Got $130k/year out of college, no networking or contacts. Ask Me Anything

mlfqs's picture
Rank: Chimp | -4

I realize I am a huge outlier with the current job market and economic climate, so I figured I'd post a topic and let people throw their questions at me regarding what I did to get in the position I'm in right now. I will try to avoid answering questions that could potentially identify me.

Some background: I am graduating in May, and am a senior Math major (with CS minor, but I've taken as many CS classes as I have math) from, let's say, one of {Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Yale). I grew up going to a public high school in the southeast.

I'm going to be working at a prop trading firm. Before my junior year, I had no intention of working in finance -- in fact, I had a couple friends in high school talking about how they wanted to work in the hedge fund industry, and I used to give them sooo much shit for that (still do :p). I used to want to go to grad school for math, but starting the end of my sophomore year of college, I realized I was getting tired of theoretical work and school in general and realized I wanted to go out in the world and work.

Before the summer of my junior year, I had no internships. I applied to a top trading firm on a whim, and ended up getting an offer there. I decided to go with that over a Microsoft internship offer, partly because of the pay, and partly because I thought being a software dev was boring work and trading sounded way more interesting. After that summer, I realized how lucrative the field was and how interesting a lot of the material was, so once I started senior year I focused primarily on applying to trading firms. I had zero prior exposure to the finance industry before that summer, and didn't use any contacts from that job in trying to get my current offer (other than having that firm on my resume, of course), so I think I can safely say I got my current job without networking.

I applied to approximately 15-20 of these firms, as well as several big tech companies (Google, Microsoft, etc.), so I had my fair share of interesting interview questions. I'd be happy to share any interview tips, interview questions, how I approach technical interviews, things like that. I would say 95%+ of my interview questions were technical; I had very, very few fit questions, although I went out to dinner as part of several interviews whose purpose, I'm sure, was roughly equivalent to what those fit questions are meant to answer. I think I had a fairly different expectation of what I wanted out of a job compared to most people on this site -- for example, I never owned a suit before in my life, and still don't. I had very casual interviews -- the most formal thing I ever wore was a polo and blue jeans with sneakers.

Ask away!

Comments (122)

Mar 7, 2011

$130k? That's it?

Mar 7, 2011

sweet man.

Mar 7, 2011

Guess I should of been a CS major...

Mar 7, 2011

Let me hazard a guess...Stanford and then Madison Tyler? Am I close?

Mar 7, 2011

What you did? How would anything you have to say help anyone? I doubt anyone on these forums is here to try to get a job "not networking."

Best Response
Mar 7, 2011

So you went to Harvard/Stanford with a CS/Math major and got a high paying job?!?! Call the newspapers man.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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Mar 7, 2011
happypantsmcgee:

So you went to Harvard/Stanford with a CS/Math major and got a high paying job?!?! Call the newspapers man.

Mar 7, 2011
happypantsmcgee:

So you went to Harvard/Stanford with a CS/Math major and got a high paying job?!?! Call the newspapers man.

Papers! Get your papers her'!! Hot off the presses. Read all about it!!

LOL.

Regards

Mar 10, 2011
happypantsmcgee:

So you went to Harvard/Stanford with a CS/Math major and got a high paying job?!?! Call the newspapers man.

This comment made me laugh so hard, I would give an SB if I could.

Mar 7, 2011

Shrug. Not sure why OP feels the need to advertise a rather moderate Wall Street first year pay package. Then again, not sure why I cared enough to even post a response.

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Mar 7, 2011
IlliniProgrammer:

Shrug. Not sure why OP feels the need to advertise a rather moderate Wall Street first year pay package. Then again, not sure why I cared enough to even post a response.

Seriously, $130K is a pretty moderate pay package for someone in their first year? In hindsight, maybe I should of finished that math major after all (and probably added some CS courses to the mix).

Mar 7, 2011
econ][quote=IlliniProgrammer:

Seriously, $130K is a pretty moderate pay package for someone in their first year? In hindsight, maybe I should of finished that math major after all (and probably added some CS courses to the mix).

A typical first year CS grad's time is worth $45-50/hour as a programmer on the West Coast. Tack on an extra 20 hours for Wall Street and another 20% for NYC cost of living, and you see that OP's time cost-adjusted isn't worth all that much. So why does he feel his advice is worth your time?

I just got back from a wedding in Seattle and someone mentioned to me that quant developers and algorithmic traders make the most of any CS grad. I shot back that when you factor in NYC cost of living vs. Redmond, WA, a programmer at Amazon or Microsoft makes about the same. Get into management at one of those firms, and the cost-adjusted comp on Pike Place clearly outpaces the comp on Wall Street for traders and bankers.

Now if you're crazy thrifty, have good quantitative and programming skills, and plan on retiring in a low cost of living locale (EG: Wisconsin or Illinois), NYC makes a lot of sense. But coming back from Seattle, I've realized it's cool in that it's got a lot of the New York smarts and pay without the New York angst and elitism. I would imagine San Fran and Portland are the same way. Seattelites thought it was cooler that I knew how to tie a tie than that I worked for some random investment bank, which I found to be totally awesome. In Seattle, it's about what you can do rather than social status. (Perhaps also the quality of what you smoke, but this was at a wedding for two conservative Evangelicals)

Mar 7, 2011

What was your GPA?

