When I was leaving the big bank I was working for (I keep forgetting whether this blog is anonymous or not, but considering that I’ve now mentioned it on my LinkedIn profile (and had people congratulate me “on the new job”), I suppose it’s not anonymous any more) in 2011, I didn’t bother looking for a new job.
I was going into business, I declared. The philosophy (that’s a word I’ve learnt to use in this context by talking to Venture Capitalists) was that while Quant in investment banking was already fairly saturated, there was virgin territory in other industries, and I’d use my bank-honed quant skills to improve the level of reasoning in these other industries.
Since then things have more or less gone well. I’ve worked in several sectors, and done a lot of interesting work. While a lot of it has been fairly challenging, very little of it has technically been of a level that would be considered challenging by an investment banking quant. And all this is by design.
I’ve long admired Matt Levine for the way in which he clearly explains fairly complicated finance stuff in his daily newsletter (that you can get delivered to your inbox for free), and more or less talking about finance in an entertaining model. I’ve sometimes mentioned that I’ve wanted to grow up to be like him, to write like him, to analyse like him and all that.
And I find that in yesterday’s newsletter he clearly encapsulates the idea with which I started off when I quit banking in 2011. He writes:
A good trick is, find an industry where the words “Monte Carlo model” make you sound brilliant and mysterious, then go to town.
This is exactly what I set out to do in 2011, and have continued to do since then. And you’d be amazed to find the number of industries where “Monte Carlo model” makes you sound brilliant and mysterious.
Considering the difficulties I’ve occasionally had in communicating to people what exactly I do, I think I should adopt Levine’s line to describe my work. I clearly can’t go wrong that way.