IMC Trading Connects with Top-Tier Undergraduate Talent via Cambridge Spark

IMC is a leading global market maker, using algorithmic trading and advanced technology to buy and sell securities on multiple trading venues worldwide. 

We partnered with IMC to deliver two innovative workshops, focusing on Quantitative Trading in Python and High-Performance Technology using Java. Over 200 students from top UK universities submitted projects via our learning and assessment platform, K.A.T.E.®, to be in with a chance to attend the full-day seminars in London, focusing on practical quantitative and engineering techniques - whilst exploring careers at IMC.

As a technical undergraduate student, it can be difficult to find opportunities to learn and apply real practical quantitative and engineering techniques. The technical workshops we ran in collaboration with IMC combined theory with hands-on, practical sessions on Jupyter notebooks, led by IMC’s quantitative developers and engineers.

The workshops enabled IMC to engage with early careers talent in a fun, safe space - enabling students to develop their personal networks and learn from industry leaders and practitioners.

I had heard of IMC before and looked at what they had to offer. When I saw the workshops covered high-performance concurrency - something we’re covering [at university] in the future - it felt like a great opportunity to dive into the topics."

Vasundhara, Computer Science (2nd year), University of Cambridge

Navigating a highly-competitive application process

Students in attendance had undergone a highly-competitive application process, going up against 200+ applicants to secure their position in the workshops and learn key concepts and trading strategies first-hand from experts.

To progress through to the selection stage of the application process, students had to undertake a Python project for the Quantitative Trading workshop, or a Java programming project if they applied for the High-Performance Tech workshop. These were submitted through K.A.T.E.®, Cambridge Sparks’ proprietary learning and assessment platform, which was used to identify highly-skilled and motivated applicants through its real-time dashboard.

I applied to the events as I’m looking for opportunities in which I can apply my learnings of mathematics and statistics in the business world, particularly in the field of quantitative finance. Given the event provided workshops in the fundamentals of options pricing using Python, I was excited to attend and learn more."

Ying, Statistics (3rd year), University of Oxford

Over the course of the application process, the workshops attracted applications from top universities across the UK, including the London School of Economics, University of Oxford and University College London, with the majority of applicants coming from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge.

 

Competitive hackathon

At the end of the day, students got to apply their learnings from the day to a competitive hackathon-style competition, before watching their models compete live on-screen - all for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Amsterdam!

Participants of the Quantitative Trading workshop had to work in teams to create their own trading strategy using Python, whilst those attending the High-Performance Tech workshop had to work together to submit their optimised Java code and watch as their names moved up and down our real-time dashboard upon making performance changes to their code.

My favourite part of the workshop was learning the theory and then reinforcing what we learned with the hands-on competition."

Viola, Natural Sciences (3rd year), University of Cambridge

And we have our winners...

Check out the highlights from yesterday’s @IMCTrading Quantitative Trading hackathon-style competition. A big congratulations to Leon and Kacper from @imperialcollege and @ucl for winning an all-expenses-paid trip to Amsterdam with their winning model! #LifeatIMC pic.twitter.com/zNeM8zkkrR

— Cambridge Spark (@CambridgeSpark) October 20, 2019

I was interested in what IMC does as they’re a well-known market maker. I’ve done a few internships in quant finance so, naturally, I wanted more experience in the field. My favourite part of the day was the whole presentation on the options theory, it provided me with a good overview of options and how you make markets in options."

"The project was set up really well, and we had lots of ideas that we wanted to implement. We only got to implement a few of them but it was good and the environment provided to us was great."

"I was very surprised to have won but the ideas we had implemented were good. I’m really looking forward to going to Amsterdam!"

Leon Wu, Imperial maths student, 3rd year (winner, options)

The competition was our favourite part of the day (especially winning!). What we really liked is being able to see the other techniques others had used. You can really learn from that and potentially use those techniques in the future."

We initially couldn’t get our code working and it turned out that we miscalculated something in the code. Once we fixed the issue, optimised our code, and implemented all of our learnings over the day, we saw that we were in the lead. When we saw that we won, it was so great - we couldn’t believe we did it!"

Mohammed (3rd year, University of Cambridge) and Salman (2nd year, Imperial College London)

A huge congratulations to the winners of the @IMCTrading High Performance Tech hackathon-style competition, Mohammed (@mdaudali) and Salman, and runners up, David and Vasundhara from @Cambridge_Uni and @imperialcollege! #LifeatIMC pic.twitter.com/wmWrwUx4FJ

— Cambridge Spark (@CambridgeSpark) October 20, 2019

View the Highlights from the High Performance Tech Workshop in this video

A big thank you to everyone that attended yesterday’s @IMCTrading High Performance Tech workshop! Check out the highlights of the day, featuring the winners and runners up from the systems performance hackathon-style competition! #LifeatIMC pic.twitter.com/bPZAIQcoTY

— Cambridge Spark (@CambridgeSpark) October 21, 2019

The result

The weekend was lots of fun and a success! Students in attendance were engaged and eager to network and learn from the IMC team. Overall, the workshops provided high engagement and exposure for the market-maker, which is seeking to bolster its applications for its technical early careers programmes.

For us, the student workshops form one of the highlights in our campus season each year, particularly as it gives us the opportunity to meet so many clever students! The workshops were a great success, resulting in roughly 20 students applying for our early careers programmes so far. We look forward to next year!"

Dorine van der Schalk, Talent Acquisition, IMC Trading

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