Some background first: I'm a rising sophomore and I recently got an offer to write code and carry out financial research on futures trading for a hedge fund manager, at the starting salary of a college graduate-analyst. We're close friends, so on top of that, we threw around the idea of starting a HFT hedge fund together (there's 2 other of us in this circle, an investment banker who is getting bored of his workplace, and an economics grad student) if we got successful. My family situation isn't too bad, I have enough money set aside to see me through college tuition and living expenses, get a car and a decent apartment without debt. But simply put, I don't see myself sustaining this lifestyle out of my own pocket after I graduate with a bachelor's in physics - I feel it's wrong to do 12 hours of research a day at my parents' expense. I plan to take a leave of absence either at the end of this semester or this academic year, then move to either Zurich/Frankfurt to start. I explained that I'll need 1-2 semesters to get better with this - I've never done a course on finance - to see if, by then, I feel qualified enough to take his salary offer or have some confidence that I have a chance against a market full of playmakers who have trained/experienced quants. I'm about to publish my first paper - after which I'll quit from this project and take on some financial research for the semester or two. 1. I'm aware that there's always the risk that I'm on one man's bankroll, not an organization's bankroll, so I'm screwed if the fund that my friend's managing goes bust. Is this fine? 2. I have 2 choices. The conservative approach is available to me: graduate with decent grades then I have many options, possibly including this. The riskier choice will be to invest the opportunity cost of staying in college for 2 more years into this; and this also mitigates the risk of being too late to jump onto the wagon. I mean, my friends are all exactly at their pivotal moments. If I wait 2 more years, they might have already started on something. I feel there's some naive thinking; but I just feel that not many opportunities like this will come my way, so of course it should entail a greater risk. I'm leaning towards the riskier approach. What do you guys think?