How would you describe your job to someone outside of the finance industry?
I’m a software developer with a variety of responsibilities. I primarily work as a frontend developer, where I design and implement the actual visuals of the system. I also work as a middle tier and backend developer, bridging the interface and data of the system while managing the data itself. I develop web and desktop applications to support the day-to-day business workflows of the traders.
What does a typical day look like for you?
We support offices all over the world, including the United States, London and Hong Kong; as a result, my mornings generally consist of catch-up meetings with colleagues in other regions. After breaking for lunch with my team, I usually visit the trading desk to assist with any issues my users face and discuss how to make our system more efficient. I usually work on 2 to 7 impactful projects at a time, ranging from tactical bug fixes to strategic long term solutions.
What do the platforms you develop do?
The platform supports numerous business workflows. For instance, if a client wants a certain number of shares, the traders have to approve, deny, or modify the amount requested. The traders come in every morning and have a long list of these requests. Thus, we work with our traders to develop automation strategies that decrease the number of manual approvals they need to make, which allows them more time to focus on profit generating activities.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on at Morgan Stanley?
Around six months after joining my team, I was tasked with creating an automation strategy. It was a high priority project involving many risks, as even a slight miscalculation could impact the results dramatically. The learning curve was steep, as I had never developed with the particular technology involved. I was lucky to have supportive team members who allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow as a developer. When my manager told me how successful the project I delivered was on its first day, I was ecstatic; that moment solidified my understanding of the impact I have on the firm as a developer.
What do you think about collaboration at Morgan Stanley?
We ensure everyone is communicating and collaborating with each other since multiple teams can use similar data points and models. We also try to leverage frameworks that other teams have developed wherever possible in order to avoid creating projects that serve the same purpose. Additionally, we use an enterprise social networking platform, similar to Facebook, to organize team discussions, ask questions, and communicate project designs. Employees also use it to talk about places to eat, sports, bicycling, service initiatives, and even Game of Thrones. We’re social in nature and Morgan Stanley fosters a culture that focuses on its people.
How does technology fit into Morgan Stanley?
Morgan Stanley understands the importance of technology and is open to onboarding open source frameworks and third party applications where there is a business justification. We have teams who couple research with proof of concepts and hackathons to decide whether or not a new piece of technology can benefit the firm. Our developers are passionate about cutting-edge technology that can improve our systems; this diversity of thought and experience allows us to creatively develop platforms that truly move and sustain our business. I’ve even heard senior directors refer to Morgan Stanley as a ‘technology company that produces business solutions’ in contrast to a ‘financial firm with a technology department’.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the office?
I started dancing Salsa in high school and have been performing and teaching ever since. I’ve taught large scale workshops for organizations throughout the tristate area, including New York University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Columbia University, and Credit Suisse. Salsa is special to me because it introduced me to the world of performance and is also how I met my fiancée.