There’s a new doc on the block at Chicago’s tastytrade studio by the name of James Schultz. You really don’t need a PhD to trade options, but he happens to have one and is putting it to use to talk about options trading on his new show From Theory to Practice. You can watch it live Monday-Friday right here on the network.

It’s his first couple weeks on the job so we pulled him aside after a delicious lunch to learn more about him. Here's what we discovered:

Q: So, what’s your background? Lay those credentials on me.

I’m from Detroit, but I’ve lived in the south for 10 years. I went to Central Michigan for undergrad and for my MBA, and then got my PhD at the University of Memphis, moved to North Carolina and am now back in the North, living in Chicago. I have three sisters. I’m a bit of a unique specimen because I knew on Day 1 that I wanted to study finance - so I did it all the way through...whereas a lot of people play around and switch majors or don’t know.

Q: How did you know you wanted to go into finance?

At the beginning of my freshman year in college, I was totally excited about the stock market ticker and fascinated by the notion that billions of dollars are changing hands...I just knew I wanted to be a part of that.

Q: So you love finance, but how did you get into trading?

For the longest time, I was drinking the passive investing Kool-Aid. I would trade stocks directionally once in awhile, but I actually started trading seriously only about 6-7 years ago. Once I realized that I could use mathematical properties to become a better trader, I started to make the transition from passive to active trading. I’m now a complete convert to the active trading side.

Q: A lot of people think they need a finance degree to trade options. Do you think that’s true?

Short answer: no. People need to realize that in order to get in the game, you’ve got to learn a bit every day and then use that new knowledge to place that first trade. Don’t worry about knowing everything before hitting the “send order” button. You never know everything about anything anyway! But that doesn’t stop us humans from flying to the moon or performing open heart surgery. And those are way more serious than doing a little trade. Traders -- particularly option traders like us -- learn something new all the time. It’s part of the job. And the best way to learn about trading is by doing it. Trade small, trade often. See if they let you do that at NASA or Mayo Clinic.

Q: Sounds like advice you’d give your students! Did you use tastytrade in the classroom and what did your students think about it?

When I first started using tastytrade in the classroom, my students were blown away. This type of information is simply not taught in any of the finance curricula I’ve seen. Formal finance education has needed to be revamped for the last 35 years. We are stuck in the 80s, and tastytrade and dough are hugely disrupting the industry. I think that’s what excited my students (seeing trading and investing through a modernized, technologically-advanced lens) and is definitely what I love about being part of the team here.

Q: Why did you leave academia to work in the finance world?

I wanted a new challenge. I literally called Tom and told him I had something to offer tastytrade. The rest is history!

Q: Tell us about your show, From Theory to Practice - why should people tune in?

As an academic and a trader, I offer a unique perspective and serve as a bridge between theoretical understanding and practical application. I want to show people that all this math, logic, intuition and reasoning can be put to use with trading. I’m gonna have episodes for beginners coming from square zero and also cover all spectrums to challenge the viewers and ME to become better traders...I mean, isn’t that what everybody wants…to get better at what they do?

Q: What else are you looking forward to about working here?

Coming to work everyday and being tasked with this responsibility to create live material about trading is very invigorating, fun, exciting, makes everyday new, keeps things extremely fresh - and we’ve got the best team in place. tastytrade is a very creative and energetic place to work.

And also, I understand both sides of the investing fence: I’ve been the “just invest long term” vanilla finance guy and now I’m on the other side... seeing the opportunities in trading options and taking control of my money. I feel like I’m fighting the fight with the good guys. And I feel like we’re still the underdog. To be a part of this movement to help people get engaged in the markets is really exhilarating. tastytrade is changing the finance game, and here I am at the center of that change.


Watch From Theory to Practice live on the tastytrade network at 1pm and watch it anytime you want in our archives. And, if you have any ideas for the show, leave a comment below or email us at support@tastytrade.com! Stay tasty, my friends!