Startup-style Finance at Akuna Capital

Female staff member in front of trading screens at Akuna Capital

Akuna Capital was founded in 2011 by Andrew Killion and Mitchell Skinner, both of whom are originally from Sydney, Australia—which is home to Akuna Bay, the inspiration behind the company name. Akuna is a proprietary trading firm centered in Chicago with offices in Cambridge and Shanghai that strive for innovative, cutting-edge work. Akuna is still rapidly growing, so there are many opportunities for employees to grow with them. Meet them at the Fall Career Fair on Sept. 28.

Akuna is offering full-time positions to recent graduates, and their summer internship program “Akunacademy” offers current students the chance to learn the ropes. Akuna offices are designed to be relaxed and collaborative. They have a casual dress policy, and their Chicago office has hammocks, ping-pong tables, floor-to-ceiling white boards, pool tables, and an amazing view. Employees are encouraged to maintain healthy lifestyles with an in-building gym and they by maintaining their work/life balance, which is important to higher ups. Akuna hold social events like trivia nights, happy hours, book clubs, and more. These events are fantastic for new employees who don’t know the area yet, and they’re a great opportunity for employees both new and old to mingle and have fun. “Each day you will be challenged, encouraged and motivated by those around you to do your best. There is a sense of camaraderie that isn’t always common at finance firms,” says Catherine Toupin, the Akuna campus and employee engagement specialist.

Those who begin in full-time positions at Akuna start as junior employees, and may move on to senior positions in five years, or fewer, depending on job performance and job type. Akuna’s internships fall under three different categories: Trading, Quant, and Development. They are looking for students majoring in Computer Science, Engineering, Stats, Mathematics, Finance, Econ and Physics who have ambition. According to Catherine Toupin, “We’re looking for candidates that have a passion for innovation and a competitive drive. We have found candidates at [Johns] Hopkins that have those attributes.”

Trading internships require no prior trading knowledge, just ambition and a desire to learn. Quant internships center on the financial markets, pricing models, trading strategies and defining algorithm improvements. Development internships are all about algorithms and data analysis, among other things. Many interns have gone on to work for Akuna full-time.

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