Helen's Story Forging your own Path Meet Helen

I decided to study electrical engineering in pursuit of my PhD. I enjoyed my studies and was excited to find a career that fit my skills and interests. However, as I was approaching graduation, the career paths my peers were pursuing didn't spark my interest. These included careers typically associated with my areas of study, like using electrical engineering in the telecommunications industry, doing advanced research in a technology company, or getting into academia as a post doc hoping one day to become a tenured professor. While these careers can be a perfect fit for some, they just didn't feel right to me.

On my journey to find a career that suited me best, I worked in a number of different roles, including an electrical engineer, a research lab manager, an underwater acoustics specialist, and a marine mammal researcher. I did not restrict myself to one career path, but instead kept an open mind and pursued a number of opportunities where I could apply my skills, even if they didn't seem like an obvious path at first. During my time in university, I studied signal processing and pattern recognition. These skills are now known as machine learning, which has become quite in-demand. After my first few roles, I was searching to see what other types of jobs looked for machine learning knowledge. I decided to learn more about the world of quantitative trading, as I knew this was an area I could use my skills. I took my CFAs and read many books about life as a quant before I decided pursue this path.

I joined SIG as a Quantitative Researcher, and it turned out to be a great fit for me. I value the culture at SIG. In my five years here, I have been judged only on the merit of my work. At times when I needed support, such as during my pregnancy and returning to work from maternity leave, I was given ample support from my colleagues.

When I describe my career journey to current graduate school students, I often hear comments like "that's quite a special case" or "I don't think that applies to me." But "I always encourage grad students to look outside the box and keep an open mind about their career direction. Every one of us is different, so it's important not to limit your dreams to the paths of those who have gone before you." By forging my own path, I was able to find a very rewarding and fun career using the skills I developed during my studies, and I'm glad I finally found my fit at SIG.