In the 3rd instalment of Tyler Bernardini’s journey from Professional Basketball to the Trading Floor he begs the question: just how steep is the learning curve within Markets Finance and offers some nifty tips for anyone facing such a vocational shift.
Week 2 has finished on a high, as I am really starting to peak through the weeds and gain some insight into the market side of the Finance world. The learning curve is incredibly steep, but the excitement I have for the material every day takes me back to when I first started playing basketball. I wasn’t any good, but I loved going out to the park and playing nonetheless.
The obstacles are massive and the challenges may seem daunting, but so were the odds to make it pro. As an athlete perseverance is synonymous with achieving success, so I am familiar with the process. As I learn more and more about the industry each day, I realise that I am setting the foundation for my career, I am gaining the fundamentals. This is the same process I went through as a young athlete hoping to make a career out of sport.
Going through this process reinforces the idea there are no shortcuts, magic pills, or easy ways around it. Everyday you need to roll up your sleeves and put in the work it takes to make improvements. Every day, small improvements. As I embark on this transition I try to frame this new world in terms I understand, and as I do that, it doesn’t seem so daunting.
Each week I want to also give one tip, or piece of advice that I want to share. I will go back to Week 1.
- Listen and absorb – Write notes after.
- I think sometimes we get so caught up in writing notes while we are trying to learn that we forget to listen, watch, and absorb. Instead of trying to copy down every word I hear, I try to absorb what I can, and then after a session, at lunch, or later in the day I recap and write the notes then.
- Find a good book relevant to your role/industry.
- My job is market facing in the FX space. So I am reading a book that describes the history of FX, how the market is formed, its functions, and various products. The head of sales told me this week it is important to gain a wholistic understanding of the industry and not just the parts of your job you will be involved with on a day to day. So I wanted to get a book that supplements everything I am learning and I can already feel a difference in my ability to absorb material.
Bernardini: Poise Under Pressure
The transition away from sport is really starting to take shape, and the routine of the job is finally starting to settle in. This third week has brought in a sense of reality as to what lies ahead from a lifestyle and job perspective. The days of joggers and trainers on a daily basis are a distant memory, and my playbooks have been substituted with market commentary and product research.
People ask me often if I miss the life of an athlete, or more commonly “Why would you leave that to be on a trading floor.” The reality is being an athlete is just as monotonous as people may find their jobs to be, the outside world only sees a small percentage of what makes up our day to day, it is not necessarily all a dream job. I made this transition to pursue a passion I had since I was 18… basketball was what I had and finance was where I hoped to be.
This third week reaffirmed for me this is not only what I wanted, but where I belonged. The pace of the workflow is fast, teamwork & communication are key, and the most prepared people on the floor tend to be the most successful. The parallels between sport and finance are extremely strong, the only thing left is to put in the time and effort to make this career a reality.
Week 3 Takeaway
- Work on finding your own voice in the business. It is important to not only understand what is being written about the industry in which you operate, but the next level is being able to explain or talk about the material in your own voice. This will enhance your understanding, and also get you used to framing your thoughts using industry specific rhetoric.