A Non-Guide on Building Personal Projects For HF Quant Roles (Part I)

yes I finally wrote about it.

First of all, to the experienced practitioners among my readers, I apologise that this article most likely will not be relevant to you. I promise I'll post something else to make up for this very soon xoxo 😍

This article is probably the most requested (if I get a dollar for every time I receive this request I can fly easyJet instead of RyanAir), but also the one I'm extremely reluctant to write about. Not because of gatekeeping or some shit, but rather I'm hesitant about giving advice in general. I don't like how when someone has "made it", it is automatically assumed that they actually have a "know-how". When in reality, luck and randomness play a huge role. Recruitment is an incredibly noisy environment, so trying to create good generalizations is almost impossible.

Second reason why I'm hesitant to write about this is because we all know someone who we once respected for posting technical stuffs slowly degenerate into posting content like "5 things I wish I knew before starting my xxx job" or "3 tricks to land xxx job" whatever. I promise I'll try my best to not go to that route.

I'll start this post in a straightforward manner. This is my mental model of how I approach personal projects. I will not tell you what to do (hence the name non-guide), rather I will tell you what I did/do think. Please treat this as a single data point, and then make your own conclusion. Not to mention that people are biased towards their own personal experience. My personal experience is biased because I landed offers through doing personal projects. So take it with a pinch of salt.

The reason why I think it might be worth it to write about this is because most of the interview articles/guides out there talk about brainteasers, leetcode, options questions etc, but almost none of them talk about how to build/present personal projects in hedge fund interviews. And most people (including interviewers, practitioners that are way more experienced than me), view personal projects as nothing more than a "show of interest". Which is something I disagree with (surprise surprise). I think if done right personal projects can push you much further.

And a final disclaimer, I only have experience with junior/grad role, I suspect for senior roles it's obviously different. So again, take everything here with a pinch of salt. In this article I will talk about what I think makes a good project, how to talk about your projects in interviews without sounding like a hardo bum, etc. In the next part we will go through some of the examples of my personal projects.

i wrote briefly about landing a junior role before.

Btw @__paleologo (a real quant) did write a real quant job advice. So you have to be crazy to read an article by an anon with a dinosaur profile pic but not read the one by a legit quant. I like to read @KrisAbdelmessih's emphasis version; there are glaring differences between what practitioners with years of experience emphasize on, vs what me a naive junior emphasizes on. Definitely warrants me rethinking some stuffs.

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sometimes I write cool stuffs