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How Citadel's interns are taught to speak out

Internships at Citadel, the multi-strategy hedge fund, and Citadel Securities, the electronic trading firm, are not like internships at investment banks. For one thing, they pay more: in 2022, the going rate was $14k a month. For another, they typically entail a week of initial bonding at a luxury resort (last year, the interns went to Four seasons hotels in Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale). And, lastly, past interns received one to one professional coaching on how to comport themselves at work. 

The coaches are part of what Matt Mitro, head of campus recruiting for Citadel and Citadel Securities, says is Citadel's focus on mentorship. The hedge fund and electronic trading firm also focuses on mentoring from managers, and provides them with a budget to get to know interns on a "personal level" outside the office. 

Some of Citadel's previous interns told us what last year's coaching meant in practice. He Li, a quantitative researcher in Citadel's Hong Kong global quantitative strategies group, says he was coached on communication styles and received useful tips on interacting both with members of his team and his managers. This included ensuring that he asked for help where necessary and kept them up to date with the progress of his projects. 

Aidan Reilly, a trader at Citadel Securities in New York, says he benefited from coaching too. Reilly says the coaching helped him better understand how he subconsciously positioned himself within a team. Instead of simply agreeing with statements made by other team members, Reilly says he was encouraged to speak up and to express his views, even if they differed from those expressed by other people. 

"When people are in a group environment, there's sometimes a tendency to smile and nod and to be hesitant about disagreeing," says Reilly. "That's the polar opposite of what you find here. If someone disagrees with you, they will let you know – not in an egotistical way, but they will say something like, 'I am not sure that I feel the same.’"

Citadel is not Bridgewater, the hedge fund notorious for preaching "radical truth and radical transparency" in which employees are encouraged to "engage in rigorous and thoughtful inquiry" and to speak their minds under the principles formulated by founder Ray Dalio.

However, Citadel does like 'collaborative brainstorming,' which necessitates speaking out and constructive disagreement where necessary. Sources say the fund is all about the best ideas, and that those ideas are not always surfaced when people feel they need to agree and fall into line. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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