After graduating, John Jayasankar ‘22 was eager to step into the world of financial technology (fintech), which seeks to automate and optimize financial processes. The economics and linguistics double major was able to do just that, by working as a technical business analyst on the product operations team at London-based fintech startup OpenGamma.
OpenGamma seeks to automate and optimize derivatives trading, treasury management, and margin and risk analytics. OpenGamma works with over 65 clients, including tier one investment banks, hedge funds, asset managers, commodity trading firms, and clearing houses to optimize margin management, validate margin methodology, minimize trading costs, and simulate the margin requirements associated with hypothetical trading decisions. The business-to-business, software-as-a-service startup has been completely remote since 2020, allowing experts like Jayasankar to contribute to the company’s goal from across the globe.
Jayasankar is focused on ensuring that OpenGamma products, particularly Carma, their flagship user-interface margin analytics product, are accessible and functional to buy-side clients and capital market participants around the world. His responsibilities include configuring the front-end user interface for clients, modifying, writing, and debugging the back-end of the product using scripts in Java, running margin calculations for clients, configuring the code for specific financial products and trading strategies, and ensuring margin validation methodologies are accurate. He also acts as a product consultant to buy-side clients.
“Every client wants a bespoke experience that is tailored to their unique trading needs, and I help write code and implement custom configurations to make this happen” said Jayasankar, who is working remotely from New York. He is proud to be joining the company’s recent expansion into the United States.
“I truly believe that OpenGamma can offer significant progression as I grow with them,” Jayasankar said. “It is the perfect blend of a small startup culture mixed with significant venture capital backing and brilliant young minds continuing to push the technical envelope and changing the margin game.”
Jayasankar continued, “Since OpenGamma is a startup, asking questions and volunteering feedback are all key inputs to driving the company forwards. I was very keen on finding an atmosphere where I could question why things are done the way they are and be emboldened to try to solve problems my own way. At OpenGamma I have found just this, I am constantly encouraged to deviate from the status quo and am free to explore non-traditional solutions to streamline processes and drive innovation. It is incredibly fulfilling to have the same freedom to approach my work at OpenGamma as at Haverford to explore my academic passions.”
Though he is working remotely, he will have the opportunity to attend multiple company summits a year in London and throughout Europe, where he will meet with colleagues from around the world.
Jayasankar is grateful to Haverford’s unique intellectual atmosphere, which, he said, encouraged him to explore many different academic pursuits.
“Being encouraged to take a variety of different classes that reaffirmed the idea that branching out and exploring different interests continually motivated me to push the boundaries of different skills and hobbies,” he said. “Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis,” taught by professors Giri Parameswaran and David Wonnacott, is where he was first introduced to using coding to solve real-world problems. Inspired by what he learned, he began to make his own stock trading screeners, despite not having any formal education in computer science. He then grew his coding skills by conducting research with Matthew Bloomfield, an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, on reporting quality, earning management, and incentives in oligopolistic industries. Eventually, he became interested in using those skills to boost his interest in economics and began pursuing careers in fintech.
Jayasankar noted that drive is key to success in the fintech industry. In particular, he said, working on your own coding projects helps you build valuable skills that are often of interest to employers.
“Try to learn as much as possible,” he advises fellow Fords who wish to follow in his footsteps into fintech. “Startups in fintech are all unique and require a driven and passionate person. Haverford truly enables and encourages success if this is your goal,” he said.
OpenGamma is continuously looking to hire graduates with STEM degrees, whether as software engineers, product analysts, quantitative researchers, or in sales. Jayasankar recommends the opportunity to any Haverford student with pertinent interests.
Eventually, Jayasankar plans to obtain his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation within the next few years, and later hopes to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Then, he would like to lead a product development team in fintech or become a portfolio manager for a hedge fund or asset management firm, or trader for a commodity trading firm.
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.