Breaking Into The Finance Industry As a Non-Business Student

By Yash Kalwani– 24 June 2020

Daniel’s background as a computer science student
Daniel studies computer science student at Imperial College London, and was a quantitative analyst intern at a hedge fund in London. One of his many interests besides coding, gaming, and weight lifting is helping and teaching non-business students about the business world and its importance, which is the focus of this interview.

How did Daniel realise he wanted to work in Finance?
Daniel said since high school he has always kept up with the industry but at the time was more interested in computer science. He took micro and macroeconomics classes in high school which initially peaked his interest in the business world. He then gained valuable experience analysing the markets and learned about trading in his university’s algorithmic trading society, which is when he first considered quant trading as a career. After joining the society, Daniel kept studying and reading about economic fundamentals on his own and continued to develop useful skills like programming and statistics.

Knowledge about finance prior to working in the hedge fund?
He knew the basics about finance but personally was more interested in economics initially. He enjoys reading a lot about economic trends and specifically macroeconomics in his spare time. He said that he learned a lot more specifically about finance after he started working in the industry. From his experience with applying for quantitative roles, your technical skills are much more important than your knowledge about the finance industry. Daniel personally has a diverse set of interests which includes data science, advanced math, computer science and statistics which is one of the main reasons he finds quantitative analysis interesting as it is a combination of all these disciplines.

How does he keep up with the business world?
Daniel regularly reads and keeps up with the latest financial news, but is specifically interested in following and analysing FED movements and its impact. He also enjoys listening to podcasts about economics and business, and says that listening to podcasts is a great way to learn new things or follow the industry. In general, he says he tries to stay informed about more than just what he studies or he has done at work. Daniel’s advice to non-business students trying to break into the financial world? To keep up with the current news and all the moving parts in it. There are a lot of useful channels on YouTube and books to learn about the specifics in the financial world. What he personally found the easiest and most useful was simply downloading apps and turning on their notifications for his daily financial news. Also, stay focused and keep trying to learn new things and actively reflecting on the information you come upon because you may unexpectedly find market signals in places that you wouldn’t expect. Daniel also recommends getting involved in hackathons, and trading competitions to continue improving your skills and getting an idea of what interests you. Luckily for him, he came across his university’s algorithmic trading society in his first year of university which helped him realize what he was interested in.