Mar 8, 2011
tabthe:

What was your GPA?

3.71 total, 4.0 in major.

PTS:

-1 for not owning a suit

Suits are boring! :( Plus, I never really needed one in my life so had no reason to buy one.

IlliniProgrammer][quote=econ][quote=IlliniProgrammer:

Get into management at one of those firms, and the cost-adjusted comp on Pike Place clearly outpaces the comp on Wall Street for traders and bankers.

Yeah, but west coast tech firms tend to have very flat structures, so the upside isn't as great as it is in a quant or trading role. For example, it's great that people at Google start at 120k (at least APMs, maybe devs get less), but it also hardly increases as you stay. To get real upside in the valley you probably need to jump into a startup, which is crazy stressful.

IlliniProgrammer:

Also, what do H/Y/P have to do with Stanford and MIT?

I just grabbed four top schools that are good at mathematics. I didn't consider CS rankings.

derivstrading:

and first year pay is not that important, whats most important is upside in later years.

Agreed.

drunktrader:

bro. i went to a non target, non stellar gpa, and my compensation out of undergrad is not too far from that... just sayin

Congrats!

blastoise:

gratz op any tips from one cs + math major to another ;p

did u have to take a data structures class? this shit is so fucking boring

I'd say focus more on your math/problem-solving skills than CS. The general attitude on the street (and in lots of tech companies) is as long as you have a solid understanding of the basics in CS, you can just pick up the rest of it on the job with minimal effort. The math part of these jobs is the harder half to learn, and I'd say focus on that.

Data structures is useful, but I never really a took an explicit class about those. I have a decent understanding of the basic stuff (hash tables, trees, linked lists, etc.), but other than that I just learn something if I need it (which can be kinda shitty when I don't even consider using some slick structure sometimes and have obvious inefficiencies I'm not aware of). Definitely take algorithms; I took all the algorithms classes my school had to offer, and feel like each one helped a ton. If you're going into trading, networking and operating systems are also really useful to know.

tabthe:

I would at least be interested to hear of the interview questions and more about others at the firm instead of ripping the author a new asshole for posting about the job he got.

Sure. Here's two interesting ones:

1) You are going to be blindfolded and led into a room. In the room is a table with four quarters arranged on it in a square formation, and you don't know the starting position (other than they are not all on the same side). Each turn, you are going to choose either one or two coins to flip (by flip, I mean turn on their backs, so it will definitely become tails if it was heads, and vice versa); after you choose to flip, I will rotate the entire table by a multiple of 90 degrees (so the set of quarters is rotated, as a group, by a multiple of 90 degrees). Then, we will repeat. You win if all four quarters end up on the same side. Is there a strategy that will gaurantee that you win in a finite number of moves, no matter the starting configuration and no matter how malicious of an adversary I am (i.e. even if I knew exactly what your strategy was)?

2) I'm going to flip a coin until you tell me to stop. Once I stop, I will pay you a dollar times the ratio of heads to total flips. What's the best strategy (strategy with highest expected value) in this game?

Two is, as far as I know, an unsolved problem, but you can get some decent strategies and compute the explicit values of those if you want to practice your analysis.

Antsman:

70 + 10 + the possibility of 65 = 145 that's more than 130, what's your point?

It's base -- I'm not counting signing or yearly bonuses, or any of the benefits package.

Mar 8, 2011
mlfqs:
Antsman:

70 + 10 + the possibility of 65 = 145 that's more than 130, what's your point?

It's base -- I'm not counting signing or yearly bonuses, or any of the benefits package.

HOLD UP, this changes everything your making 130k base out of school...hmmm

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Mar 9, 2011
mlfqs:
Antsman:

70 + 10 + the possibility of 65 = 145 that's more than 130, what's your point?

It's base -- I'm not counting signing or yearly bonuses, or any of the benefits package.

You all just got served. Like, really served. Like, you should probably crawl back into your cubicles and play with excel served.

Mar 7, 2011

didnt you post this a few months ago? why are you reposting

Mar 7, 2011

I believe you.

Mar 7, 2011

-1 for not owning a suit

Mar 7, 2011

why do u give them crap for working in hedge funds if ur currently at a prop firm, which is a big step below?

your post was also useless and my friend at trillium went around telling everyone he was gonna make 200k his first year. actually he got like a 30k/year base and lost money every other month and got fired two years alter.

Mar 7, 2011
boutiquebank4life:

my friend at trillium went around telling everyone he was gonna make 200k his first year. actually he got like a 30k/year base and lost money every other month and got fired two years alter.

Ouch! That must of hurt...

