What classes in college are helpful for trading

mazz0408's picture
Rank: Chimp | 9

I am a college student and just wondering what classes might be helpful in trading. Is it better to know about the economics or specifically about the products, fixed income, option, future etc.? Is it more helpful to develop mathematical thinking by taking some quant courses?

any comments are appreciated.

Comments (129)

May 13, 2011

from going to a ugrad business school, I found most finance classes from my experience didnt help much with real trading. I would say take a bit of math, a bit of macro and then focus on things you truly enjoy. You learn almost 100% of what you need to know on the job. Just do what you love to do in college.

and from the words of a barcap trader, "this stuff isn't rocket science, no matter how much they want you to think it is."

May 13, 2011

Math and comp sci (if you're doing options) with some basic econ/finance.

There really isn't a class to prep you for it tbh.

May 13, 2011

i was an econ major, so I can say from experience that trading FICC, macro theory was by far the most important class. and stats second, then comp sci(more specifically C++, MQL)

May 13, 2011

can someone explain how comp sci can be useful in trading?

May 13, 2011

Conducting analysis, creating small tools that save tons of time, helping out your managers with tasks

Trading nowadays is very technology intensive. Its important to know how to code.

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May 13, 2011

fixed income, statistics, and computer science where you learn VBA are the general courses every trader should take. If you want to do something more quantitative than you should take more advanced math and computer science courses.

May 13, 2011

Wish I would have taken a VBA class. Self-learning now and its ok but a class would have been nice. As for macro shit, taking bets opposite most professors expectations is really the only profitable/useful thing I have picked up from class.

May 13, 2011

i think honestly econ helped me more than math/cs

May 14, 2011

For the ones advocating Econ, what classes are you guys talking about in particular? Or do you just mean general finance classes?

May 14, 2011
aintnospam:

For the ones advocating Econ, what classes are you guys talking about in particular? Or do you just mean general finance classes?

intermediate macro theory(or equivalent) will be the most important econ class you will use. Its concepts like ISLM-ADAS models are really important to understand. I see a lot of so called "traders" or "PMs" try to build arguments for a trade, but its very clear that they do not understand global macro in the least bit. Its quite funny actually. Do not be one of these guys. Do well in that class.

May 14, 2011
mfoste1:

intermediate macro theory.

Its called theory for a reason

May 14, 2011

alright. thank you guys so much. can someone also give me some ideas about the classes i am taking?

intermediate macro
futures and options
debt instruments
financial engineering
and a liberal arts class

May 15, 2011

I suppose your Futures and Options class with be using Hull's book as required text. That's a good foundation for all derivs.

"All I've ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work."

May 15, 2011

honestly the class that i could say i used the most is "public speaking" as i talk to people all day everyday... building those mini relationships is key

May 15, 2011

Mazz- you go to nyu, dont you? If so, debt instruments is awful, or so i've heard. Stay away from trading strategies as well, class is horrible.

May 15, 2011

I started trading in high school. I go to a complete non target, and nothing I've learned yet has been beneficial.

May 15, 2011

Exactly the same here, Will.

"All I've ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work."

May 15, 2011

@will and linfone- what year are you guys? are you guys taking economics classes? if so what level?

im not going to lie, most stuff you learn in college is worthless bullshit. Hell i can remember this one upper level econ class i took where the professor was fairly new just out of pHd, and no joke i would call her out on her lesson at least once a week because the info she was spewing out was incorrect.

May 15, 2011

I graduated last year, but honestly, it's nice to know the concepts of, say, P/E, dividend yield, or the like, But actively trading, even during class, is the only real way to learn.

The real world works differently from theoretical economics. Theory says bonds in general should go up even when market's tanking because of potentially lower short-term rates, which translates to lower long-term rates. But during late 2008, corporate bonds shit itself. Conversely, bonds should go down, once the market recovers, because the anticipated inflation would cause central banks to raise interest rates. Yet returns on bond holders starting March 2009 were in the hundreds of percentage points...

"All I've ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work."

May 15, 2011
Linfone:

I graduated last year, but honestly, it's nice to know the concepts of, say, P/E, dividend yield, or the like, But actively trading, even during class, is the only real way to learn.

