Saturday 25th March
What an incredibly long but incredible day! After a long flight watching two great films (Magical Beasts & Where To Find Them, as well as… War Dogs!), we finally landed and made our way to the hotel. After settling into a hotel which I believe has an incredible location (right at the heart of New York!) we had a great dinner at a very cosy venue, where I got to spend more time with students from other programmes which was fantastic, and of course the unlimited wine. The night was young, so we ventured into the nightlife of New York which I must say… is a lot livelier than London! Places close a lot later and everyone seemed to want to talk to us (we probably gave off a foreign vibe!)
Sunday 26th March
Today was being a tourist day. Central Park, Madison Square Garden, Flatiron building, Central Park, and of course, Trump Tower… also known as a building with lots of police/road blocks/peaceful protesters! We also found an amazing rooftop bar (which had heaters as it was about 0 degrees outside!), and took great pictures from on top of the Empire State Building (you can see them @shayanworld on Instagram, #ShamelessSelfPromotion, alternatively you can just look right ->).
Monday 27th March
We finally began our first algorithm, to be honest, it was an incredibly exciting moment to know that we actually have a code that will do what we want it to do! (After spending most of the last 2 terms doing MATLAB this is honestly a great feeling, trust me!) We accidently chose to do an algorithm that was tougher than we expected, but the wise words of our professor to “figure the complexity out before tomorrow” made sure we had a fun evening spent coding.
Got some bubble tea from Korea Town (it’s AMAZING!). Oh wait… how can I forget? We also visited the Fed. (Did NOT see Janet Yellen, she didn’t want to come and have bubble tea with us… what a shame L). Got to see the largest gold vault in the world (inspired us to work harder!), we also went to the NYSE which was amazing. There we saw the closing bell, an asset management firm doing some publicity by waving at us who they’ve never met on the balcony as well as live CNBC news being broadcasted.
After returning to the hotel it was time… for Korea Town again! IT’S INCREDIBLE!! Cheap food, healthy (healthier than other stuff you find on the streets), and most importantly, incredibly TASTY! It’s a cosy little place full of Korean food shops, DEFINITELY go check it out, oh and it’s near our hotel, so you have NO EXCUSE!
Tuesday 28th March
Wow… so today… we met the CIO of Quantopian, we got told that we are to work in our groups on our own algorithm with a presentation on Friday and the winner gets…. Tickets to QuantCon that are worth apparently over £600 per person! So, I should actually be studying right now to make this the best algorithm the worlds ever seen and not typing this blog. But you reading this are just too important to me for me to do that (but wish me luck!) The whole experience of being in an algorithmic trading boot camp I think is starting to hit people now with the competition and actually being able to understand what the codes we look at actually do.
We also went to IEX on top of a BEAUTIFUL sky scraper which is the ‘Four World Trade Center’. The view was amazing! We also met John Schwall (one of the figures in the book “Flash Boys”) and some people had brought the book to get signed and of course took selfies with him. They were super friendly to us.
Wednesday 29th March
Tonight after our lecture which we spent working on our funds we had an alumni reception where we met a previous Imperial student who now works for Goldman Sachs in New York on systematic portfolio management. His experience working as a quant was very helpful for us and for those applying to these positions as he gave us some good advice for prepping for interviews. We then had drinks with the whole class again which was nice.
Thursday 30th March
Today was the Goldman day. After having our lecture about machine learning, which is a massively growing field, we made our way to Goldman Sachs’ headquarters in New York (one of my favourite pictures was taken here) and met with some people working on Fintech and the investment management division. We got to hear their market outlook (which is once again useful for interviews). We then made our way back to the hotel where we got into our groups to continue working on our algorithms and presentations as tomorrow is the big day where we pitch to our investors! (our classmates). So tonight will be busy busy.
Friday 31st March
The sad day arrives… the final lecture! After being up till 2:30am working on our algorithm, the presentations were very good, a lot of interesting strategies such as using factor models combined with twitter sentiment (the winning strategy) and many more! The winning team had one of the most professional looking presentations I’ve ever seen and was quite funny (but good).
We then went to the financial crisis tour on Wall Street which was superb, learning about how the name New York came about (won’t spoil the surprise for you, go on the trip! Or just google… but no don’t do that, come to NY!). We got the chance to play a trading game at the Deutsche Bank building where we ran around like crazy in front of several people (I think at one point security told us to calm down… never tell a trader to calm down!). We then made our way back to Stevens Institute of Technology (which is where are lectures are) and had a farewell dinner and got to network with some of the students which was a great experience learning how academia differs in the U.S. Now we all plan to go on our final night out in New York, so I better go rest a bit before heading out, I did just have only 5 hours sleep!
Shayan is studying MSc Finance.