IAQF’s “How I became a Quant” comes to NC State!

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We are pleased to announce this event below:

Financial Engineers Give a Personal View of their Careers in Quantitative Finance

A Series of Panel Discussions For Students Interested in a Career in Quantitative Finance

How I Became a Quant: North Carolina State University's Financial Math Program

Friday, November 14
5:00pm Registration
5:30pm Program Begins
6:30pm Reception & Networking

North Carolina State University- SAS Hall
2311 Stinson Drive- Room 2203

Panelists:

Jared Bogacki- BB&T

Jeff Rockwell High- Captrust

Albert Hopping- SAS

James Russo- Altrius Capital

Moderator- Jeff Scroggs

Registration is Complimentary!
Please Click Here to Register

Re-cap of Hedge Fund Challenge 2014

By Dendi Suhudby, May 2016 graduate

A couple of weeks ago a few students in the Financial Math program decided to attend the local Hedge Fund Challenge held nearby at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham. Once we heard about this event from local alumni and current students, we immediately became interested. I researched the event to learn that it was a challenge to pitch an investment strategy for a new startup hedge fund. This really sparked my interest, because hedge fund structures allows us to find strategies in broad range of asset classes compared to, for instance, finding investment strategies for mutual funds or traditional investment vehicles.

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I attended the event with our Program Director, Dr. Scroggs and current student, Bingxi Du (both pictured above). The other participating teams were from Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, Eastern Carolina University, University of Richmond, and Elon University. There were 5 scheduled speakers to gave lectures about 5 main points of an investment strategy buildup:

1. Idea generation

2. Valuation

3. Macroeconomic Analysis

4. Risk Management

5. Trade Structuring

Here are the summaries of the speakers lecture.

1. Idea generation

Idea generation is all about the brainstorming and finding inefficiencies in several asset classes for an opportunity to take an advantage for convergence of mis-pricing. For an example, in an idea generation there may be due diligence from a researcher, portfolio manager and the investor relations on the company’s on going corporate strategies. There might be more indirect idea generation by looking at data from Bloomberg and making a quantitative analysis pattern on data.

2. Valuation

The part of the valuation is where you pull up a spreadsheet and try to predict the outcome of the investment strategy in todays time. In finance lingo, it is the process to project future cash-flows and discount back to todays present value. The highest valuation of the investment opportunities are then chosen.

3. Macroeconomic Analysis

Macroeconomic analysis is done to find the possible directions of the environment say for example of interest rates, or business policies that are favorable for specific industries.

4. Risk Management

The portfolio manager and the buy side researcher then finds possible deviations of outcomes through risk analysis. For example using scenario analysis, they would scenario the investment strategy if there is a deviation of parameters within their models that change the outcome of investments. Within this process, the portfolio managers also find ways to hedge the investment if something goes in an adverse way or how to completely liquidate the investment if it is on loss.

5. Trade Structuring

After doing all those above, then portfolio managers make the decision to structure their trade either 1) buying the underlying asset or 2) enter a derivative contract. For example, if a portfolio manager has the view that the interest rates would increase he/she might want to short bonds or has the possibility to enter in interest rate future contracts in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or even enter an OTC Credit Default Swap. Even these three investment strategy are betting on an increase in interest rate; there are several things that needs to be decided such as liquidity of each asset (futures liquidity > CDS liquidity > bond liquidity) where the future asset class might be more favorable than shorting the bond.

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The main conclusion of the kickoff event and the hedge fund lectures are that to conduct a trade takes a lot of effort, brainstorming, quantitative analysis, and due diligence, differs far from the public opinion that a hedge fund bets on reckless investments. Hedge funds also are much more flexible than other fund structures because of its unregulated nature, and it can also invest in exotic investment structures that mutual funds cannot invest in.- Dendi Suhudby.

Financial Math Job Shadowing Program- first event!

"In efforts to add more career development programs for Master of Financial Math (MFM) students, I developed a job shadowing program for selected students to assist with their career planning and goals.  Job shadowing experiences allow students to learn more about a particular career field of work and observe first-hand how professionals spend their day. Through informational interviewing, students are able to ask specific questions about career paths and jobs that they may (or may not) picture themselves working in the future. The job shadowing experiences also provides students the opportunity to network and develop important connections."- Leslie Bowman, Director of Career Services

Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU)- First Financial Math Job Shadowing Employer

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(Left to Right- Xiaohong Chen, Jing Lan, Changyi He, Lei Mao - all May 2015 Graduate) In the Lobby at Local Government Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, North Carolina

In continuation of efforts to give students greater exposure to the real world, a visit to Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) was arranged by the Director of Career Services, Mrs. Bowman, with the help of Mr. Sander Casino, Vice President of Finance at LGFCU and Board Member of the Financial Mathematics program at NC State.

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Entering Local Government Federal Credit Union- Lobby

Four students  plus two Financial Math interns including myself (Priya), were eager to learn more about the banking industry; specifically, how credit union works. On our visit to LGFCU, we got the opportunity to have round table discussions with the Vice President of Investment and Vice President of Risk Management, along with Mr. Casino.

Mrs. Renee White, Vice President of Investments, started the presentation with an elaborate discussion on the credit unions’ investments. Her dedication to her job was evident and she inspired intelligent questions from the students. Answering each of the questions, she also gave an insight into what the future of the bond markets looked like.

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Mrs. Renee White's presenting the credit union's investments.

This was followed by a presentation on risk management by Mr. Gary Schuette, Vice President of Risk Management and Strategy. His passion for implementing the most optimum risk management techniques kindled an urge amongst the students to know more. Mr. Schuette graciously submitted to the student’s requests and explained his work and the field of risk management in further details.

