Physics to financial software

 Physics graduate Owen McBrearty shares what he does in a professional data analytics organisation, how he got there and what it’s like at AquaQ Analytics.

Owen AquaQ cropped AquaQ Analytics will be at day 2 of the Careers Fair on Wed 11th October. Owen will be also joining me at my Physics drop-in on Thursday 12 October, 12 – 1.30pm outside the Magnet Cafe, JCMB.         Drop by for an informal chat!

I work for AquaQ Analytics as a Graduate Financial Software Developer. AquaQ is a new company which offers support and software development for various clients, like hedge funds and investment banks, by providing them with tailor-made programs and code which suit their needs. This is where I, and the other developers like me come in.

The client tells us that they need to do a certain task – perform analysis on data, gather and store information, etc – and it’s up to us to write the code that fits their brief. 9 times out of 10, the best code for the job is written in kdb+, which the employees of AquaQ excel in. And it’s not just the financial sector where kdb+ excels. With the recent announcement that NASA have begun using kdb+ for their projects, you can be certain that the need for kdb+ developers is on the rise.

How did I get here?

I came from an applied physics background – in fact, I’ve just completed a 4-year BSc in National University of Ireland Galway. Through this course I gained many skills that I knew would be useful in a professional setting, but the decision remained as to what to do once I graduated. So, as I came to the end of my degree, I took a step back and asked myself, “What aspects of this course did I like, and what aspects do I want to keep using?” To me, the answer was clearly the analytics aspect of the course – taking a set of data and performing analysis on it to get useful information. I began looking for work in a field that would allow me to develop new skills, while making use of the skills I already had.

Application and interview – preparation and process

After a few days searching, I decided to look for work in Northern Ireland, and quickly found a listing on nijobs.com. “STEM Graduates Required for Jobs in Financial IT sector”. After leaving my CV and cover letter on the website I was contacted by a recruiter, and after a few telephone interviews they arranged an interview for me with AquaQ. To prepare for this interview, I began reading up on the basics of financial trading. I taught myself about bonds and other fixed income types, and a bit about foreign exchange and how currencies vary with respect to one another. On the programming side of things, I revised the coding I had done in my time in university – while I wasn’t expected to know kdb+ I could still keep myself fresh on the concepts I had learned.

At the interview, I was quizzed on my final year project,my grades and my knowledge of coding and fixed income trading. The interviews were conducted in a professional, but relaxed environment, and after a two-stage interview process and a kdb+ challenge I was contacted with a job offer.

(AquaQ are currently recruiting on MyCareerHub)

Company culture and progression

A few weeks later I started as a developer, and was blown away by how welcoming and open the staff in AquaQ were. This isn’t one of those businesses where management are on some abstract floor upstairs – instead management are working in the same area as the rest of the employees and everyone is ready to help & bring you up to speed on what it means to be a member of the AquaQ team.

The training you receive is second-to-none, and any skills you’ve developed, either in an academic or extra-curricular setting, are allowed to grow so that your skillset grows while the company expands. After 5 weeks you are ready to be sent out to clients. In fact, I’ve just begun work for an investment bank in the US and hope to be sent to London in a few weeks’ time.

So, if you want a career in a professional data analytics environment, with friendly co-workers, state-of-the-art training and enviable travel options, AquaQ Analytics may just be the perfect environment for you!

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IBM Universities Business Challenge (IBM UBC)

I mentioned this at inductions and we are now taking names for teams this year. This is a business simulation challenge that our team of physicists did brilliantly in last year, winning 3rd place out of 300 UK teams (many of them from Business Schools).

Fidel Elie,  Ziyi Zhang,  Adamos Spanashis,  Brandon Christman,  Imran MarwatIBM UBC final all 5

If you want to know  more you can check out the overview , the student participant guide. and timetable

If you’d like to be part of one of the two teams we want to submit, please contact Judy Hardy or Rosie Edwards in the School asap.  They will submit names to me and I have to register them on the UBC site before 24 October.  I also need each team to nominate a team leader.  Each team can have up to five team members.  It’s a great experience to be part of and brilliant for your CV.

Here’s how team member Ziyi Zhang reflected on the Challenge:

 “Thank you for being at the competition and supporting us throughout this experience. I realized studying physics not only made us “book smart” but also taught us critical and logical thinking which can be applied beyond academics”

Get in touch with Imran and his team – they’d be happy to tell you about their experience.