Mar 9, 2011
boutiquebank4life:

why do u give them crap for working in hedge funds if ur currently at a prop firm, which is a big step below?

your post was also useless and my friend at trillium went around telling everyone he was gonna make 200k his first year. actually he got like a 30k/year base and lost money every other month and got fired two years alter.

exactly.

wtf is the OP talking about? what prop firms guarantee pay for ppl straight out of school, esp with a random ass background like this and no track record.

wtf

Mar 9, 2011
DurbanDiMangus:
boutiquebank4life:

why do u give them crap for working in hedge funds if ur currently at a prop firm, which is a big step below?

your post was also useless and my friend at trillium went around telling everyone he was gonna make 200k his first year. actually he got like a 30k/year base and lost money every other month and got fired two years alter.

exactly.

wtf is the OP talking about? what prop firms guarantee pay for ppl straight out of school, esp with a random ass background like this and no track record.

wtf

all the prop firms that have a real business model with edge make these guarantees. examples: Jane Street, Getco, drw, jump, allston, Optiver, Hudson River Trading, five rings. places with no edge where people are just trading random positions like trillium obviously aren't going to make these guarantees.

Mar 7, 2011

Cool story brah

Mar 7, 2011

Can you tell me what the meaning of life is and if truth exists? Also, how do I know I exist?

thanks.
sincerely,
NY

Mar 7, 2011

Haha, HPM strikes again.

You basically made my point. Only crazy people would go to New York if they can get a similar job paying 75% as much in Seattle if they're working as programmers.

Mar 7, 2011

Also, what do H/Y/P have to do with Stanford and MIT? There's half a dozen state schools between Stanford and MIT and H/Y/P when it comes to rankings and the quality of the recruiting opportunities. I'm not even sure Harvard and Yale make the top 20 list of CS schools. So I guess the OP did accomplish quite a feat- he managed to get a good job out of a non-target.

Mar 7, 2011
IlliniProgrammer:

I'm not even sure Harvard and Yale make the top 20 list of CS schools. So I guess the OP did accomplish quite a feat- he managed to get a good job out of a non-target.

LOL

Mar 7, 2011

You are an inspirational person for us all. Thank You

It's what you put into it

Mar 7, 2011

Some people like NYC and not a crap place like seattle or shitcago.

guess what there are 100k paying U.S. jobs in somalia/africa and u would live like a king (100k in somalia = 5 million in NYC) but there's a reason no one takes those jobs.

just because you ruined your youth + current life in the rural midwest not going to any parties or getting bottle service and being a virgin until your 30 doesn't mean you need to convince everyone else to do the same

Question: Old dude on "wallstreetoasis" msg board constantly attacks wall street and has chip on shoulder for ivies and NYC (trolls incessantly for shitty midwest cities and state schools)....WHY?

Just sad man. simply pathetic

    • 6
Mar 7, 2011
boutiquebank4life:

Some people like NYC and not a crap place like seattle or shitcago.

guess what there are 100k paying U.S. jobs in somalia/africa and u would live like a king (100k in somalia = 5 million in NYC) but there's a reason no one takes those jobs.

just because you ruined your youth + current life in the rural midwest not going to any parties or getting bottle service and being a virgin until your 30 doesn't mean you need to convince everyone else to do the same

Really? I mean boutique, with you commuting in from Brooklyn every day because you can't afford the Manhattan rent, have you ever considered Seattle? Or at least working in ops at a BB? Not sure if you qualify to work here- our ops guys are pretty classy- but if you do, we happen to pay our people enough to afford Manhattan rents and a halfway decent living.

Oh, and you sound jealous that the OP here made more than you by working less, even though he is still bragging about moderate pay. Don't worry- that's just life. Perhaps going to Harvard and graduating a douche works out better for some folks than others.

Mar 7, 2011

Can we just get it out there: it is could HAVE/would HAVE/should HAVE, not could OF.

    • 3
    • 1
Jun 10, 2012
analystforhire:

Can we just get it out there: it is could HAVE/would HAVE/should HAVE, not could OF.

SB'd. Gets on my nerves too.

Mar 7, 2011
Mar 7, 2011

Why would I live in brooklyn if I'm so pro-manhattan? My username has "boutique" in it but you think I work in ops at a large bank?

state schoolers sure are smart!

Thanks for thinking I graduated from Harvard, but I guess you think everyone went to an Ivy compared to your intellect.

Mar 7, 2011
boutiquebank4life:

Why would I live in brooklyn if I'm so pro-manhattan?

Well, you also wheeled out your comp at one point. It was a comp that you claimed was awesome, but in reality, quite sad. Hence, you're either deeply in debt right now or you live in the outskirts of Brooklyn. I am assuming that since you claim to work in finance, you're not an idiot when it comes to managing your own money, so you live in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, your lack of reading comprehension speaks for itself.

Mar 7, 2011
boutiquebank4life:

Why would I live in brooklyn if I'm so pro-manhattan? My username has "boutique" in it but you think I work in ops at a large bank?

state schoolers sure are smart!

