8/18/11

Hello helpful traders / quants at Wall Street Oasis,

The last few weeks has filled me with anxiety as I have to make a choice that can greatly affect the next few years of my life. I have been interning at this Singapore hedge fund (about half a billion) over the summer. On same random Tuesday, the COO and CFO pulled me into a dark room and to my pleasant surprise said, "XXX, we like you and we like to hire you."

Now, under the normal circumstances of a kid growing up in Asia, I would take this offer in a heart beat. However, because I'm a kid from Singapore who is attending a top 10 USNews school, I have aspirations of working in Wall Street New York. Listening to Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind", specifically the line "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." only adds to this aspiration. Hence, I'm asking for any feedback on whether I should take this offer or take a chance (yup, just a chance, no interviews yet) at Wall Street. The details follow:

Why I like this hedge fund:
1. Lovely place, both physically and socially. Definitely legit. Hours are great: 9 hour day.
2. (Important) They propose that I'll be quant trading, I foresee latest 6 months in the job. Note: I've been reading a lot of how difficult it is to get the job as a trader, especially one on the buyside. It seems pure magically that this offer has landed upon me.
3. Good alumni. Three of them are ex-GS, ex-UBS, ex-MS.
4. Learning opportunities, albeit mainly from a single trader. The quant trader guiding me along is ex-BP and ex-MS. Me and him has built a great rapport over the summer.
5. They openly say they like me and I definitely get this strong sense that we can built something together, i.e., the opportunity is right there for me to do a LOT of work and get us on the cover of some Asian Trading magazine.

Why I want to work in New York:
1. I'll be Wall Street tested. "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."
2. If I were to work in Wall Street, it'll probably be now. I want to get dumped there, get bullied, make mistakes, learn, pick myself up, and return to Asia a better person.
3. I can put New York on my resume.
4. I would most probably want any job that has a title of quantitative developer / trader or trader. I am not interested in operations.

Miscellaneous:
1. Just a gauge of my capabilities: USNews top 10, Math and CompSci major, finish about top 85% in a few math and programming competitions, confident C++ Java multithread programmer.
2. I know myself. DE Shaw, JSC, SAC are out. I'm thinking Alliance Bernstein and Citadel.

Thank you for reading. In summery, given my desire to be a quant or quant trader, do I give up close to the ideal job in Singapore I can have out of college (I'm still quite amazed that this job is actually buyside trader) or take a chance (and only a chance) with Wall Street?

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8/18/11

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