Ever wondered why the language of finance is increasingly becoming one of algorithms and analytics, rather than the traditional shouts echoing through Wall Street? In the world of finance, mathematical fluency and analytical finesse have played a bigger and bigger role. We can witness a notable trend– a surge of nerds armed with degrees in physics, mathematics, computer science, and more, seamlessly transitioning into pivotal roles within the financial sector which used to be only occupied by the suit-and-tie figures. From dissecting market trends to predicting investment outcomes, the intricate dance between numbers and financial strategy redefines the old-school image of the financial sector and spotlights the rising influence of abstract and analytical expertise in the industry. Back in high school, my love for math and physics steered me towards pursuing a STEM degree. I eventually settled on math, convinced it was the ultimate launchpad.

I figured, with its focus on analytical concepts, and logical arguments, it would serve as the perfect foundation, making it easier to navigate into other fields down the road. During my studies in applied mathematics at TU Delft, I followed a minor in financial mathematics, intrigued by positive feedback from other students and inspired by family members who ended up working in finance with a tech background. It was a decision that set the stage for my entrance into the dynamic world of finance.

In the world of finance, mathematical fluency and analytical finesse have played a bigger and bigger role.

From learning the basics of how stocks, bonds and options work to determining their values by using mathematical tools, the minor gave me a solid insight into financial mathematical models and the extent to which they describe the real market. Eager to deepen my knowledge, I joined a student investment society in Delft, engaging with like-minded peers with technical backgrounds. Alongside, I discovered Female x Finance. Attending their events, I found a valuable community that offered significant opportunities to break into finance. Since then, I’ve actively participated in both communities, bridging the gap between my technical background and my growing passion for finance.

Of course, the world of finance is a very broad term. From being an investment banker to working as a quant, there are many different career paths to choose from. While a technical background might suggest a natural fit for roles focused on running complex financial algorithms, the reality is that the unique skill set obtained through technical studies, emphasizing abstract and analytical thinking, holds great value across various finance roles Take, for instance, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) or Private Equity, where crucial skills involve navigating intricate financial landscapes, interpreting complex data, and making strategic decisions. In these domains, a technical foundation becomes a powerful asset, enabling one to analyze potential investments, assess risks, and contribute to strategic decision-making with a precision that goes beyond traditional financial roles. 

However, breaking into finance with a technical background requires more than just completing a degree in a technical study. Unlike those with a background in economics, the curriculum in engineering does not cover the same nuances of financial markets. To bridge this gap, it’s crucial to actively seek extracurricular activities or delve into self-study to deepen your knowledge of finance. While technical skills certainly make you stand out, they are no guarantee of landing a job in the financial sector. The key lies in combining your technical skills with a robust understanding of finance through self-directed learning and hands-on experiences beyond the classroom.

 

However, breaking into finance with a technical background requires more than just completing a degree in a technical study

To conclude, a notable shift is occurring in the financial world as more tech-savvy minds are redefining traditional roles. The interplay between abstract data and financial strategy emphasizes the growing need for analytical expertise. Yet, success in finance is not guaranteed by having these unique technical skills—it also requires a blend of self-guided learning and hands-on experiences by taking on extracurricular activities. As we see this transformation happening in the financial sector, the fusion between math and money creates an ever-expanding frontier of possibilities and career paths for students with a technical background that is waiting to be explored!