Thanks for thinking I graduated from Harvard, but I guess you think everyone went to an Ivy compared to your intellect.

ops at bb > ibd at a 1 person boutique

Mar 7, 2011
  1. great you got 130k, which most first years at BB's will come close to anyway. and first year pay is not that important, whats most important is upside in later years.
  2. BoutiqueBank imo you are the type of person i feel sorry for. When you need a specific surrounding to make your life good is just sad. Next time when you have your 'bottle service', for a second step back and look at yourself from an external point of view. And you know what, you might become a BSD and earn millions, but you also might come back to reality and become a middle class citizen, and thats when you would have wished you spent a bit less on bottle service, and a bit more on saving for a rainy day.

Have fun being this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWJozh8CqvY Pathetic

Mar 7, 2011
derivstrading:

Have fun being this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWJozh8CqvY Pathetic

Too Funny.

Mar 7, 2011

so my comp is sad that means I'm in debt? Debt = brooklyn? Makes sense to me....

Mar 7, 2011

^^ Hehe, thanks for backing everyone else besides B4L up.

And seriously B4L, with an attitude adjustment and some reading comprehension improvement, you might be a good candidate for a better job- perhaps working in ops at a BB.

Mar 7, 2011

bro. i went to a non target, non stellar gpa, and my compensation out of undergrad is not too far from that... just sayin

you can give advice but whats the point of advertising how much you make and where you came from

Mar 7, 2011

Man, these are some pretty high salaries. It's a little disappointing that I probably won't even earn $50K as a master's grad. Oh well, they say life's a marathon, not a sprint...

Mar 7, 2011
econ:

Man, these are some pretty high salaries. It's a little disappointing that I probably won't even earn $50K as a master's grad. Oh well, they say life's a marathon, not a sprint...

But I sprint marathons....

Mar 8, 2011
Nobama88:
econ:

Man, these are some pretty high salaries. It's a little disappointing that I probably won't even earn $50K as a master's grad. Oh well, they say life's a marathon, not a sprint...

But I sprint marathons....

LOL -- I like that, and will definitely be using it.

Mar 7, 2011

gratz op any tips from one cs + math major to another ;p

Mar 7, 2011

did u have to take a data structures class? this shit is so fucking boring

Mar 7, 2011
blastoise:

did u have to take a data structures class? this shit is so fucking boring

Actually, it's pretty cool. O(n) radix sort FTW!

Mar 7, 2011

Wow, OP just got ripped

Mar 7, 2011

Uhm, run-of the mill first year analysts make more at my bank. Unless this is base, and you are expecting a large bonus in which case it's highly unusual just because prop firms don't have more than 100k bases

Mar 7, 2011

OP, have you been modeling and bottling yet ?

Mar 7, 2011

This thread sucks.
No useful information, pitifully trolling and low quality humor.

I would at least be interested to hear of the interview questions and more about others at the firm instead of ripping the author a new asshole for posting about the job he got.

Mar 7, 2011

70 + 10 + the possibility of 65 = 145 that's more than 130, what's your point?

Mar 8, 2011

What's so special when you went to HYPSM and you're naturally smart? Everyone should set different standards for themselves. With your background, I'd say 130k is a failure.

Mar 8, 2011
wsib1:

What's so special when you went to HYPSM and you're naturally smart? Everyone should set different standards for themselves. With your background, I'd say 130k is a failure.

Stanford and MIT are one thing, but H/Y/P are relatively easy admits for the engineering degrees compared to the top engineering programs (Cornell, MIT, Stanford, CMU).

The kid got onto Wall Street from a non-target. It's a bit of an accomplishment, but I think kids from SUNY have more to learn from this guy's experience than kids from Carnegie Mellon.

Mar 8, 2011

Illini is right as usual. The guy just presented this wrong. He undoubtedly could have offered some solid and valuable advice to the community. Time to send him a PM to keep him around in the hopes that you douchebags don't rip on him about this thread for every reply he makes...

;)

Mar 8, 2011

actually looks like it was just a troll given he hasn't replied once

Mar 8, 2011

Or he could've been embarrassed by the responses to his admittedly poor presentation of what he has to offer, OR he could have thought that we're not worth his time.

Mar 8, 2011

The only problem with this is, those who actually make this money would NEVER talk about it and if they did talk about it they would be to much of an asshole to help anyone.... or they don't actually make this much money....

One of these scenario applies here....which one is it?

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Mar 8, 2011
blackfinancier:

The only problem with this is, those who actually make this money would NEVER talk about it and if they did talk about it they would be to much of an asshole to help anyone.... or they don't actually make this much money....

One of these scenario applies here....which one is it?

Whichever makes you feel better.

Mar 8, 2011
mlfqs:
blackfinancier:

The only problem with this is, those who actually make this money would NEVER talk about it and if they did talk about it they would be to much of an asshole to help anyone.... or they don't actually make this much money....

One of these scenario applies here....which one is it?

Whichever makes you feel better.

Alright dude, I'll bite. I believe you because I find it difficult to believe someone would be enough of a loser to post this if it weren't true.

What is your position? At what caliber firm? How is your base so much higher than other entry level Prop Trading jobs even at the most elite places (Jane Street etc.)? What is your expectation of bonus/what was your signing bonus? How did you make all this happen?

