Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reflections on the Kent State University Program in Financial Engineering: Investing in Your Career

I had the pleasure today of talking with graduate students from the Kent State University master's of science program in financial engineering. They were interviewing for internship positions at trading firms; those internships can eventually lead to full time positions with proprietary trading firms, hedge funds, and investment banks.

I can't begin to tell you how impressed I was with the students. They blend analytical abilities, strong teamwork skills, and a sound work ethic. Most of all, they are learning tomorrow's skill sets today.

The Kent State program is unique in that it combines a quantitative and analytical focus with practical trading skills. The program operates a trading floor on site and provides students with experience in trading a variety of markets. Guest speakers from the financial industry visit the students and provide real-world insight and members of the board of advisers (which I am one) help the students find promising internships and jobs.

When these students graduate, they will have significant skills in statistics, programming, and financial modeling. They will be able to test trading ideas, develop trading systems, and manage the risk of individual positions and diverse portfolios. They will also have the training in economics to help them identify global risks and opportunities.

Personally, if I were a young person starting out a trading career, I would seek out this kind of training. There is a vast world of trading activity and opportunity that you never read about in the popular magazine articles and books on trading. There are cutting edge skills you can learn to help you identify and profit from these opportunities.

Invest in your education and you will see a significant return on that investment. While education in the world of finance is not cheap, a lack of education can prove particularly expensive.