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Singapore hedge fund vs Wall Street aspirations

Hello helpful traders / quants at Quantnet,

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 magic 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. I am NOT some straight A, exceptional student. I am just an slightly above average programmer with the ability to learn something quantitative and learn it well.
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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You are still in college, why the rush? NY and Wall St. is still gonna be there waiting for you man. If I were you I'd take the offer (even though Singapore is tiny and boring :P), work hard for a few years then maybe go to NY for grad school or another job. Win-win?
 
To alain and Alexei Smirnov,

May I kindly ask what you mean when you say "take the money"? All I can safely say is that this Hedge Fund gig pays a good salary and I'm quite confident that my year-end bonus is linked to my PnL. Having said that, it's a game of smartness in finding a good trading strategy, which is really my thing as I'm been hearing tons of books on trading recently. Certainly, barring taxes, a job in Wall Street pays better. But for all intended purposes and where I am in my life, I'm perfectly fine with the pay I will be getting in this Singapore gig.

Aside to myampol, I'm more than glad that this place gave me a trading role offer despite me coming out with just a BS in math. However, I can confidently say I can speak Stochastic Calculus, Numerical Analysis and Bayesian Statistics - classes in a MFE course. After looking at some MFE courses (don't say the top 10, but just say a generic MFE course), I think I am equip with about 1/2 of the content in their curriculum. Thus, this job offer along with the class I have studied kind of eliminates a MFE option, for now.
 
Thank you Alexei. Your point is noted. I was leaning towards that direction. Being a Singaporean, I love the city. And now, I would get the chance to love my job.

I am going to think it through a few more days. School starts in September than given the niceness of my bosses, I should get back to them before then.
 
Hey Donny, I agree with other guys - take a job :) You can always come back to the wall street dream when you get some years of experience. This will open for you many more opportunities in the future compare to MFE graduate with only academic knowledge.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
May I kindly ask what you mean when you say "take the money"?

You have something that seems like a good job offer on one hand and the possibility of something else on the other hand. Notice the latter is just the possibility. It might work, it might not. You might end up in Wall Street, you might end up literally on the street. The second choice will be always with you, now or in the future. The first choice won't be there. Take your pick.
 
You have something that seems like a good job offer on one hand and the possibility of something else on the other hand. Notice the latter is just the possibility. It might work, it might not. You might end up in Wall Street, you might end up literally on the street. The second choice will be always with you, now or in the future. The first choice won't be there. Take your pick.
Listen to alain, he's older and wiser!
 

Abdel

Economist
And as for Jay Z's "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere'', just keep in mind that, that man sold crack to his OWN mother and shot his OWN brother.

So, yes he made it, but he have no more soul = zombie.

lol
 
Yup, "New York New York". Kind of the reason why I started this whole thread.

On a serious note, the consensus seems to be take a job. After reading through the comments, especially alain's, I do indeed feel that this is feels right. I love this place and yes, it is a good fit. And even though my Wall Street aspirations are now, the opportunity at Wall Street may not be now. More importantly, these guys are giving me a chance and I have grown up to believe that when a rare chance like this comes by, I should take it.

I am going to wait for more feedback to come rolling in after which I'll think it through over the weekend. Thanks everyone for their valuable comments.
 
you will not learn anything about hedge funds if you work in Singapore. it is a big middle/back office center for investment banks. Singapore is a tourist city and it will remain like that for some time. You will not be able to hire even a good programmer if you need one. better get a job in New York or Chicago.
 
Thank you marina for your opinion. These are some of the questions I was seeking answers to a year ago, a time when my search for a quant job began. Now having been in the industry for measly 3 months, here is my humble opinion about the scene of hedge funds in Asia and where I stand.

1. Hedge funds in New York are certainly superior. But I don't get your comment on they being middle/back office centers for IB. Based on what I have seen, the banks are the brokers / dealers and the hedge funds employ them for buying stocks. They, the hedge funds, are still in command on how they bet against the market. This setting where hedge funds are on the buy side and get to CHOOSE which banks they want to deal with seems to hold true here in Asia. Isn't that how it works? How are they a back office center for IB?

2. Yes, I also highly believe that the programmers in Asia don't compare with those in New York or Chicago. However, I have planned out my development / training as a programmer in Asia as follows. Programming is largely an academic subject. I think that my goal of reading non-stop, books like "Algorithmic Trading and DMA", "Concurrent Programming in Windows", some Stochastic dynamic programming book, and practicing on my IDE should bring me to that top-tier level of programmers. Put differently, if the circumstances were such that I can't be in New York, I can be a good programmer through the above means.
 
Thank you marina for your opinion. These are some of the questions I was seeking answers to a year ago, a time when my search for a quant job began. Now having been in the industry for measly 3 months, here is my humble opinion about the scene of hedge funds in Asia and where I stand.

1. Hedge funds in New York are certainly superior. But I don't get your comment on they being middle/back office centers for IB. Based on what I have seen, the banks are the brokers / dealers and the hedge funds employ them for buying stocks. They, the hedge funds, are still in command on how they bet against the market. This setting where hedge funds are on the buy side and get to CHOOSE which banks they want to deal with seems to hold true here in Asia. Isn't that how it works? How are they a back office center for IB?
sorry for the language. I meant, most of the jobs in Singapore are middle/back office IT jobs. there are no great programmers working in these banks.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
sorry for the language. I meant, most of the jobs in Singapore are middle/back office IT jobs. there are no great programmers working in these banks.
I don't think this or your previous comment applies to the OP. He said he is interning at a HF so, this is the full operation.
 
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