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DE Shaw/Two Sigma/PDT Partners

Quick question about firms like this... is it possible to get a front office job at one of these places from an MFE program and eventually rise up the ranks to PM/senior trader, or do they only take PhDs at these places? I know that it isn't in my best interest to pursue a PhD solely to try and get a job at one of these three places or ones like them (even maybe a place like Renaissance, which obviously is the longest shot in the world) but I'm trying to assess my options for the future.

Comp is certainly one consideration (I know that these firms pay extremely handsomely) but I also believe that I would enjoy working at one of these places much more than many other quant heavy finance jobs.

Any advice or input is appreciated.

Thanks!
 
Firstly, I'd probably change PDT Partners for Citadel, Renaissance Technologies, Jane Street. Not saying they're not good, just never heard about them before, which signals something.

Secondly, to answer your question. It is possible yet highly unlikely to get into these firms without doing a Ph.D. I'd say in general there are two ways to do so.
a) Your profile would need to be incredibly strong, something like double major from Stanford/Harvard in CS and Math + lot of extracurricular activities and multiple internships in top firms (Google, Goldman, etc.). Something of that sort, but with profile like this you'd never be looking to attend a MFE program.
b) Get couple of years of professional experience elsewhere and try to switch. But again, this means experience from some place that most people would already deem great (other HF's, top IB's, and tech firms), not just any place. MFE might help you get the first position where you can build up your skillset.

Of course there are going to be some exceptions, but that's what they are - exceptions. As you said it yourself, most people in these companies are hired after doing their Ph.D. I'd say the probability of getting into places like these directly after MFE (any MFE - Baruch, CMU, Columbia, Berkeley...) is very close to zero. Like literally, don't bring your hopes up thinking you'll be the lucky one - you won't. MFE degrees simply don't give you advanced enough skills/research capabilities these companies are looking for.
 
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