Mar 8, 2011

So I was just wondering, does a 22 y.o fresh out of school armed with only an internship add enough value in his first year on the job to deserve a $130k + bonus in total compensation?

Mar 8, 2011

it's believable. i read an article (on businessweek?) that the highest paid undergrad out of wharton was around $200k+, with harvard slightly behind. don't quote me on that, but it was a ridiculously high amount and that was just the single highest paid student.

Mar 8, 2011
Getgo:

it's believable. i read an article (on businessweek?) that the highest paid undergrad out of wharton was around $200k+, with harvard slightly behind. don't quote me on that, but it was a ridiculously high amount and that was just the single highest paid student.

Yea, but there's no way that the wharton grad had only 1 internship (if it was in finance) and never wore a suit to an interview. Places like Qatalyst are the highest starting I've actually witnessed (confirmed, knowing people), and that was about 180-200k inclusive of all bonuses.

Mar 8, 2011
qweretyq:
Getgo:

it's believable. i read an article (on businessweek?) that the highest paid undergrad out of wharton was around $200k+, with harvard slightly behind. don't quote me on that, but it was a ridiculously high amount and that was just the single highest paid student.

Yea, but there's no way that the wharton grad had only 1 internship (if it was in finance) and never wore a suit to an interview. Places like Qatalyst are the highest starting I've actually witnessed (confirmed, knowing people), and that was about 180-200k inclusive of all bonuses.

There are prop shops where first years regularly make more than this.

Mar 8, 2011

^^do you remember what in the world he did $200k base out of UG, doesn't matter where you go that is a ridiculous sum of money

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Mar 8, 2011

I'm not questioning if this is believable or not. I am simply wondering- how does a 22 year old add that kind of value in this first year to merit a $130k base.

Mar 8, 2011

Think IP said most of this best.

But most of the top guys I know who also went to firms like OP said or other things. Had similar top GPAs as the OP, and did tons of research for internships till they got the finance pinch. I remember one buddy interviewed with Clarium once for an internship, the guy who interviewed him was some former CS grad prof who had publsihed some papers on AI. Most of these firms want raw intelligence and look to research to be the same as finance experience.

It's a believable story, and OP could be $$$. That said it's not like there is 100s of these types of people around. Top CS school, solid GPA. Choosing to do finance out of school versus all the other options. OP I also think your really discounting the value of working at Google/M$, know a guy who worked at M$ two years out of school he left with 2 others to start his own startup and while later VC $$$ has come his way. Lots of stories like that.

Mar 9, 2011

Hey OP, is this a correct strategy for interview question 1?

1) Flip diagonal
2) If not win, then flip two adjacent sides
3) If not win, flip two coins in a random diagonal
4) If not win, flip a random coin
5) If not win, flip two coins in a random diagonal
6) If not win, flip two adjacent sides
7) If not win, flip two coins in a random diagonal
8) Win

My thought process is as follows:
There are 14 different possible arrangements for the coin to start out with.
1) 8 arrangements with 3H1T, 3T1H (one for the tail being in each corner and vice versa)
2) 4 arrangements with 2H2T (the heads being adjacent to each other, and the tail being adjacent to each other)
3) 2 arrangements with 2H2T (the heads being on one diagonal, the tails on the other)

First, by flipping the diagonal, you would check to see if the starting pattern was (3). If this wasn't the case, flipping the diagonal would not affect the category of the other arrangements (i.e. if the starting position was (1), a diagonal flip would mean the resulting position is still in category (1) if it was (2), it'd still be (2).)
If this didn't result in a win, you know that the starting position wasn't (3), and you would flip two random adjacent sides to check for (2). If this doesn't win, then a starting position with category (1), would remain in category (1), and a starting position with category (2) would change to category (3).So, flip the diagonals and if you don't win, you can eliminate the starting position as being (2).
So the starting position was in category (1). Flip a random coin. If you win, then you happened to flip the right coin. If not, then the resulting position is either (2) or (3) depending on which coin you happened to flip. So flip the diagonals (if was 3 then you win, if not won't affect 2), and if you didn't win that, you know that you are in position (2), so flip two random adjacent sides, and then flip the diagonals. This ensures that you win.

Since this strategy isn't dependent on flipping specific coins, turning the table won't be able to prevent you from winning.

Mar 9, 2011

Wow, I sense a lot of jealousy & envy. Not saying a lot of the individuals who posted don't/didn't make more comp. but some of the responses seem more like a defence mechanism than an actual decent response.

While it may have come off as a little arrogant for the OP to say start off with a post like this, it would be much more useful to find some common ground on it as opposed to swatting it down.

I don't care what anyone says.. 130k out of undergrad is very good. I came here to find some meaningful pointers and all I got was a bunch of idiots (who are even more arrogant than the OP) fighting to say that they were/are paid better and his job is no big deal.

Why can't we focus on the subject at hand as opposed to staging an ego war?

Just Saying.

Mar 9, 2011

This

rothyman:

Wow, I sense a lot of jealousy & envy. Not saying a lot of the individuals who posted don't/didn't make more comp. but some of the responses seem more like a defence mechanism than an actual decent response.

