During the last week of August, IE University students with an interest in finance had the opportunity to take part in the Amplify Trading Finance Bootcamp, organized by the IE University Talent & Careers Department.
Amplify Trading is a financial futures trading company located on a prominent trading floor in the City of London. With their extensive sector experience and cutting-edge technology, they provide unrivaled training for current and upcoming traders, supporting them as they achieve their targets.
Due to this year’s complicated global situation and international travel restrictions, the bootcamp was held entirely online. This allowed a large number of students to take part, regardless of where they were based during the summer months. In the end, approximately 75 undergraduate students participated, from programs including the Bachelor in Business Administration and the Bachelor in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Economics, alongside Dual Degrees such as the Bachelor in Business Administration & Laws and the Bachelor in Business Administration & International Relations.
Maxime Raskin and Cristian Minondo, two students in their penultimate year at IE University, sat down to talk to us about their experiences at the bootcamp. Besides offering their insights, they told us about the benefits of complementing their studies with specialized training.
Why were you interested in this bootcamp?
MAXIME: I was very interested in this bootcamp because I have always wanted to pursue a career in banking. Amplify Trading is a well-known institution in the industry and has helped hundreds of students differentiate themselves from other investment banking applicants. I was also interested in gaining firsthand experience as we had the opportunity to do real-world simulations of IPO’s and trading. I also have an opportunity to join the Credit Suisse financial department in January 2021, so I wanted to gain more insights into this industry before actually joining a bank like Credit Suisse.
CRISTIAN: I had heard about Amplify Trading from the Head of IE University’s Talent & Careers Department, Carlos Diez, and had already done some research about the firm. I love the world of finance, so when I found out that such a prestigious firm was going to give a bootcamp alongside IE University, I immediately signed up.
I wanted to learn technical trading skills, while gaining an overview of financial institutions and their functions, as well as valuable insight and opinions from industry professionals. The bootcamp definitely surpassed my expectations. I even returned to Madrid from Guatemala two days earlier than planned because I wanted to attend the bootcamp in the same time zone.
What did the bootcamp consist of?
MAXIME: Through their trading platform, we took part in simulations such as launching an IPO and the trading of commodities, equities and currencies from the perspective of both a hedge fund and an investment bank in real time. Additionally, the team gave us great feedback on the recruiting process for our ongoing summer internship applications for investment banks. We finished the bootcamp exploring behavioral finance theory with real-world examples, and the instructors shared some remarkable insights about their personal experiences in the sector.
CRISTIAN: The bootcamp consisted of four main parts. We began by dealing with two types of financial institutions that trade securities in public markets—funds and investment banks. We used a real-time trading desk, acting as both the hedge fund and the investment bank, and traded with over 60 participants in real time. It was a great experience to have hands-on practice of a trading desk, and seeing both sides of the transaction was also very valuable.
Next we had the careers session, with tips on interviews, CVs, cover letters and everything that is there to know about applying for a job. They also spoke about the importance of networking and relevant topics in the recruiting process. The next day, we followed the full process of a company going public (IPO). We had to pitch the company to potential investors to obtain funding for the public offering, before switching roles to become the investor, with other groups pitching their companies to us.
On the last day, Amplify Trading’s CEO, William De Lucy, spoke about behavioral finance, and shared some insight and experiences from his career. We ended with an overview of what is happening in the market, which was really relevant considering the current uncertain times.
What would you highlight about the bootcamp?
MAXIME: The workshop was truly enriching and has broadened my financial knowledge through simulations and lectures. It was a great opportunity to become familiar with real-world applications of financial theory and further supplement my own personal studies.
CRISTIAN: What I liked best about this bootcamp was the trading simulation. Amplify Trading’s hedge fund and investment bank simulation displayed different prices and news updates in fast forward. Prices moved rapidly and you had to buy and sell securities with the other participants in real time in order to try to make virtual money. Taking these two perspectives was definitely valuable because if you are not in a hedge fund or investment bank, you could never experience this.
What do you think are the benefits of participating in specialized training for a specific area?
MAXIME: It gives you a clear understanding of your actual role in a specific area within the bank. At university, you gain a general understanding of most tools, but at the Amplify Trading bootcamp, you actually get firsthand experience. It allows you to clearly envision your tasks in a bank and understand if you are truly cut out for this job. I enjoyed this specialized training because it solidified my decision to specialize in a specific area within an investment bank. There are many divisions within a bank that are so different from each other, and joining Amplify Trading allowed me to understand the functions and tasks of each.
CRISTIAN: I see three advantages in taking part in this specialized training. Firstly, you get to learn by doing—I am a firm believer that you learn better by interacting hands on with an activity. Secondly, you have enough time to develop a sixth sense of what is happening in that environment, something that can only be gained through practical experience. Finally, you get to know different people and meet industry professionals. The wealth of their experience is invaluable.