ICSSC Bonfire Social Oct 17th @Corona Del Mar

The annual bonfire is planned to be held next Saturday, October 17th! Spend your time with fellow ICS majors at Corona Del Mar beach, enjoy some bonfire food and fun activities, make new friends and get to know more about the ICS Student Council. Food and drinks will be served, as well as rides to the beach. Open for everyone in ICS!

We need to keep track of how many people want to join, so please fill out this form if you’re interested in coming: http://goo.gl/forms/OMwt2uBY6N

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ICS Major Representative

Deadline: Sunday, October 18th, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Who: ICS Majors Only

What: Are you interested in being a part of the Bren School’s student government representing your major? If so, ICSSC is looking for Major Representatives for the 2015-2016 school year. ICS major representatives are elected officials of the ICSSC committees, in order to represent the voices of the students of their respective majors.

Why: To establish a connection between the faculty and the students in order to solve possible comments, concerns, and complaints from both faculty and students in the school of ICS.

More Info: https://student-council.ics.uci.edu/ics-major-representative/

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Week 2: My Internship at Morgan Stanley

I’m going to be writing about my four months at one of the world’s biggest firms, Morgan Stanley. The firm was founded in 1935, they now have over 60,000 employees and over 1,300 offices around the world, including one in Irvine! I happened to be at work on their 80th anniversary! They were giving out free cake. Getting an internship at Morgan Stanley is ridiculously difficult, they accepted less than 800 students to their internship program out of over 90,000 that applied. I was lucky enough to be one of those 800, and was conveniently placed in my hometown, Hong Kong. I can’t go into the specifics of how they recruited me, interview questions, etc because of confidentiality agreements- but it was grueling. 3 rigorous phone-based technical interviews, and one in person technical interview at their headquarters as well as a thorough background check and acquisition of references from every job I’ve ever had. The experience taught me a lot: three new programming languages, enterprise grade code versioning technology, business etiquette in the Asian finance industry and how to effectively make use of the chain of escalation to name a few.

I was hired by an interesting team called Delta One Strategies or “D-1 Strats” for short, they took me out of the internship program and offered me a “temp” classification (more access, more pay, less guidance- essentially). The job of Strategists or “Strats” is fairly complex and broad- in some divisions it requires you to have a working knowledge of stochastic calculus, software engineering and financial engineering and more often is usually some combination of the three. Thankfully though, our team was only looking for software engineers with the willingness to learn a little about finance. The main responsibilities of our team was to make sure that all firm systems were working, the traders were getting the data they needed, servers were running, create new data functions and streams on request of clients and traders, and write software applications to mitigate risk and reduce inefficiency. Working at a big corporation is nothing like you’ve ever done before. They have a dedicated team of IT floor support technicians for every single floor of the office, a 24 hour internal global IT helpdesk, thousands of quality assurance and production management specialists and airtight security in every single aspect of their process- whether it be physical access to offices, virtual access to software systems and remote access.

While I’m not really allowed to talk about most of the work I did there, I can say that Morgan Stanley is definitely one of the most technically advanced banks in the world. They spend over US$4 billion on IT and technology per year, many see Morgan Stanley as more of a tech company than a finance company. They were after all the underwriters to some of the biggest tech IPOs in history: Facebook, Google, Netflix. Apple, and Cisco- to name a few! As an employee of the firm though, it really shows- the folder structure looks the same on every single machine, worldwide. They have a firmwide directory website that hooks into the phones and dealerboards. All the technology I was working on, was on the cutting edge. HTML5 websocket servers, push technology all the latest frameworks licensed, vetted, modified and ready to use. Firm systems in place for any possible request you might have: they even have a special web portal for requesting modifications to your chair. Their teams are extremely dedicated and really embody their culture. They are a very client-centric business. If a client requests something just as someone is about to leave the office, they will stay for however long it takes to ensure the client’s needs are met. Production outages are addressed in minutes. If someone at MS makes a mistake (like booking a trade a few minutes later than expected), they make sure to “do good” on the client and pay for the cost of the mistake.

My role was to build software to support the needs of the traders on our desk. Our desk dealt with “Equity Swaps” in the Institutional Equities Division. Essentially this is the process by which a hedge fund or institution that wanted exposure to a particular stock, could ask Morgan Stanley to purchase the stock, and if the stock price rose, Morgan Stanley would give them the profit, if it fell, they would pay the shortfall. Essentially, all this stock is just sitting there, and so other divisions are free to trade it away or lend it to other brokers. Anyways, I digress- I was contracted to build internal use only software, essentially the purpose of all the products I build was to mitigate day-to-day risk and reduce inefficiency. I would come into the office at 7am (more like 8, but I would try really hard to make it by 7!), and write code till about 11am, then have a progress review meeting with my team, then grab lunch (they had an awesome cafeteria that overlooked Hong Kong’s famous skyline – I once invited like 12 friends up there, heh!) After lunch I’d continue to work until around 7pm. Though, about two thirds of the time, I stayed till around 10pm because work was piling up and it had to be done. My weeks were typically around 80-105 hours long. This was relatively expected considering work culture in Asia along with the general intensity of working for an investment bank. One of my friends from high school was doing a very different internship at the same time for the investment banking division (it was really odd running into him in the café!), he was working as an administrative assistant doing things like cataloging receipts, and his desk of bankers would be working ridiculous hours like 9am-3am.

