Axel Kramer is a Retired Partner in the firm. He was previously a Co-Head of Quantitative Strategy. Prior to joining BlueMountain, he was an Architect in the Windows client platform group at Microsoft. Axel holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science from the Technical University of Berlin and did doctoral studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, and the GMD, Bonn/Germany.
Why did you choose to work at BlueMountain instead of other organizations?
It was really a combination of three factors that made me want to work at BlueMountain: (1) I wanted to get a quick feedback loop that allowed me to iterate technology based on its usage, (2) I have tremendous respect for everyone here, and (3) there were interesting technical challenges in building a system from the ground up.
You’ve worked in several different types of organizations—high-tech, consulting, and banking, among others. How would you describe BlueMountain’s culture in comparison with these other cultures?
The culture here is end-to-end, interactive, and cross-functional. Everybody in Quant Strat works closely with professionals in other disciplines across the firm. That is very attractive and different from many other organizations.
What advice would you give other technologists as they consider the array of career options and types of employment opportunities available to them?
I am with Joseph Campbell here: “follow your bliss”. Do something that you really enjoy doing—do it deep, stretch, drive to completion, do it with people you like. A fulfilling career will follow out of that. Understand how your risk tolerance and desire for innovation or stability is aligned with the organization you want to join.
What makes BlueMountain’s approach to the use of technology distinctive from other investment organizations?
Like all organizations that excel in technology, BlueMountain keeps a very open mind on new technologies to see where we can benefit; we are not afraid to make mistakes and then iterate on them; and we have a very good team of people.