80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

#5 - Alex Gordon-Brown on how to donate millions in your 20s working in quantitative trading

80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

Quantitative financial trading is one of the highest paying parts of the world’s highest paying industry. 25 to 30 year olds with outstanding maths skills can earn millions a year in an obscure set of ‘quant trading’ firms, where they program computers with predefined algorithms to allow them to trade very quickly and effectively.

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This makes it an attractive place to work for people who want to ‘earn to give’, and we know several people who are able to donate over a million dollars a year to effective charities by working in quant trading. Who are these people? What is the job like? And is there a risk that their work harms the world in other ways?

Apply for personalised coaching, see what questions are asked when, and read extra resources to learn more.

I spoke at length with Alexander Gordon-Brown, who has worked as a quant trader in London for the last three and a half years and donated hundreds of thousands of pounds. We covered:

* What quant traders do and how much they earn.
* Whether their work is beneficial or harmful for the world.
* How to figure out if you’re a good personal fit for quant trading, and if so how to break into the industry.
* Whether he enjoys the work and finds it motivating, and what other careers he considered.
* What variety of positions are on offer, and what the culture is like in different firms.
* How he decides where to donate, and whether he has persuaded his colleagues to join him.

Want to earn to give for effective charities in quantitative trading? We want to help.

We’ve helped dozens of people plan their earning to give careers, and put them in touch with mentors. If you want to work in quant trading, apply for our free coaching service.


What questions are asked when?

1m30s - What is quant trading and how much do they earn?
4m45s - How do quant trading firms manage the risks they face and avoid bankruptcy?
7m05s - Do other traders also donate to charity and has Alex convinced them?
9m45s - How do they track the performance of each trader?
13m00s - What does the daily schedule of a quant trader look like? What do you do in the morning, afternoon, etc?

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