CFEM Fireside Chat: A Veteran Trader Speaks to Emerging Women Leaders of Finance

On October 30th, CFEM hosted a small group forum with Rachel Marshak, Managing Director and Head of Convertible Trading at Piper Sandler.

With over 20 years of experience trading equity-linked and convertible securities at multiple major institutions, including D.E. Shaw and Credit Suisse, Ms. Marshak shared her deep knowledge of the markets and her profession.

Ms. Marshak started her career as a trading assistant at D.E. Shaw, developed her product and trading expertise as a junior trader at KBC Financial Products, and eventually moved on to lead her desk at Credit Suisse and Piper Sandler. She provided candid insights in overcoming industry challenges where women are underrepresented. The group discussed work-life balance, the importance of mentorship and "champions" who support one's career, and the true value that female professionals offer.

Both CFEM and Ithaca FE students attended the event. Adeline Kwan (Cornell MFE '21) said, "It was inspiring to hear about an unfiltered professional experience from the perspective of a female trader within such a male-dominant industry." Sukriti Kumar (Cornell MFE '22) agreed with that sentiment and noted, "A career in quantitative trading requires persistence and hard work. As women traders, we might not get the best of opportunities in the first go, but with constant hard work and curiosity to learn, we will be able to achieve the desired outcome."

CFEM Manager of Career Development Ayumi Sakamoto said, "One of my goals for our students is to help them develop a real-life understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the industry, and prepare for success. This is particularly true of women, who have been historically underrepresented in the industry's leadership ranks. Candid conversations with leading professionals like Rachel are invaluable, but can be hard to access for students. As former industry professionals, Professor Averbukh and I are committed to finding opportunities to help female students realize their full potential." 

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