The real world works differently from theoretical economics. Theory says bonds in general should go up even when market's tanking because of potentially lower short-term rates, which translates to lower long-term rates. But during late 2008, corporate bonds shit itself. Conversely, bonds should go down, once the market recovers, because the anticipated inflation would cause central banks to raise interest rates. Yet returns on bond holders starting March 2009 were in the hundreds of percentage points...

ok everyone knows you cannot follow neoclassical economic theories to heart and expect them to work. there are often exogenous variables that must be accounted for when trying to implement these theories into market dynamics. however the basic framework of them does work from a fundamental standpoint.

please, do not use corporate bond theories when trying to explain economics. this doesnt work.

May 16, 2011

Oh well.

Anyway, if you want to learn how to think like a trader, read certain sections of Liar's Poker...

Alexander's schooling of Michael Lewis comes to mind best.

"All I've ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work."

May 16, 2011

Crisis Management.

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

May 16, 2011

like i've read in books LOL and i'm suprised you didn't learn this concept earlier since you've been "trading" since high school, YOU WILL LEARN NOTHING in college that has anything to do with trading... Trading in theory is very very simple. Cut losses and let profits run.. never fight the tape... go with the trend... You don't need to know comp sci and all the BS like programming.. chances are you will be using a broker and if not there is free software outthere to help you scan for ideas or trends..

although now that i think about it psychology is the most beneficial course to take in school... Of course, you could just read trading psychology books anyway by yourself. Everything else is just micky mouse bull s**t lol

Trading is my LIFE. Everything else is just micky mouse bullshit.

May 16, 2011

I like your cliches that will probably confuse the OP and make him over think it...

"All I've ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work."

May 16, 2011

deleted

May 16, 2011

I'd also consider taking 1-2 CompSci courses.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

May 16, 2011

Some schools lump math and statistics together, but you should take a mathematical statistics course.

May 16, 2011

Numerical Analysis. Matlab is a great skill to have. Can you take stochastic calc?

"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets."

-John D. Rockefeller

May 16, 2011

Stoch calc most likely requires PDE's (especially any aspects geared towards finance). If you can take an advanced econometrics and time series course that uses R or Matlab that would be incredibly helpful. Realistically none of these classes will be too helpful with the exception of numerical methods, and even that won't be too helpful other than learning matlab. Check with your schools graduate economics department and see what they have, otherwise none of these will be directly applicable to your desk, though in the long term PDE's will open more doors to useful math you can take next year.

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May 16, 2011

Thanks, econometricks! If I don't take any math next semester I might have the option of doing research with some famous faculty in International Monetary Econ (Barry Eichengreen, Maurice Obstfeld, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas). Do you think this would be a better option given I am interested in FX and Rates?

May 16, 2011

Doing research is exponentially better than taking a few math classes, however it depends on what your role will be, what the research focuses on, and what hard (programming) skills you'll gain. If you're going to be using academic software such as eviews or stata, it might now help too much, whereas learning how to handle big data sets in Matlab or R is incredibly helpful. I can't speak too much on BB S&T, but in most prop firms you'll be given a project to work on over the course of the summer, so having experience will really give you a leg up on other interns.

Even if the research isn't specifically geared toward finance, if you work your ass off I'm sure you can find a way to use the results of the research towards something that would be interesting for the bank. You'll have all the data, you'll most likely learn some modeling techniques, look on wilmott.com and I'm sure you can figure something out.

From personal experience there is one other huge point I should add. Be highly cognoscente of the fact that these faculty are doing this research because they are passionate about it and they want to make breakthroughs in their field, not a paycheck. If they wanted to, they could easily take a well paid spot at a hedge fund or bank. It's fine that they know you are going to work at a bank, but definitely make sure they know that your interest is not in finding ways to make money and trade. Showing that you are truly interested in their research will not only help you get more responsibility and experience, but just being able to sit down and talk with people that have this much experience is huge.

May 16, 2011

PM me if you have more questions, happy to answer.

May 16, 2011

Like previous, I would say take Numerical Analysis for the MATLAB exposure. As a example one of the S&T Analysts I know uses Matlab to create a matrix of all the scenarios in his demand/weather models to forecast the price of power.

May 16, 2011

Anything as long as you get at least a 3.5

May 16, 2011
turtles:

Anything as long as you get at least a 3.5

my thoughts exactly.

May 16, 2011

The more math the better

May 16, 2011

stats

May 16, 2011

A programing background is necessary, you dont have to have like enough to write an entire program but you will need enough to manipulate programs

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

May 16, 2011

Derivatives Class - CFA
Financial Accounting - Need to know
Tax - For Personal Benefits
Applied / Investments - To be able to show your investment report in interviews

I think these are 4 must classes to take to give you a very good background in finance.

