Does my Bachelor's have enough mathematics?

People who write on Quora have nothing else to do, don’t listen to them.

Just try to be the best at what you do, and you’ll have a job or maybe who knows your own hedge fund.
Yes, I don't trust people on Quora that's why I searched for discords and forums related to QF. I found this forum. People have been very helpful here.
Yes, I have 3 years on my hand now all I have to spend is time. Hopefully everything works right. Owning an HF will be something exceptional I would love to experience that.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Yes, I got this info from the movie the Big Short. I don't know how accurate it is but it is one of the first places where I came across the term "quant". People probably think it was the quants' mistake because ig some quants made good money from the crash.
But I have one question. On Quora, people say that the demand for Quants has reduced, and their compensations have reduced after 2008 but by logic, it should have increased right? Although the US labor statistics say by 2030 the demand for Financial engineers will grow by 6%.
Ugh
 
Why is your goal even a Europe only quant finance masters when you're a first year undergrad? Do you want to go into academia (in which case quant finance masters is usually a professional degree to try and place you into a job - not an academic one), or do you want to just solely maximize the size of ur new grad job offer (and you want a masters program to get ur foot in the door in the job market outside of india)?
 
Why is your goal even a Europe only quant finance masters when you're a first year undergrad? Do you want to go into academia (in which case quant finance masters is usually a professional degree to try and place you into a job - not an academic one), or do you want to just solely maximize the size of ur new grad job offer (and you want a masters program to get ur foot in the door in the job market outside of india)?
There are a few reasons I can tell, and no it's not academia at all
1) The job market in India for Quant roles is very small (relatively) and only hire from a small sample space of the IIT CSE grads. The compensation of those not from IITs is not very attractive. From what I understood a Quant job is very mentally draining and I don't want to tolerate the stress and pressure for just peanuts of in-hand salary.
2) From my understanding, the job market demands a master's degree in this field unless you di your bachelor's from a top-notch university already. India doesn't have any top-notch dedicated Quant finance masters program. A master's from Europe has the potential to of course put me into the global market where the compensations are far better while also increasing my value in the Indian market. I believe an employer will value an Imperial guy over any IITian.
3) The reason I want to do a European master's is I want to later settle in Europe and not the US. London being the financial center of Europe makes Imperial my top target.
4) The reason I'm starting out in the first year is that I want to maximize my luck surface area to bag a seat in one of the top programs in the world. Also, I want to start doing internships in my 2nd year and if I don't offer something extra to the employer I will get rejected solely because I'm not from IIT.
(If you are not an Indian you won't understand how biased the whole market is for the IITians).
 
Okay the reason I asked is because I don't know too much about academia outside of one publication and didn't know if you wanted these books just for the sake of learning (which is not a bad thing) or if you wanted to study purely for maximizing your new grad salary. If you're goal is the latter, I can give you insight of what the new grad quant market is looking like right now and clear the misconceptions you have (I had a similiar naive mindset for you when I was an undergrad so I want to help you avoid the rude awakening you're going to get after you graduate). First off, my advice will be in terms of the US quant job market, which I'll just generalize to the Europe quant job market (I doubt there are significant differences though).

1)
4) The reason I'm starting out in the first year is that I want to maximize my luck surface area to bag a seat in one of the top programs in the world.
This is a really good mindset - I wish I grinded harder in first year; it only gets harder the later you start. But I don't think the direction you're going in is right at all if your goal is maximizing your new grad salary

2)
(If you are not an Indian you won't understand how biased the whole market is for the IITians).

Trust me I know, but it's not just the Indian job market that's biased for IITians. At the quant firm I currently work in, all the indian quant researchers (even the interns) are from an IIT. At Princeton Mfin, if you look at their 2023 resume book, again all the indian students are pretty top in their IIT program with quant internships in India. So the honest truth is you're already starting at a pretty big disadvantage, so grinding early is good but just make sure the direction you're going in is right. For example....

I believe an employer will value an Imperial guy over any IITian.

