Employee Spotlight: Esben Urbak, Head of Product


Esben Urbak, Head of Product


What’s your career background?

My career background spans both physics and finance. I have a Master’s in Physics, specialising in Astrophysics from Oxford University, and a MSc in Finance and Investment from the Rotterdam School of Business. Immediately after completing my finance degree, I embarked on a career in Exotics Derivatives Trading at MUFG Securities. During my time there, I progressively took on more responsibilities and ultimately became the main trader responsible for risk managing the primary exotics portfolio and executing all new rates deals. Seeking new challenges, I joined Quantile two and a half years ago – this opportunity allowed me to leverage my expertise in both physics and finance to contribute to the development and enhancement of Quantile’s product offerings. As the Head of Product, I have been responsible for leading a team, coordinating product development initiatives, and ensuring the delivery of innovative solutions to our customers.

What’s been your career highlight to date

One of the defining moments of my career to date was the decision to leave my role in “exotics derivatives trading” at a large organisation, where I had spent numerous years, and step into unfamiliar territory at Quantile – a smaller, more agile firm. In this new setting, my focus shifted to a different domain – “product”. This “leap of faith” proved to be immensely rewarding. Not only did I uncover a profound passion for building products and thriving in a dynamic, fast-paced environment, but I also became part of an exceptional organisation that truly values innovation and agility.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?

When I look back, I don’t remember a piece of advice that stands out but rather an overarching principle: the importance of ‘learning by doing’. This principle was embodied during my early days on the trading floor. The demanding and fast-paced nature of this environment required swift comprehension of new concepts and independent resolution of complex scenarios. My hands-on experience in such a high-stakes setting highlighted the fact that some of the most profound insights come from direct involvement in addressing real-world challenges. This active engagement taught me not just the intricacies of trading, but also the ability to quickly adapt, improvise, and learn. In our constantly evolving world, the ethos of continuous learning and adaptation is critical. My career journey, punctuated by these learn-by-doing experiences, has deeply instilled this ethos in me and significantly influenced my approach to professional growth.

What do you find most rewarding about working at Quantile?

The most rewarding aspect of working at Quantile is the opportunity to build something from the ground up and witnessing the successful implementation and the tangible results our services generate. It is fulfilling to see an idea that started as a mere thought materialise into something impactful.

It is also the team at Quantile that makes the experience truly worthwhile. I am surrounded by talented and passionate individuals who not only possess deep expertise in their respective fields but are also genuinely nice and collaborative. They serve as a sounding board for ideas, contributing to an innovative and supportive work environment.

Another rewarding element is the agility and determination that permeates the company. At Quantile, people go above and beyond to ensure delivery – even if it means moving “mountains”. It’s the kind of place where rapid, flexible delivery isn’t just a goal, it’s the norm.

What’s your favourite Ted Talk, leadership book, or podcast?

When it comes to TED Talks, Hans Rosling stands out to me for his exceptional ability to transform dry data into compelling narratives. I greatly admire his talent for extracting valuable insights and presenting them in an engaging and accessible way that resonates with a wide audience. His talks have shown me the power of making complex information relatable and interesting. Similarly, I find inspiration in the book “The New World of Mr. Tompkins” by George Gamow. Through his engaging storytelling, he bridges the gap between the complexities of science and the general reader. The book serves as great example of how to make seemingly daunting subjects not only approachable but also fascinating and inspiring.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Most of my time outside work is spent with my two children, doing activities like building with Lego, science experiments, and having teddy bear tea parties. In the rare moments where I find myself having some free time, I try to retreat to my garage where I enjoy woodworking – which I find a great way to disconnect from the world. I also have a passion for outdoor activities like hiking and mountain climbing, and I hope to share these experiences with my kids in the future.

Top three tips, key learnings/advice for career

  1. Don’t hesitate to take a leap of faith into the unfamiliar when something new and interesting presents itself.
  2. The most effective learning often comes from doing, even if it means making mistakes. Each mistake is an opportunity to grow and understand better, so don’t fear them but rather, embrace them.
  3. Keep yourself open to fresh perspectives and ideas. Make sure to surround yourself with diverse thinkers – individuals who can provide constructive feedback and with whom you can brainstorm.

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If you’re ready to make an impact and take your career to the next level, apply now. We’re always on the lookout for new talent, so if there isn’t a suitable role listed please get in touch to register your interest.

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