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Need advice from the veterans

Hi fellow seniors!

I need some vocational advice and hope you guys could give me some insights. I am currently a year 2 undergraduate in Singapore. My first major is Economics with Quantitative track and my second major is quantitative finance. I am very passionate about computational finance and I love to be involved in the industry when I graduate. So here are my questions:

(1) There are finance positions in Singapore but quant-related ones are very few (esp for undergrads). Worse, as I am a Vietnamese citizen, it's very hard for me to apply for bank internships due to policies of the government. So given this scenario, what could I do to at least start on the path that I am passionate about?

(2) It's apparent that PhD holders are definitely more attractive to employers but is there anything I can do to give myself just a little bit more edge? I am thinking of self-learning the programming languages (C++, Matlab, VBA, Java). But is it worth the effort, or what other direction should I take?

Really hope to learn from you guys ^^.
 
(1) Try to network and do your best to get an internship in Singapore; best you can do is try. Any possibility of getting a finance-related internship in Vietnam, Hong Kong, etc?

(2) Learn C++ and Matlab. VBA is less useful in computational finance but is used in less intensive applications and could land you a job; a good backup skill to have. When I think of computational finance in industry, algorithmic trading is the first thing that comes to mind and this is a very small space with few jobs (most in the US right now I believe). How to compete with job candidates with PhDs in computer science and mathematics without getting a PhD yourself is a challenge.

I think you are on the right path. Get an internship and learn C++.
 
Hi Connor,
Thanks a lot for your advice. I am really glad to receive your prompt response. Yup, I definitely need to work on my programming skills. Anyway, just a lil bit more bothering from me, what is your inspiration to do what you are doing and how did u get where you are today ? I understand that's this information might be very personal, but I'd really love to know it. As a youngster, there are many time I have to confront my insecurities to pursue my dream. I have a fast mind but also a very bad memory capacity. I enjoyed and do well in projects and researches assigned by my professors but I often struggle with the final exams. As such, my GPA is not that fantastic. Should I still pursue quant finance? And if I still can, what should I do to highlight my ability?
 
Be great at programming and you will never go hungry again. There are too many people who want to go into finance and unless you have some skills that employers want, you are just one of other thousands of quant-wannabe.
If programming is not your forte, find something that you are truly exceptional and passionate about. And network, network, network. Finding an internship or job is a full-time task and if you are not fully committed, it will go nowhere.
 
Thanks gbruno and Andy!
In fact, I am always contemplating why I choose to be a quant. The main reason is the thrill I get when I can solve problems using computer programming language (Matlab, VBA). The other reason is the remuneration rate that the finance industry offers. I know that I will be well rewarded for my passion and skills. Thanks Andy, yup network is the word haha ^^.
Great thanks, seniors!
 

gbruno

Quant Hopeful
Yeah, it's true. A big plus if you re an able programmer. There's no such thing as a quant who doesn't program.

Good luck!
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Be great at programming and you will never go hungry again. There are too many people who want to go into finance and unless you have some skills that employers want, you are just one of other thousands of quant-wannabe.
I don't think that software will go away in the near feature. In fact, more powerful hardware and software tools could lead to the next breakthrough and then everything starts all over again.

The question is: can we predict the future? Are we prepared?
 
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