Simply not really true (at least its not true if I replace 'Imperial' with a top 5 MFE program). I reiterate this many times but the weight of your undergrad experience FAR exceeds what a professional masters will do for you. Employers understand the bar to get into these professional masters are typically lower (Princeton, Columbia, CMU undergrad is alot harder to get into for an international student than their MFE programs are), and they understand that MFE students are generally not the students who can get a great quant job straight after undergrad (they want the reason for this to be because of visa issues not because you weren't good enough in undergrad).

In general, I think you're misconceptions are that you think everything will work out and you'll seemlessly land a good quant job if you do well on all the required math prereqs and get into Imperial, but this is really really really not the case. As someone who got a 4.0 in all the relevent math courses in a top 3 school in my country, and has a 4.0+ in a top 5 MFE program, I can safely tell you that recruiting for quant FT positions/internships at a top firm is NOT a cake walk: I won't even get an interview in many of the tier 1 hedge funds. Perfect GPAs and MFEs alone is just not sufficient; that's just the way it is.

Okay so now onto actual advice:
1) I'm not sure how it works in India but can you just transfer to a better more quantitative school lol. Truth is these "online courses", even those offered by top schools, are not a good subsitute. Even if the online course teaches you better than your university does, from the perspective of employers and universities, they don't count as much compared to if you did the course at your university. The reason is that people typically aren't hellbent on getting the highest possible score on an online course, but students care ALOT abt their university courses - some value it even more than their lives (our school had to install nets around)

2)
4) Also, I want to start doing internships in my 2nd year and if I don't offer something extra to the employer I will get rejected solely because I'm not from IIT.
This mindset is very very good. Yes you're at a disadvantage so you need to compete in other ways. Your edge is not going to be your GPA because the same GPA in an IIT will always mean more. Cram as many internships as possible in your undergrad. There are some schools that let their undergrads do 6 internships before they graduate and their students are generally very succesful. But it's not just about quantity of your internships - make sure you're progressively landing a better internship every term. Like maybe start off with a not so well known internship --> for your later internships try landing a spot in a reputable firm in India --> for your final internships try aiming for a reputable firm in the US. This is the most well-established way of getting into a quant firm from the people I know at least. Also your internships don't even have to be in quant, I'd actually suggest aiming for a FAANG: I seen so many people with previous FAANG experience get an interview at quant firms for even QR roles. Yeah this isn't going to be easy but internships should be your MAIN focus - honestly school and grades is important only to the extent of helping you land these internships. Getting your foot in the door is hard but all my friends tell me the hardest part is landing your first quant firm or FAANG, then it becomes much easier from there because you already 'established' yourself

3) I'm not sure if Putnam is offered in India but if you just get a few questions right, you will be head hunted by hedge funds. Getting 2 questions right in putnam is far far more impressive to me than just getting A+s in your undergrad math course. Caveat is putnam is pretty hard though but the value in scoring well in putnam in terms of landing a quant firm is just so high - I know someone who got contacted by HRT for getting several questions right on putnam

4) I really don't think there's much value in reading all these books early. School is honestly pretty easy because everything is solved already - they won't make you solve something that no one has solved before. Like even the hardest questions on our ODE and PDE tests was just to think of a clever transformation to get the equation in a nice form where we already know what the general solution will look like. Also things like real analysis aren't
particular useful imo - like sure it can teach you how to rigorously prove something but at least in my quant firm, you're never really required to prove something with that amount of rigour (there's more emphasis on thinking of clever heuristics). For the foundational courses, I think you should put alot of emphasis on understanding linear algebra really well (alot of stats is just linear algebra, like a regression is just a projection on the column space). The parts of calculus that will be used ALOT later on is taylor expansions, and gradients and hessians. however, in general I think you get more value from spending your effort on things outside of school like landing great internships (ofc your first internship will be dependent on ur school and grades but this will decay in importance as you get more internships), or doing well in putnam.
 
Okay the reason I asked is because I don't know too much about academia outside of one publication and didn't know if you wanted these books just for the sake of learning (which is not a bad thing) or if you wanted to study purely for maximizing your new grad salary. If you're goal is the latter, I can give you insight of what the new grad quant market is looking like right now and clear the misconceptions you have (I had a similiar naive mindset for you when I was an undergrad so I want to help you avoid the rude awakening you're going to get after you graduate). First off, my advice will be in terms of the US quant job market, which I'll just generalize to the Europe quant job market (I doubt there are significant differences though).

