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Student story

Dr Drew Harris

20 July 2023

Ngāi Tahu

"There are UC alumni around the globe giving us a good reputation..."


(Ngāi Tahu)

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics

Graduate Diploma in Finance

Bachelor of Commerce in Finance

Quantitative Analyst, Epoch Capital, Sydney, Australia

Drew’s work with Epoch Capital sees him create algorithmic trading strategies through quantitative research for this international trading firm.

“I spend most of the day designing new features for automated trading algorithms,” he says. “This includes writing strategy code as well as machine learning research to incorporate into our strategies. I enjoy getting to apply machine learning in practice.”

Choosing his undergraduate subjects out of interest, Drew emphasises how his degree was a big selling point to get where he is today.

“I always enjoyed mathematics and physics at school so it was a natural progression for my degree,” he says. “In the business world getting a Mathematics or Physics degree is a real door opener. I really can’t recommend it enough.”

After graduating from UC, Drew moved to Australia and began a PhD with the Macquarie University in Australia focusing on market microstructure.

He also received an industry scholarship from Capital Markets CRC that allowed him to work as a PhD Researcher. His scholarship placed him with the NASDAQ Stock Exchange in Washington DC for eighteen months over the course of his studies, where he gained experience working as an analyst to go towards his thesis. During this time Drew was also a research exchange scholar at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

“Mathematics and Physics set me up really well for moving into Finance,” Drew says. “When entering the financial sector, Science degrees like Mathematics and Physics are held in high regard. This combined with an honours in Finance allowed me to get into a good finance PhD programme where I studied algorithmic trading, which in turn set me up well for a career in algorithmic trading.”

UC being the nearest university made his choice for study easy, however Drew says that after his years of experience there, if he had to choose again he “definitely would have gone to UC anyway”.

“I really enjoyed access to the high quality lecturers as well as the small class sizes which gives more space for discussion. The location was also perfect, as it is close to the mountains, the beach and my family home in Tuahiwi allowing me to continue working through my studies playing polo and training horses.”

Drew believes he owes a lot to his initial studies for his successes so far, and endorses UC for other students wanting to take their careers internationally.

“It offers excellent schooling that I think still has a good brand name overseas,” he says. “There are enough UC alumni around the globe giving us a good reputation. While Canterbury is pretty far removed from the rest of the world, you still get some world class academics and lecturers who have chosen UC because of the lifestyle.”

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