Trading with Academics

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by FBW, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. FBW


    Lately, I have been looking for some advice on what I should do with my trading activities and ongoing academics. I have been live trading retail spot FX for a little over two years and have had marginal positive success. I find trading very interesting and enjoy learning new things all the time and more importantly knowing what is going on in the world. However, I seem to be forced to drop one class every year due to my attraction and time spent with the market. Staying up past 4:00am est. to watch European activities does not mesh well with late AM classes. My later classes are fine; I still manage to hold my GPA over 3.0. Am I damaging myself in the long run with these dropped classes? If I were to apply to a firm after graduation would they weigh the dropped classes over the trading experience? FBW
  2. (1) If your trading is consistently profitable, it's not a problem. (2) If you're becoming socially isolated from your classmates, it could be a problem. (3) If you won't graduate within five full years, it will become a problem. (4) Consider taking a light load of summer classes to catch up. They're easier than the regular classes and you might be able to get some "free" financial aid from your school to pay for them. (5) If you only trade FX, you're missing out on a lot of other opportunity........or you're badly undercapitalized. (6) Employers will not be interested in your trading "experience". Keep it to yourself and elevate your GPA while you still have time.
  3. FBW


    Thanks for the response, you bring up good points.

    #2 has been something which I did not expect and when I did realize it, I was in deep; currently still in the hole. I am completely isolated from my classmates. It is very weird, but it just did not start one day. It was a progression from changing out of high school mentality. I have lost a lot (most) of my friends due to my new thinking and it makes me feel very bad at times. When I do see people that I use to knkow they say “What the hell happened to you? Where have you been?” I laugh. One friend of mine which I stopped hanging out with in the past few years works at a job where he wears a t-shirt. He has no post-HS education and not a lot of savings. When we use to go out to clubs he would put on his nicest clothing. I don’t want to be this person. I had another fried who loves to do drugs. He does them all day everyday. He also has no post-HS education. I had to cut him out of my life too. I began talking about the market with another student in one of my classes and his response to me was, “I am only a kid”. So you don’t get the wrong impression of me, I did graduate from one of the highest ranked private HS in the Philadelphia area, so I don’t believe that I am a delinquent of any caliber. These examples are the worst ones. I believe that I have just not found people who mesh with my new view on life. This is why I have pushed classmates and other people away. I have a drive to learn the markets and if someone else does not or will hold me back from completing my goal then I don’t want to be around that person.

    Your #3 is going to be close for me. I took two years off from school out of HS so I am a 22yr old sophomore. I have been taking summer classes and don’t require financial aid. Why is graduating within 5 years so important? This is the thing I am most worried about.

    #5 Yes I find myself undercapitalized. This is why I am only in FX at the moment. I would like to move to stocks and commodities. I am not saying that I don’t have any now but I don’t trade any. My portfolio is all long term growth stuff. I am working on trading capital, but I feel that I am always going to be undercapitalized until I get out of school. Thank god I don’t have enough capital now because I would not be in school at all.

    #6 This is disappointing to me. I don’t expect to show them my detailed performance excel sheets, but knowing that I have cut my teeth somewhat I though they would value.
  4. nkhoi

    nkhoi Moderator

    congrats on cutting out the losers, now for the class that you don't have time how about making a trade with your classmate, his notes for your trading notes.
  5. FBW


    Sorry for the miss spell (fried = friend). Well, I have lost touch with this student. He was not primarily interested in trading as I am and I was not about to share my trading strategies with him or anyone for that matter. Trading my trading notes with his class notes would have been a good idea. But I have signed confidentiality agreements with the providers of some of my information, so this would be illegal. After speaking with him a few times I learned that I would have to teach him a lot. He had no basic knowledge and his statement that he was “only a kid” is logical. We did have a few discussions about what he was more interested in like starting a business and real estate which I am also interested in, but are unfeasible with school, time and the capital needed to invest at this juncture. He just was not the right candidate for my group. I know that this is going to be an up hill battle, but I am always on the lookout for possible candidates.
  6. timmyz


    FBW, I am going to tell you something that you don't want to hear but it is the best thing for you. At this point in your life nothing matters more than getting a good GPA from a good school. If you're not at a good undergraduate school that's okay. Get a good GPA, get a solid job after you graduate, then after a few years go to a top business school. Then all the doors will be open to you. You should also make as many friends as you can while you're in school.