1)

This is a really good mindset - I wish I grinded harder in first year; it only gets harder the later you start. But I don't think the direction you're going in is right at all if your goal is maximizing your new grad salary

2)


Trust me I know, but it's not just the Indian job market that's biased for IITians. At the quant firm I currently work in, all the indian quant researchers (even the interns) are from an IIT. At Princeton Mfin, if you look at their 2023 resume book, again all the indian students are pretty top in their IIT program with quant internships in India. So the honest truth is you're already starting at a pretty big disadvantage, so grinding early is good but just make sure the direction you're going in is right. For example....



Simply not really true (at least its not true if I replace 'Imperial' with a top 5 MFE program). I reiterate this many times but the weight of your undergrad experience FAR exceeds what a professional masters will do for you. Employers understand the bar to get into these professional masters are typically lower (Princeton, Columbia, CMU undergrad is alot harder to get into for an international student than their MFE programs are), and they understand that MFE students are generally not the students who can get a great quant job straight after undergrad (they want the reason for this to be because of visa issues not because you weren't good enough in undergrad).

In general, I think you're misconceptions are that you think everything will work out and you'll seemlessly land a good quant job if you do well on all the required math prereqs and get into Imperial, but this is really really really not the case. As someone who got a 4.0 in all the relevent math courses in a top 3 school in my country, and has a 4.0+ in a top 5 MFE program, I can safely tell you that recruiting for quant FT positions/internships at a top firm is NOT a cake walk: I won't even get an interview in many of the tier 1 hedge funds. Perfect GPAs and MFEs alone is just not sufficient; that's just the way it is.

Okay so now onto actual advice:
1) I'm not sure how it works in India but can you just transfer to a better more quantitative school lol. Truth is these "online courses", even those offered by top schools, are not a good subsitute. Even if the online course teaches you better than your university does, from the perspective of employers and universities, they don't count as much compared to if you did the course at your university. The reason is that people typically aren't hellbent on getting the highest possible score on an online course, but students care ALOT abt their university courses - some value it even more than their lives (our school had to install nets around)

2)

This mindset is very very good. Yes you're at a disadvantage so you need to compete in other ways. Your edge is not going to be your GPA because the same GPA in an IIT will always mean more. Cram as many internships as possible in your undergrad. There are some schools that let their undergrads do 6 internships before they graduate and their students are generally very succesful. But it's not just about quantity of your internships - make sure you're progressively landing a better internship every term. Like maybe start off with a not so well known internship --> for your later internships try landing a spot in a reputable firm in India --> for your final internships try aiming for a reputable firm in the US. This is the most well-established way of getting into a quant firm from the people I know at least. Also your internships don't even have to be in quant, I'd actually suggest aiming for a FAANG: I seen so many people with previous FAANG experience get an interview at quant firms for even QR roles. Yeah this isn't going to be easy but internships should be your MAIN focus - honestly school and grades is important only to the extent of helping you land these internships. Getting your foot in the door is hard but all my friends tell me the hardest part is landing your first quant firm or FAANG, then it becomes much easier from there because you already 'established' yourself

3) I'm not sure if Putnam is offered in India but if you just get a few questions right, you will be head hunted by hedge funds. Getting 2 questions right in putnam is far far more impressive to me than just getting A+s in your undergrad math course. Caveat is putnam is pretty hard though but the value in scoring well in putnam in terms of landing a quant firm is just so high - I know someone who got contacted by HRT for getting several questions right on putnam