Curious about Analytics & Technology?

BlackRock are running an event on Monday for STEM students. It will be on MyCareerHub but it’s short notice so I thought I’d give you a heads-up. Here’s what it’s about:

“In vast oceans of data, we seek the insights that can change outcomes. We dig deep to find the numbers behind the numbers and leverage our technology to provide solutions to our clients. Join us at our Edinburgh office to find out more about the Aladdin Client Service and Technology divisions and the opportunities available in these teams.

Discover Analytics & Technology @ BlackRock
When: Monday 2nd October 2017
Where: Edinburgh (travel expenses reimbursed)
Eligibility: You must be in your first, second, third or final year (SH/MPhys) studying a STEM degree at a Scottish University.
Register: Register and apply for your space at careers.blackrock.com/campusrecruitment

How light and sound give physicists a clearer picture of cancer – UoE alumni success

Michal Tomaszewski, who graduated as the top student on Mathematical Physics degree, is currently working on his PhD in cancer research at Cambridge and you can listen to him explain his ground breaking work in this video clip

Michal followed an interesting path. He did a business internship in the City and gained experience from various financial institutions before he changed his path to cancer research.   Having done a purely theoretical degree he is now at home in a wet lab.

It just shows:

  1. it’s good to try different things to work out where your preferences lie
  2. starting in one area doesn’t mean you have to stay there
  3. no matter what you do, you develop personally and professionally from it

From Mathematical Physics to MThree Consulting

Mthree-web  tim woolins

Tim Woolins, Mathematical Physics graduate, University of Edinburgh

I have been working in production support through the Alumni Graduate Programme by MThree Consulting for just over a year, placed on the Deutsche Bank trade floor as a primary contact for front office, specifically the European Rates & Credit desks. My day to day work involves working with traders, developers & business analysts over a wide range of topics from risk/PnL to e-trading. To say it’s a challenging role would be fair, though not for the reasons I initially expected.

I quickly found that some skills I thought would be absolutely necessary to function in such an environment redundant, and things that I already had by virtue of my studies at university were far more valuable than I realised. I can safely say that being presented with a problem, and being able to take logical steps to find a solution on my own is one that I took for granted that I developed during my time at university.

If I could offer my former self one piece of advice, it would be to start earlier.

I knew I was not going into academia any further, and knowing orbital mechanics or quantum field theory is definitely not integral to my job, the value of the degree is in the underlying skills gained during your studies. Perhaps most useful of all is the ability to quickly understand new ideas and abstract concepts. Look over a wide variety of roles, for something you have a genuine interest in, and if you apply yourself you will excel with ease.

Tim Woolins, Production Support Analyst – MThree Alumni

 

Success story: Callum & the Unipol Graduate Internship Programme

Callum Munro, a final year physics student has been successful in getting on to the six-month graduate internship programme with Unipol, the Italian insurance company in Bologna.

The programme runs twice a year, with start dates in February and September. Work is carried out in English so no prior knowledge of Italian is required.

 I asked him to give a bit of background to why he chose it  – and the application process.

Being in my final year of uni I have been looking for employment in finance. It’s something I’ve been interested in and I had an internship last summer. I found the role on MyCareerHub via the University of Edinburgh Careers Service website which is really great and gave some really clear information on what exactly the role was, where it was, a bit of background on the company, remuneration and so on.

 I sent off my CV and cover letter and they got back saying they would like to further my application and organised a telephone interview. The interview started with them asking about which part of the business I would like to work in and my experience of insurance and finance in general. 

 During the call they said that they would like to offer me the post and started talking about when I would be able to come, having an introductory week in July and whether I would be prepared to do some training. It starts properly in September but they said they will have me over for a week in July to get an idea of what I’ll be doing. Thanks again for the discussion we had at the Careers Service, it helped me out a lot.

