Alumni Spotlight: Hedge Fund Careers at HBK Capital Management

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March 28, 2018 by texasbbacareerservices


James W Kennington, UT CNS BS 2015, Major: Physics (Honors)
Current Title: Quantitative Developer

Please tell us about your career path and how you found your way to HBK.

  • During my junior year at UT, I joined the Undergraduate Computational Finance club (UCF), where I met a group with diverse backgrounds interested in quantitative finance. I came to appreciate that the unique combination of mathematics, intuition, and computer science demanded by astrophysics research – which I had spent years developing in various labs – was equally useful in this subset of the financial industry. Through the club, I heard about several hedge funds recruiting for summer internships; one of the members had interned at HBK the previous year and could describe the opportunity well. I interned and stayed on part-time through my senior year, and joined on full-time after graduation as a Risk Analyst.


Please tell us about your career at HBK.

  • I began my career at HBK as a risk analyst focused on providing programming assistance to improve existing systems, such as the system that calculates market beta for all positions. Over a couple years, my work focused increasingly on market-facing research infrastructure, building a variety of deferred-calculation and market data manipulation tools primarily in python. More recently, this effort has centered on a shared infrastructure with the Quant team, to which I have contributed both infrastructural improvements as well as research. This collaboration with the Quant team has also allowed me to explore a variety of more quantitative and research-oriented areas across equity, futures, structured-credit, and fixed-income markets.


What do you like about working for HBK?

  • I love the climate at HBK. Having spent time in the military, I knew that rigid hierarchies weren’t for me. The openness at HBK is refreshing and vital to our success. As a junior analyst, I took part in collaborative meetings with stakeholders ranging from my level all the way up to the partnership. In addition to the cooperative environment, the caliber of talent here has helped me learn a great deal about financial markets as well as math/modeling techniques. Aside from academics, HBK also has a well-developed fun-side. We routinely have engaging events such as bowling competitions, lamb chop festival, and charity-focused events like cooking for the Children’s Hospital.


What skills make a person successful in this position at HBK?

  • Front offices teams at HBK are very collaborative. These teams vary in technologically savviness, but a significant degree of technical proficiency is desirable for future work. It is important to have a desire to learn new systems and potentially to contribute at a code level. There is a long learning curve here and that requires patience and determination.


Please share your general career advice?

  • Stay academically active. Find a position and firm that motivates you. I routinely attend colloquia on topics ranging from physics to financial modeling, and end up using some of the material at the desk. At HBK I feel enabled and encouraged to explore a vast array of research areas, which inspires me each day to learn and to grow. I am energetic and passionate about contributing to the company.


Don’t wait to apply to the HBK Jr. Equity Trader role in RecruitMcCombsDeadline: May 11, 2018.


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