Jared Dillian

Jared Dillian, the former head of ETF trading at Lehman Brothers, attributes his success not to a brand-name undergraduate degree or a well-known business program, but to his scrappy nature.

“A lot of life is getting out there and hustling,” Dillian told Alex Grodnik on the Wall Street Oasis podcast.


Dillian attended the US Coast Guard Academy, and after working in the Coast Guard for a number of years, wanted to switch careers to a job on Wall Street. He started business school at the University of San Francisco to make the jump.

“I got a great education there but it was not a place that bulge bracket banks were recruiting,” he said, referring to the big-name corporate banks where many people want to work.

Business school alone was unlikely enough to get him hired in the type of role we wanted. So, amid an already packed schedule, he made the decision to pick up another job.

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He was working as a lieutenant in the Coast Guard during the day, going to business school at night, and began work as a clerk in the Pacific Exchange three days a week. For a little over a year he would go to bed at midnight and wake up at 3:30 to juggle it all, he said.

“It gave me such a huge edge over people when I was applying to these banks,” Dillian said. “I could sit on the trading floor in an informational interview and I could talk about options and trading in a way that someone from an Ivy League school could not.”

Though others around him may have had a better educational “pedigree,” his hard work and perseverance are what landed him in the role of head trader, according to Dillian, who wrote a book on his experience titled “Street Freak: A Memoir of Money and Madness.”

The quality that set him apart from the beginning was his attitude and hustle.

“Do anything you can do to get your foot in the door,” he said.

Listen to the full podcast at Wall Street Oasis »

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