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Master
Stochastics and Financial Mathematics
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Wessel Martens

Current position: Interest Rate Strategist
Employer: Rabobank
Master’s programme: Stochastics and Financial Mathematics

From textbook to real-world application

'I did two internships, both at ABN AMRO, one of which was on my own initiative in the summer between the two Master’s years. I got invited for it after the UvA Quants Career Event. It was nice seeing the same textbooks that I was reading for University on the shelves at the bank. They asked me to come back for a second internship to write my Master’s thesis. Being in the dealing room of the bank, working on models that I learned about at University, and actually applying that knowledge to a real-world application in a bank. That was the highlight for me.'

Breaking into the financial industry

'My current job is Interest Rate Strategist at Rabobank. It is part of a traineeship called the Advanced Analytics Young Professional Programme. I mainly found the job just looking online. However, it’s quite a small world after this degree and the Master’s programme has pretty good connections with the financial industry. I work on quantitative models for interest rates to define the interest rate strategy of Rabobank. A typical workday starts with a team meeting in the morning, during which we update each other on our work, and I also have a couple of meetings with different stakeholders who are using my model both within and outside the team. After that, I spend a lot of time developing new models and programming.' 

Combining hard and soft skills in the job market

'Having an analytical mindset is important for this job, so really being able to think about financial markets and financial products in an abstract way and being able to translate that into a working model. Programming is also important, so you can actually write computer programs to run calculations for your models. Those are the hard skills. Then the soft skills really involve a lot of stakeholder management. The output of your models often have to be interpreted by people who don’t come from the same background as you. So, you should be able to translate very abstract, analytical things into concrete subject matter for different stakeholders.'

Look beyond the lectures and theory books

'I think it’s very important to start exploring the different options very early on and to get in contact with companies you might be interested in. Visit an in-house day for example, to see what it’s like from the inside. Speak to the people and see if you connect, so you can see if you are attracted to this environment. Look beyond the lectures and the theory books, because then you really see what it’s like to apply this knowledge in practice. You also learn a lot about the theory by doing this. It’s really good to not only learn from the textbooks in the classroom, but also to get out there and experience what it’s really like in the industry.'