May 16, 2011

Double majoring in economics/finance and math and minoring in comp sci should be pretty good for S&T.

May 16, 2011

Just wondering, how important are accounting classes for S&T? I know Financial Accounting is definitely mandatory but do you think a "financial statement analysis" is necessary?

Also as far as programming goes for S&T, isn't VBA really all that is needed? Or is C++ and such necessary too for S&T?

May 16, 2011

Lets stop the discussion right here, what kind of S&T job are you looking at? BB, prop, MM, HF?

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

May 16, 2011

How about BB and prop? Is programming in Java and C++ very helpful there?

And ditto on the question on accounting - I remember reading on some article that MBAs wish they had taken more accounting courses. How important is accounting for S&T?

May 16, 2011

Accounting is important for everyone. This is a saying that I totally agree with, "Finance guys make money, accountants keep their money" It is basicly saying that while finance guys may make tons of money they have a hard time keeping it because they get burned by taxes everywhere, while accounting people might not make as much but they know how to use accounting to keep more of it.

While at a BB and major probs you will have access to programers to tweak your models it is not always quick enough. If you end up day trading from your own accounts after you get out of high finance you will need programing. Right now I am opening a FX venture and I am in the process of mastering the markets and establishing my models. Next I am going to have to back test and learn some programing so I can tweak my computer models. Then finally go live and trade and make that cash.

While more classes are great you have to keep your GPA up.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

May 16, 2011

Thanks for the info heister. I just thought that accounting wouldn't be as relevant in trading but I guess I was wrong.

The programming aspect definitely seems necessary though (esp if I were to go prop). Are you creating your models via C++ or a different programming language?

May 16, 2011

stochastic calculus and PDEs for exotics trading

May 16, 2011

hey quagmire did you get a S&T internship this summer for NYC or HK? If so what desk are you targetting?

May 16, 2011

yea got BB S&T NYC going for a bunch of derivatives/hybrids desks

May 16, 2011

"Have you ever tried to use a chain with 3 weak links? I have, and now I no longer own an arctic wolf."
-Dwight Schrute

May 16, 2011

Sure, I'll give other suggestions a shot. Anything applicable to ordering/carrying/getting the correct condiments/etc for $300+ Shake Shack runs (I recommend getting in line by 11:30 am at the latest), or a course that's relevant to mastering desk/product wide taco truck orders.

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May 16, 2011

Mathematical finance would be the best option, imo, as long as it covers basic derivatives, option pricing basics, etc. Don't need any of the complex vol modelling stuff etc. Accounting would be quite useful if you are going into equities, but you can pick up the basics on your own, and you will die from boredom in class, esp if you are from a STEM background.

"Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old"

May 16, 2011

Probability and programming classes

May 16, 2011

I'd recommend: Stats, Math, Finance, Accounting, and Econ Classes.

I think Math and Stats are the most relevant in all levels of S&T. Econ is more about Macro products. Accounting more for micro products.

Also depends if your looking at Fixed Income or Equities.

May 16, 2011

Depends on product/desk which class exactly, but I guess a mathematical finance should be your top choice if those are your only options. Programming is also extremely useful.

DYEL

May 16, 2011

Reading Body Language 101

May 16, 2011

I'm hoping to be in fixed income - I've taken basic programming classes and I've taken some graduate STEM classes that use programming (as well as two summers and a semester of computational research), so I can program, but my code isn't beautiful by any means.

I've never taken a formal statistics class though I've taken statistical physics (which uses some basic distributions): would it be more useful to take an intro applied math stats course or the mathematical finance course? It turns out I could also fit an introductory stats class into my schedule.

May 16, 2011
encore:

I'm hoping to be in fixed income - I've taken basic programming classes and I've taken some graduate STEM classes that use programming (as well as two summers and a semester of computational research), so I can program, but my code isn't beautiful by any means.

I've never taken a formal statistics class though I've taken statistical physics (which uses some basic distributions): would it be more useful to take an intro applied math stats course or the mathematical finance course? It turns out I could also fit an introductory stats class into my schedule.

What do you want to do within S&T role-wise?

IMO, the most valuable programming language for your internship will be VBA... master that and you will save yourself a lot of time this summer.

"Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old"

May 16, 2011

"I'm not very strong mathematically." If this is the case, what makes you think you want to work in finance? This would be like someone who can't read or write trying to go to law school.

When you are great, people will often mistake candor for arrogance.

May 16, 2011

It's going to be waay more difficult if you don't have mathematical strength. S&T is all about the quantitative stuff.

I would typically recommend a set of programming, math, stats, physics, economics, accounting, and finance courses. Do any of those subjects seem OK to you?

S&T is largely reserved for the mathematically inclined. Have you considered IBD? Your poli sci degree and maybe a few years working in a large city government could make you a good fit for working on muni issues.

You might prove me totally wrong (likely by becoming a lot more quantitative) but I just see it hard to have someone who can't speak the language of numbers working on the trading floor. Everybody from the risk managers to the salespeople to the traders to this quant developer all have to speak it. Banking is different, though.

May 16, 2011
IlliniProgrammer:

It's going to be waay more difficult if you don't have mathematical strength. S&T is all about the quantitative stuff.

I would typically recommend a set of programming, math, stats, physics, economics, accounting, and finance courses. Do any of those subjects seem OK to you?

S&T is largely reserved for the mathematically inclined. Have you considered IBD? Your poli sci degree and maybe a few years working in a large city government could make you a good fit for working on muni issues.

You might prove me totally wrong (likely by becoming a lot more quantitative) but I just see it hard to have someone who can't speak the language of numbers working on the trading floor. Everybody from the risk managers to the salespeople to the traders to this quant developer all have to speak it. Banking is different, though.

??????????

largely reserved for the mathematically inclined? have you looked at some of the type of people who have been getting offers at the BBs (including yours)? most of the hiring is just a random popularity contest, not a test on who can derive the BS PDE, both for SA interviews and during the SA program as well, FT hires are just winners of a popularity contest (for the most part, obv there are exceptions)....many morons I know got hired purely based off of connections...the funny thing is, many of the high GPA engineering majors got into top groups in BB IBD, not S&T lol

May 16, 2011

Because it's sales. Unless it's complicated Fixed Income derivatives etc you just need to know how to relay the information from your research team to your client and be able to sell whatever equity you have at hand well. It's understanding your clients needs. It doesn't require calculus as far as I'm concerned.

May 16, 2011

Disagree. To get into sales as an analyst, you typically need to get hired as a markets generalist. They're going to want to see strong quantitative ability, period. Even if it's something different- if you're just getting hired into plain vanilla equities sales (which is tough to find positions in as the market goes more and more electronic), math is the language that gets spoken on the trading floor. The difference is that the language in equities is algebra and basic computation rather than calculus and stats in derivatives and fixed income.

May 16, 2011

You need to know what you are selling, you may need to give concrete evidence to your clients. While the math may not be what is required of someone who works with derivatives, you still will need math. I don't recommend Poli Sci for anyone who wants to work for a living. It is just an opinion, but there was not a single Poli Sci major who got an an on campus interview for any finance related position at my school this semester. In fact, the only poli sci majors who got interviews for anything were for government agencies or Teach for America. I considered studying Poli Sci, but my Dad told me it would be more fun to light an hundred grand on fire and watch it burn than spending it on a Poli Sci degree. With that being said, the right MBA will allow you to do pretty much anything.

When you are great, people will often mistake candor for arrogance.

May 16, 2011

You need to know what you are selling, you may need to give concrete evidence to your clients. While the math may not be what is required of someone who works with derivatives, you still will need math. I don't recommend Poli Sci for anyone who wants to work for a living. It is just an opinion, but there was not a single Poli Sci major who got an an on campus interview for any finance related position at my school this semester. In fact, the only poli sci majors who got interviews for anything were for government agencies or Teach for America. I considered studying Poli Sci, but my Dad told me it would be more fun to light an hundred grand on fire and watch it burn than spending it on a Poli Sci degree. With that being said, the right MBA will allow you to do pretty much anything.

When you are great, people will often mistake candor for arrogance.

May 16, 2011
consulting_rookie:

You need to know what you are selling, you may need to give concrete evidence to your clients. While the math may not be what is required of someone who works with derivatives, you still will need math. I don't recommend Poli Sci for anyone who wants to work for a living. It is just an opinion, but there was not a single Poli Sci major who got an an on campus interview for any finance related position at my school this semester. In fact, the only poli sci majors who got interviews for anything were for government agencies or Teach for America. I considered studying Poli Sci, but my Dad told me it would be more fun to light an hundred grand on fire and watch it burn than spending it on a Poli Sci degree. With that being said, the right MBA will allow you to do pretty much anything.

