Ali is an executive director and a software developer at Morgan Stanley who has been interested in computers ever since he can remember. He earned a bachelor's degree from Budapest Tech University and a master's from Southampton University, in the U.K., both in software engineering.
What do you do at the firm?
I'm a software developer, and I lead a team in fixed-income e-trading. We build fixed-income trading systems that allow our traders to trade with outside electronic markets. The focus now is really on algorithmic trading, a very collaborative process. Strategists create a model, and then IT builds the system so that traders can use it.
How have the sector and your career evolved?
There are things that have changed in fixed-income electronic trading. There are more new products, and each different product has different characteristics. As our team grew, I had more products added to my portfolio. When I arrived in 2008, my team was very small with seven people. Around my second year, I managed an intern, and in my fifth year I made vice president. My team is now 20 people, and I am now an executive director.
Is the firm a strong competitor in the trading space?
Yes, we all do quality work. In fixed-income trading, we rank among the top five banks. Since I've been here, there has been constant investment in e-trading and the desk is reaping the benefits.
What is your day-to-day life like?
Even though we are in Budapest, we still get access to juicy projects. Things are always happening, and it's not monotonous. We have to react to market changes and market opportunities. We have to be on top of things, and we have to be agile and precise. It is a challenging job but quite rewarding.
Can you give an example of a rewarding challenge?
Because we're engaged with the trading desk, we've been part of all the major events that affect the markets, including Brexit, the U.S. election, and other things you read about in the news. You see all that financial chaos and market volatility reflected in your own systems. On those days, it's really a global effort. I did have to pull some long hours to ensure stable trading, but so did everyone else. It's all hands on deck.
What's the best part about working at Morgan Stanley?
It's an open environment, so it’s a great place to learn. My team members can directly ask questions to anyone. There're a lot of smart people who are always helpful to one another. Everybody helps everybody.
The culture is always great. Everybody talks about it so much that it does sound like a cliché, but it's real.
Even when it's stressful?
Yes, everybody works as a team even when there's an outage or an issue. We discuss what happened, and how we can make it better for the next time. It feels like everybody is working together. There are always lessons to be learned. When we see room for improvement, we do it.