Asher, the Ginger Quant Trader

1973946_10204731331582347_4440911167709352594_oAsher Bond Vandevort – my full name, some say my last name evokes ‘Voldemort’ or that Bond cannot be my actual middle name, but I assure you, that is my actual name. I do not practice, but can appreciate certain lessons I have gleamed from Jewish culture over the years. One of which is the naming convention that most parents use to name their children. In Judaism, there is no such thing as having an Asher Jr. or Asher II – children are named using the initials of a deceased relative. My mother’s father was named Aaron Bernard – that’s where the A and the B come from – and her grandfather was named James, so in some quasi way Bond is derived from James Bond.

Some quick facts about me: I enjoy onesies (the type of pajamas that conjoin a top and a bottom into a singular piece of fashion/engineering greatness), I started going to boarding school (my choice) in the fifth grade, and I (way back in high school) was able to run a 4:36 mile. My passions include student government, photography, running, and ice cream.

I am originally from Los Angeles, and as I mentioned, then went to boarding schools in Ojai and Monterey, California. I’ll be starting my senior year at Boulder in August and will hopefully finish my degrees in finance, economics and math by May.

At CU I serve on Leeds Council, the business school student government. I am currently the Vice President of Finance, but have also served as a CUSG Co-Senator. Advocating for tuition transparency is my main draw right now and have been working with administrators from the University’s budget office to create an easy-to-use website that will explain how each dollar of tuition is justified.

Currently, I am located in Portola Valley, California (close to Palo Alto and the Stanford campus) where I am staying with a good friend from high school.

5:01 AM CalTrain: For the summer I have been waking up at 4:00AM everyday so that I can get to my internship in San Francisco before the market opens. A positive and a negative of working in finance on the West coast is having to abide by market hours as they occur in New York. The negative part is having to be at the office by 6:30AM, but the positive is getting off in the early afternoon after trading stops at 1:00PM PT. Its a little odd to me to think that on certain days I can be waking up when friends might be stumbling home after a good night on The Hill.

For about nine hours a day you can find me glued to three screens helping portfolio managers to gleam actionable insights from a dissociated mess of numbers and formulas. The team I work on as a quantitative trading intern is called Transitions Management. It is essentially short-term portfolio management for large portfolios, typically pension funds, that are looking to rebalance or change the strategy of their portfolio. These portfolio managers will look to BlackRock, an asset manager, to reduce risk and cost. In addition to my explicit role on the Transitions Management team, I am also working to learn Python and Excel VBA coding languages to help automate some processes that the team does often.

I have recently started to entertain the idea of a masters degree in computer science, although I don’t believe I am qualified in any way.

3040: Despite my desire to work in a quantitative field after graduating, I can appreciate the power of effective writing. It is one thing to be able to derive useful information, but to be able to express that information in an easy to understand way is the real challenge. Without that ability to relay information, your hard work can go to waste – something I would like to prevent if at all possible.

I consider myself a voracious reader – consuming two newspapers a day and almost a book every other week. Great writing is truly and art form and I hope to become better in expressing my thoughts through written word over the next several weeks. I am also looking forward to improving upon my cover letters and resume, and having the opportunity to finally figure out what LinkedIn is all about (kind of like a less fun Facebook, right? … I hope it has FarmVille).

Find me: A job I have held since I started at CU is working as a photographer for the Sports Information department. Quite a few of the photos on cubuffs.com are mine and I take photos of almost every single Division I sporting event. The photo above is of me at this year’s Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver. I’ve been published in the Denver Post and have had the opportunity to photograph a couple of music festivals.

Ice cream is a passi1658642_10203317627080618_86569085_oon of mine, so you can find me eating a lot of ice cream at all times. For a time I was eating up to three pints a week, but I have since cut back due to health concerns… I enjoy the fact that the more I run, the more ice cream I can eat and the more ice cream I eat, the more I can run.

I hope this has shed a little light on who I am as a person, and has provided a little background for my posts for the remainder of the course! 

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