Career advice

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by dbell66, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. dbell66



    Just wonder if anyone on here has relevant experience in the financial markets with some of the larger trading firms to offer some career and education advice;

    My son, who is 15 and still at high school is extremely interested in a career in the financial markets, specifically trading. He follows the market news on CNBC, Bloomberg and the FT daily and has done so for at least the last year and a half, he regularly paper trades, seems to know all the jargon and wants to be the next Warren Soros!
    In short, he seems genuinely interested.

    I know trading is a harsh business to be in and few are successful but if it is something he enjoys, I would like to encourage him as much as possible. My feeling is, in his early career at least, he should aim for a position with a large and reputable financial company to learn as much as possible.

    With that in mind, what sort of educational and general experience path should he be looking at from this point on?
    Which degree courses and grade and from which universities would be most suitable and expected by an employer?
    Work experiences and internships. And even before that, what qualifications from high school, GCSE & A Level, should he be concentrating on.

    In short, what would be the ideal resume ?

    Many thanks,

  2. If he wants to be working at a top tier bank or hedge fund, it wouldn't hurt to have a degree in math or science from an Ivy League or equivalent university.

    While he is still in undergrad he could probably do Wall St. summer internships.

    In hindsight, I sort of wish I would have worked a bit harder in high school and gone to the best US school possible. That would have expanded my opportunity set and I might have got a few years in at a bulge bracket firm while still in my early 20s.

    But, I had to figure out what I really wanted to do. When I was 20, I didn't know what trading was. I thought business was kind of evil and greedy at the time...
  3. optionmm


    If he wants to trade at a bank- math, math, math. He needs to go to a good school, major in math or physics or comp science, and probably go on to get a Phd. Right now it's all about the models.

    Of course this is what they're looking for today - who knows what they'll want in 10 years when your son is looking for a job - maybe the quants will have blown up a few banks and they'll be looking for old school traders.
  4. A successful friend went Engineering undergrad then MBA. He went straight from MBA to NYC. He's been there ever since (banks).
    As already noted, if your son interests lies in the banks/funds, a solid university and a grad degree would be the best bet. If he simply wants to trade (own acct), math or comp science would be a great start. Either way, experience and knowledge are always key, and it sounds like he has a great headstart.

    Best of luck.
  5. I don't think he needs to get an MBA, my suggestion is to tell him to get into a good undergrad program and get interships with a big bank or hedge fund (all the banks offer summer interships). The idea that you need an ivy league degree isn't true, although it helps. I have a friend who graduated from UW-Madison, got a job with a hedge fund and now trades for JPM, he is 24, I think he has a finance degree. If your son wants it and is willing he will get the job he wants. Also if you live in a city with an exchange, particulary Chicago or New York, get him a job as a runner or clerk.

    If tries for a year or two after undergrad and can't get a job, then maybe send him to get an MBA. I see it more as a fall back plan. I don't feel that prop is the best way to learn, better to get a reputible job and then he can go prop if he wants to. You can always go prop, but if he tries prop and fails it would be hard to get a job with a hedge fund/bank. Who wants to hire a loser?
  6. Seems in order to succeed in financial markets today, many are quite good in math, english, sales, lying, bullshitting, general coniving, fooling and ripping others off, marketing to the masses. I'm sure there's a lot more I've omitted, oh yeah and some luck doesn't hurt.

    Think I'm exaggerating? Look at what the majority of crooks on wall st and many public corporations do and tell me it's not the case!
  7. One common characteristic I've noticed in all good traders is that, ironically, they didn't get their primary education in business/finance. They all came from other fields, like engineering. I've observed that those who take on trading head on usually fail more often than those who approach trading from a different angle (coming from another field or background).
  8. How about this-

    Get your son into a cheap backtesting package so he can learn to develop trading strategies and models.

    If he wants to be a trader, poker trains your brain to understand risk rewards, which is the most important thing in futures and in equity.

    I think the academic route is overrated, and that the prop route, if you find the right group of people, is the best route starting at an early age. You can always take night courses after the trading day ends, but you cant go to school and trade unless you do forex.

    2/3 of all money managers never beat the index, I think this is the most important piece of information in the industry. It shows how poorly people understand markets out there in the real world.

    That being said, you could probably say the same for the blow ups caused by overleverages academic theories, which never held water without the leverage.

    For a purely status quo career, dont beat the index, get an MBA and go peddle mutual funds.

  9. I had to let out a huge belly laugh when reading that hahahahha
    #10     Sep 18, 2005