Registered: Mar 2009
10-09-12 06:27 AM
Coming in a bit late here.
First, there is nothing wrong with somebody who wants to get 'the best deal'. That is what we're all out to get in the end. So they tell you that the 'best deal' is not as attainable as you thought it was - no harm done. It's idiots who are afraid to ask that don't get the best deal. It's the inefficient who don't bother to ask for other people's advice and instead waste time finding answers they could have otherwise easily had. Whom would you rather hire?
Second, the very idea that people who went Ivy are in some way special is, putting it mildly, not all its made out to be. I went to an Ivy school for undergrad and then did my grad at a state school. I honestly would hire from the state school over Ivy any day, because while you may get some slackers at a state school who can't put up the grades, they are really easy to weed out, while they have kids who work their tail off because they can't afford an Ivy education or don't have the connections like a rich alum daddy to get them in. The Ivy kids meanwhile are going to be more demanding and spoiled. I've seen this happen again and again.
Sure, Ivy is higher barriers to entry, but that doesn't mean that a) if you got in, you are definitely better than those who didn't get in, and b) if you didn't get in, that you are going to be worse than those who got in.
The problem with hiring is that the Ivy schools built up a feeder mechanism for banks and hedge funds, and if they hire outside of that feeder mechanism they get slapped around. It's a case of oligopolistic collusion, to build a protective moat around a portfolio of brands. It's also something they showcase to clients who's money you may be managing: "We've got Bill here, Harvard MBA". It doesn't matter that Bill, despite his hardcore knowledge of econometrics, gets his butt handed to him trading the crop report while trader Joe who barely finished college just tripled his account doing the same.
Lastly, I think the best idea is to trade your own capital and learn progressively using an approach that fits your personality.
I spoke to a number of people who have traded at prop firms. In the end they really don't teach you all that much. They give you some ideas to start you off, and then you are really on your own most of the time. If you screw up enough times they just kick you out and you are done. Have fun in that case applying to another firm, "I had a great trading experience at XYZ firm, unfortunately management and I didn't agree on my risk management philosophy..."
There are no real secrets out there, everything you need to know about trading strategies can be found on the internet and on forums like this one. You can keep blogs and get feedback from people online, form groups with other traders based on strategy and asset class, etc. Take maximal advantage of what you can have for free before paying. I own maybe 4 trading books, that is all I need.
The one thing you can't replicate is the experience of screen time, and finding your trading personality. That's just like training for a marathon: you gotta do those laps, regularly, consistently. You have to watch yourself screw up and fall on your face repeatedly. Once you accept that and start doing it, you will be alright and you'll be doing this not because you expect to have seven figures by the end of the year, but because you can't think of doing anything else. As long as you learn from your mistakes and are doing this consciously on a regular basis, that is all you need to do.
If you need instant cash flow get a part time job, start a small business with someone, etc. Its actually a good thing too, you get another task that freshens your mind and gives you some social interaction.