That's such an ignorant thing to say. Not sure where you go to school, but I've already had a superday interview for a Bulge Bracket firm (accelerated program). I made it past a few interviews until they decided to fly me up to New York...

May 16, 2011

Ok, it's also time for an end to the college student snarking. Poli sci is a great major- particularly as a pre-law major, but it's also a red-flag to the trading floor about quantitative weaknesses. That's why I'm recommending a tough course of quantitative studies.

Whether you like it or not, probably 1/2 of the people interviewing you for your position will be traders. Another 1/4 will be folks with some sort of quantitative background- maybe derivatives sales or maybe a risk manager or quant or two. They will all want to see how you perform quantitatively, because you will need to communicate with them and with clients about a lot of numbers in tough situations. You'll also want to look smart to clients and the people you're working with. Just like how this nerdy programmer has to keep up with college football to prove he's not a total nerd, even though it has nothing to do with his job.

Bottom line, if you really want to go into markets, you've got to develop an interest in math (just like this programmer has to keep up with sports).

    • 1
May 16, 2011

market and trading... awesome class

May 16, 2011

That's such an ignorant thing to say. Not sure where you go to school, but I've already had a superday interview for a Bulge Bracket firm (accelerated program). I made it past a few interviews until they decided to fly me up to New York...

And then they asked a lot of tough computation, algebra, stats, calculus, and logic questions for the on-site interview and you either answered them correctly or caved under the pressure.

Even if you don't need to use math to make trading decisions or come up with strategies, you do need to be able to communicate using it. Company X is overpaying by $Z to buy company Y, but D$X is only -$R when we would really expect -$S. The stock's still got some room to go down Mr. Hedge Fund and it's dropped D$X1 in the past half hour, do you want to short now while there's still easy money to be made?

Your ability to effectively communicate mathematical and trading concepts to portfolio managers and generate trade ideas is going to have a huge impact on your ability to generate commissions- even in vanilla equities.

May 16, 2011
IlliniProgrammer:

That's such an ignorant thing to say. Not sure where you go to school, but I've already had a superday interview for a Bulge Bracket firm (accelerated program). I made it past a few interviews until they decided to fly me up to New York...

And then they asked a lot of tough computation, algebra, stats, calculus, and logic questions for the on-site interview and you either answered them correctly or caved under the pressure.

Even if you don't need to use math to make trading decisions or come up with strategies, you do need to be able to communicate using it. Company X is overpaying by $Z to buy company Y, but D$X is only -$R when we would really expect -$S. The stock's still got some room to go down Mr. Hedge Fund and it's dropped D$X1 in the past half hour, do you want to short now while there's still easy money to be made?

Your ability to effectively communicate mathematical and trading concepts to portfolio managers and generate trade ideas is going to have a huge impact on your ability to generate commissions- even in vanilla equities.

Actually, in my whole interview process, including the preliminary interviews and the four 30 minute back to back interviews on super day I was not asked one mathematical question. It was completely fit, behavioral and what how well you know/understand the markets. Remember, it was for equity sales.

May 16, 2011
IlliniProgrammer:

That's such an ignorant thing to say. Not sure where you go to school, but I've already had a superday interview for a Bulge Bracket firm (accelerated program). I made it past a few interviews until they decided to fly me up to New York...

And then they asked a lot of tough computation, algebra, stats, calculus, and logic questions for the on-site interview and you either answered them correctly or caved under the pressure.

Even if you don't need to use math to make trading decisions or come up with strategies, you do need to be able to communicate using it. Company X is overpaying by $Z to buy company Y, but D$X is only -$R when we would really expect -$S. The stock's still got some room to go down Mr. Hedge Fund and it's dropped D$X1 in the past half hour, do you want to short now while there's still easy money to be made?

Your ability to effectively communicate mathematical and trading concepts to portfolio managers and generate trade ideas is going to have a huge impact on your ability to generate commissions- even in vanilla equities.

I understand, that's basic math. Where I'm weak is with high level algebra/calculus. There's none involved in Sales as far as I know...

