Intuition and finance may seem unrelated to those unfamiliar with the field, but the two have always gone hand in hand for Alex Wu. After graduating from the California Institute of Technology, Wu built a successful career in finance. From Belvedere Trading, to running a crypto quant fund, and then to DRW to build out Cumberland’s options business, Wu’s data-forward, intuition approach has steered him well. Currently, Wu advises two crypto quant funds as well as DeFi protocols Zeta Capital Markets, Convergence, and Katana.
In May and June of 2022, Princeton BCF held its first Quant Boot Camp for incoming Master in Finance students. After developing the idea, Alex Wu created the content for and taught the inaugural program. The boot camp aims to give students a head start on their interview preparation and teach the critical components of a quant interview. The program also provides a primer on the various parts of the financial services industry. Students of the boot camp found it incredibly helpful as they navigated their interviews, and future programs will take place at the end of May and beginning of June so students can be ready to hit the ground running when interviews start. It is an intensive program to prepare our students for technical interviews.
Lindsay Bracken, BCF’s Manager of Career Development, Alumni Relations, and Corporate Affiliates, recently reached out to Wu to gain his perspective on this year’s successful quant boot camp and the ways in which BCF has helped to shape his finance career.
If you’re a Princeton BCF alumnus who’s reached a milestone in your career, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to Bracken (firstname.lastname@example.org) to stay in touch and tell your story.
Bracken: Why did you choose Princeton BCF to pursue your MFin, and what is one piece of advice you would give to prospective MFin students?
Wu: I was looking for optionality as well as excellence, and Princeton offers the best of both. Between quantitative courses from the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE), economics and public policy from the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), corporate finance, and accessibility to the COS offerings, I was able to experience a diversified course load.
I would advise prospective students to take courses from as diverse a cast as possible. The people you meet in the process alone make it worth it.
Bracken: What motivated you to pursue a career in finance, and how has your education from Princeton BCF impacted your career thus far?
Wu: I’ve always enjoyed using intuition to generate hypotheses before testing them rigorously with data. Princeton BCF has opened many doors for me, especially with so many illustrious alumni in the industry.
Bracken: Were there any courses, people, or experiences at Princeton BCF that altered your career path or helped you define what you wanted out of your career? What about your future goals and plans?
Wu: Dario Villani’s trading course impacted me most because he stressed the importance of intuition with regard to using the academic concepts of topics, such as option Greeks. He influenced my conviction to become a trader.
Bracken: What motivated you to organize and create content for the Quant Boot Camp for incoming MFin students? What do you find is the most rewarding part about this work?
Wu: As a student, I felt that most of us were going into the quant finance interview process blind and that existing boot camps were very short, with little iteration on topics or question types that students struggled with. I thought of this as an opportunity to give the students what I wished someone had given me when I entered the program.
For me, the most rewarding part of the boot camp is having students continue to reach out to me for advice and mock interview help as they begin their interview process. It’s good to give back, and I hope that amongst my students, there will be others who pay it forward.
Bracken: What are the most significant results you see students getting out of the Quant Boot Camp? What are your goals for the future of this program?
Wu: The most important results I’m seeing are students receiving an honest, unfiltered look into the industry, an understanding of why various questions are asked during interviews, and extensive preparation for those questions. At the end of the day, I want Princeton BCF students to have the best possible advantages from our programs and alumni network.
Looking to the future and next year’s boot camp, I would like to add more statistics, data analysis, and programming. I feel confident that this program will only improve and expand as we continue.