Dan Burke (Class of 1997), Global Head - Sovereign Credit Trading / Credit e-Trading, Standard Chartered Bank

How did CLS get you ready for the world of work?
Three things spring to mind. The first and most obvious is the standard and quality of the education at CLS and the focus on preparing you for entrance to university. Secondly, the work shadowing requirement in the 3rd or 4th year where I ended up spending 2 days on the Equities trading floor at Merrill Lynch, the company that I would go on to join straight from university. Thirdly was how the economics department (especially Mr Reddit) cultivated my interest in finance and in the City.

What was your first job?
I joined Merrill Lynch debt markets in Autumn 2000 after completing their graduate training program in New York. My first job was on the retail bond desk. This was before the dawn of electronic trading so I had to speak on the phone to the global sales team to execute all of the smallest trades on the desk. It was a great way to learn how the market functioned without having to take too much risk to start with. As the desk junior I also spent a lot of time doing the less glamorous jobs; coffees, breakfast and lunches!

Your biggest professional achievement?
Being asked to run the Global Sovereign Credit desk at Standard Chartered in Singapore last year. To be in charge of a global team of traders was very humbling and validation for many years of effort and learning.

Your most challenging professional moment?
Trading through the Global Financial Crisis in Hong Kong 2009 was hugely challenging. Over the weekend that Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in September, my bank Merrill Lynch was also forced by the US government into a takeover by Bank of America. During that period we were worried about the collapse of the banking system from the stress of such major institutions failing, and if we would still have a job each day as the panic escalated.

What inspires and motivates you at work?
The markets are a great motivator. No two days are the same and financial markets will always try and find a way to inflict losses on the most participants. Even though I have been trading for 21 years you are always learning and always being tested. What inspires me right now is way technology is changing the way we operate. Banks have been traditionally slower to innovate than newer, more nimble Fintechs and so I am always trying to find new ways to automate and bring efficiency to the bond markets. The apps that we use on our phones are always simpler and more intuitive that the apps we use at work…that’s what I’m trying to change.

One piece of advice for pupils and other Old Citizens about getting into your profession
You can’t fake genuine enthusiasm. When I showed up at the interview day I was by no means the smartest applicant, but no-one wanted the job more than I did.