4) I really don't think there's much value in reading all these books early. School is honestly pretty easy because everything is solved already - they won't make you solve something that no one has solved before. Like even the hardest questions on our ODE and PDE tests was just to think of a clever transformation to get the equation in a nice form where we already know what the general solution will look like. Also things like real analysis aren't
particular useful imo - like sure it can teach you how to rigorously prove something but at least in my quant firm, you're never really required to prove something with that amount of rigour (there's more emphasis on thinking of clever heuristics). For the foundational courses, I think you should put alot of emphasis on understanding linear algebra really well (alot of stats is just linear algebra, like a regression is just a projection on the column space). The parts of calculus that will be used ALOT later on is taylor expansions, and gradients and hessians. however, in general I think you get more value from spending your effort on things outside of school like landing great internships (ofc your first internship will be dependent on ur school and grades but this will decay in importance as you get more internships), or doing well in putnam.
Wow. First of all a big thanks for the advice.
Sadly no it's not possible to change schools but yes I can change my course to something which has a lot more maths. I didn't mention that earlier because it's not a sure thing. I've already applied for it but the results will take 1.5-2 months. If I succeed I'll move into Mathematics and Computing which has real analysis, 2-3 calculus courses, and 1-2 linear algebra courses.
Oh, I didn't know FAANG could add value to my CV too. Thanks for the insight.
No, I don't have any idea about PUTNAM but I'll do the research and see what I can do about it. Yes I know it's much harder to get the quant roles. People have mentioned it in so many places throughout the forum. But it doesn't scare me instead fuels me to work harder.
Yes, I know that most of the Quants from India belong to IITs. LinkedIn has already shown me that. But thinking about it and being miserable will do nothing all I can do now is work towards reducing that gap.
Thanks for that insight on how to go about internships. I'll definitely keep that in mind.
 
oh I forgot to add, another way you can prove you're exceptional compared to others and increase ur chances for quant even if ur not from IIT is if you can do well on coding competitions. I think Google, leetcode, Codeforces hosts occasional contests, honestly anything that can prove you're smarter than everyone else will help you bridge the IIT gap
 
oh I forgot to add, another way you can prove you're exceptional compared to others and increase ur chances for quant even if ur not from IIT is if you can do well on coding competitions. I think Google, leetcode, Codeforces hosts occasional contests, honestly anything that can prove you're smarter than everyone else will help you bridge the IIT gap
Yes, that I know. TBH competitive coding was the real thing I was interested in. I found out about QF while I was researching what careers are there in competitive coding. I have already started learning C++. I learned Java and basic data structures in my school. That's why said above coding is one thing I may have a gift in as I can understand concepts very fast.
 
Hey! I've been lurking here for a while now and this post by @Rimer made me finally create an account

I find myself in a similar situation. I just finished 12th grade but messed up my IIT-JEE and won't be able to get into an IIT/NIT. However, I want to get into Quantitative and UHFT trading

I am really good at programming and sufficiently above average at maths, which is one of the reasons why I am considering a career in Quant. I'm also extremely interested in finance, and have been learning and trading since I was 16.

My biggest concern is that my undergrad major (aerospace engineering at a private college) won't do splendid things for my resume. Like OP, I am willing to work very hard for the next 4 years to gain the sufficient knowledge required to land internships (as @MMFInfoAcct suggested) and ultimately one of the top MFE courses like Baruch.

I was wondering whether I have any chances? Like has been mentioned in this thread, I understand that it may be incredibly hard for a non-IITian, but is it possible if I had a real passion for this and worked my ass off for the next 4 years? I'm asking this because it would be better for me to focus on other pursuits and CAT/GMAT and get into a top B-school if getting into a top MFE program is a pipe dream. If possible, what would your advice be to me in terms of learning the necessary skills and polishing my resume to make myself look extremely desirable to the top MFE universities (in the US or elsewhere)? What should the path ahead be like for me? I would really appreciate views of fellow Indians too.
 
Hey! I've been lurking here for a while now and this post by @Rimer made me finally create an account

I find myself in a similar situation. I just finished 12th grade but messed up my IIT-JEE and won't be able to get into an IIT/NIT. However, I want to get into Quantitative and UHFT trading

I am really good at programming and sufficiently above average at maths, which is one of the reasons why I am considering a career in Quant. I'm also extremely interested in finance, and have been learning and trading since I was 16.

My biggest concern is that my undergrad major (aerospace engineering at a private college) won't do splendid things for my resume. Like OP, I am willing to work very hard for the next 4 years to gain the sufficient knowledge required to land internships (as @MMFInfoAcct suggested) and ultimately one of the top MFE courses like Baruch.

