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How to get a job at Citadel or Citadel Securities

Plenty of people want to work for Citadel and Citadel Securities. Few succeed. In an interview earlier this year, Matt Mitro, the head of graduate recruitment for both firms said that only 1% of applicants to both firms make it through. 

What makes successful applicants special? In an interview for our recent graduate careers fair, Mitro suggested that the students Citadel and Citadel Securities hire are fundamentally differentiated by one thing.

Excellence. 

"The students who stand out have demonstrated a commitment to excellence and that doesn’t have to be in math or computer science," said Mitro. "It can be in music or the arts. We have start-up founders and published authors. We look at every single application and try to work out what makes that applicant different – what have they accomplished and what are they proud of?” 

As well as being excellent in their field, Mitro said the two firms hire students who are "extraordinary." They are looking for "extraordinary talent." It doesn't matter what you studied. It doesn't matter where you studied it.

It does matter that you have achieved something out of the ordinary.

A record of academic achievement will clearly help, but on its own it may not be enough. Mitro said Citadel and Citadel Securities' hires include NASA researchers and people who've won math competitions.

The firm is unapologetically selective, and if you get a job there, the culture is unashamedly meritocratic. "We empower team members who deliver results and the best idea always wins regardless of title and tenure.” 

Citadel and Citadel Securities don't use video interviewing software 

If Citadel and Citadel Securities like you, they will want to meet you. There are no Hirevue interviews. Even during the initial phone screening, you will speak to a human being. 

“Our selection process is traditional in the sense that it involves 1-1 engagement with a person," says Mitro. "At the moment, we don’t do any of the scaled assessments that other organizations do. We want people to have an opportunity to meet with us."

Selecting talent can't be left to computers, says Mitro: “We strongly believe that there isn’t a single magic formula or algorithm for selecting people.” 

Competitive but collaborative 

You're not going to get a graduate job at Citadel or Citadel Securities if you compete with your colleagues. You are going to get a job at Citadel or Citadel Securities if you collaborate with your colleagues to compete against the rest of the world. 

Mitro says the two firms hire people who are "entrepreneurial, collaborative" as well as "committed to excellence."

It's about inspiring each other and sharing success, while being wholly committed to coming first. “We want to win and we want to outthink and outsmart our competitors. We take on and solve problems that other firms might walk away from,” says Mitro. 

However, you need to come first for the right reasons. "We want to do things the right way and we want to attract people who share those values.” 

You don't need to study finance, or even a STEM subject

You'll probably need to study a STEM subject if you want to be quant or a technologist at Citadel or Citadel Securities, but Mitro says the variety of degree subjects is much broader in enterprise and operations (support) roles and - surprisingly perhaps - in investment roles. 

“Investing teams generate new ideas about investing opportunities and in that role we’re looking for students with an interest in investments – they don’t need to be economics or finance majors, but they need to have an interest in how stocks are valued,” says Mitro.

What you do need to be is creative. “We are looking for creative problem solvers with out-of-the-box ideas, but we expect that creativity to be grounded in data and science. If you have those skills and a thesis, we will expect you to build a model and to test it,” he adds.  

You probably need to apply for the internships

The best way into both Citadel and Citadel Securities is through the internship programs run by the two firms.

The internships are characterized by “really fast-paced work on real projects that will deliver value to the firm,” says Mitro.   

They're also characterized by pay of $14k a month and an initial bonding week in a luxury resort, but this isn't supposed to be what you focus on. The time spent in the hotels is meant to be all about building lasting relationships with your fellow interns, who will - hopefully - become your future colleagues. 

You might want to try some of the competitions 

Before applying for the internship, you could participate in some of the competitions the two firms run. These include a datathon, coding competitions and trading competitions. There are plenty of opportunities to distinguish yourself.

Can you apply to Citadel and Citadel Securities? What's the difference?

Citadel is an asset management firm. It invests on behalf of endowments, pension funds, and other institutions, and it works to generate superior returns for them," says Mitro. "Citadel Securities is a market maker and trading firm. It deploys advanced analytics, technology and trading expertise to provide liquidity, help investors to access the market and get the best execution possible on the transactions they’d like to make.”  

More concisely, Citadel is a hedge fund and Citadel Securities uses technology to make markets electronically.

Can you apply to both firms? Yes. Mitro says the recruitment team will help you identify which one is best for you. You should still do some research on each firm, though, and demonstrate that you understand the kinds of projects you'll be working on.

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Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available (Telegram: @SarahButcher)

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
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