We sit down with Clara Rosencher, a grains trader at Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) in Geneva to talk about women, trading, and travel. The native Parisian joined LDC through the LDC Graduate Program.
How did you become a trader?
(Laughs) Believe it or not, I would have never said openly that I wanted to become a trader. I would have been way too shy. I heard a lot of guys saying they wanted to be traders, but no women.
And so, it seemed slightly out of my reach.
But I loved mathematics, I loved travel, and I wanted to be in an international company interacting with people around the world. After finishing a Master’s degree in commodity finance, I worked at a start-up for a few months, then decided to give it a try and applied to LDC’s Graduate Program. During this program, I was given appropriate support and training to build the required set of skills to become a trader. And that’s when I became more confident that I could do it.
Why don’t more women go into trading?
There is not one single answer. It’s just that, for generation after generation, women went in certain professions.
And despite a lot of progress made in favour of women, it is still challenging for us to make it in the world of trading today.
I am entirely convinced that men and women alike can make excellent traders. Certainly, none of the qualities and characteristics needed to do this job well, are gender-specific – hopefully more and more women today realize this.
You need a lot of confidence to take on the responsibility of handling risks and pressure associated with significant trading position exposures. When markets are adverse, you also need to be able to overcome short to medium term disappointments.
In many ways women’s emotional intelligence and empathy can also be a great advantage in this job.
And then there is the elephant in the room: How to balance a stressful, demanding job with family life. But that is true for every profession, not just trading.
And so, what would you tell women today?
Don’t be afraid of the word “trader”. It’s not a profession only for men. I have been trading for four years now and I enjoy it a lot. I love waking up in the morning and embrace the day’s challenge. Every day is different, requiring new decisions, new beginnings. The position never sleeps. You assess, reassess, adapt and change. A woman’s intuition is extremely valuable in trading.
Tell us more about your job and why it attracts you?
My job is about leveraging information to make the right decisions. I look at, and analyse, large amounts of information. Then I draw conclusions with the goal of making winning arbitrages.
In my job, everything is fast (looks at mobile). We need to make decisions all the time or have a direction in mind even if that means not to do anything. I love the intensity of it. The responsibility also plays a role. I take responsibility for success or failure. This can be hard, but I enjoy the sense of challenge that goes with it.
This profession is changing and everybody knows that our jobs will be affected more and more by technology and automation. But the skills I am gaining are relevant throughout our industry. For now, I am learning as much as I can, and enjoying it.
Your passion is travelling and photography. Does that go well with your job?
If you ask me who I am, I will tell you that first and foremost I like movies and I like to travel.
I am passionate about intricate details, natural settings and spontaneous interactions which is somehow reminiscent of my job. I travel whenever I have time off. And because my work involves more paper contracts than the physical grain, I love to see wheat and corn when I travel. It makes my work even more real.