May 16, 2011

Hey- if you know of a major firm handing out offers to sales folks who aren't mathematically inclined, please let me know. That represents business opportunities for folks at other firms. :D

Not trying to be a jerk- just trying to help steer you in the right direction (IMHO, either studying something quantitative or moving towards IBD). Unfortunately, when you get to the trading floor, you tend to lose a lot of your people skills. :D

You came here to ask a question- I answered by saying that there's not really a good answer unless you can tolerate one of the above subjects. You sure you can't handle accounting, though? It's a little easier mathematically than physics or engineering but it's a solid set of skills to have that will be helpful in S&T. It would be hard to imagine an excellent accountant who lacked the technical/"hard" skills to be at least a decent equity salesperson.

May 16, 2011

I'm sure that's not the final round. If it was and you got hired without being asked a single math question, you'll have to let me know which firm this is.

May 16, 2011

It was a final round super day interview at BAML (accelerated program). It was completely fit/behavioral and how well you understood/knew the markets. Maybe they take it easier on non finance majors...

May 16, 2011

Calc I or II would kill my gpa, I'd be lucky to get a C in college.

May 16, 2011
dbm1988:

Calc I or II would kill my gpa, I'd be lucky to get a C in college.

You just said you were good at math and Calc I makes few assumptions about your knowledge of mathematical concepts- just your quantitative abilities and ability to understand concepts and frameworks.

You work in sales; you should have the quantitative ability and the guts to say you can get an A in Calc I.

May 16, 2011

along those lines----

im interested in S+T,,,,fin major with strong coursework in math and stats----

considering taking comp sci next semester, but am a bit hesitant asi hear its a real pain--
i understand vba is particularly essential to S+T, was wondering if people think i should self-teach vba
with books,,,or take intro to comp sci along with self-teaching VBA

the class focuses on java programming.

IVY for Life

May 16, 2011

Couple thoughts:

  1. If you learn one imperative programming language, you can learn any other for the purposes of basic programming in 8 hours. The concepts used short of enterprise programming are all the same- they just take on slightly different formatting.
  2. A course on basic algorithms and boolean logic or a course on basic programming taught with the CS students can be immensely helpful.
  3. A basic understanding of algorithmic complexity will help you understand how to make stuff run faster and scale better. So that Excel spreadsheet you're working on won't have to be rewritten or sent off to the desk developer when it goes from 30 positions to 3000.
  4. Some people are better at programming than others. If you are good at solving those lateral thinking problems your teacher used to give you in school, that's a (very early) indication you might be a better programmer. If you find those things really tough, you might not be quite as good of a programmer.
May 16, 2011

@Illini - There's a difference between confidence and reality. Confidence only goes so far, but I see what you're saying.

May 16, 2011

If you can't handle calc 1, how are you going to succeed on a trading desk even if you do manage to somehow break in?

May 16, 2011

As a Poli Sci undergrad major that started off with basic algebra knowledge, I did some of the things illiprogammer mentioned. After college, I felt my skills weren't enough for finance or business in general. So i took a C/VBA programming course at community college that taught basic algorithms and programming concepts. That shit has been so useful and it's not really that hard since it's just logic. I also took Calc 1 and got like an A-. Anyway, now I'm doing like a full on quant degree that is all about excel modeling, simulation and quantitative methods for decision analysis. While I'm not that interested in S&T, I feel confident that i can hang mathematically with most majors until we get to like PDE. But that's more because I haven't got around to learning that since we really don't use it. I did have to learn matrix algebra on the fly when i started my course though.

Let me pass along the advice of my imperial engineer friend when I was applying to LSE for my decision sciences/operations research masters.
"math at the end of the day is just adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying",

May 16, 2011

If you goal is to show quantitative aptitude, calc/stat is an easier path than CS. I'm not saying CS isn't useful or even necessary on a desk - hell, it might even be more useful than calc or stat - but if you're a liberal arts kid, CS will be a fucking bitch. Don't listen to these programmers telling you that it's not hard; they're programmers, of course they're going to say that. All of their advice is great and matches what all of my S&T friends did, but just be warned that compsci is going to hurt.

May 16, 2011
2x2Matrix:

If you goal is to show quantitative aptitude, calc/stat is an easier path than CS. I'm not saying CS isn't useful or even necessary on a desk - hell, it might even be more useful than calc or stat - but if you're a liberal arts kid, CS will be a fucking bitch. Don't listen to these programmers telling you that it's not hard; they're programmers, of course they're going to say that. All of their advice is great and matches what all of my S&T friends did, but just be warned that compsci is going to hurt.

