Transition to prop trader

BlackRock RJRc85
Mar 13 19 Comments

Hi,

I’m currently working in a front office role in an asset manager as an analytics analyst with the background in math (top 40 private school but lame gpa).

I saw friends who work in tier 1 trading firms do earns like 3-5 times more than I do. And I’m quite fascinated by their interaction w/ the market and pricing strategies. As I’m still in early stage of the career, I’m thinking to make a change.

Here are the plans that I thought:
1) CVN operational research/applied math (master) at Columbia and then apply through headhunters
2) full time master in math at top 10 institutes and then apply through new grad program.
3) PhD program in top 20 institutes and then apply through new grad program.

I look at JS employees’ LinkedIn and feel like most ppl graduate from Bachelor degree as a prop trader. I wonder if there is still hope for me to get into a prop trading firm as a prop trader from my current stage.

Thank you

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TOP 19 Comments
  • Expedia cocomo
    Went through a few tier 1 prop shop interviews out of college, and have a few friends who joined. I’d advise you to really think carefully about this. The number of traders recruited into firms you’d want to join are way fewer than you think. And the guys that do get recruited are insanely mathematically quick and intuitive. They live, breathe, and eat Bayesian stats on a deep and fundamental level. And, tbh, a lot of them (not all) are arrogant dicks because of their success.
    Mar 13 8
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

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      tsukinomore
      Quick, yes. Deep? Absolutely not. Most prop traders are nowhere near research level in stats or probability.
      Mar 13
    • BlackRock RJRc85
      OP
      When I talk to ppl who work in prop trading firms in Singapore and Hong Kong, they are like they don’t hire many. I feel like they created an elite group that are surrounded by hard walls for us to enter
      Mar 14
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

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      tsukinomore
      There is an equally selective group at top tech firms due to the difficulty of LC hard problems for most people. It doesn't mean SWEs at FNG are all PhDs in algorithms - in fact, far from it. They have just spent more time preparing for material relevant to interviews.
      Mar 14
    • BlackRock RJRc85
      OP
      But indeed that prop trading ppl can earn 1m for bonus while people like researchers cannot
      Mar 14
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

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      tsukinomore
      Head of a quant team at some firms like D.E. Shaw can probably break 7 figures. But tech CEOs can become billionaires. So why look at extreme outliers when the barrier is not about the industry, but what you can personally achieve in it?
      Mar 14
    • BlackRock RJRc85
      OP
      That’s very much true! Thank you
      Mar 14
    • Credit Karma WRra32
      tsukino I’ll disagree here. SWE interviews at Google are much much easier than quant trading interviews at Jane Street, Citadel, DE Shaw, etc.

      Agree on the point there is incredible potential in tech. But I wouldn’t put LC hards as some impressive barrier, the traders have to know all those LC questions + lots of hard math / stats. The resume screen is also a lot tougher at HFTs than at Google.
      Mar 14
    • Google
      tsukino

      Google

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      tsukinomore
      Having interviewed for all of these roles and worked at a few, I respectfully beg to differ.

      It depends on what you studied. Try getting a statstics major to pass LC hard. Yet they'll have better luck interviewing for quant roles.

      Discretionary/quant traders do not need LC hard. Maybe easy in rare cases. And the math & stats is not "hard" either. Well, maybe it seems advanced for SWEs who took 3 math courses in college.

      I agree on HFT though. That's a whole different game from non-algo trading.
      Mar 14
  • Google
    tsukino

    Google

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    tsukinomore
    Don't do a full-time PhD for the sake of prop trading. Even 5 years of casual poker will prepare you much better. Academic CS has zero relevance to actual trading.
    Mar 13 0
  • Pure Storage lololol012
    so ur friends... early stage in their career too... making 420-600k as analyst... i'm quite sure this is not possible lol
    Mar 14 3
    • Jane Street Capital sybS38
      I don't see how long out of school OP is but that seems fairly reasonable for, say, 3-5 yoe at a top prop shop. Even a bit earlier than that for a top performer.
      Mar 14
    • BlackRock RJRc85
      OP
      @sybS38 do you have any recommendations for my next step?
      Mar 14
    • Jane Street Capital sybS38
      I'm on the dev side, so not really. I don't know what we look for when hiring traders.
      Mar 14
  • Credit Karma WRra32
    If going to graduate school, do it in CS. You’ll be more attractive to prop trading firms and tech companies.
    Mar 13 2
    • BlackRock RJRc85
      OP
      Will CS put me into a developer track than trader track?
      Mar 13
    • Credit Karma WRra32
      It will put you on both tracks.

      Computer science is wildly over represented among traders. It’s also incredibly complementary to your undergrad education (a masters in math would be duplicative and wasteful).
      Mar 14
  • Google / Eng 🥜butter
    What's your current annual TC?
    Mar 13 1
    • BlackRock RJRc85
      OP
      Just 140K (~20K bonus )
      Mar 13

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