Map to SAC

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by NatTrader, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am an another aspring trader who took an inspiration from "Market Wizzards" to jumped the corporate safety net. That book is a dangerous item to the uniniatied. "Take more risks when you young", doesn't Jim Crammer said that in his new book.

    I quitted my day job as a successful software manager about a year and half ago. I moved to New York, because I didn't know the whereabouts of shops in the SF area, to learn to trade. Thinking trading and institution money management should more related than IT and finance, I hope that I could leverage soon-to-be-acquired trading skills into hedge fund management later.

    Of course, I was naive. Trading is tough and the only transferable skill to investment is pschology control. Yet I was persistant. Looking over all my trades and reassess. Compare the trading records of the masters. Lost money about 9 months before seeing the light. I started to make some, here and there, and then 1000 once in a while, and control my losses to be small.

    As a hedge for my move into trading, I applied to CBS and frinished the first year. My dream is to work in SAC or another similar trading hedge fund. I don't know anyone inside SAC, neither do I know anyone inside any of the other trading hedge funds. I will talk to CBS alumnis and fellow traders who work in my previous prop shops. I thought my options can be

    1) Finish the CBS program and leverage my "superb" academic credential to get a job as similar to SAC as I can, in the most reputable firm that I can reach.
    The problem is most firms don't give a shit about day trading.

    2) Finish the CBS and work as a market maker and then work for SAC.

    3) Continue to improve my day trade and learn to invest for longer duration at the same time. I was thinking of apprenticing myself to any value/growth investor for free for 3-6 months. Produce a track record, finish CBS, and then apply to SAC.

    4) Go back to software.

    Anyone has any suggestion for a crazy, wanna-be?
  2. learn to use spell check
    before sending out a resume

  3. opw


    Ferry goot adfise, bud how? :confused:
  4. Do you have something unique to offer SAC or any other hedge fund? If not, why should they hire you?
  5. mhashe


    When you go bungee jumping make sure you add your height and take into account the elasticity of the chord? :confused:
  6. We are in exactly the same boat. The difference you were accepted to CBS while I was rejected one year ago.

    Since I live and work in Mahattan, I have friends working on
    the desk as programmer/quant.

    My understanding is during the past several years, equity trading has been more and more competitive and unprofitable. Even SAC itself.

    Have you considered other instruments/vehicles to trade since
    you will have MBA and can get onto MBS/ABS desk, which is
    far more profitable for a trader?
  7. I've been a money manager for 8+ years so this is not a newbie question, but WTF is CBS?

    Also, since the article on Steve C at SAC every fish has thrown stones trying to get in the door but believe it or not, there are bigger fish, some private, some not. Japanese banks have prop desks run out of London with more capital, also SLK has a huge prop desk. You cant turn your head around my great city without bumping into a 500mm prop desk of some brokerage or bank, but they fire the best of the best, so why would they hire you? Look at a hedge fund, start there, maybe as an execution broker, and find a mentor within that can get you there.

    Its not about the name you work for but about making money.

    One more note. Why limit yourself to daytrading. A truly successful strategy can trade through many time frames. A Master Trader is one that can adapt and trade over many time frames. In a raging bull market you have the discipline to hold a trade for the trends duration. In a choppy market you can make money with fast in and outs. Be adaptive. The market is the teacher and you are the student. Constantly pay attention to her lesson. She will reward you every time.


    PS And use spell check:) A trader that can not pay attention to details... to check their spelling and grammar is going to end up back in the software business.
  8. You've better luck becoming a NASA astronaut... first tier funds like SAC, Citadel and RenTech take the best from wirehouse and academia. You're looking at 10y of rainmaking at a top street firm before any of these guys will even look at your CV.
  9. Are MBS/ABS mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities? Security has surely been in a downtrend since the 2001, but I think that things go in cycles. By the time one jumps into the MBS market, smoke will go out because of interest rate, debt, economy, and etc.

    Thanks for the advice. CBS is the Columbia Business School. Besides CBS, I only have the passion for the market, trading statements, solid programming skills, and a good undergraduate name to boast. Of course, SAC can give a shit about my blood and sweat, although there are tantalizing stories about how clerks manage millions after years. The chicken and the egg question is how can someone get experience. One can get mentorship at day trading shops, because you pay commissions. How can one get mentorship doing long term trading based on fundamental and technical?

    Thanks for all those replied, even the cynics. I appreciate if you give me more feedbacks. Negatives, Positives....
  10. If you do well in CBS, you should have no problem landing as an analyst / associate in an investment bank, even a second-tier one (ABN, DrKW, even CSFB to name a few), then it is just a matter of impressing the right desk heads. However, to get a leg up on your competition, be proactive, talk to your professors, especially finance ones (there are plenty of profs with great industry connections), also make sure you absolutely kill that class (and yes, I know what the diff between 90 and 99 means in B-school) , rank 1st or 2nd in your class helps. But don't ask the professors about references off the bat, they hate that (okay, I will admit, I was an academic for a while). Ask about his research, the theoretical stuff he is working on, establish a relationship, take interest in finance as an academic endeaver, not merely as an income-generating vehicle.

    If you want to go the extra mile, first impress in your class, then if possible, join your professor in some unpaid research (propose a topic that might be of interest to him, think out of the box, it doesn't matter, equity financing, governance and market capital, something interestin). There is nothing that is more impressive than a fresh MBA with one or two publications under his / her arm, especially good second-tier journals (JoBus&Fin come to mind, it is hard, but not *that* hard), even a conference paper or two will help. Should you get a good intro, or your paper catches the eye of some desk head, you will be start off in a high place.

    For instance, a friend of mine, with a phd in comp sci from caltech, his paper on using learning algo caught the eye of head of prop trading at an ibank, so he was hired as the head's associate. Now, mere 3 years later, he is running a 200M book for a good (top 10-15 in aum) hedge fund, but he hates it (that's a different story).

    Get published if you can. People to this day upon hearing my name would mention some paper I wrote over 10 years ago, in a rather obsure academic journal, I am rather surprised by that.

    Edited: Just to clarify, it doesn't matter to some level what your papers are in (market dynamics, hedging strategies, modeling, etc), the investment banks and hedge funds are most impressed by the fact that you can put some hypothesis together, run the necessary experiments, and present your arguments and results in a lucid manner, also to take the criticism of the reviewers and editorial boards. The thinking process is important here.

    Interesting, I just realized that an associate (we weren't close enough to consider friends, more like academic acquaintances) from the past (make that long past) is an MD (quant strategies) at SAC, so the path I outlined definitely works. He was an finance academic at Stern.

    #10     Nov 6, 2005