Advice for a college student soon to finish

Discussion in 'Hook Up' started by agb1223, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. agb1223


    Hello everyone,

    I was looking to seek some advice from those who have experience working for prop firms for someone like myself. I am a college student going into my senior year and I will be graduating next spring. My under-grad degree will be in economics and I have taken classes at school that deal with technical analysis and character of market, along with simulated trading (futures and forex). I have also ventured down to the CBOE in Chicago and have done some option classes there. I have heard some teachers tell me to go along to graduate school and try to get a masters, (which does not make much sense to me, I don't see how taking econometrics courses will help me find a job trading) while others have also said on the contrary. I am from the Chicago area so the CBOE and CME group are near. Does anyone know if these firms are looking for anything specific? Like a cut-off for your GPA (which I should be graduating with a 3.1) or any specific schools? Again, any help is greatly appreciated.
  2. I do not consider a prop firm as "getting a job." And even if you get in, your chances are well over 90% you will be sitting at home again within a few months, having learned the hard way that the people who know how to trade ata prop firm do not interact much with the newbies.

    Maybe an investment bank/hedge fund/financial services/etc is a job. But with your degree, your GPA, not knowing your school and the other things you describe, I think you are going to find your chances less than 1% of a financial services or real trader job. TA knowledge is not much help. And head knowledge in general is basically only head knowledge, not experience.

    Getting a grad degree is more like trying to do something useful while hoping the economy improves a lot. Another possibility that is easier on the mind is getting another BS degree in something useful, like comp sci or accounting. I don't know what you were thinking getting an econ degree.

    The reason for your advisors/teachers giving different advice is the fact that you are probably darned if you do and darned if you don't. I think your background is basically a hopeless shambles for this bad economy. You will most likely be working at McDonalds as much as anything else even with an MS in econ or the ilk.
  3. the1


    It sounds like you are graduating from IIT, yes? If so, you are coming from a terrific school if you want to get started in trading. Today's prop shops are looking for people with backgrounds in a diverse set of areas with an emphasis on algo trading. If you have not taken any programming classes get started as quickly as you can and if you have get started on mastering a language like C++. The fact that you have structured simulated trading experience is a + but you are going to face stiff competition trying to break into this field.

    I've been trading a long time and the first thing I tell people who want to make a career out of this is that it's an absofreakinglutely brutal way to try and making a living. If I could turn the clock back I would never pick trading as a career but I'm too old to start over.

    If you are ever successful get plenty or sleep and exercise and eat like you're like life depends on it. By that, I mean do something like follow the Zone Diet. If you don't do all this the stress will eat you up. I've seen guys collapse on the trading floor. I had to get off the floor because I was next in line to suffer that fate.

  4. aegis


    Doubtful. IIT doesn't offer an undergrad degree in economics.
  5. blig


    You want advice, dont come to ET looking for advice! If you want to trade then you should start trading. You are right in believing that getting a graduate degree is going to do nothing for you trading career. These guys are right in letting you know of the difficulty involved in becoming consistently profitable. It is a never ending battle. But they are wrong in suggesting you need some "prop shop" superstar to teach you how to trade; or some dopey hedge fund job. The reality is that you will have to but in a hell of alot of work and will consider quitting many times, but dont and you'll be half way there. My experience is that your money is better spent and lessons learned will be more meaningful if you open an account and start trading rather than wasting time trying to impress academics and hoping they will hand you a job fresh out of grad school. Good luck, break a leg bro
  6. A degree in economics is of immense value these volatile times. You should move in with your parents after graduation, get any job you can get your hands on and fund an account while you research macroeconomic trends which you can take advantage of to make investments. In a year or two, you can build a substantial balance to daytrade. Who needs a prop firm?
  7. agb1223


    My father also has worked at Smith Barney (now apart of Citi) for 28+ years in fixed income sales and has many friends who work at the CME group and CBOE. A lot of his friends have given me their business cards but things can change pretty quick in a year. I just like to be prepared for the worst.