I made friends with a lot of really amazing people. My boss was a ridiculously intelligent Russian executive director with masters degrees in computer science and economics from Columbia. He started at Morgan Stanley New York over a decade ago, and was chosen to lead up a Strats team in Hong Kong. He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, the other teams would refer people with questions to him because “he knows everything”. His boss and the rest of our team went out together a few times- and wow. The managing director of division took us out to an incredibly fancy, secret restaurant in the middle of a deserted bank. You weren’t allowed in without a suit or in formal attire, and it was essentially a very big set of apartments, each apartment had a dining table with over 20 seats, a restroom and a personal butler. He paid over US$5,000 for over 20 of us to have an 8 course Chinese meal and drinks. They treated me like an equal, asked me where I was studying, what I was studying- etc. I made friends with a vice president who was visiting from Japan who had a house here in Irvine. After the dinner, he took us to one of the fanciest bars in the area, a place called Sevva. Smack in the middle of the financial district, high rise buildings surrounded us. He ordered multiple rounds of drinks for the 20 of us (the legal drinking age in Hong Kong is 18, I’m not breaking any laws! :)) my colleagues and I got a little… for a lack of a better word… wasted. That’s when I became close friends with my British colleague, a really smart guy that wrote some of the machine-learning based automatic trading algorithms (MSET) in Japan. He was invited to work on the Strats team a year ago, he was juggling work and starting his own two side businesses. Finally, my “mentor” at MS was a very intelligent Frenchman, he taught me bash, Q and how to use Perforce, as well as helped me with personal issues I had while I was working. I had a rather complex living arrangement, and for a weekend had nowhere to stay, he helped me arrange firm housing and gave me time to leave during the day to go deal with that.

I had an amazing time working for Morgan Stanley- the team, the atmosphere, the amzing offices and the amazing pay 😉 It was a lot of fun and taught me a lot of new tech as well as a lot about finance.

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Welcome to ICS Student Council


ALL ICS Students • Weekday/Time Mondays 4:00pm – 5:00pm • ICS 432

WHY: We all know the ICS Community is more divided than it should be! It’s hard to figure out what’s going on in ICS. So, to bring us all together and make sure that things like ICS Day and Reverse Career Fair are lasting, we’re changing this group!

Everyone is welcome to participate!

Our Mission

To improve student life of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences academically, socially, and professionally by creating and deepening the bonds between students, faculty, administration, companies, and alumni of the ICS School as well as similar groups outside of the Information and Computer Sciences.

Our Vision

We believe that through a strong community, we will enhance the quality of student life and ensure great jobs for students of all majors and minors within the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science by:

  • Understanding, disseminating, and contributing to departmental decisions including curriculum, research, and hiring decisions
  • Creating a network of alumni which will provide students with opportunities to grow while in school, and opportunities after graduation to leverage that growth
  • Provide one another with tools and opportunities to become the most competitive technical experts in the world
  • Developing nontechnical skills such as leadership, team building, and advocacy outside of the classroom that will ultimately determine success in the rest of our careers
  • Informing students about the immense opportunities that are available on the UC Irvine campus, in the neighboring community, and throughout the world
  • Creating partnerships between the academics of our campus and the related industries

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ICS Day 2015 Recap Video

ICS Day 2015 was on Thursday, May 21st, 2015.

Please click the following video to see the excitement of this year’s event. 

Official Site: ICSDAY.COM

Due to the storm coming in at the end of this week, we decided that it would be best to move ICS Day to next Thursday, May 21st. It will be at the same time/location (ICS Plaza, 10AM – 4PM). This is because of our high dependency on electrical equipment in an outdoor environment, and for safety precautions due to rain and strong winds.

What is ICS Day!

Remember dunk tanking Professor Shannon Alfaro? Like the cool demos showcasing awesome tech (that are unavailable to us poor students)? ICS Day 2015 is bringing all of that back and more! ICS Student Council, ACM, MAISS, VGDC, and WICS are proud to present one of the biggest ICS events — back for a third year, ICS Day celebrates the awesome field of Information and Computer Science!

We will have food, drinks, performances, coding competitions, a selfie booth, sweet raffle prizes, and more!

The first 150 people at the event will get food if they sign in and request a food wristband.

The first 200 people to RVSP and attend will be guaranteed a free t-shirt, but we cannot guarantee the shirt size!

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google hacks

Google@UCI & ICSSC Present Google WebHacks

Google WebHacks (24-hour hackathon) is coming THIS SATURDAY @ 9am.


Presented by Google@UCI & ICS Student Council, participants will have 24 hours to create a web platform based application that utilizes various Google technologies, from Google Apps Script to the Go programming language.

