Sunday, 25 May 2008

Hello, again...

Haven't written any blogs for more than half a year...anyway, it's been an exciting journey thus far. Just a quick update, I moved back to Asia and I'm now in middle office, as a risk manager. Though I still very much would like to be in the front office (quant research or structuring), my current job offers interesting prospects and challenges too.

I have also just signed up for the FRM and the exam is in November.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Quant news

See this for current quant market condition...

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Bank runs

Northern Rock, Alliance & Leicester, Bradford & Bingley...
See this article.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Hiring freeze

A couple of my friends had their offers rescinded. It sucks. See here for more news.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Nice gesture

It was really nice of my manager, or rather ex-manager (who wanted to bring me over to NY), to drop me an email saying I could use her as a reference and also let prospective employers know that I would actually have received a formal offer if not for the US immigration issues.

Suddenly I find myself having so much time I don't really know how to make good use of it. Other than recuperating from the intensive 10 weeks, haha, I've practically got nothing much to do, in terms of stimulating my brain cells. But it's also nice to be idling around for a while. I'll be going home soon!

Maybe I'll take some time off to visit friends in Asia too. Not having any source of income can be a problem though.

Oh yeah, I might have to change the title of this blog now that I will no longer be in the "quant" profession. A short-lived blog I'll have to say.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Disappointed, yet relieved

Apparently I'm supposed to have an offer from the team in NY, however, due to US immigration issues I will not be able to join the team until Oct 2008. And the fact that the team needs someone asap means I have not got an offer. Yes you can imagine that I am very disappointed given the fact that I've worked hard and have got very good reviews, but at the same time I'm relieved that I've finally been informed of a final decision. Could I just blame it on luck?

Anyway, this means I'm very much more inclined to head back home, for a fresh start in getting my career plans sorted. I've never worked in my home country, and I'm clueless as to what kind of quantitative roles there are. I have an interview at home lined up so we'll see how that goes.

Like a friend said, it could be a blessing in disguise, saving me from all the long-working hours and sleep deprivation. I'm not bothered too much really, for once I'm actually looking forward to going home. Another friend told me it'd be a waste to give up on my dreams and walk away, but I've had a taste of what it's like and I enjoyed every bit of the experience. Being a quant doesn't mean working for an IB or a large hedge fund or asset manager only, anyone could ramp up some job descriptions and label it as quant analyst/developer.

I'm more or less set on going home in 2 weeks, and I'll update on what prospects there are.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Weeks 9 & 10

As expected, the % of offers this year isn't as high. I suppose the firm thinks that the credit meltdown isn't just temporary. Anyway, I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I have done pretty well. Some of the guys have been given a full-time offer, and for some, it's back to job search again.

I've got very good reviews from all the desks, BUT have not been given a final hiring decision yet (HR will get back to me next week). That's indeed frustrating and puzzling. Some of the senior managers told me they'll take me in if they could increase headcount. Nice to know that, but doesn't count for much if I don't have an official offer.
Now I'm not sure what to do, either stay in London or go back to Asia. I know my parents want me home, they keep reassuring me I'll find a "decent" job.

Yep, bottom line...I'm left in a limbo. It's been an excellent 10 weeks though. Good luck to quant-wannabes out there.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Fast learner

I find myself to be able to pick things up relatively fast. I guess it's more of being passionate and putting in the effort. A MD asked us to think through if this is where we want to be, where stress levels are high and getting the sack can be purely random. Yes he said fired for no good reason - just because "you're at the wrong place at the wrong time".

Anyway, I think I've found what I really want to do. Research. It's ideal to be "outside" the scene looking in, where you can have a more macro picture of how pieces come together, to independently analyse and critique. I would like a role which involves more analysis work and devising strategies, rather than being a pure quant who only build models and codes them for other users. But I guess as a start, it would be more model-building/coding than writing research pieces.

Everyone is saying the job market for quants and credit-related businesses are suffering, and from what I heard, at least it seems true in the firm. Heard from a fellow intern that credit teams in the markets group are not hiring, so if you're an intern there, just blame it on your luck. As for quants...I'll know soon. If I don't have an offer, I'll probably go back to Asia. Still deciding on that one.

Recently, I've been so immersed in my work that I "forget" to eat. I find myself to be enjoying the challenge, to think hard about a problem. It's different from school when you could somehow get the correct answer. So I've been staying in the office for 14 hours. I may be quick in picking up things that have been done and proven, but perhaps lack the creative juices in solving novel problems.

And oh yeah, WM will be here tomorrow and will be staying for 2 weeks!

Friday, 17 August 2007

Week 8

Incredible week. If you're been following the markets you will know why. Central banks pumped liquidity into the markets to help prevent a downward spiral, but it's anybody's guess if that was the right move. Markets recovered temporarily but as expected it slumped a couple of days later. And a surprise move by the Fed to cut rates led to a rally and a brief breather for the weekend, but next week could see another dramatic unfolding of events.

2 weeks left. With the volatile markets, I guess noone would be willing to add headcount now. We're all rather disheartened by the fact that we'll very likely end the summer jobless. Spoken to quite a few senior managers this week, and everyone asked me to apply to other firms, any firms. They can't guarantee any openings. Not a bad time to go back to school, but where's the money?

I'm working in structured finance now, yeah, the best time to be in this place. Still trying to come to grips with the many variations of SF - ABS, MBS, CMBS, RMBS, CDO, CLO, CBO, CMO, ABCDS, CDO CDS, CDO^2, CPPI, CPDO, ...

Hired a tuxedo which cost me a bomb, even after a 25% student discount. Almost wanted to buy a full set but I don't see myself wearing it again anytime soon.

Feeling rather unsettled now, what will be the outcome come end Aug?

My best friend will be coming over next week, but I'll probably be busy :(