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Can Chemical Engineers become quants?

So, I'm currently attending the University of Maryland with an expected graduation date in Spring 2011.

I'm majoring in Chemical Engineering and Economics with a minor in Statistics. I have ample programming experience along with - what I think is - a great sense of logic. All my life I knew I wanted to go into the financial industry. I've already decided that after college, after a year or two, that I'd get my MFE or equivalent. But my question is...


...will people see Chemical Engineering and say "WTF are you doing here?" I've taken Diff Eq and Linear Algebra and will take a whole host of Statistics courses. I'm majoring in Chemical Engineering because its something I find interesting. I don't think I could go through college majoring in EE or CE (no offense to the EE's and the CE's out there). Though I find it interesting, I don't think I could do it and do it well, if you catch my drift.


Sorry for the rambling, I'm new to all this.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
and why do you want to get into finance? Why are you majoring in Chemical Eng if you want to go into finance eventually? If you are graduating in 2011, you're probably a freshman, right? So, why not angle your career in that direction? What kind of finance do you want to do?

BTW, all the good chemical engineers I know make good money... and all of them are in high demand.
 
There is no major barrier to enter quantitative finance. Lawyers, musicians, actors, athletes, history majors have made it here.
You find CE interesting. You find FE interesting. You may find something else interesting along the way. My advice is to take as much courses as you can in finance, get some relevant internship in the field, talk to friends and people working in the industry to figure out where you want to be in this career.
The finance industry is going through a very difficult transformation so I think you should keep your options open. The landscape may look very different when you graduate.
 
and why do you want to get into finance? Why are you majoring in Chemical Eng if you want to go into finance eventually? If you are graduating in 2011, you're probably a freshman, right? So, why not angle your career in that direction? What kind of finance do you want to do?

BTW, all the good chemical engineers I know make good money... and all of them are in high demand.

I'm actually a Junior who, due to regulations in the ChemE department, has to dual-degree if I want to have Econ - thus, 150 credits = 5 years.

I'm taking a very financial track in my Econ major, rather than a purely theoretical one. Further, I'm I've taken whatever Business courses I can (I cannot go past Principles of Accounting II due to restrictions by the business school).

Why am I doing ChemE? Something to fall back on. Like Andy said, the market is changing. My goal is to try and get an MFE and work for a large bank, but if that doesn't pan out - or a few years down the road I realize its not for me, I got something to take care of me.

I do have an internship with Morgan Stanley which I had the last two summers, dealing primarily with taxation of hedge funds (and can put my programming skills to use with automation of Excel). I'm hoping to leverage it to something that I directly want to deal with (i.e. trading) so it's not like I'm not piloting without a point of reference.
Thank you very much for the info though :)
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
yzia seems to have a well hedged strategy.

However, if he wants to be a quant, then you need to do more of the "theoretical" Econ courses, since they contain more of the maths and concepts used in quant work.

That's a trade off, since Accounting II is more useful in the general market, just less useful as a quant. A chem engineer who can do accounting I can see as a useful combination in industry. Long time since I worked as a chemist working out how to get gold to stick to Teflon.

An alternate path is as an equity analyst, but I guess you've seen that ?
Currently that market is dead as a Creationist's brain but some of my friends have made real money that way. It will come back in the next boom, and no, I don't know when that will be.

I guess you ought to think about taking some bullshit course as well to complete your hedge. Something with "environment" in the name since the ability to waffle about green issues is going to be valuable to chemists.
 
I guess my definition of "theoretical" Econ courses is wrong. I'm taking the ones that have a lot math background in them. Our Econ department here at MD is very expansive in the sense that there are pure theory courses and then math courses. However, I am taking some pure theory courses, so I'm not going in close-minded I suppose.

Equity analyst is also a possiblity. Ideally, I'd like to work on a trade floor for a few years before becoming a quant - is this recommended? Either that or doing Investment Banking for Alternative Energies or Chemical companies. Frankly, with the majors I have chosen, my options don't seem limited.


As for a class for the "environment"....how's "Chemical Engineering Processes and the Enviromental Impact of Hydrocarbons" sound? ;)


Thanks for the info :)
 
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