Mr. Casino was present through the meeting to answer any further queries from the group. It was through his encouragement that the visit was made possible and he made sure that it was a success. Among the various topics he discussed, was the difference between commercial banking and credit unions. The spirit of community that credit unions inspire and the resulting model of sustainable banking through community involvement gave an insight into how fulfilling working at LGFCU must be.

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Mr. Gary Schuette's presentation on risk management. Mr. Sander Casino, MFM Board Member on the right.

As the meeting came to an end, we could not help but wish for further information and time with these seasoned professionals, who despite their busy schedules had been kind to allot time for the job shadowing visit. Thus, representing the very spirit in which LGFCU works.

In conclusion, the visit to LGFCU was insightful and helped all of us with our career plans. It was a valuable in-person learning experience. A few students in the group who envision working at LGFCU or a similar environment plan to keep in touch with Mr. Schuette, Mrs. White and Mr. Casino.

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Great visit with Local Government Federal Credit Union- thank you!

We are grateful to Mrs. Bowman, Director of Career Services,  Dr. Scroggs, Director of the Financial Math program and Mr. Casino and LGFCU for providing us this opportunity.

Written by- Priya Padher, May 2015 Graduate, Financial Math Intern

 

Learn about the FRM Certification- Financial Risk Manager

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“There are several certifications in financial services such as CFA (Certified Financial Analyst), FRM (Financial Risk Manager) and ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Each of these certifications may become our advantage when pursuing jobs and will definitely help us to learn a field of knowledge systematically. Among certifications above, people outside of the field may rarely hear about FRM, and seldom do they know that it covers a lot of knowledge in common with the financial math program. So today we will briefly introduce FRM to you.”- Yi Chao, May 2015 Graduate, Financial Math Intern

Overview

With seismic changes continuing to occur in the financial services industry worldwide, professionals who manage risk, money and investments are recognizing the need to objectively demonstrate a globally standardized level of up-to-date industry knowledge.

Requiring the successful completion of a rigorous two-part, practice-oriented examination, the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation provides a bedrock foundation in a profession and industry that is rapidly evolving. Since the FRM Program's inception in 1997, Certified FRMs have achieved positions such as Chief Risk Officer, Senior Risk Analyst, Head of Operational Risk, and Director of Investment Risk Management, to name a few.

The global FRM community is growing dramatically, with Certified FRMs represented at nearly every major banking institution, government regulator, consulting firm and financial services institution around the world.

Career Benefits

The FRM certification, as the globally recognized professional designation for financial risk managers, clearly differentiates you from your peers, providing you with a competitive advantage with colleagues, clients and prospective employers. Whether you manage risk, money, or investments, achieving the FRM certification is a career enhancer.

1. STAND OUT TO EMPLOYERS

Employers around the world realize that the FRM Program prepares candidates with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the dynamic financial services industry. The FRM designation is by far the best known and most respected designation for financial risk, with all of the top 25 global banks having a significant presence of Certified FRMs.

2. DEVELOP YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE

Mastering the concepts underlying risk management in today's dynamic market environment will give you a holistic view of risk management. By preparing for the FRM Exam, you will gain state-of-the-art knowledge that is useful on the job every day, because the Exam is designed and updated twice a year by some of the world's leading risk professionals to reflect current marketplace issues. 90% of those who sat for the May 2013 FRM Exam would recommend that their colleagues also sit for the FRM Exam.

3. JOIN AN ELITE GROUP

The FRM certification provides you with a lifelong platform to network with some of the world's most prominent financial risk management professionals, expanding your professional opportunities within the world of finance. More than 27,000 individuals from 110 countries and territories across the globe have passed the FRM Exam, so you will become part of an elite group.

4. DEMONSTRATE YOUR LEADERSHIP

Mastering the content of the FRM Exam and completing the many hours of self-study represents a significant commitment to the risk management profession, positioning you as a leader in the field and signifying your commitment to professional excellence. 

5. CONFIRM YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

Real-world experience is an essential component of attaining FRM certification. No other financial risk designation requires candidates to demonstrate related professional experience -- so becoming a Certified FRM means considerably more than passing an exam.

6. ENHANCE YOUR REPUTATION

All Certified FRMs are expected to adhere to principles that promote the highest levels of ethical conduct and disclosure beyond following the letter of applicable rules and regulations. Employers know that Certified FRMs will help safeguard their firms' reputations.

Career Opportunities

The FRM designation creates opportunities for a diverse set of candidates to accelerate their careers, no matter what their backgrounds.

PROFESSIONALS

Professionals who manage risk, money, or investments and want to broaden their knowledge of the different types of financial risk enter the FRM Program in order to enhance their current skill set. Those who are earlier in their careers benefit from the breadth of the curriculum, which exposes candidates to the major strategic aspects of risk management, while more established practitioners often choose to become FRM certified in order to ensure that they are apprised of the latest trends in risk management, or they want to challenge themselves by testing their knowledge against an elite pool of risk managers.

CAREER CHANGERS

Career changers, such as those previously working in non-risk roles, become candidates for the FRM designation in order to broaden their opportunities by gaining specialized, practical knowledge in an area of financial services that is continuing to grow rapidly across the globe.

STUDENTS

Students with an interest in finance may elect to sit for the FRM Exam during or immediately after completing their studies as a complement to their coursework. Students realize that achieving the FRM designation demonstrates to future employers that they are able to master complex real-world challenges, since the FRM Exam is practitioner-driven. It also proves their commitment to pursuing a career in managing risk, money or investments.

Learn more from www.garp.org 
Source: http://www.garp.org/frm/frm-program.aspx