Tower Research Capital LLC is a financial services firm located in New York that specializes in quantitative trading and investment strategies. Founded in 1998, Tower develops proprietary trading algorithms by using rigorous statistical methodology to identify non-random patterns in the behavior of markets (Phew!). Hence for obvious reasons, Tower Research is staffed by employees who are highly proficient in Mathematics, Computer Programming, Physics, Law, Economics, Engineering, Finance. Tower Research recruits smart individuals mainly from premier institutes like the IITs with either of the above mentioned backgrounds.
We have interviewed some of the most amazing people in the past who have received job offers from world’s best companies with salaries unheard of, but nothing beats Rizwan Hudda who graduated from BITS Pilani and IIT Kanpur and would be joining Tower Research’s India office very soon for a good salary That’s right, you must have seen newspaper articles with US salaries converted into Rupees but this is nothing like that, which is exactly what makes Rizwan’s achievement so unique. Just to put this in perspective, Microsoft for example offered 55 LPA (converted to Rupees) for engineers joining their Redmond office while 14 Lakhs for the same position from their India office. The rest we would leave for our intelligent audience to decipher. And not to forget, we are only taking into consideration all the offers made to engineering college grads just out of college.
TopTalent : What’s it like to interview for the post of “Strategist” at Tower Research?
Rizwan: It was a unique experience, all the interviewers were very friendly. I was given different math puzzles to test my problem solving skills and math aptitude. I got hints when I was completely stuck, they would let me know if I was going in the correct direction, etc. I was asked lot of questions, all of them were of this format mainly: Design the most efficient algorithm for task X ? or formally prove mathematical claim Y?.
I really enjoyed the whole experience of giving the interviews. It was much more interesting compared to the regular SDE interviews because most of the questions asked in tower interviews were unknown to me before. I would say the interview process was super candidate-friendly.
TopTalent : Can you describe the hiring process and what exactly you would be working on?
Rizwan: There was a written test on campus a couple of days before the final interviews. On the day of final interviews, there were 3 interviews, candidates were eliminated after each round. My job description would be to use Math/Stat/Algorithm skills to analyze the financial data, and design/test/ deploy high frequency trading strategies for the company. I am expecting it to be a challenging and interesting role.
TopTalent : What preparation did you put in to win this opportunity?
Rizwan: I practiced the math questions at gurmeet puzzles and CSE blog a week before the interview. They helped me get an idea of the kind of questions asked in the interviews, and build some confidence. Also, I am semi-active in competitive programming hence was in touch with algorithms/coding. I was one of the winners of the All india programming contest conducted by Tower research capital, I think that worked well in my favor.
TopTalent : What would be your suggestion to other aspirants who are aiming for something similar?
Rizwan: Well, first of all practice the questions from sites that I suggested. These are some really good sites and the questions are quite challenging. It’s always good to keep solving such questions on a regular basis to be in the groove. Also, being attentive in class and revising your course work does help a lot. In particular discrete mathematics, algorithms text books are something worth looking at before going for the interview. Finally, participating in online competitions like SPOJ, Codechef etc has been extremely useful for me and I would urge others to participate in the same if you aren’t doing it already. It really helps in understanding how competitive you can be and where do you stand among some really smart people.
TopTalent : How many coding competitions have you won till date?
Rizwan: I have always participated in a number of coding competitions from college techfests, company contests to competitive programming platforms. I have mentioned most of competitions that I have participated, in my resume. Some of the competitions that I have won include All India Programming contest O(log n) – Oct 2012, MNIT Code of the Day (10 day contest) – Oct 2012 and Yahoo HackU IITK (Team contest) – Aug 2012
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