PhD Alumni, now trader extraordinaire

Jane Street Capital came into prominence in August last year – this is how the New York Times (NYT) describes it: “These dangers were brought home last August, when markets were rattled by China’s decision to devalue its currency; some of the largest E.T.F.s sank by 50 percent or more… a bunch of Harvard Ph.D.s , swung into action with a wave of buy orders. By the end of the day, the E.T.F. shares had retraced their sharp falls.”

In the same article, NYT also describes being able to land a job at Jane Street as nothing short of remarkable: “Jane Street has acquired a reputation for being perhaps the toughest interview in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street. This is in part because the firm hires only a handful of new employees each year. To survive, candidates have to ace brain-twisting math riddles and game theory tests.”

wang tao flowersNUS Business School alumnus Wang Tao is one of the lucky few. We caught up with Wang Tao who after obtaining his double degree in Applied Maths and Economics at Peking University, did his PhD at the Business School, graduating in 2013. Of those years, he says:

I spent 5 years in Singapore/NUB B-school for my PhD in finance under the supervision of Professor Jin-Chuan Duan.  During that period, I was trained to be an academic researcher on finance through courses, workshops, conferences and a lot of research projects. I finished a number of academic papers either by myself or through cooperation with my supervisor as well as other scholars.

I felt especially proud that a co-authored paper of mine was published in the Journal of Econometrics, a top tier economic journal, before I graduated from the PhD program. I also enjoyed my teaching experience in NUS B-school as I served as teaching assistant or tutor for a number of different bachelor/master level courses.  Continue reading