• C++ Programming for Financial Engineering
    Highly recommended by thousands of MFE students. Covers essential C++ topics with applications to financial engineering. Learn more Join!
    Python for Finance with Intro to Data Science
    Gain practical understanding of Python to read, understand, and write professional Python code for your first day on the job. Learn more Join!
    An Intuition-Based Options Primer for FE
    Ideal for entry level positions interviews and graduate studies, specializing in options trading arbitrage and options valuation models. Learn more Join!

Current Undergrad Math/Acccounting -> Need Insight

Hello all,

After lurking for a while, I just signed up so I can further soak up some of the wealth of knowledge on this site. I'm currently an undergraduate mathematics and accounting dual major with CGPA 3.96 and Major GPA 4.0 I was hoping I could get some advice/wisdom in regards to what degrees, internships, and/or post-graduate degrees I should be setting my sights on.

To keep this short and to the point, my ideal career paths are as follows (in order of most desirable)
1) IB Analyst (BB sell side)
2) Equities Analyst (buy-side)
3) Trading/HF/VC (all equally desirable at this level)
4) Accountant (my "safe" option, guaranteed a position but this is my LAST choice)

I most prefer to land a good internship/entry-level position in the above fields before doing post-grad. I definitely WILL go to grad school, but do not want to go too early so as to keep myself from becoming over-educated and under-experienced.

I'm considering two post-grad degree routes. One being an MFE, or similar, from any top school. The other being Master's in Public Accounting from UT-Austin only.

Which of the two routes would you most recommend for me, given my desired career paths? (I'm near equally interested in sell-side and buy-side) Sorry if I'm coming across a bit naive, but I'll never get anywhere without asking questions! Thanks!
 
In my opinion your choice of majors doesn't align with your career goals. You don't need math or accounting major for 1,2, or 3 and I think you would be better off doing a double major in finance and economics (math minor wouldn't hurt).

Becoming an accountant is the safe option but you don't need to major in it. Big 4 accounting firms are currently hurting for people badly and will hire people with finance degrees. Besides if you wanted to go this route later you could just get a masters in accounting; no need to do it at the undergrad level.

I don't know if an MFE is the best or only option for 1 and 2. Seems like you could do equally well or better with an MBA or MSF.
 
MFE degree has very little with your 1,2,3 points. They are not the traditional roles that MFE types end up doing.

Forgive me for being misguided then, but then what exactly are MFE graduates shooting for career-wise?

When I glanced at job placements, I noticed almost all of the positions were at BB investment banks, in trading, or in equities research. And from lurking on here, some people argue that most MFE's are shooting for jobs in trading.
 
In my opinion your choice of majors doesn't align with your career goals. You don't need math or accounting major for 1,2, or 3 and I think you would be better off doing a double major in finance and economics (math minor wouldn't hurt).

Becoming an accountant is the safe option but you don't need to major in it. Big 4 accounting firms are currently hurting for people badly and will hire people with finance degrees. Besides if you wanted to go this route later you could just get a masters in accounting; no need to do it at the undergrad level.

I don't know if an MFE is the best or only option for 1 and 2. Seems like you could do equally well or better with an MBA or MSF.

I do agree with you that an accounting degree is not necessary to land a job in accounting. And neither math or accounting would necessarily be needed for trading, but I definitely do think that they are good for both IB and for buy-side analysts. Just glancing at profiles of some IB analyst's, many only have undergrad degrees in accounting. Also, most of the quant summer programs/fellowships I have seen from buy-side firms require one to have taken at least 24+ hours of mathematics courses (calculus, linear algebra, probability, etc.), so how can a math degree not be usual in that case?
 
Regarding the profiles you looked at: When did they get into IB? Because right now things aren't so good and its a rough spot to get into. What school did they go to?

I double majored in finance and accounting and the only worthwhile accounting class for analysts beyond the intro in my opinion would be equity valuation. The more senior level accounting classes are generally more targeted to future CPA candidates, and accounting becomes more about specific little rules then anything.

You say now that the quant programs you looked at require math but in your original post you don't mention wanting a quant career at all. Math would be useful for trading but I don't think would help much in 1,2 or 3. Do you want a quant or non-quant finance career?

It's always been my understanding that the "traditional" path into IB has been through an Ivy MBA.
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
Stephen, I think you're confusing terms.

An IB Analyst... is not a quant and the work usually requires no higher math. A quant working at an investment bank is for the most part not an IB Analyst. Quants in banks usually are programmers, model validation, risk management, derivatives traders, structuring analysts.

"Equities Analyst" is by and large not a "quant", and again usually requires no higher math. Buy-side quants typically are programmers, model validation, risk, algo traders, model builders.

Trading is too broad a term and the normal connotation is not quant trading (algorithmic, systematic etc) but rather discretionary at a BB or HF. VC is not quant at all.
 
Top