Researcher Spotlight

A career changer shares his experience

Tell us about yourself

My name is Minda. I received B.S. degree from Tsinghua University and M.S. degree from Columbia University. I lived in New York City for seven years. I started my career as a machine learning researcher at Cubist Systematic Strategies and later moved to Google to develop Google Assistant with deep learning models.

After moving back home, I worked at Tencent for two years to help optimize their ads bidding platform before joining Midas.

Why did you decide to move from Big Tech to High Frequency Trading?

I am interested in solving challenging real-world problems with state-of-the-art technologies. High Frequency Trading, in certain aspect, is like tech companies in the sense that the amount of data is massive, and participants compete to provide the best service. Big tech companies have invested heavily on deploying models and computing powers in recent years to the extent that further development only achieves marginal improvement. The market making business, however, still provides ample opportunities to tackle given the solutions will require both technology and domain-specific knowledge. I decided to join Midas to be able to work on these interesting problems with a group of practitioners with similar motivations.

What are some differences between working at Google/Tencent and working at Midas?

The biggest difference would probably be the platform and growth.

Working at companies like Google/Tencent requires aligning research interests with the platform. It was relatively hard to quantify one’s contribution since there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of people working to improve the same platform. Maximizing one’s impact depends on selecting the right direction, which in turn relies on understanding the macro picture. As a result, the experience and skills gained are often tied to the platform and are non-transferable.

At Midas, we study the market microstructure from an objective aspect and compete to provide liquidity. As a quantitative researcher, I am also the user of the end product of my own work. So it is fairly easy to maximize the utility function.

How do you like working at Midas so far?

Midas has a legit tech stack which allows it to punch above its weight. I was honestly impressed during the interview and my first a few weeks here. At the core of my work here is the sense of ownership and responsibilities. My work directly impacts our performance and the quality of life for everyone in the team. The team has maximized transparency and promotes communication, which is unusual in the industry.

What advice would you give to others considering a career change?

I recommend an emphasis on long-term personal career development. We are in an era where work responsibilities are divided into minimal subareas. Similar to the idea of getting a take-away message after reading a paper or attending a seminar, it is crucial to learn stuff from your day-to-day work to the extent that you actually gain skill sets that are benefiting in the long run.

Midas Technologies
Midas Technologies

Midas Technologies is a leading electronic market making and quantitative trading team based in China and Singapore.