Economics major Nicholas Kalra ’13 (New York, N.Y.) has always been tech savvy. In high school, he worked as a sales specialist at an Apple retail store. Then in his sophomore year at Lafayette, he and two Apple co-workers co-founded a technology consulting company. This summer as an intern with the technologies arm of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Euronext, Kalra worked to improve electronic trading.
This was NYSE Euronext’s first year recruiting at Lafayette, according to Janna Hodge ’94, senior vice president of sales and relationship management. In addition to bringing Kalra aboard for the internship, the company hired economics graduate R. Colin Serling ’12 as a relationship manager.
Bringing on talented Lafayette graduates and students is a win-win situation for Hodge, who also is an economics and business graduate.
“[Lafayette] is an excellent institution, and if I can find a qualified candidate to fill a position at our company and support Lafayette students at the same time, it’s a no-brainer,” she says. “Nicholas has done a tremendous job. He has been a quick learner and grasped the concepts of the products he researched, which are both complex and abstract.”
During his 11-week internship, Kalra researched the stock exchange’s financial information exchange (FIX) engine and its Market Access Gateway (MAG) in order to complete an exhaustive competitive analysis on each product. He also researched similar products to compare them to NYSE’s and presented his results to his entire team, including colleagues in Belfast and London. He hopes his results will help the sales team.
As Kalra explains, a FIX engine speaks the standard language used to conduct trades. Both the buy and sell sides of a trade use the software to communicate. MAG, Kalra says, is a lightweight transaction engine very similar to FIX, but designed more for sell sides to communicate with exchanges.
As Hodge points out, FIX and MAG are not the kind of products one can touch, which makes working with them a bit abstract. That’s where Kalra’s technological know-how paid off.
“It helped me pick up what our products do very easily and quickly,” he says. “I have a strong logical and business-oriented mindset, which has helped me conduct thorough research, come up with ideas to help make our product better, and grasp the industry as a whole.”
Indeed, it was a productive summer for Kalra. In addition to researching the FIX and MAG products, he started two market penetration reports to determine which countries use the products and which companies have each product. He then took that data and heat-mapped the outcome. He also began a usability study on a new product called Appia Business Centre that business analysts at NYSE Euronext will complete.
Kalra says the entire NYSE organization was an open book for its interns. He had the opportunity to talk with all the tech departments, but his favorite part of the experience was the trading floor. The excitement there as well as the ceremony surrounding the ringing of the opening and closing bells created an electric atmosphere.
“I have learned an immense amount about the field I’m working in as well as many practical business tools that I couldn’t get in the classroom,” says Kalra. “I also worked in a field that I might not have expected, which was a great experience. I learned the back end of how electronic trades really work.”
While Kalra is still unsure of whether he’ll pursue a career in finance, consulting, or strategies after graduation, one thing is certain: He’s building an impressive list of credentials as an undergraduate. For his consulting company, Future Tech N.J., LLC, he shares CEO responsibilities with his business partners and consults for private and small business clients looking for new technology.