The archived vacancy on MyCareerHub

The six-month programme consists of two three-month rotations in the corporate finance division. Interns may choose to work in any two of the following areas:

• M&A
• Debt Capital Markets
• Strategic Planning
• Investor Relations

Daily tasks will vary based on the needs of the management and department. They could include:

• Market analysis on the financials and business models of our Italian and European competitors within both the insurance and banking market;
• Conducting financial and economic valuations of potential investments, disinvestments and partnerships;
• Scouting and studying new M&A and Business Development opportunities to raise with senior management;
• Tracking the international financial media and producing daily reports;
• Monitoring and updating financial models, tables and balance sheets;
• Attending meetings with senior management and external stakeholders including investment banks;
• A personal research project tailored to the interests of the intern.

The requirements are as follows:

• Candidates must have achieved, or are on course to achieve, a minimum 2:1 in Economics, Finance, Mathematics, or a similar degree;
• Basic knowledge of finance;
• Strong analytical, organisational, communication and time management skills;
• Candidates must be self-starters, able to work well individually and as part of a team;
• Experience using Microsoft Excel and Powerpoint;
• Knowledge of financial databases (Bloomberg, Datastream, SNL) would be a benefit.

Work will be carried out in English so no prior knowledge of Italian is required.

The programme runs twice a year, with start dates in February and September.

Wanted: mathematical and programming expertise with problem solving ability

Standard Life Investments (SLI) are keen to highlight to physicists a vacancy they have for a Multi Asset Risk Analyst to provide mathematical and programming expertise with problem solving ability to support the management of portfolios, enhance existing tools/technology/infrastructure and assist in new research initiatives.

They have said that the position is likely to be a good fit for an individual with a recent postgraduate qualification and programming experience but will consider applications from a broader range. Experience with higher level languages such as MATLAB, Octave, R or a similar package is desirable.Programming experience in one lower level language such as VB, C/C++/C#, Java, .Net would be beneficial.

Have you developed a lot of programming experience through your degree and/or in additional activities or projects? More details of the vacancy on My CareerHub

Edinburgh Graduate Recruitment Fair

Poster of the Edinburgh Graduate Recruitment Fair

Edinburgh Graduate Recruitment Fair  #EGRF16 is on next week with over 60 exhibitors. It’s a good opportunity to explore opportunities.Find out more here.  However:

  • If your palms get sweaty at the thought of talking to employers
  • If you have limited time
  • If you simply don’t know how to make the Fair work for you

watch our ‘Prepare for the Fair’ video here  to get the most out of the event.

Wondering about Careers in Business/Finance?

Our work impacts at the highest level of global business and builds confidence in economies worldwide, and has a positive effect on the societies in which we all live.

Join EY for a short presentation open to all years about what it takes to become part of a global leading professional services organisation. They advise some of the world’s most important companies on the issues of today that are shaping tomorrow.Come for a session aimed at King’s Buildings students and learn about:

  • what they do
  • programs they offer  students & graduates
  • and meet their people with various backgrounds like Physics, Engineering, Maths…

When: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Where: Lecture Theatre A – JCMB, King’s Buildings.

Sign up: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/introduction-to-ey-tickets-20756237465

 

 

 

Technology career opportunities

Careers in IT fair2016

Want to explore summer placements & graduate jobs available to you in the Technology sector? Then come to Careers in IT, where you can meet around 40 companies looking to recruit UG and PG physics students. Sponsored by    sponsored by craneware

There are a range of companies attending, including SMEs such as KAL, AviIT and Edge Testing and larger organisations such as Microsoft, Amazon and FanDuel, so don’t miss out on the chance to meet these organisations face-to-face (for the full list of exhibitors, visit MyCareerHub)

Other organisations recruiting physicists include: Avaloq Innovation Ltd, AlphaSights, TMVSE (Toshiba Medical Visualization Systems Europe, Ltd), Codeplay Software Ltd, Imagination Technologies, think-cell Software GmbH, Standard Life Plc,   The MathWorks Ltd, Version 1,    Bloomberg, UL Transaction Security – UL TS BV

No sign up is necessary for the fair – just bring your student card to the Informatics Forum between 1pm – 4pm on Wednesday 3rd Feb.

Attend our Prepare for the Fair session on 28th Jan to give you that extra confidence boost and help you develop your networking skills in advance of Careers in IT. Or if you can’t attend the session, get some hints and tips from our Prepare for the Fair video.

We’re also running a Careers in Computer Games Panel and Networking event later that same evening which you can sign up for now via MyCareerHub.

We look forward to seeing you on 3rd Feb!