Original Source : The Interview Portal

As part of our Mathematics interview series, we are delighted to speak to a mathematics professional who successfully transitioned from research into the industry.

Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal in conversation  with Visweswaran Nageswaran, an applied mathematician at Liquidnet, a firm that specializes in developing complex math based algorithms for institutional stock trading.

Viswesh, can you tell us about your background?

Sure!, i grew up in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai where i went to Hindu Sr Sec School. I come from a traditional family where there was a lot of emphasis on getting a good education. However i was very clear that i didnt want to follow the typical engineering or medical school route. Since there were very few options available those days i enrolled for a Bsc Maths degree at AM Jain college in Chennai.

Infact i was keen on a chemistry degree , but chose maths as the next best option since i didnt get chemistry.

What did you do after graduation?

One of the reasons i had chosen to do a Bsc was an integrated Mtech course at IISC, Bangalore which would have been a natural progression after my Bsc Maths. However that course ended the same year that i enrolled for Bsc. So i didnt have that option. I decided to apply for an Msc Maths degree programme at IIT and wrote the entrance. I got admission into the programme . After completing the programme, i wasnt still very clear about what i wanted to do further.

I decided to specialize in Maths by applying for Phd programme abroad. I got admission into the University of Amherst, Massachusetts in their PHD program. At UMASS, i did my thesis on geophysical fluid dynamics. This was an interesting area where i worked on applications of Mathematics to atmosphere, oceans and climate modeling. I was introduced to the practical applications of mathematics. I spent 3 months at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at CapeCod researching the breakup of internal waves in the ocean that would travel far from their generation site and break up causing tidal mixing. The study was focused on how internal waves transmitted energy and how fast breakup happens.

My Phd at UMASS Amherst introduced me to the wonderful world of application of Mathematical modeling. This was the turning point when i decided to explore opportunities to leverage my maths background to solve industry problems .

How did you plan your transition from research to  industry?

Financial engineering was an upcoming area which involved application of mathematics to solve complex financial problems. Since the east coast has been well known as the financial hub it was a great opportunity for me to pursue my career in financial maths. I applied to the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University and secured admission for an masters Degree in Financial Engineering. After completing my masters i joined Liquidnet, a firm that specializes in developing complex math based algorithms for institutional stock trading. At Liquidnet , i use my maths background to build and model complex algorithms to address the challenges of the stock market trading.

What do you love about your job?

Everyday i try to solve challenges that require sound knowledge of mathematics, statistics and computer modelling combined with a strong understanding of financial markets. The combination of these skills makes it an interesting job to do everyday.

Your advice to aspirants?

Remember that mathematics is an extremely vast, interesting but challenging field. Its very easy to get lost in the abstract world of maths. First you need to focus on understanding the concepts and build a strong foundation. At the same time, try to gain  knowledge and awareness on what is happening around the world and how to apply math to address these challenges? Focus is key in order to stay relevant. Also decide if you want to stick to pure math or get into applied math. If you need to make a transition to industry you need to build a strong foundation in applied maths.