A few months ago, we noticed a trend. People who had worked in finance were going back to college. And once back at college they were studying an unfamiliar kind of course: machine learning.
There weren't hundreds of them, but there were enough to make us sit up and take notice. Take Andrew McDonald, a former executive director in longevity products at KBC, who's been studying a PhD in machine learning at University College London (UCL) since September 2012. Or Ronnie Stafford, a former trading technology professional at Reuters, who also started the UCL PhD in machine learning in September 2012. Or there's James Lloyd, a former hedge fund analyst, who's studying a PhD in machine learning at Cambridge.
What could be the attraction of these machine learning courses?
Check out this advert for Google's new London-based 'DeepMind' artificial intelligence unit:
Goldman Sachs also appears to have a London-based machine learning team. Trung Huynh, a software engineer, joined the bank as a strategist in January. Maybe it's time to forget that Masters in Finance and go for something a bit more contemporary.