While it may have come off as a little arrogant for the OP to say start off with a post like this, it would be much more useful to find some common ground on it as opposed to swatting it down.

I don't care what anyone says.. 130k out of undergrad is very good. I came here to find some meaningful pointers and all I got was a bunch of idiots (who are even more arrogant than the OP) fighting to say that they were/are paid better and his job is no big deal.

Why can't we focus on the subject at hand as opposed to staging an ego war?

Just Saying.

Mar 9, 2011

HAHAHAHHA you are such a cunt OP

Mar 9, 2011

Why is everyone saying major in math and CS? The average person trying to break into Wall Street would get his GPA slaughtered by the proof-based classes in a math major. And good luck being in CS classes where Chinese/Indian kids who have been programming since they were 5 are setting the curve most of the time.

Sure, busting your ass and majoring in math/CS will improve your analytical/problem-solving skills, but I'm guessing the 200K quant trading jobs right out of college go to those people who find this stuff easy and enjoyable.

Mar 9, 2011
chewingum:

Sure, busting your ass and majoring in math/CS will improve your analytical/problem-solving skills, but I'm guessing the 200K quant trading jobs right out of college go to those people who find this stuff easy and enjoyable.

agree with this 100%

Mar 9, 2011
chewingum:

Why is everyone saying major in math and CS? The average person trying to break into Wall Street would get his GPA slaughtered by the proof-based classes in a math major. And good luck being in CS classes where Chinese/Indian kids who have been programming since they were 5 are setting the curve most of the time.

Sure, busting your ass and majoring in math/CS will improve your analytical/problem-solving skills, but I'm guessing the 200K quant trading jobs right out of college go to those people who find this stuff easy and enjoyable.

Have you seen "the social network". Zuck ain't asian or indian. There is lots of American kids who programmed in their sleep since they were 3 not even 5. Heck one guy I knew used to be in "the scene", guy would setup FTPs and programs when he was in middle school to get the latest games. Now hes at a top school doing comp eng.....btw the above is super super uber nerdy.

Mar 9, 2011

don't think op goes to stanford or mit. they both graduate in june, not may. op is probably from yale.

Mar 9, 2011

I don't know of any prop trading firm that offers $130K BASE first year out. Even Citadel offers $100K base. I'm assuming this number includes signing bonus, moving costs, and guaranteed first-year bonus of some sort?

Out of curiosity, which trading firms had the toughest interview questions?

Mar 9, 2011

WTF is "OP" ?

Mar 9, 2011
tabthe:

WTF is "OP" ?

You have to be from another world... original poster...

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Mar 9, 2011

how do i get shit on for telling someone OP=original poster? is this some kind of sick joke.. only on WSO...

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Mar 9, 2011
marcellus_wallace:
chewingum:

Why is everyone saying major in math and CS? The average person trying to break into Wall Street would get his GPA slaughtered by the proof-based classes in a math major. And good luck being in CS classes where Chinese/Indian kids who have been programming since they were 5 are setting the curve most of the time.

Sure, busting your ass and majoring in math/CS will improve your analytical/problem-solving skills, but I'm guessing the 200K quant trading jobs right out of college go to those people who find this stuff easy and enjoyable.

Have you seen "the social network". Zuck ain't asian or indian. There is lots of American kids who programmed in their sleep since they were 3 not even 5. Heck one guy I knew used to be in "the scene", guy would setup FTPs and programs when he was in middle school to get the latest games. Now hes at a top school doing comp eng.....btw the above is super super uber nerdy.

...hence why I said they set the curve most of the time. Look at the top 5-10% of an advanced math/CS class at a good school and you will see that Asians are disproportionately represented. That was hardly my main point anyway; I'd like to hear why econ/manbearpig advocate math/CS so strongly for sub-Olympiad level people. (The assumption is that if you are Olympiad level you would already be majoring in math/CS).

Mar 9, 2011
chewingum:

I'd like to hear why econ/manbearpig advocate math/CS so strongly for sub-Olympiad level people.

Well, I can only speak for myself, but I think way too many kids are focused on taking classes to keep their GPA up. Instead, they should be focused on learning and building a toolkit that will allow them pick up lots of other stuff throughout life. Do you realize how easy it is for a math major to pick up anything you cover in your undergrad finance classes? On the other hand, I can't imagine a finance major teaching himself Banach's Fixed Point Theorem. And, in my opinion, it's not about whether or not you're a Olympiad, but rather if you're willing to study hard and push yourself. I mean, seriously, undergrad math and CS are doable. Many people can compete in these classes and maintain a solid GPA, it'll just take a little more work. Anyway, that's just my two cents and I understand that reasonable people can disagree.

Mar 9, 2011

If you go to a top school and major in Math/CS that means you're going to get a job in finance without any problem whatsoever. Period.

Mar 9, 2011

what kind of analytical questions do they ask? How do you recommend preparing for them, for someone whos looking to go into S&T or AM.

Mar 9, 2011

Are you talking about trading or finance in general?

