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Career changer - Second Master’s?

As the title states, I am a mathematics teacher at a local community college in my mid-30s. I would like to attempt a career change into becoming a quantitative analyst. I currently have a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from mid-tier state schools and my B.S. concentration was in mathematical statistics. However, my M.S. is focused on Math Education so I’m seriously considering going back for a second Master’s to increase my skillset. The three programs I’m looking at are:

1. Johns Hopkins - Applied and Computational Mathematics
This is what I’m most interested in as it would allow me to take more coursework in Stochastics as well as finance-related courses like Optimization for Finance. It does, however, worry me that it sounds almost identical to my previous Master’s on paper. Thesis option is available.

2. Georgia Tech - Computer Science
This would probably look the best in terms of degree title and school pedigree and would allow me to focus on machine learning. The lack of focus on programming skills worries me, even though that is to be expected from a theory-based program. Thesis option is available.

3. UPenn - MCIT
This is essentially a BS in CS with some advanced coursework, but would be the easiest way to get my object oriented programming skills up to par (I only know Python). No thesis option. The big plus side to this is that it gives me the ability to fall back into a software developer job if I can’t find a quant job.

I realise these are three distinctly different programs, but I’m unsure as to which one would provide the best boost to my resume. Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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I Would contact some people in mfe programs who are in there 30’s or higher and talk to them about there experience. Getting into quant finance at the age is very difficult but an mfe is a good way to do it. Maybe @Onegin can give more insight ?
 
Thanks @Michsund !
1. What’s your current location?
2. Are you attending part time / full time? I guess everything is online now. . .
3. What are some of the reasons you’d like to be in quantitative finance?
4. What kind of role are you looking for? Quant is a generic term that covers a lot

Answer as much or as little as you like, though whatever little utility I can provide in the response scales accordingly.
 
Thanks, @Onegin
1. I'm an American living in the US
2. I'll be attending part-time so that I can use my job to pay for tuition
3. My original plan after finishing my undergrad degree was to go into finance but then I started teaching and that just sort of clicked for me. I still consider myself a financial hobbiest - I've read (and yes, understood) Hull, Stefanica, Baz/Chacko, Crack, etc. and want to at least give the career move a shot as I am no longer intellectually challenged by my current job.
4. I think with my background and interests, I'd do best in a researcher role. However, if I can get my programming skills up to par, financial engineering might be a good fit.

From what I've read, I don't think a MFE would be the best choice for me is it is a bit too multidisciplinary. I believe that, already having a pretty solid statistical background, I would be better served by expanding my CS skills and go into a FE role or dig a bit deeper into time-series analysis, stochastics, and game theory and becoming a researcher/analyst. Another problem I have with the MFE is that it severely limits my backup options. If this doesn't pan out the I'd want the freedom to work as a software dev or move into a math or CS Ph.D. program.

To sum it up, life is short, 35 is not that old, and why not try to pursue something I'm interested in?
 
Ah, I should have realized that. I don't want to be too specific, but think about as far away from any money center as one could possibly get. There are a few banks in my town and the oil industry just collapsed which is going to take a lot of other jobs with it (finance-related and otherwise). I could go somewhere for an internship next summer though.
 
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Got it. Thank you. It’s not obvious to me that MFE is your best bet, either.

Money center- Chicago, NY, Boston, and kind of San Francisco / and almost LA are where most of the roles are at, both sell side and buy side. They’re not hurting for candidates - at the moment- the top 5 programs churn out 500+, and the next 10 probably crank out another 1000 students a year. Most are straight out of undergrad, predominantly internationals 90-95% for most programs. The students are sharp, savy, and honestly help me to realize how much I overestimated my capabilities.

There are two main paths - sell side and buy side. Sell side hires a lot more by volume, the top candidates go to quant trading desks, with next tier being risk / analytics roles. Screening is largely through online programming exams, with intense math Olympiad style brain teaser questions. This will be a difficult sell for you, since they tend to really like their standard hiring process. If you’re not willing to move to a money center, then these are pretty much out unless you get a risk kind of job in Charlotte or something similar.

Next group are the proprietary trading shops, many of which are in Chicago. These are market making firms, and frankly, seem like a hell of a lot of fun. Competition is pretty fierce - kind of an eat what you kill culture at some of the shops but the people are incredibly interesting and intense. Some shops are even quite nice. Pedigree of school seems important here - they take the top undergrads (who couldn’t get an internship at google) from the Ivy League, and a few of the top students from each of the top MFEs.

There’s a lot of commodities trading down south, though most of it is operational rather than pure finance. Targeting a Cargill in MN or one of the majors in Texas could be a good foot in the door here. You’d really need to have a lot of the sto cal from the MFE to make it work. I don’t know how competitive you’d be.

The Buyside is the next area, these jobs pay more but tend to have fewer hires, harder screening. Quant hedge funds are kind of the promised land, but many of these focus on PhD hires or top students from masters programs. Two sigma, DE Shaw, RenTech, etc. super competitive. Next are the asset managers, also great career path but mostly located in money centers. PGI in Iowa, DFA in Austin, are a few of the main exceptions.

The deteriorating relations between US and China and coronavirus issues complicating international student visas would potentially work in your favor. That’s a travesty - and will hurt the industry- but that’s a topic for another thread.

Finance is a weird field - it involves money, and trust, so the best way to get into the industry is to already have a job in the industry. Next best way is to graduate from a feeder school. The challenge is the career change is quite drastic, and “I’m bored with my current job” isn’t going to cut it. The fact that you’ve done as much independent work as you have counts in your favor - better still if you’ve done trading.

Maybe consider networking with people in the area you want to live who are doing similar work. Hop on linked in, set up some phone calls, and find out what they need. A degree alone probably won’t do it- you’ll likely need some kind of experience. Maybe consider a data science program, in addition to or in lieu of comp sci.

In terms of after school, perhaps a local pension fund or endowment? CFA program would help you here - gov’t / quasi gov’t orgs love their certifications. They are everywhere, and might be a solution to your aversion to money centers.

The teaching angle is kind of interesting; maybe TIAA-CREF would be a target.

Or even consider a strategist role, one which would benefit from your presenting / teaching expertise.

If you are interested in a career change, maybe consider ripping the band aid off earlier and going full time. With 1-2 years in school, you’ll (hopefully) be coming out right as this shit storm starts to clear.

I hope this is useful. Sorry if it’s a bit rambling- I wasn’t sure what level of resolution would be most useful for you.
 
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