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Morning Coffee: The sorry tale of the 27 year-old banker who quit for tech. Highest paying STEM careers

Banking to tech

Are you disillusioned with your finance career? Have you plateaued? Are you becoming someone you don’t want to be? Are you angry with the world? Does Steve Jobs’ mantra (“Stay hungry, stay foolish”) haunt you when markets are quiet? Maybe you should move to tech. It’s what David Liew did. Unfortunately, his moment in finance has come back to bite.

On Friday, Liew pleaded guilty to fraud in a court in Chicago. The plea related to a brief three years Liew spent as a precious metals futures trader at Deutsche Bank after leaving university. He quit trading to become a technology entrepreneur in 2012, but his time in banking hasn’t been forgotten.

Dealbreaker has unearthed a cached version of a blog Liew wrote around the time he quit. There he details the angsty experiences at DB which prompted him to try becoming a technology entrepreneur despite being an, ‘economics graduate with three years of trading experience and almost without much reason or ability to be involved with technology start-ups.’ At Deutsche, Liew says he was, “getting angry at my boss, my colleagues, my clients, and ultimately, myself.” He wasn’t doing anything meaningful, he felt he’d plateaued and that he was becoming “greedy and impersonal.”

Liew decided to leave. Despite his initial intention of trying the “safe route” of building a business on the side after work, he ended up channeling Richard Branson (“Screw it, just do it”). After self-immersion in Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address (“You’ve got to find what you love”), Liew left DB with nothing else lined up. What followed at first didn’t adhere to the entrepreneurial fantasy: Liew tried working with someone older on a start-up, and failed; he became an intern, and didn’t seem to get a job offer. And then he “set up a tech firm with an old classmate.”

What became of that tech firm isn’t very clear. Now aged 30, however, Liew is fully embroiled in the details of his finance career again. Bloomberg reports that he’s “cooperating” with the authorities, suggesting Deutsche Bank could be rebuked as a result of Liew’s testimony. If you’re going to quit banking for tech, make sure you don’t do anything nefarious first.

Separately, Bloomberg has got a list of the top 20 highest paying careers for STEM graduates and the discrepancies between pay for men and women in both. Whether you’re male or female, your best bet is to become an “architectural engineering manager” (men average $126k, women average $132k). But although women earn a lot more than men here, they earn a lot less in other roles. Male software developers earn an average of $101k, while women earn $87k, for example,

Meanwhile:

Lloyd Blankfein’s weird but defiant Trump Tweet. (NYPost) 

Jamie Dimon doesn’t like Trump’s climate policy, but won’t be eschewing his company. (CNN) 

Citi’s Michael Corbat bemoans the lack of political surprises which is dulling trading revenues. (American banker) 

Economics students make better data scientists than computer science graduates. (Youtube) 

How to use Python for algorithmic trading. (Medium)  

Business as usual at Goldman Sachs and other banks in the City of London after attacks near their offices. (Financial News) 

Goldman to trade equities in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters) 

I cycled home about 4am, had some sleep and was back in by 10am on Sunday morning. (Guardian)

Mothers often work fewer hours than they would prefer, and fathers work longer hours than they would like. (1843 Magazine) 


Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com


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