Alumni of the week

Soar Like an Eagle

Ryan Grassel

Analyst, Cross-Asset Trading

Norges Bank Investment Management

MSc in Finance

“Norway was a big draw because of the beautiful nature and the possibilities I thought it would bring.”

Ryan is a very curious person, who finds a lot of things interesting. That might be one of the reasons why he ended up studying in four different countries. He is also a very a competitive person, who likes learning challenging things and figuring out how to become really good at them. This is probably why he became an A-student at BI, and landed his dream job in Norges Bank Investment Management.

Heading for a career as a professional golfer, the ball took a turn, and ended up in the far North, where he spent his days organizing and analyzing numbers. Wanting to get knowledge and skills that could be applied to many different industries and disciplines, he chose to study finance at BI. We asked him about his studies, his job, and what he thinks lies ahead for both his career and the field of trading.

Why did you choose to study in Norway, and why BI?

– Growing up knowing my parents lived in Europe for a few years and that I was born there made me really want to experience living there again. Norway was a big draw because of the beautiful nature and the possibilities I thought it would bring. There aren’t many capital cities where you can literally take the subway to the top of a mountain and get off and ski. I chose BI specifically because the Finance program offered the technical acumen I was looking for and the two-year length I felt would give me enough time to really experience living in another country, which I believe is a very important experience to have. The Presidential Scholarship BI offers is also very generous, and made it financially feasible to study. 

Why did you choose MSc in Finance?

– The summer before my senior year of my undergraduate university I did an internship in Washington D.C. for a U.S. Congressman. I enjoyed my time and the experience was valuable, but it convinced me I wanted to go more the business route. I felt finance was a practically oriented field with a variety of applications. As a person with wide-ranging interests, finance was a way to be involved and learn about many industries because of its central importance to the global economy.

What does a Cross-Asset Trading Analyst do?

– I primarily split my time between aiding the more senior traders on the equity and fixed income trading desks. However, I am also involved with the financing team which incorporates securities lending and cash management. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in multiple assets classes at the same time. 

What is the most challenging thing about your work?

– Dealing with multiple high priority items at the same time, from different people, under tight time constraints. Prioritization can be difficult when something can’t just be put on the back-burner, but must also be completed with the same accuracy and timeliness as the other task.

What is the most rewarding/exciting thing about your work?

– Working for Norges Bank Investment Management, the most rewarding thing is knowing I am contributing to a tangible cause I am personally connected to. Norway provided a lot for me in resources, knowledge, and experiences during my time there, and I am close with many Norwegians. The oil fund is increasingly integral to Norway’s success and the chance to help contribute is very exciting.

What do you predict will be the next "big thing" within your field? 

– I am not sure that it will be the next thing, but when technology develops to where trading algorithms can be more widely integrated into fixed income, it will be a big deal. Especially outside of treasuries, fixed income markets are very much over-the-counter and require a lot of manual work. The complexities for making an effective algorithm in a fixed income market are daunting, but when it is figured out it will change how trading is done.

What are your goals and ambitions with your career?

– I certainly have entrepreneurial desires and would love the challenge of creating something from the ground up myself. At some point I will definitely start my own business. With my current interests and career path it might be a hedge fund; however, it could end up being in Fintech or in another industry if the right opportunity presents itself. A parallel goal to my career is to help create a research and teaching hospital for neuro-related medical conditions. My brother and his wife are both doctors. I have a lot of admiration for what they do and contributing to the improvement of medical care is important to me.