Spotlight on GSA Capital’s Quants: Neeraja Bhamidipati, Quantitative Researcher



Considering a career in quantitative research? Hear from one of the female researchers at Quantitative Trading firm GSA Capital.

How did you land your current role? Was it planned?

I was actually doing a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University when I decided to leave academia to take up an internship at GSA, and I was subsequently offered a full-time role a few months into the internship. I had previously considered a career in quant research during my PhD, and I knew I would enjoy it based on conversations I had with friends who chose similar careers.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

I’ve generally been proud of myself for being able to switch directions in my career and pick up skillsets required on-the-go. I started as an undergraduate student in mechanical engineering, and then switched to doing applied mathematics for my Masters – which meant a very steep learning curve – and then did a PhD in fluid mechanics and a postdoc in climate modelling, before finally ending up in finance.

What does an average work day look like for you?

Much of my day involves doing research: analysing datasets, writing algorithms, and generally making improvements to our existing codebase.

Are there any specific skills or traits that you notice companies look for when you’re searching for roles in your field?

A firm grounding in some kind of scientific background (e.g. maths/physics/computer science) generally sets you up in the right direction for a career as a quantitative researcher. In terms of specific skills, a mastery of some programming language is essential (e.g. Python, C++, Java), as well as an understanding of basic statistics and probability.

Which qualifications have you found to be the most beneficial for securing jobs in quantitative research?

Most people I know have formal education in a STEM field and some experience with coding.

What makes a role as a researcher great for someone who doesn’t have pure coding skills?

Research in general is great for those who are scientifically curious and enjoy a deep dive into open-ended problems.

What do you think are the most important things our community should know about what it’s like to work at GSA Capital?

GSA is known to have a great work environment. You will always find someone who has similar hobbies and interests as you, and every person I have met at the firm has been incredibly knowledgeable and approachable.

We also have group personal training sessions every day of the week for those interested, and free lunches on some days, including trying a new international cuisine every Friday.

What questions do you think tech women should be asking at interviews?

It’s important to gauge how inclusive the workplace is, especially since the finance industry as a whole is still very male-dominated. It is generally easy to get a fairly good idea by speaking to people at the firm and taking note of whether they value your opinions and time during the interview process.

It is very much encouraged to be open about any concerns/questions about diversity and inclusion early in the process to give the firm a chance to address those concerns, and to be clear about any special requests you may have (e.g. work from home/flexible working to accommodate any personal commitments).

Has anyone ever tried to stop you from learning and developing in your professional life, or have you found the tech sector supportive?

I have found the tech sector quite supportive (despite the lack of sufficient representation from women).

Have you ever faced insecurities and anxieties during your career, and how did you overcome them?

I’ve had an imposter syndrome for many years – even while I was in academia – but I take comfort in knowing that a lot of people feel the same way as I do. I tend to remind myself that I bring a different skillset and perspective to the table compared to someone else in the firm, and that’s important in itself.

I also try to keep learning new skills – for example, I’m currently taking an online course to improve my software development skills even though that’s not a core part of my work – and I find that this helps me massively.

What advice would you give other women wanting to reach their career goals in technology?

Don’t be put off by the lack of representation of women, especially at higher levels in many tech firms. There is certainly a push to change that, but someone has to lead the way (and it might just be you!)

Discover more about a career at GSA Capital

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