This is the perfect opportunity for those interested in web development and Google technologies to learn and build something new!

WHAT: Google WebHacks
WHEN: Sat. Feb. 28 (9:00am) – Sun. Mar. 1 (9:00am)
WHERE: 5151 California Avenue Suite # 100, Irvine CA

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Week 10: Lessons

HELLO ICS SCHOOL & everyone else that’s reading these,

How much I miss these editorial style blogs since the days of my high-school Edit0r-in-Chief years. These past 10 weeks, for me, were really difficult as President of ICS Student Council. We certainly had our peak events — Reverse Career Fair and Med AppJam — thrive and saw an improvement but it was surprisingly insane how much time juggling needed to go on. Between school, job, interviews, girlfriend, home, life, this quarter was definitely the boss-level that everyone loves to finish and beat.

I think I beat it, but I’m beat myself.

You know the moment when you think that everything is falling apart, when you’re not sleeping well and waking up feeling restless, and suddenly you realize that all the pieces are falling in place. After months of work, things are settling in. I experienced this over and over and over again with ICS Student Council. Case in point we worked on Med AppJam since July and yet the night before the judging ceremony, Stephanie and I were up ’til 11:00pm frantically trying to get last minute details done. How is it possible to be working on an event for 3 months and still not have everything covered? I don’t think it was bad planning, I think it was passion and excitement to flawlessly lead a great event. In order to keep sanity, you have to balance perfection with reality. The big day came and everything panned out fantastically and we had great reaction yet again from the audience and the participants. Then the feeling sets in: the unexplained reason that justifies all the countless worries that you’ve had trying to make something happen.

That’s why I’m in ICS Student Council: I love that feeling. And I have my board members and the ICSSC general members to thank for that feeling. Thank you Adrian, Austin, Dalton, Franklin, Phil, Will, and especially Stephanie. Without all of you ICS Student Council would literally collapse!

Happy Holidays everyone, kick butt on finals, and see you all in 2015!

All the best,

Delian Petrov

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Week 9: The Calm Before the Storm

Hello everyone!
It’s week 9, and you know what that means…


(kind of)


All jokes aside, I hope your turkey day went well! But now we’re in a weird place – the limbo between recovering from food comas and empty wallets (Cyber Monday isn’t over yet and I just ordered a bunch of stuff from Amazon oh no..) and the panic of finals. With the quarter winding down, I wanted to reflect a little on how the quarter went, and share some things with you that I have discovered along the way.


This quarter was probably one of the toughest for me, in terms of workload. Between ICS Student Council, work, research, and classes, I barely had any time for myself. I thought I was finally getting a hang of my time management, and looking back on this quarter (and looking toward the next two weeks), I’ve realized that I still don’t know how to properly manage my time, leading to a lot of sleepless nights and stressful days. There have been many times throughout the quarter where I would just ask myself, “why are you doing all of this?” And today, I have my answer. But let me tell you something else first.


One of the questions I’ve asked myself constantly, from last year (when I joined ICSSC) to now is this – why do I want to play a role in ICSSC? Why do I attend the weekly meetings and participating in putting on these (amazing) events? There aren’t any direct incentives to participating in ICSSC – there’s no academic credit, no money (although putting ICS Student Council on your resume does catch an employer’s eye sometimes). So why?


Here’s my answer: because student council constantly challenges me to become a better leader, student, professional, and individual. I’ll admit, I didn’t even notice these things until recently. The anxiety I used to have when sending e-mails to companies and professors, my inability to talk and be myself around new people – these are all gone (well, mostly). I can honestly say that ICS Student Council has given me skills that I will use for the rest of my life. I’ve also met amazing people that encourage me and make me want to become better.


So when you are studying for finals and stressing about your grades, I just want to remind you that everything you are doing and everything you are going through is going to help you become a better version of you. Oh, and you know how I said earlier how I suck at time management? Well, I’m getting better at it each day.


Wow, this has been an extremely cheesy post. You might be wondering – how does this apply to you? Well, as ICS students, I’d like to think that we have a secret advantage – we can make our ideas come to life, sometimes almost instantaneously. Do you want to learn a new programming language? Make your own website? Become the CEO of a startup? Do something amazing?


Go. Do it.
But maybe start studying for your finals first.

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The Week 8 Relive; A Day in the Life of a Treasurer

Wow… Eight weeks in…

We get a half week (whether it is good or bad, that is up to you).

Quarter is almost over… (That means finals… but also Winter Holiday!)

Thanksgiving marks a 4-day weekend (and shopping sprees!)…

Cyber Monday is right after… (Got to get those gaming computer parts super cheap!)


And looking back, we here at ICS have done so much!


As treasurer, I oversee a lot of fund movement. Though it seems that my job is easy, I’ve been working over the summer about our Fall events to ensure ICSSC’s perfectly planned. And I have to say, thus far, we’ve done pretty well. But this is where you (as someone involved, or wanting to get involved with ICS clubs) can take a good look at ICS through my eyes. (more…)

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