A Day in Life of Baruch MFE Students

9:30am – I usually got up late.

10:00-11:30am – MFE study involves finance, math and programming. In the morning, I spent time to learn programming if there’s no urgent homework. Recently I was reading two books “Effective C++” by Scoot Meyers and “Inside the C++ Object Model” by Stanley Lippman. The second book is worth reading. Author illustrates C++ features from C++ compiler implementation.

11:30am – Our director helped us set up a Bloomberg onsite training at 12:30pm. Took train to Bloomberg Tower building at 731 Lexington Ave. BTW, other than training, the more often activities are campus presentation. Every week a few financial industry practioners are invited to campus. They introduce their own research topics or quant career. It’s pretty good chance for students to network with senior quants in Wall Street.

12:30pm – Our classmates were gathering at the hallway of Bloomberg building when I arrived there. We’re allowed to enter building after waiting for a while.

1:00- 3:00pm – The training took 2 hours. In the first hour, the instructor made a general introduction, such as how to find economic statistics and price, how to find help document. He demonstrated really fast. I can’t keep with his space. I feel comfortable in the next hour when another instructor focused on details. We learned how to export data from Bloomberg terminal to Excel or directly retrieve data from Bloomberg add-ins in Excel. Bloomberg terminal is definitely powerful. It provides option pricing of different models and hedging strategy.

3:00-4:30pm – Went back to Baruch campus. Some classmates like study at Newman Library where it is more quiet. I prefer to stay in QuantLab, a room exclusively designed for the MFE students. My reason is QuantLab has a mini library containing hundreds of quantitative finance books. It’s convenient to find the book I want to read. In additions, recently three Bloomberg terminals were installed on QuantLab for the MFE students to use. Today’s training will help us take advantage of these expensive terminals.

4:30 – 5:45pm – Discussed Numerical Methods for Finance I (MTH 9821) homework with my teamates. All homework are assigned into groups. Each group consists of 3-4 students with different backgrounds. Homework 11 was to price European/American options using finite different methods to solve PDE. We requires to implement different solvers including forward Euler, backward Euler with Cholesky, backward Euler with SOR, Crank-Nicolson with SOR and Crank-Nicolson with projected SOR, then apply them to different finite schemes to compute option values, greeks, approximate errors. We not only considered algorithm implementation itself but also considered how to efficiently output data to .csv file and into specified spreadsheet. Programming homework is mainly written by C++ and part of homework employs VBA. Homework always killed a lot of my time.

5:45pm – Dinner.

6 – 9:30pm – Classes are offered in the evening beginning at 6pm. Tonight class was Numerical Methods for Finance I. Firstly we took one hour to do a quiz to verify our homework program. Then, professor taught us how to price Barrier, double Barrier, Bermuda options using finite difference methods. Professor always teaches very quickly. I need to keep focused. Usually professor gives weekly assignment in class or post on website after class. Fortunately, our life will be easy this week. We don’t have assignment because of Thanksgiving.

10:30pm – Got home from campus. I read notes and reference books to figure out stuff that I couldn’t understand in class, then started homework. Since there’s no homework, I decided to focus on Capstone project tutored by the C++ class’ professor who is an experienced practitioner. It’s a good chance to learn more practical stuff. Our project just started and will analyze CDS market using PCA. Yesterday I took the whole night to setup development environment, Linux, Eclipse, Python, R, MySQL. Tonight I read carefully two 30-pages papers from the professor. CDS market looks complicated.

2:00am – Went to bed.

10.30 -11.30 AM – Review Notes from yesterday’s lecture

11.30 AM -12.30 PM – Work on homework

12.30 -1pm – Lunch + WSJ

1-4pm – Start working on Homework again

4-4.30pm Work on interview question

4.30-5.15pm Home to College

5.15-6pm Hang out in Quant Lab (study room for MFE students) discussing homework, playing with bloomberg terminals.

6-8.30pm – Class

8.30-9.20pm – College to Home

10 -12am – By 10, I am usually done with my dinner. Then if homework due tomorrow is pending then I work on it otherwise I read one of the books listed on Master Reading List for MFE students on Quantnet.

12-12.30am – Talk to family and friends in home country

12.30-1.30am Watch markets in home country. I usually have long term positions there.

1.30-3am – I am currently working on a project for a trading company. I usually spend 1.30 hrs on it.

3-10.30am Sleeping. Do not disturb

2:00 pm – Wake up, bright eyed and busy tailed. Check emails and text messages from my iphone in bed. Check for new course materials/discussions on Forum, read Drudge Report and WSJ headlines, check in with teammates, quickly check the market.

2:30 pm – Find out our assignment, due tonight at 6pm, is not yet complete and our assignment, due yesterday, is not yet submitted. Codes required for tonights quiz are not yet working.

2:32 pm – Panic.

2:35 pm – Crack open my laptop and frantically start peering over thousands of lines of code.

2:36 pm – Simultaneously open Hulls Futures, Options and Other Derivatives, completing last nights homework via IM

2:36 pm – Curse C++, wish I had written more intelligent code and had commented more.

3:30 pm – Panic.

3:55 pm – Bug is located! Note to self: always put braces around if statements!!

4:00 pm – Hop in the shower and get ready for class.

5:30 pm – Walking to school for 6pm class. Talk to my dad on the way to let him know how yesterdays interview went.

8:30 pm – Meet up with the Baruch trading team to prepare for the RITC competition in February

10:00 pm – Continue working on homework in the Quant Lab.

1:00 am – Cordially escorted outside of the building by Campus Security.

1:15 am – The McDonalds on 28th and Park has been renovated. Free wifi, tons of outlets, 24 hours and food – score! 4 of us relocate there and continue working

3:30 am – The crowd is thinning out. Start heading home. The city is always peaceful this time of night.

4:00 am – Drop by the bank, post office and the 24 hour Duane Reade. Crack open the laptop and continue coding while waiting for my prescriptions. No wifi here but an outlet works.

6:00 am – Email team mates my work – they will continue on where I’ve left off. Instant message some friends who have just popped up online.

6:30 am – The sun is starting to peek through the curtains. Take 2000UI Vitamin D. Time to go to sleep.