From books like Liar’s Poker and movies like Wolf of Wall Street, it is fascinating how a simple guy like me ended up interning here at WorldQuant!
Hey everyone, I am Rahul Chanduka and further, I am going to share with you all my summer internship experience at WorldQuant Research.
Most of my fellow interns come in around 9:30 am, but being the sleepyhead I am I go in at 11 am. The work hours are flexible and (I hope :P) no one minds. I log into my workspace and start my daily work, only for a friend to interrupt me, asking me to accompany him for a cup of coffee. I seldom refuse 🙂
In the simplest terms, a quant’s role is to ideate and execute models that “fairly” price financial instruments. The “fairly” part is the trickiest, and you get to see skillful people come up with great ideas. Working with smart and intellectually hungry people is enchanting. As a quant researcher, my work is pretty much financial research. I see people work, ask questions, try to answer some and learn tonnes every day. For analysis and implementation, a running knowledge of python and c++ comes handy. Reading research papers, thinking about ideas and discussions with my advisors along with the implementation of ideas form the major portion of my day. My advisors are amazing; they’re the go-to people for most of my ideas/questions. Their questions are pinpoint, the knowledge base is exceptional and explanations are easy to follow. I wonder if I’ll ever get there. They patiently listen to me whenever I go to them with stupid questions! Maybe I give them no choice 😛
I stay on campus. The office (Hiranandani Knowledge Park) is pretty close, and I usually take an auto to work. Some days it’s tough to get an auto and I have to take the golf cart thingy to the main gate. To be honest, I’ve started to not dislike it anymore! We order out every day, making the most of our Swiggy Super memberships. From Behrouz to Wow Momos, I’ve tried em all 😛 I’ve been in Mumbai for 3 years now, and have no real enthu to go to the tourist spots anymore. I prefer going out for stuff like paintball, mystery rooms, movies and well, I’m always in for food. We went to Lonavala last weekend and trekked. We’ve also gone out a couple of times to play box cricket with the employees. We’ll be going to Kick next week for football! Life’s good when you have fun people around you!
If you’re with me so far, let’s take a couple of steps back and talk about the stuff leading up to it. Studying Electrical Engineering here at IITB sort of gives you the confidence to disregard potential failures and do whatever you feel like. With the internship season coming around, I decided to ditch the core interns and apply to quant firms (and even a select softdev positions). WorldQuant’s ppt was intriguing. They focussed heavily on research and researcher curiosity, and I was hooked. The ppt was followed by a short test which comprised of a lot of math(stats and probability based) questions and puzzles. Answering the questionnaire was fun! A day later the shortlist was released and I was among ~10 people selected for interviews. We had 2 rounds of interviews. Since my profile was already inclined towards finance, a lot of the questions had to do with modeling, and what I as a researcher would do in a hypothetical setting that the interviewers came up with. The questions were very practical and forced me to think beyond what I knew. I loved the setup. I was also asked a couple of probability puzzles. The other people shortlisted, from what I know, were asked questions about their previous projects (mostly stuff on their resume) and how/what they could’ve changed in their previous projects. The puzzles were similar in most interviews and could be found if googled on the net. This means that extensive preparation helps, but they focussed on the approach more than the answer itself. The next afternoon saw me jumping around in joy when the final selections were put up. The internship season is hard on you mentally, and it’s very satisfying to get selected by a coveted firm.
A lot has changed since then, but my curiosity has stayed with me. I love learning new things. The more I learn, the more I wanna know! The open work culture and small office promote this, and the people around me make this possible. Perhaps I’ll learn more about them when we go out for a company treat(we’re going to SMAAASH) this Thursday evening 😀