Carnegie Mellon University

Akram Ayyash, MSCF ’14

Why trading?

At first, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but MSCF helped me discover different career paths. From the sell-side to the buy-side and equity research to asset management, I reached out to MSCF and Tepper alumni to learn more about different careers. This helped me hone in on what I really wanted to do – be closer to the investment side, where I would have the opportunity to come up with trade ideas and act on them. Originally, I started in structuring and eventually moved to trading. 

What do you enjoy most about your career?

I enjoy the opportunity to work with a variety of clients from private banks and hedge funds to corporations and asset managers. From my seat, I get to see their different perspectives on trades and prices and how each of them view risk – it’s a really unique position.

What are the top skills required to be successful in this field?

We constantly work with numbers and legal documents, and it’s important to have attention to detail so as not to make mistakes. A good technical skillset is necessary, but in addition to that, it’s important to be personable and have strong communication skills. Traders need to talk with people, negotiate and understand the different needs of clients who want to close trades. The knowledge of rules and regulations will help traders understand what trades are feasible from a regulatory viewpoint and what are the capital costs associated with them – this is becoming more and more important.

How has the MSCF program helped you in your career?

The technical skills I learned in mathematics, statistics and computer science have been helpful on a day-to-day basis. I felt I was better equipped in my technical skillset than my peers during my summer internship. The Speaker Series offered input from practitioners that showed me what the real world looked like from my seat as a student. The network of alumni introduced me to different career options and helped me judge what I really wanted in a career.