Saturday, January 26, 2008

london, the markets, and the second year MBA

Well, life in London is as exciting as ever. The big story in the markets is obviously the alleged $7 bn fraud at Societe Generale, though I am very sceptical about their version of the events. At least, the story solves one mystery I heard about at the end of my hedge fund internship. We, the analysts, would look at investment ideas, while the traders would manage the open positions and talk to sell-side traders to see what's going on in the market. I remember we had running gag for a while, as some traders in the market were telling our head trader that there was a mysterious "DAX man" in the market, that somone was buying up billions of dollars worth of DAX futures, and everybody was wondering who this crazy guy could be, buying billions of DAX futures while the market was so volatile and headed for a strong correction. We would speculate if it could be one of the Middle Eastern investment funds, or if it was someone who knew something. Or we would dismiss the story and think the story about the mysterious DAX man was a big joke. Well, it seems it wasn't a joke. It might be a mere coincidence and it might be that this was an unrelated event, but I somehow feel this new "rogue trader" might just be him.

And if that wasn't exciting enough, summer recruiting is starting off next week and the first years are freaking out. It is very stressful, especially with markets as they are, banks seem to have less slots for the summer and some people are disappointed not to have many interviews lined up. I have done some mock interviews over the last week and am happy that some people are really well prepared, but I still feel that some people are overconfident and should prepare harder, this year it won't be easy to land a, investment banking internship. So please prepare as hard as you can!! You have been warned :-).

In the world of academic finance, I am enjoying my course in Fixed Income Securities immensely. The professor, Suleyman Basak, has set himself a very high standard of making sure we know more "than the average smart guy on Wall Street who has read Fabozzi". In fact, two alumni from my school who work as prop traders now both told me his course was the best course ever preparing them for landing jobs at the most desired trading desks, so I am hoping to get a lot out of the course. I enjoyed the first two lectures so much that I dropped an advanced financial analysis course that I had signed up for for next term, and have signed up for a Financial Engineering course with professor Basak instead.

As a distraction from the world of finance and investment, I am working on a great paid second year consulting project for a tourism venture in the Scottish highlands, which we are very excited about. In a few weeks we will go up to the highlands for a week to check out everything on-site. From hedge fund internships to consulting projects in the Scottish highlands, Diwali parties and making friends from all over the world, I cannot believe how varied my MBA experience has been so far. Luckily it is still not over :-). Next week I'm setting off for a short holiday in South East Asia with three friends, followed by a trip to the Scottish highlands and then spring break! Life is good.

8 comments:

evilian said...

Stumbled on your blog. It was a nice surprise to hear of someone having moved from consulting to sales and trading and an MBA. I have been contemplating quite the opposite. From an MBA to a trading role to consulting. The only question thing really bothers me is the steep pay cut I might have to take!

evilian said...

As an aside, I am a "junior" trader and I work 13 hour days regularly.

Anonymous said...

What an incredible account of your time at LBS. I've just spent my whole morning reading this (sad I know!) and you are a credit to your school. I'm currently torn between attending LBS and Chicago for my MBA and you are making returning to London for a couple of years a very exciting prospect. Cheers

Anonymous said...

Hi Angel Angie,

I keenly follow your blog. It gives a perspective to fellow applicants like me. I am naive in this MBA process. I dont want to remain naive. After some introspection, I realise that I want to work with numbers. My heart is with Maths. I am an engineer by profession. I am contemplating Finance. Finace is very broad to name I think. To be more specific, Derivatives in Investment Banking. I will be glad if you can provide pointers on it.

Thanks,

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie, I am a LON alumna of McK, Associate Class 2002 - in banking before and after McK. Let me know if you need practical contacts (recruiters, headhunters etc.) for McK people keen on banking - far time someone publishes the manual. Like your blog. BR.

angie said...

Hi BR, sure that would be great! I'll try to find you in the alumni directory based on what you said in the comment, hope it works!

Anonymous said...

Hi im a student in imperial college jus about to start my sophomore year and my major is biochemistry. i dont have finance classes but im very interested in finance and have read some fundamental textbooks in corporate finance. i want to apply internships in ibank in IBD such as M&A, and in sales & trading and also in hedge fund. However with hedge fund since biochem isnt heavily quantitative in terms of math level needed, i certainly cant derive black schole equation and all that. what positions should i look for in hedge funds?? does everyone work in hedge fund know very advanced math ?? please gimme some advices, thanks....

Anonymous said...

hey... it is very rare to get into hedge funds out of undergrad, particularly in London and the route via investment banks is always much easier. If you're in undergrad really the best way is to get into an internship in M&A for one summer, and on graduation i would actually recommend much more asset management, like equity research at Fidelity/UBS/Capital Group etc, then build up your track record and think about hedge funds much later. Jobs you can get in hedge funds will get much more interesting once you have 4y or so of experience. The good thing is working on the sell-side first you build up a lot of contacts and meet a lot of people, and then you will find much more interesting jobs than if you try to get into some small unknown fund now.

angie.