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Does a 3.47 who loves quant get a chance?

Hello Quantnet People,

My name is Donny, a junior math major. Last semester was a career discovery process for me. I took 4 classes, attended careers fair, read tons of forums and articles, and I've made up my mind: I want to be a Quant ideally after my Undergrad. Be it the money, the utilization of math, the coolness, I'm making an inform decision. I DON'T want M&A, Private Equity, Wealth Management, I WANT quant.

So here I am humbly seeking the honest opinion of those helpful advisors in this forum. Here is where I stand.

Math / CompSci major from top 10 USnews.com school. (Not MIT, Stanford, Harvard).
3.47 GPA, Math about there. CompSci a little higher. (Yeah, I know this is the worst part).
Internationally recognized website teaching math.
Only a 2010 Math Modeling Contest Honorable Mention.
One summer internship involving Algorithmic trading, based in Singapore (but not too advance).
The academic stuff which I know won't show up on resume: A dozen or so Grad level classes: I know Stochastic Classes, Asymptotic Analysis, Functional Analysis, Distributed Algorithms and Quantum Information.
I would say intermediate C++, Matlab and Java. I can multithread.

I have three semesters to bring up resume up to par and I always have this impression that these Quants are always something special, Putnam winners, 3.8+ people, worked at technological firms Google and Apple. In fact, I recall once a picture Quantnet.com put up showcasing the ideal Quant. Well, I'm none of that. So as it stands, I'm far from that league and my possible options: 1. Improve GPA, 2. Enter the end of year math competition, 3. Write an iPhone App and 4. Mysteriously get an Erdos number of 4.

Given the parameters of the problem: What is it that I can do? I am sure of this though: I'm ready to put in all my effort in this one shot and that means no girls, no alcohol, damn no Facebook but occasional Starcraft 2.
Lol Yeah, what Alex K. said. The new so called geeks/quants can balance a career and a social life. People don't seem to understand that having people skills is just as important as being able to do quantitative analysis. If you really want it, it doesn't matter what GPA you have or where you went to school at you can get there. Just be prepared to work a little harder than everyone else. Best of luck.
I think anybody has a low chance of getting into a strong/pure quant finance role right after undergrad; your best bet here would be something through your internship.

I think you need to decide whether you would accept any job in finance, will go to grad school, or work a big tech company as you mentioned.

Life balance is important, but I think you need to be able to focus and perform at or near a level of having no life. Have a social life and enjoy life but have your priorities set and perform at a high caliber.

I think you have a pretty strong profile.

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
What's the school?

GPA and background are important, but they mainly serve to give you a resume, which in turn serves only to give you a shot at the interview.

Once you get a shot at the interview, I believe your passion and ability to talk about the business will get you in. I probably had a weaker profile (debatable depending on what school you went to) when I first started applying and still got interviews. What I flubbed at the start was knowing enough to be considered really interested in the field.
Maybe the slimmest of chances ...

Hello. Thanks for your prompt responses. I thought its protocol not to disclose such details, but to add fuel to the discussion, it's one of UChicago, New York University or Duke. Many people has been telling me that MSc is the usual route. However, I don't really have US$50k to shell and I thought Undergrad -> 2 years of work -> MSc would be more ideal.

I do make up for that by trying to take the classes in my school which are equivalent to a years of MSc namely - Stochastic Calculus, Numerical Analysis, Functional Analysis, and relevant CompSci, say Algorithms. I too have ventured into the Econ department by taking such Eng.Fin classes, ones like "Financial Risk Management". The rest comes from maybe beefing up my multithreading in C++ and read Hull's books on options.

Yike, thanks for your brief profile. At least it gives me some assurance that I do have a chance, albeit small, even if say I'm not the top 5% math talent in the US. I have been thinking this career path through and through and yes, I understand that the interview is important and I somewhat think my enthusiasm will show. I guess the question is what I need to do in my last three semesters to assure me a place in the interview room.

Oh and guys, I'm thinking of DEShaw, Getco or Two Sigma. I know the expectations are high. But if I can't, even after saying no to girls for my next three semesters and possibly hitting a 3.68, then may I should change my approach.

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
I can't comment on the elite specialist quant firms, as there's generally little data on them to draw conclusions from. On the other hand, you'd have a good shot at a bank.

I have no idea why you wouldn't include your classes on a resume. As an undergrad or recent graduate, your education is your biggest asset. Your internship is a big plus as well.

Compared to my profile about a year ago, those two things (specific classes, internship) in addition your enthusiasm are major pluses I did not have.

Your GPA for your school might be a bit low, but it's very hard to compare. It all depends on how much the person viewing your resume knows about the school and how they view GPA overall. Still your absolute GPA is higher than my undergrad.

Your absolute commitment to quant coupled with your refusal to accept any other type of position is a very good selling point at an interview. It might go something like this "I'm smart enough to do M&A, PE, etc etc... but what I really want to do is {whatever you envision yourself doing in your ideal quant job}."

Eugene Krel

"I want to be a Quant ideally after my Undergrad"

In all honesty, if that were a realistic goal you probably would not be asking for comments here.

On the other hand I don't know you so you shouldn't take things I say to heart.