That's the nature of the business.
There are plenty of fund successful funds with < $100mm in aum. If the fund shuts down after two years, the two years of experience and knowledge under your belt will help open other doors.
I can't imagine you'd be able to find good two-way prices for some of these 'second generation' vol products like gamma swaps, FVAs, corridor var swaps. It gets even worse once you move outside underlyings such as spx, nky, eurusd, and usdjpy.
The paper by Zhu and Pykhtin is another excellent introduction to CVA. Jon Gregory's book is also a good starting point. For a more technical resource centered around the challenges of actually implementing a CVA engine, check out Cesari et al.
I'm going to echo Ken's question - what exactly does "too Americanized" mean?
Also, I don't like stating the obvious, but in this case, I'll oblige. You should probably refrain from making making statements like that. If you end up working in quant finance, chances are your environment will...
I disagree. This introduces far too many variables, not to mention it introduces preferences into the methodology. What one person considers a 'suitable' lifestyle may be vastly different from another. And preferences, as we know, don't jive well with risk-neutrality :)
Look at the theory underlying the models.
Taking BS, for example, calls and puts can be replicated through a combination of bond and stock. Create a portfolio which is priced with the 'model' and a second 'replicating' portfolio. You can test the performance of the model by tracking the...