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My college life with Computational Finance

BSc Computational Finance
Yixuan Duan

Yixuan Duan is a final year student of the College’s BSc Computational Finance programme (The programme is now renamed BSc Computational Finance and Financial Technology ). She has just accepted a return offer from Credit Suisse after she finished her summer internship with the Bank in 2020. Here she shares her college life and internship experience.

I was admitted to City University of Hong Kong in 2017, and I chose Computational Finance (CFIN) as my first preference. Unfortunately, I failed to enter CFIN programme in year 1, but I believed the programme will be the best fit for me, with structured courses helpful to develop practical skills in the real industry.

In the first year in CityU, I strived to take several mathematical courses and learn Python on my own to make myself competitive in the major transfer selection. In the end, I managed to transfer to the Computational Finance major.

Looking back, it is probably the most important and successful decision I have made in college. The solid mathematical and coding ability has given me a great edge in the job market. Investment banks now value these technical skills and invest a lot in the Fintech field. I can apply for quant roles, which will not be open to a pure finance major student, and the knowledge that the CFIN programme offered to me makes me as competitive as MFE (Master of Financial Engineering) students from top universities in the US.

Yixuan takes part in the Rotman Trading Competition

Rotman Trading Competition 2020

Great thanks to the sponsorship from Economics and Finance Department, I was able to attend the biggest trading competition in the world held by the University of Toronto. It was a thrilling three-day trading simulation where we met participants from leading universities like Stanford, MIT, CMU, UCB, UCLA, etc. After intensive training with my teammates, we ranked 8th among 48 top universities from all over the world.

The competition enhanced my determination to pursue my career in trading, and made my resume stand out from other candidates. As the competition is held by famous hedge funds like Citadel, it was a great opportunity to get myself recognised by the recruiters.

Rewarding journey with Credit Suisse

Rewarding journey with Credit Suisse

After internships at ICBC (Asia) and Daiwa Capital Market, I successfully got a summer intern offer from Credit Suisse in Sales and Trading Department this year. Despite the fact that most of the time we had to work from home because of the hard conditions this year, it was really a rewarding and memorable experience. I have also received a return offer to become a full-time analyst next year after the internship.

Networking was a very important part of our daily work during the internship. We needed to know the big picture of how the Sales, Trading, Prime and Solutions Departments operate through talking with people at different desks. Thanks to my college life experience, I was able to be open-minded, and stayed curious about new knowledge, and felt comfortable when talking with people. What I have learnt from those numerous coffee chats was far beyond my expectation. I have got an understanding of what the complex mechanism after short selling is, how different teams collaborate with each other to provide our clients with high quality full service, and how investment banks hedge risk and optimise their books.

Because of my quantitative background, my project was to work with our quant team to quantify the signals of whether we should enter a block trade and earn profits after the unlock date. Here I applied several machine learning methods to find relevant factors. I was really grateful that my team offered me such an important and interesting project, and I would say I was able to get a return offer because I have an ability that other interns do not possess — coding. Thanks to the well-designed CFIN programme, I built a solid foundation to code using different programming languages, including C++, Python, R, VBA, Matlab, etc., which are all covered by our compulsory courses.

Students may complain about the hard courses offered in the CFIN programme, but I believe that CFIN has empowered us abilities that help us beat other candidates in the job-hunting process. I am eager to welcome my final year and grasp more communication and technical skills to better prepare me for my future career!