Wall Street was just coming to life on the first day of my Princeternship as I headed into the heart of the New York City financial district. The stock traders were already in the security line waiting to start their day at the New York Stock Exchange as I passed on my way to find Hanweck Associates. I was very excited to begin my first day. Mr. Hanweck had recommended a book for me to read on futures and derivatives over the holiday break, and I had all sorts of new terms like “options” and “short sales” bouncing around in my head. I made my way to his offices on Broad St. on the 42nd floor. Mr. Hanweck and his staff were very welcoming to me as I arrived. I toured around the offices (which have a great view of the Statue of Liberty) and received a general overview of the business. I was extremely interested in this Princeternship opportunity because Mr. Hanweck had been a mathematics major at Princeton who put his degree to use creating a business which predicts risk and benefits based on different market variables. I was thrilled to get some “hands on” experience my first day editing some financial tables for different variables such as numbers for memos detailing companies that had merged and companies that had bought out other companies. I was able to spend a large part of the afternoon talking and working with one of the staff who writes the computer algorithms that the company uses to make their predictions. My professional interests lie in the area of applied mathematics, and this was exactly the kind of experience I was looking for: to be able to see real world applications of statistics and quantitative measures. I also loved the office atmosphere; everyone seemed to love their work, and the vibe was not as high pressured and intense as I feared an office near Wall Street might be. I had a great first day, and I am very grateful to Mr. Hanweck for providing me with the opportunity to learn about his business.
Now that I knew more about the people and work at Hanweck Associates, I was not anxious and just very excited to begin Day 2 of my Princeternship. I was looking forward to continuing with my data entry project. I arrived at the office, greeted everyone I met yesterday, and started to work with the goal of trying to complete the project by the end of the day. As I worked, I could get a good sense of the flow of work in the office with various meetings and teleconferences. I took a brief break at lunch time to walk around Wall St. I found the “raging bull” statue and took a picture. Coming back from lunch, I settled back to my computer for more data entry. I kept working steadily and finished the project by the end of the day, only pausing to take a few breaks to look out at Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty. I would have to think that it would be inspiring to be able to have that view from your office every day. As I left for the day, Mr. Hanweck told me that he had a new, exciting project for me tomorrow. I can’t wait!
Today was my third and final day of my Princeternship at Hanweck Associates. I was joined today by Princeton sophomore Lucia Wang, who was just beginning her Princeternship. Mr. Hanweck had not one, but two, exciting statistics tasks for us today. First, we compiled statistics on the companies in the S & P 500 as to the amount of debt the companies had taken on in 2011. When we finished this task, we looked at companies who had created “spin off” companies in 2011 and calculated the ratio of stock value between the parent company and the spin off company. I really enjoyed working on these statistics tasks as related to the financial markets. The Princeternship was an incredible experience for me in that I was able to see how mathematics and computer science are used in the financial world. All the data I was working with over the past three days is of value in making financial predictions, and I understand how the combination of the right statistics and right probabilities combined could translate into a robust predictive model. I was also able to see what it is like to be the owner of a business where the owner gets to set the pace and atmosphere for the office. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in some actual applied mathematics tasks and talk with professionals about their work and career experiences. After this Princeternship, I have a much better idea of what a career in financial engineering might entail. Mr. Hanweck was able to use his interests and skills in mathematics, computer science, and economics to create his own very successful business specializing in risk management for top-tier hedge funds, banks, broker/dealers and other financial institutions, and he still makes time for Princeton students who would like to learn from his experiences. I send my sincere thanks to Mr. Hanweck for providing me with this incredible opportunity!