Carnegie Mellon University

Catherine Monk

Catherine Monk

US Treasury Trader - Morgan Stanley

What is your educational / professional background and how did you become interested in quant finance?

I was a mathematics/finance double major in undergrad at University of Delaware which gave me a great background for the program, but I was interested in bridging the gap between the two. I wanted to learn how to apply mathematics to financial problems. I also wanted to go into a front office role, and the MSCF program is a great way to make that happen.

Describe your current role and the most fulfilling aspects of your job.

I am currently a US Treasury Trader at Morgan Stanley. I love that fast-paced aspect of the job and the fact that every day is something different and a new challenge. I never feel bored by my job. I also enjoy the team aspect, interacting with my coworkers daily and trying to come up with new trade ideas.

What are the top skills required for success in your role/job?

The skills required for my job include quick-thinking, decisiveness, and attention to detail. My job is fast-paced and requires split-second decision making. It definitely is not for every personality type. It is also very helpful to have a more quantitative background. Although the nature of my job doesn't allow me to be actively applying my quantitative skills daily, it is incredibly helpful when talking to developers or quant researchers. It enables me to understand what is possible and could be easily improved.

In what ways do you see your role/job changing in both the short-term and long-term?

Short-term our focus is on inflation and the Federal Reserve's rate path. The FOMC has taken dramatic steps to help slow inflation, but it still continues to be a global issue that many central banks are trying to get under control. Long-term we will be paying attention to how AI works to help us with our day to day trading decisions and how we can integrate it into our jobs.

How did the MSCF program prepare you for your career?

In so many ways! First it gave me the opportunity to interview with the top banks in the industry and get my foot in the door. The MSCF program also gave me the background to understand complex products and transactions, and the programming background to be able to automate and improve spreadsheets and other trading applications. The MSCF program also has an amazing network of very high performing professionals at almost every top financial institution, which helps with job mobility both within your current company and also if you are looking externally.

What advice would you give to someone considering the MSCF program?

I would tell them that it is the best decision I even made, but be prepared to have no life for 1.5 years! But if you want to get into a front office role with the top institutions it will get you there. Rely on your classmates and world-class professors to help if you are having issues. And remember everyone has their strengths and weaknesses in the program so try to not compare yourself to your classmates.