CS Major at Ivy with older sibling at HF hoping to break in

I am a CS junior at a mid-tier Ivy (Columbia, Penn) who has past internship experience working at startups and top research institutions. Specifically, I spent 3 summer internships working closely with a celebrity prof at (MIT/Stanford/Harvard) on projects in ML (I was the first author of a paper that was accepted to a top ML conference in high school) as well as 2 summer internships as a full stack SWE and ML developer at two different startups.

Additionally, I have an older sibling who did S&T at (Goldman, JPMorgan, MS) for two years and now works on the buy side at (Citadel/Point72/Balyasny), and I am wondering how I might leverage this connection.

I am currently recruiting for SWE positions for summer 2024, but the tech market kind of sucks right now and I am getting a ton of rejections. However, I am also very interested in finance, as I feel like my skills could be of use there and I would like to stay on the East Coast, but am honestly quite clueless about how the whole process works (and I am well aware that I am very late on a lot of opportunities.) I am honestly not super concerned with the prestige of the firms I work at as long as I enjoy the work and there is a possibility for career progression, so I would be down to work at a lower-tier firm if that’s all that’s available.

I was hoping to get some general advice on what would be the best way to break into S&T, ER, HF or finance in general with my background. For instance, should I try to get a summer internship for summer 2024 and then get a return offer in one of these areas? Is that even possible at this point? Should I lateral in somehow? In addition, I am considering pursuing a master's degree at the aforementioned professor’s lab, could this be useful in breaking in? Any and all thoughts would be appreciated.


Help us out a little bit. What kind of trading/investing are you interested in? I would assume you are a more quant guy. Then obviously you should target prop trading/S&T (technical products/derivs/ etrading) / quant research. If you end up in an ER seat I doubt you will use ur ML/CS knowledge at all.  The master's would allow you to have more time to recruit for sure. I would be careful about getting a job at a bank/prop trading firm that is mainly dev and quant strat because those are not necessarily profit-generating roles at most trading-focused institutions and it's not a super smooth transition to risk-taking. Market is kinda shit right now for trading as well so just apply everywhere (banks/prop/hfs) and see where it sticks. I would assume most trading roles would find your background pretty competitive.


Thank you for your reply. Good to know about ER and dev/quant strat roles. You’re correct that I think I am interested in more quant-y trading/investing roles as it seems like I would hopefully be most useful there so prop trading/S&T/quant research seems like the way to go.

For those roles, what’s the path forward at this point given that most top names have already filled their internships? You suggested that I apply everywhere and see what sticks, which I am down to do. As I mentioned in the post, I wouldn’t mind working at a smaller firm, but I am not sure how I can even find those. Should I just search around LinkedIn? In SWE, there are GitHub repositories and websites that have continuously updated job postings, is there something similar in trading?

Additionally, you seemed to suggest that master’s might be a good choice. In the current market, would it be smarter to just focus on securing admission to that over the next few months and then try to recruit for summer 2025?

Finally, as I mentioned in the post, my sibling works at a top HF and had a two-year stint at a BB in S&T, and consequently has a lot of friends/connections at top places. I feel like I’m very lucky to have this connection, but I’ve always been kind of confused about how to leverage it. Do I ask to have my resume passed along to a recruiter at my sibling's/their friends’ firm(s)? Do I try to have a coffee chat with people on their teams? How do these actions help in securing an internship?

Apologies in advance for all the questions and please do not feel obligated to answer them all.


There are probably a couple of banks still recruiting for interns, and I see postings for funds here and there. You should obviously apply to every role on ur school's career portal like Handshake. You still need an internship regardless of whether u do the master's or not because you need an in for the industry.  In terms of leveraging your sibling's connections, I think funds can definitely do some informal summer internships but I doubt that your sibling is senior enough to arrange that.   Trading recruiting (banks/funds) is quite different in my experience from tech in that banks/ prop run very formal HR processes for new grads/summer interns so there are minimal recruiter plugs/referrals whereas, for funds, there are usually no dedicated HR/recruiters bar the most established junior programs (P72, etc) so you literally just get hired based on needs and speaking to employees directly. Recruiters will probably not be too interested in you because you are so junior. This late into the 2024 cycle, I would just set up as many calls as possible with resumes attached to actual analysts at funds and see where that takes you; make sure that you can make your ML skillset sound practical for them and pitch it hard. If you get further they will probably refer you to their PM and set up some kind of informal internship if they desire your skillset. 


You mentioned you have an older sibling who has industry experience. Assuming you two are close, he/she will be by far your best resource. This forum is great, but nothing beats getting advice from people who know your situation.

Between your sibling working in industry and being at an Ivy, you have a phenomenal network of people you can reach out to. Talk to and learn from everyone you can. Get your name out there and something will fall into place.

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