I'd blindly echo this. Calc I (non proof based, though) is a lot easier than most intro Comp Sci courses.

I win here, I win there...

May 16, 2011

True. Basic Calc is easier than basic CS. But I would say that once you get into the really advanced stuff- we're talking Diffy'Qs vs. 400-level CS Algorithms courses, Diffy'Qs and real analysis get a lot tougher than CS. You get hit from 100 different directions in DiffyQs and start losing the sense of framework and rules, but in CS Theory, the rules at least always stay the same.

The person who originally asked about CS said he'd taken some math courses, so at this point, if he's already gotten through Calc III, an intro to CS Theory (aka programming strategies) or intro to programming course (aka basic programming in java) starts to make a lot more sense.

May 16, 2011

Just my two cents as a polisci major who's working in IBD next year (not S&T) -- constantly had questions about my quant skills during the interview process.If you're a polisci guy you know there's a huge statistical element to any poli sci research paper. Most solid polisci programs offer a bunch of "statistics and data analysis in political science" classes where you get really good exposure to statistical methods and building stat models (linear, logit, probit). those classes tend to be more interesting than just you're run of the mill paper/midterm/final polisci lectures and fill the quant gap left by the major. i also took ab in high school so i took calc again in college which wasn't too bad. but you can def spin polisci as long as you have a solid course load and not just "international law" or "american presidency" classes which tend to have very little math.

May 16, 2011

econometrics

May 16, 2011

To everyone who is saying that the interview is mostly math questions, my roommate had Goldman accelerated for S&T (trading not sales) and wasn't asked a single brainteaser or math question. It was all fit and questions about the market. And he isn't a poli sci / other lib arts major, he's Finance/Accounting. Ended up getting the offer three days later.

While I'm sure this may not be common, it does happen.

May 16, 2011

^^ I think the point was that qualitative majors have to run the gauntlet much more than pseudo-quantitative majors do. Finance is nowhere near calc/CS in terms of quantitative rigor, but they at least know that he can add and multiply.

May 16, 2011

.

May 16, 2011

Depends on what within trading you are interested in. Algo? Options? Commodities? etc.

In general, I'd say statistics (applied or econometrics), maybe financial mathematics.

May 16, 2011

no algo

interested in fixed income/CB/Derivatives

also,

i happen to know couple of successful trader who trade the above products without much of a quant background. i plan to drop some of my quant because of this reason (its dry and boring). anythoughts?

May 16, 2011

Stochastic processes, time-series modelling... make sure you're solid on linear regression models too. Wouldn't sweat it too much beyond that.

May 16, 2011

Please anyone?

May 16, 2011

Corp fin. and capital markets if you are into equity.
Take quantitative courses only if you can handle them. It's true that pricing is done heavily, but it's done by bloomberg or bank-build sofware. Knowing (in depth) pricing of plain vanilla stuff (UST's futures (CTD and shit), eurodollar forwards, swaps) would be usefull. In order too understand options in depth, you need a quant degree. If your pricing course contains stuff like programming, short-rate models and some higher math (ito's lemma), take it - it makes you think, which will be maybe the last time. Most usefully would be programming and statistic courses.

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May 16, 2011

Art History

May 16, 2011

I've heard people saying that before, quite often actually, but I never seem to understand why that's the case, mind elaborating a little bit?

May 16, 2011

if you know you can get an A- take it. If not take it pass/fail - but its an intro class you should knock it out. Anyways there are plenty of other ways to put VBA experience on a resume.

If its primarily java "they mentioned they dont cover vba at all" dont market yourself as having vba knowledge - it may not end well.

May 16, 2011

If it's 1.00 as it sounds, it won't help you much, to be honest

May 16, 2011

I don't think you'll be using programming a ton on a sales desk fwiw.

May 16, 2011

just start trying to hack things together in excel using VBA. You'll pick it up pretty quick.

May 16, 2011

A sales guy won't really need VBA skills. Take a few Economics and Finance courses if possible. Don't worry too much though. Sales guys need to understand the product well, which can come easily by reading a few books.

May 16, 2011

bump

May 16, 2011

Stochastics is awesome. I'd recommend the Eco, Data Science, Data Mining, Graph Algo classes.

May 16, 2011
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May 16, 2011