Bankers use excel, calculators and arthmetic. They do not need to learn any of that. Heck they do not need "newton's method" even a basic proof in year 1 calculus for a CS/Math major. So most of all that is overkill, they do not need to challenge or push themselves.

The trading side is different, but learning bunch of crazy math is not the only way to push or challenge yourself. Knowing graph theory, or how to use in optimization/CS will improve your analytical skills. But look at PTJ, he used basic elliot wave, graphs and econs and put one of the best trades in history.

Mar 9, 2011
marcellus_wallace:

Are you talking about trading or finance in general?

Bankers use excel, calculators and arthmetic. They do not need to learn any of that. Heck they do not need "newton's method" even a basic proof in year 1 calculus for a CS/Math major. So most of all that is overkill, they do not need to challenge or push themselves.

The trading side is different, but learning bunch of crazy math is not the only way to push or challenge yourself. Knowing graph theory, or how to use in optimization/CS will improve your analytical skills. But look at PTJ, he used basic elliot wave, graphs and econs and put one of the best trades in history.

I just feel that pushing yourself is a safe bet. There's not a lot of downside. Maybe you'll want to switch careers later? And, maybe pushing yourself and tackling challenges head on will pay dividends in the future? But, like I said, reasonable people can disagree. And, I also agree with you that doing a bunch of crazy math is far from the only way to push yourself. I'm just arguing it's a good way to do so while you're a college student. But, I can think of even better ways, like managing your own portfolio, starting a business, playing college sports, etc.

Mar 9, 2011

My boy from college was a GS TMT VP and he told me that even as recent as a few years ago, base+bonus was 200 for the first-year analysts.

That dropped my jaw bc when I started it was 55+20.

But 130 is not too shocking, even if base. Who knows, this kid could be RenTech or DE Shaw. Which one is it, OP?

Mar 10, 2011

Let me clarify something for the non math guys. There is nothing "crazy" about mathematics at any level. I think mathematics is by far the most mystified academic discipline, and I blame the media. Anytime a producer wants a character to seem smart, they make them throw out the words calculus or algebra or whatever.

Like anything else, math builds on the foundations, which are not very difficult to grasp at all. It's just that the foundations are never taught properly until you reach college, and even then only if you are taking a serious course introductory course in analysis. The way mathematics courses are taught in engineering programs is appalling.

My point is that mathematics only seems difficult to grasp at first because intuition is not properly developed from earlier on, and the subject matter isn't properly motivated until very late. I guarantee that any hardworking student who puts in the time and effort can excel in a mathematics program. You don't need to be talented enough to compete in IMOs or the Putnam. You just need to be hardworking and persevere. Many times you will find a problem that will elude you, and you will think that only the best students in the class can solve it. This isn't true because the problem will initially elude the best students as well. The difference is that the best students won't give up. They will keep trying to find creative ways to construct the proof, which is what makes them the best students.

Why do I advocate studying math so much? Because nothing else will better train you to think.

Mar 10, 2011
manbearpig:

Let me clarify something for the non math guys. There is nothing "crazy" about mathematics at any level. I think mathematics is by far the most mystified academic discipline, and I blame the media. Anytime a producer wants a character to seem smart, they make them throw out the words calculus or algebra or whatever.

Like anything else, math builds on the foundations, which are not very difficult to grasp at all. It's just that the foundations are never taught properly until you reach college, and even then only if you are taking a serious course introductory course in analysis. The way mathematics courses are taught in engineering programs is appalling.

My point is that mathematics only seems difficult to grasp at first because intuition is not properly developed from earlier on, and the subject matter isn't properly motivated until very late. I guarantee that any hardworking student who puts in the time and effort can excel in a mathematics program. You don't need to be talented enough to compete in IMOs or the Putnam. You just need to be hardworking and persevere. Many times you will find a problem that will elude you, and you will think that only the best students in the class can solve it. This isn't true because the problem will initially elude the best students as well. The difference is that the best students won't give up. They will keep trying to find creative ways to construct the proof, which is what makes them the best students.

Why do I advocate studying math so much? Because nothing else will better train you to think.

Math does get crazy at the Terry Tao or Grisha Perelman level though.

My math major did me some favors. First, it was humbling. I was surrounded by so many peers and profs lightyears ahead of me I'll never get too big of a head. Second, I really learned what it meant to learn something hard. It builds patience and industry. Third, it is practical. Some things, like linear algebra or complex analysis, you really ought to learn under expert supervision in college.

Mar 10, 2011
ivoteforthatguy:
manbearpig:

Let me clarify something for the non math guys. There is nothing "crazy" about mathematics at any level. I think mathematics is by far the most mystified academic discipline, and I blame the media. Anytime a producer wants a character to seem smart, they make them throw out the words calculus or algebra or whatever.

Like anything else, math builds on the foundations, which are not very difficult to grasp at all. It's just that the foundations are never taught properly until you reach college, and even then only if you are taking a serious course introductory course in analysis. The way mathematics courses are taught in engineering programs is appalling.