    This is what's going to happen to you if you go down your current path. When you're a senior and you're looking for a job, nobody is going to care about what you've gone through and what you've learned. If you tell people that the reason you did so poorly in school is because you were trading all day with a $5K account, they will think you're an idiot. Nobody will be able to relate to you or give you the benefit of the doubt. Between you and someone who has done well in school, the person who has done well in school will "look" better than you - always. As a matter of fact, for the competitive jobs (trading, investment banking, etc.), you will not even be selected to interview, so you will not even get a chance to explain yourself. Cover letter? Nobody reads them. You will find that your classmates who have never traded before are getting all the interviews while you are getting nothing.

    AND, because you have isolated yourself all these years and you have not made friends, you do not know anybody, so nobody will help you.
  7. FBW


    Your statement is understood. I was looking for such an answer; this is why I started the thread. But contra views are always something to ponder as well.

    My father has lacked giving me a green light on wither to trade or not, which has caused me to continue to do it. He really has no idea what I do or how much time I spend doing it, but this is not a new thing. He has always brought me up this way. I guess he figures that I will find it myself. I still look at myself in the mirror and see that I am a better person because of what trading has forced me to adapt into. I don’t care what anyone says looking back at high school I was on the wrong track to success.

    In regards to not knowing friends and who will help me in the future, I have been somewhat worried about this issue. It is not like I don’t know anyone from before my closing the door, so to speak. There is a difference between high school friends who will remember me and University friends. I still have my HS friends even though we may live far apart. I lack University friends. However, observing most of my graduated friends, majority of them work for their fathers which I find to be very weak. Sure I could use my father to get me a job in the company he works for or use his connections. He has connections within ML, GS, SIG and an investment bank. Maybe I will use them, I don’t know at this point. But my main goal towards receiving a job is because I am valued for my involvement within the firm not because of who I know.

    I do plan to transfer to a different University before I receive my diploma. The school I am currently at I have given up on making friends. I am there for classes only until I build up enough credits to move out of there. I will make a bigger effort at my new University where they have investment/economic clubs. I hope to represent my new school in the FX trading competition in 2008.
  8. there are only two things people spend in life.

    Time and Money.

    There are only two things in life you can invest.

    Time and Money.

    Spent you time on school. Invest every minute you have to excel all those about you. Summer school is a must from here on out.

    Use your trading money to get a tutor over at Wharton so you can see the full value of every course you take and take the right ones. Invest in yourself only and your GPA.

    Whomever gave you confidential financial information was taking you for a ride in at least two ways: Forex and the stocks you are holding. Toss it so you can never look at it again. Making money is not staying up at night gambling on anything.
  9. Why not get intern job in some financial company

    And i also think trading is now computerized. Maybe when u talk to some guy and get some ideas, implement and test the idea and then make money.

    Anyway, i think you are not in business department. How about keep in touch with those student?
  10. FBW


    Jack Hershey,
    I hear what you are saying. I am a little surprised to see that there are no contra views at this point. I will begin putting my GPA under the spotlight, thanks guys!!. Keep them coming.

    I agreed to receive the financial information and to keep it confidential. It does not influence any part of my method of choosing a trade. I don’t think I would have gone this far with my trading listening to other people’s trade recommendation or research. I do my own homework.

    “Making money is not staying up at night gambling on anything.” I don’t understand nor do I agree with this bold statement.
    #10     Nov 11, 2006