I am often asked about my education background and why I have ‘succeeded’ as a trader. This is because in the university, I did not take a business or finance related course. Instead, I took a science related course. Most people who ask me this question are people who never took a course in finance but are very interested in trading. Truth is, you don’t need to have a background in Finance, business, or economics to succeed as a trader.
In fact, some of the biggest investors today took non-business-related courses. For example, David Rubenstein, the founder of The Carlyle Group took a course in arts. The same is true with people like Bill Gross, Lloyd Blankfein, and David Einhorn among others. These people are some of the biggest business and investing leaders today.
The first reason is that you can teach yourself how to trade and invest. The concept of trading and investing is simple. Find an asset that you believe is undervalued and then buy it. Alternatively, you can find an asset that you believe is overvalued and short it. To identify whether an asset is undervalued or overvalued, all you need to do is to perform an analysis about the current price. For example, you can apply the concept of technical analysis. While these concepts might seem difficult on paper, applying them in the real world is not difficult.
The second reason is that the concepts taught in school have been made easier using technology. I believe that the modern form of education is broken. This is because students are taught the same concepts that older generations used to be taught. For example, universities spend time teaching students about technical indicators and the calculations behind them. In the real world however, no one needs to understand how the relative strength index is calculated. This is simply because the indicator has already been developed and all you need to do is to apply it in a chart.
Third, you can be a better trader if you teach yourself than when you go through the formal education. While education is important, I believe that you become better when you teach yourself new skills. This is because formal education gives you a certain way of thinking. For example, it tells you that when a company has a Price-to-earnings ratio of above 40 is expensive and so, you should avoid it. In real world, you will meet companies that have a high PE ratio and doing well. In fact, this is the reason why many young traders are beating Wall Street veterans today. This is because they are investing in new and fresh companies like NVIDIA and Google while ignoring the old industries like crude oil.
When hiring traders for my trading floor, I never look at their financial background. Sure, I want people who have a college degree, but I don’t always hire them. In fact, all of my traders took different courses in college. Some of them never attended college. This is because I train all my traders from scratch and show them how to identify trading opportunities. I believe this is part of the reason why these traders succeed even when they open their own floors.