My point is that mathematics only seems difficult to grasp at first because intuition is not properly developed from earlier on, and the subject matter isn't properly motivated until very late. I guarantee that any hardworking student who puts in the time and effort can excel in a mathematics program. You don't need to be talented enough to compete in IMOs or the Putnam. You just need to be hardworking and persevere. Many times you will find a problem that will elude you, and you will think that only the best students in the class can solve it. This isn't true because the problem will initially elude the best students as well. The difference is that the best students won't give up. They will keep trying to find creative ways to construct the proof, which is what makes them the best students.

Why do I advocate studying math so much? Because nothing else will better train you to think.

Math does get crazy at the Terry Tao or Grisha Perelman level though.

My math major did me some favors. First, it was humbling. I was surrounded by so many peers and profs lightyears ahead of me I'll never get too big of a head. Second, I really learned what it meant to learn something hard. It builds patience and industry. Third, it is practical. Some things, like linear algebra or complex analysis, you really ought to learn under expert supervision in college.

True, but Terry Tao and Grigori Perelman are certified geniuses, and in the case of Terry Tao, what I find most impressive is that he has attained mastery over several different branches of math, where its difficult enough to do cutting edge work in even one.

Mar 10, 2011

Really lucid explanation, thanks.

manbearpig:

Let me clarify something for the non math guys. There is nothing "crazy" about mathematics at any level. I think mathematics is by far the most mystified academic discipline, and I blame the media. Anytime a producer wants a character to seem smart, they make them throw out the words calculus or algebra or whatever.

Like anything else, math builds on the foundations, which are not very difficult to grasp at all. It's just that the foundations are never taught properly until you reach college, and even then only if you are taking a serious course introductory course in analysis. The way mathematics courses are taught in engineering programs is appalling.

My point is that mathematics only seems difficult to grasp at first because intuition is not properly developed from earlier on, and the subject matter isn't properly motivated until very late. I guarantee that any hardworking student who puts in the time and effort can excel in a mathematics program. You don't need to be talented enough to compete in IMOs or the Putnam. You just need to be hardworking and persevere. Many times you will find a problem that will elude you, and you will think that only the best students in the class can solve it. This isn't true because the problem will initially elude the best students as well. The difference is that the best students won't give up. They will keep trying to find creative ways to construct the proof, which is what makes them the best students.

Why do I advocate studying math so much? Because nothing else will better train you to think.

Mar 10, 2011
manbearpig:

Why do I advocate studying math so much? Because nothing else will better train you to think.

Well said.

Also, it's surprisingly interesting. Have you guys ever wondered how someone can make a statement which is 100% true and therefore has no exceptions? For example, the square root of 2 is an irrational number, meaning that there is no way to express it as a fraction of two integers. Logically, how do you prove something like that? You can't just check, because even if you check 100-trillion combinations of integers, you still have infinitely more combinations to check. Seriously, it trains you how to think. It's like weight lifting for you brain. Once you've struggled with the proofs of abstract concepts, a lot of things that used to seem conceptually difficult become much simpler. What more could you want out of a college degree than that?

Mar 10, 2011

Great posts from econ and MBP. I come from an engineering background so my knowledge of the subject is limited to plug and chug. I've taken up to linear algebra and ODE, and all the math up to that point has been plug and chug; you memorize the algorithm for solving a problem and apply it over and over again. Sometimes you might need to tweak the problem to get it into the form that fits the algorithm, but that's about it. My friends who have taken analysis tell me that they only got through the class by memorizing the proofs and regurgitating them on the exam so my opinion has been influenced by that.

Regardless, don't people primarily think about the markets in terms of cause and effect? (i.e. If I change this variable, how does it affect this other variable and by how much? What are the direct and indirect effects of this change?) Is the level of analytical rigor that you develop in mathematics really necessary for something like that (not to mention that there are other more enjoyable ways of training yourself to think, like econ)?

I also feel like I have been severely shortchanged on developing macro thinking skills in all my math classes. I am mostly trained to solve problems, not so much to see the big picture and how everything interacts with and influences everything else (which is the type of education you would get in something like sociology or history).

Mar 10, 2011

How is complex analysis useful outside EE/physics?

Econ: maybe it's just me, but I don't find proving you can't express irrational numbers as fractions interesting in the least. Definitely agree that math is heavy lifting for your brain though.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you don't find math particular interesting and you're only doing it for the brain training, you're not going to have much fun. I would not unequivocally recommend a math major to such people (myself included).

Mar 10, 2011
chewingum:

Econ: maybe it's just me, but I don't find proving you can't express irrational numbers as fractions interesting in the least.

I'm not necessarily saying that the irrational number thing is interesting, in and of itself. What I'm saying, is the fact you can prove it, despite there being infinite combinations, is really interesting. How do you do something like that? How, in less than 10 lines and using only your brain, do you prove that not a single one of the infinite combinations will work? So, I'm not claiming the theorem itself is interesting. I'm claiming that the logic, analytical skills, and tools are what's interesting about math. Unfortunately, most people think math is boring, even though they don't even know what real math is. Math is not primarily about numbers, algebra, and computation. Math is really about philosophy, logic, and proofs.

Mar 10, 2011
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