Life after the IB: Alumnus Nikita Fadeev
Having studied the IB Diploma between 2012-2014, Nikita is now studying at the University of St Andrews. Whilst completing his studies he was able to start up The Quant Group.
We had the pleasure of catching up with him about how he is getting on after St Clare’s. We also wanted to find out more about his new business venture.
Why did you decide to study at St Clare’s?
I was studying at home in Belarus and came to the realisation that there were not many opportunities available and I would have more opportunities if I were to pursue further education in a foreign country.
I wanted to learn about different cultures, expand my horizons and gain a better education. In Belarus, education is very broad, while at St Clare’s, the IB Diploma, provides opportunities for me.
How did the IB Diploma prepare you for the future?
I chose the IB because you don’t just study 1 or 2 subjects which I believe may be the case in other programmes.
I really like the breadth of the IB. Also, by having an extended essay and Theory of Knowledge (TOK), I could think creatively. In terms of preparation for further education, it puts students in a good position because the depth is really good and the material is useful.
How have you found being at the University of St Andrews?
It’s really good. University provides you with great opportunities to choose your modules and the first year gives you a chance to explore other subjects.
I took Economics and Mathematics, and after taking these courses I realised that Mathematics was more interesting to me.
Did you think doing the IB made it easier to settle in at university?
I think education at college level is different to university level. It’s more focused and you have to do a lot more studying. Generally, I think that IB puts you in a good position, as you learn how to study and have good time management, which is essential in pursuing a university degree.
Tell me a little about the Quant Group and your motivations to start it up?
I was motivated by the idea about learning more of quantitative finance and putting my mathematical skill-set to good use.
My degree is helpful in terms of learning how to use some tools but there aren’t many courses which really put you in a position where you can apply these skills.
As there were no opportunities available on campus, I pursued my interest by setting up The Quant Group which is focused on algorithmic trading and quantitative finance. It was exciting because I found 12 people all from quantitative backgrounds who were also passionate about the subject and together we could learn from each other and interact with the industry.
We later established a network between industry and the students which allowed me to pursue the idea of The Quant Conference which was the first event of its kind organised for students by students. We had 25 speakers with over 200 delegates from all over Europe.
How did you manage setting up the Quant Conference while doing your university work at St Andrews?
I set up the Quant Conference during the summer so there were no studies. With The Quant Group, it was very demanding. We didn’t want the Group just to be a society we wanted it to hopefully be a company one day. We wanted to build a product and not just educate students; therefore it was very demanding over term time but I was able to manage it.
Did you ever think it could get as big as it has?
Yes! When I was establishing it, I was thinking long term which I think was the prime reason why the conference was held at such a scale. I knew there was a gap in the market and if I could leverage the idea and approach the right people, the possibilities could be huge.
What are your plans for the future?
Everything is changing very quickly as The Quant Group and the conference opens doors for new opportunities. I think in the future I will definitely be using my entrepreneurial and analytical skills to create something that will last.
What’s the best advice you could give to St Clare’s Students?
I think that many college students do not understand that college is not just about getting into a university, there are many opportunities available for college students which will make a transition into a graduate job much easier.
There are lots of internships available to students, but very few people are thinking about internships while in college. Thus, I think it would be helpful if students start thinking about what they could be doing after college. There won’t be many students who will be thinking about this at such an early stage which can give St Clare’s students a good head start.
They can also contact other St Clare’s alumni (St Clare’s Connect), and LinkedIn to gain support and advice. Be persistent, take a long term oriented approach and think strategically about the future steps.
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