I now most of the top jobs are in NYC or Chicago for the US, but what are the job prospects for a quant out in Cali? Are there many hedge funds out there? If not the traditional quant role, what would/can someone with a MFE degree do out there?
Also, the roles themselves wouldn't really vary based on the location of the fund. Are you working on an MFE? I'd say with an MFE (or similar), a few options might be:
1. Analyst (possibly working with a PM)
3. Junior trader
4. Quantitative developer (assuming you have strong coding skills and the culture of the firm is such that they will give recent grads a shot)
I basically think there are 3 distinct skills that make a recent grad marketable in the hedge fund world -- quant background, software development skills and knowledge of finance. Of course, you don't have to have all three but it really really helps.
If you have already worked in the hedge fund/IB/trading firm world, most places are very keen to talk to you.
Also note that sometimes you have a better shot with firms that aren't in Chicago/NYC/CT because those areas have a concentration of talent and most funds know they can have their pick. But firms outside those areas are more open and accepting and are more likely to consider you even if you are not a dead-on fit.
In terms of selectiveness, I'd say it goes (from most to least)
3. Rest of the US
That's just my take -- not saying the "Rest of the US" firms are not hiring good people; they are...but at the same time they are willing give more people a shot.
Hope this helps. Let me/us know if you have more questions.
There are utilities, commercial/industrials, airlines, etc that require quants. These companies are all over the place. One of our clients is a large department store that trades energy to hedge their positions around the world. Utilities can have quite complex models that include commodities, weather, emissions, and regulations.