Diego’s valiant journey from Biochemistry, MBA to Investing

6 min read

19+ Years professional experience at the age of 40, a Biochemist by profession to getting into Algorithmic trading, to being a founder of an investment firm, Diego has paved the way to his success.

Today, we are happy to bring you the journey of EPATian, and the Certificate of Excellence holder of the Executive Programme in Algorithmic Trading (EPAT), Diego Collaziol. Starting his career working in labs, rising to the General Manager position, travelling, working for an NGO, to now being a part of this rapidly growing domain of trading, his is a story that inspires and motivates.

We connected with him over a call, and this is how the discussion went.

Hi Diego, tell us about yourself?

diego collaziol photo

I’m Diego Collaziol, I’m 40 and originally from Brazil. I was living in Argentina but I moved back recently. I used to work as a Biochemist as I'm a (Pharmacy/Biochemist by profession. After 15 of working in laboratories doing roles like genetic analysis, food analysis or quality management in Labs, I decided to take a year off.

I travelled to Nepal and Southeast Asia. I met my wife in Nepal, we moved back to Argentina and that’s when I decided to change my career and start trading. I wanted to give up on the laboratory and corporate set-up and focus solely on trading. I made the shift to trading in 2016.

How did you go from Biochemistry, MBA to now Investing?

I started as a lab technician implementing GMO analysis for crops, back in 2002. GMO in Brazil was starting and there were no labs that did it back then. It was licensed in PCR technology from a lab in the USA. I was responsible for implementing the tech in the lab. I later got moved into quality management and went into the corporate finance department.

I stayed with the same company for 15 years which can be odd for millennials who change jobs every year or so. The lab was bought by a multinational European Company and I was invited to become the Business Unit Manager. I was in that role for 3 years.

I left my job in 2015, took a year off and went with a non-profit organisation called “All-hands” to Nepal after the earthquake. I lived in Nepal for 7-8 months working with a non-profit organization. I decided to trade when I was done with that job.

I used to invest with hedge funds and mutual funds in Brazil, but around 2016, I decided to trade for myself. Around a year and a half ago, I decided to set up my own firm, Nuna Muru Investments. I didn’t want to go back to the corporate world so I started trading with my own capital and it has lasted until now.

I never learnt about trading before I started, as I was focused on other things. I just decided to start and began to like the process. Initially, I started with highly discretionary trading, some fundamental and technical analysis.

I started to like trading. So, I decided to invest in my trading education and started learning on the internet and reading every book I could find on trading, portfolio management and risk. It was never my childhood plan to trade. I just started, enjoyed the process, and kept on doing it.

I am an avid reader. I used to read 2-3 books a week. I used to read biographies, technical stuff, anything I could get my hands on. I really like to read. It is important to read books because getting the basics and the broader inversion of the subject matter really helps you make important connections.

From QuantInsti’s blogs to EPAT - how did that happen?

I was always curious about algos when I started trading. I thought it would be great to program a robot and they do everything for you. No more sitting in front of the screen for hours on end.

One thing I liked for a long time was programming. I never got a chance to learn how to code. It was a latent wish of mine to program.

So, I tried to learn algo trading online through books and videos, but it was complicated. One website tells me one thing and another website tells me something completely different.

These internet guides were missing the framework, the broader perspective. I could never really get deep enough to algo trade professionally.

I wasn't specifically looking for EPAT or an algo trading programme.

  • I was randomly Googling for something and found an article on QuantInsti’s blog.
  • I later saw a banner for EPAT that said I can enter my phone number and someone will call me to explain the programme.
  • I put in my number, and someone called me and explained the process, the training, the coding education and guidance to set up an algo trading desk if I wanted to.
  • This sounded perfect to me.
  • I just thought about it for 5 minutes, called back and said “I'm in.”

Everything kind of fell into place like magic after that.

Isn’t time management a challenge for you being a CEO, a full-time parent and a learner? How did you handle it?

Managing a family and a new career and learning Algo trading with EPAT is, honestly, quite hard. The pandemic didn’t make it easier either, with everyone at home 24/7. The EPAT programme by itself is very pleasurable.

The professors were very clear in their approach to teaching and evaluating assignments. It‘s very hard not to learn if you watch the lectures and complete the assignment.

My major issue was organizing my life to find time to participate. Once I figured that out, it was great! I went from 0 coding skills to intermediate skills now. I’m coding things now that I didn't think were possible in the past.

I trade full time through my firm Nuna Muru. I still do discretionary trading but a good part of my trade goes into coding, building strategies, and backtesting. I consolidate everything I learn to finally write a base algo to automate everything and drop discretionary trading.

It’s a work in progress and I'm in the middle of it right now. It’s taking more time than I initially thought, but I think that’s because I had to learn everything from scratch.

According to you, which is the best feature of EPAT?

One key skill EPAT taught me was how to code. It’s very important as it's the foundation of everything else. I’m focusing on machine learning right now. I realized during EPAT that I learnt about the real edge of technology over the field of finance, in the lectures.

I never knew before that ML could be used for trading. It was an eye-opener and I'm really getting into it now. EPAT’s ML section was a pleasant surprise.

The world of algo training is changing very fast. There are new things happening every day. The updated access to the course, technologies and lectures is the best feature I could hope for.

The most important feature of EPAT for me was the lifetime access to the courses and the support team.

With EPAT, I know I'm always covered in the long run. If I ever need to implement new ideas or I have any issues I can just call someone or drop a message on the group and I can find help. This is what, I feel, differentiates EPAT from all the other courses out there.

The EPAT community and the access to lecturers, community of algo traders and the EPAT support staff is the best feature of the entire programme.

Your message to the aspiring Algo Traders out there.

Algo trading depends on where you live. There might be very few algo traders there. I live in Brazil and I guess 90% of the market here is discretionary traders.

Algo is the future and the way things will be done in the future. I advise people to take a chance and pick an algo path if they like trading. It’s a no-brainer that technical and fundamental analysis in a discretionary manner will not exist for long. So, go for it!

It has been great conversing with you Diego, and we’re thankful to you that you chose to share your story with us and with all our readers across the globe. We wish you the best for your future, and safety and good health to you and your family.

The Executive Programme in Algorithmic Trading (EPAT) is a comprehensive course covering topics ranging from Statistics & Econometrics to Financial Computing & Technology including Machine Learning and more. Start your quest to upgrade your knowledge of Algorithmic Trading with EPAT. Check it out here.

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