphasis on problem solving and higher-level thinking. Working in what can be a fast paced and challenging environment has given me the tools to make autonomous decisions during the trading day, as well as reflect on my performance and how I can improve after the fact. I’ve continued to learn and be challenged throughout my time at Belvedere, and this type of environment keeps me invested in the performance of my desk.
BT: What makes Belvedere Trading’s recruiting process stand out?
MK: I think Belvedere does a great job giving candidates many opportunities to showcase their skills in a wide variety of ways. I’ve been involved in the recruiting process for the last year, and I’ve learned just how much work is done to make sure we get a comprehensive picture of each candidate and how they could make our team better. There really is an emphasis on Belvedere as a team, and during my interview process, I felt like everyone involved wanted me to have a good experience and feel comfortable meeting people and asking questions.
BT: What advice would you give to a new female grad who is considering a career in a male dominated industry?
MK: Be confident in your abilities. Instead of qualifying your experiences and accomplishments, highlight your merits. I think there can be a tendency for women considering a career in a male dominated industry to feel like they need to justify their inclusion instead of expecting it. Don’t do yourself a disservice by ruling out opportunities in these professions. Inevitably, if you choose such a career, you may find you face obstacles that your male counterparts might not experience. Resist the urge to feel like you need to think and act like the majority to provide value to your team; adding to the diversity really is an asset.