Graduate Studies Blog
ANALYST OPENS DOOR TO FUTURE IN TRADING WITH HELP OF FINANCIAL ENGINEERING DEGREE
With an eye on setting up a hedge fund or family office in the distant future, Lim Wei Hong took his first step towards realising his goal of becoming a financial trader by leaving his job in corporate energy sales at Citibank in 2016
That same year, he enrolled for a master’s degree programme in financial engineering (MFE) at Nanyang Business School.
Lim, who has bachelor degrees in finance and economics, says he was attracted to the MFE programme because his knowledge of mathematics and statistics pertaining to finance was not sufficiently “technical and deep enough”. He was also drawn to its courses in computer programming.
“I knew that programming was becoming more important in the world of finance, and so I wanted to pick up programming as well. NBS’s MFE programme was by far the most rigorous course after evaluating other similar courses available locally, which is what attracted me to it.” says Lim.
Today, he is a trading analyst at Koch Refining International, a commodities trading firm. In his work, Lim provides analytics support to traders, including demand-and-supply modeling, back-testing of trading strategies, evaluating statistical relationships, and thinking up trading ideas.
He credits the MFE programme with helping him to land his current job and a prior internship in fixed-income investments at the Thirdrock Group, a financial services company.
“The skills that I have learned in coding, statistics and mathematics have helped me be seen at work as the go-to guy for statistics,” Lim says.
“In our trading job, we need to make decisions based on statistical analyses. And as such, having done the MFE gave me confidence in the analytic work that we do.”
Koch Refining International, says Lim, is on the cusp of applying advanced statistical and computational techniques – such as Machine Learning and K-Means Clustering algorithms – to its trading.
As Lim learned those techniques in his MFE studies, “that has given me a good foundation to understand and apply the outputs of the models in our trading”, he says.
At Nanyang Business School, Lim made the dean’s list. Earlier in his undergraduate studies, he was awarded scholarships by Jardine Cycle and Carriage, and Neptune Orient Lines. Before joining Koch Refining International, Lim worked briefly as a finance assistant at Jardine Cycle and Carriage, and was later a banking services associate and a global markets analyst at Citibank.
Of his time at Nanyang Business School, Lim remembers the MFE programme as being “more intensive than one could imagine”, particularly because he had not been a student for four years.
“I think I really enjoyed what I could achieve when we were at our final mini term in Carnegie Mellon University,” Lim says in reference to Nanyang Business School’s partnership with the American university.
“It was like the first mini terms were building the ground work, and at Carnegie Mellon University it was quite amazing to see what I was able to apply to almost real-world-like problems.
“I came from zero coding experience to being able to code relatively difficult financial problems.”
After gaining his MFE degree, Lim decided to join his current employer.
“For me, it was more of the role rather than the specific company,” he explains. “However, I do prefer Koch’s set-up, as it operates more like a hedge fund.”