Asita Anche is an exception. Not only is she a female, high frequency, quant-driven, trader, a rarity in itself, but she has also been hired by Goldman to build its prop trading activities. Goldman doesn't often hire outsiders, and at this moment in time the precise future of its prop trading activities is doubtful.
How, therefore, does one become a sought-after female high frequency trader in a boy's world where logic suggests banks shouldn't be hiring at all?
Here's how Asita (full Facebook profile photo available here or here), did it...
1) Study computer science at a top(ish) school
According to her LinkedIn profile, Anche only graduated in 2004. She studied a Masters in Computer Science at the University of Illinois, which ranks fifth for such things in the US according to this table.
2) Do an internship at a renowned software lab
Many a quant has cut his or her algorithmic teeth at industry-leading software labs. Uber-quant Emanuel Derman started out at AT&T Labs. Anche did a five month internship at IBM Labs. IBM Labs was the birthplace of data mining and has spawned at least 5 Nobel prize winners.
3) Join a top hedge fund
Straight out of university, Anche's first job was in the high frequency trading group at Citadel in the US. 20 months later, she moved to Citadel's high frequency trading group in Europe.
4) Join another top hedge fund
Four years' later, Anche joined Millennium Capital Management Europe, where she appears to have been one of only three women among 42 men. Millennium Capital Management Europe is the London arm of Israel Englander's US hedge fund. According to Financial News, it's renowned for giving its managers a high degree of autonomy.
5) Join Goldman Sachs
After just one year at Millennium, Anche has joined Goldman, as an MD.