I was wondering whether I have any chances? Like has been mentioned in this thread, I understand that it may be incredibly hard for a non-IITian, but is it possible if I had a real passion for this and worked my ass off for the next 4 years? I'm asking this because it would be better for me to focus on other pursuits and CAT/GMAT and get into a top B-school if getting into a top MFE program is a pipe dream. If possible, what would your advice be to me in terms of learning the necessary skills and polishing my resume to make myself look extremely desirable to the top MFE universities (in the US or elsewhere)? What should the path ahead be like for me? I would really appreciate views of fellow Indians too.
See my situation is quite different. I'm in a mathematics-related degree. Yes, the content might be soft be that can be solved using electives and extra math courses. Also, my college is listed as an elite institution on the Imperial website.
Now to your question, as far as I have understood from my research these MFE courses look at your bachelor's very closely. Imperial's MFin literally says nothing other than mathematics is acceptable. Baruch has a list of math courses that one must take. So I would suggest you first look at various courses and their requirements and then see what's achievable in 4 years. Not to demoralize you but it would be much harder for you to get internships in India in the Quant field. I don't know how much trading you have done but I guess it may help at least. But the good thing is it's not impossible coz there have been people with Bachelor's in English who get into Quant. One solution I can think off is to get into an MFE program in an Indian college and then later do a Ph.D. from top institutes in the world. As far as I know, an MBA doesn't help much in the HFT field. But one question still remains if you were into trading and stuff from age 16 why would you even join a completely unrelated degree? Also, one thing to keep in mind is your financial situation. You must be able to afford not getting a placement and continue your education after the hefty fees of a private college. BTW, which college are you in?

This is what I think and I can be very very wrong so take my words with a grain of salt. @Daniel Duffy would be able to give much better insight and advice.
 
I'd like to reiterate HFTs do not care abt a MFE. Do not make MFE a goal - treat the MFE as a way to get your visa for an internship. To purples question, yes it still is possible to get into hedge funds but its easier the early you start preparing. Since you're not from an IIT, it's more of an uphill battle. Like I stated in my previous advice, if you score high on Putnam or Google Kickstarter code contests, or citadel invitational datathons, then Hedge funds start to notice. Yes, this is very difficult but if its not difficult its not impressive. Honestly, a perfect GPA at a top MFE school is not impressive to me at all, and recruiters would be even more picky than me. Prove you're the best competitor coder in the world, or grandmaster in chess or poker champ or whatever and then its impressive. Going to an IIT is honestly the easy route - once u miss these opportunities , there always will be later opportunities but they are much harder to capitalize on (also I want to add that its not easy at all for even good IIT students to land a top firm in the states without any math olympiad experience)
 
Last edited:
See my situation is quite different. I'm in a mathematics-related degree. Yes, the content might be soft be that can be solved using electives and extra math courses. Also, my college is listed as an elite institution on the Imperial website.
Now to your question, as far as I have understood from my research these MFE courses look at your bachelor's very closely. Imperial's MFin literally says nothing other than mathematics is acceptable. Baruch has a list of math courses that one must take. So I would suggest you first look at various courses and their requirements and then see what's achievable in 4 years. Not to demoralize you but it would be much harder for you to get internships in India in the Quant field. I don't know how much trading you have done but I guess it may help at least. But the good thing is it's not impossible coz there have been people with Bachelor's in English who get into Quant. One solution I can think off is to get into an MFE program in an Indian college and then later do a Ph.D. from top institutes in the world. As far as I know, an MBA doesn't help much in the HFT field. But one question still remains if you were into trading and stuff from age 16 why would you even join a completely unrelated degree? Also, one thing to keep in mind is your financial situation. You must be able to afford not getting a placement and continue your education after the hefty fees of a private college. BTW, which college are you in?

This is what I think and I can be very very wrong so take my words with a grain of salt. @Daniel Duffy would be able to give much better insight and advice.
Bro all the very best.... i am 12th grader from Mumbai and am preparing for Mhtcet as i am struggling lot with JEE as my math was very weak (Kudos to online 10th) I have also been trading in markets from past 4 years
I definitely pray for you to land up at some Hedge fund (it's my dream as well) 🙃💫
Do keep an eye on Point 72 capital's internship program it's amazing program....
 
The book by Rudin is severely outdated. I used it at maths undergrad level in 1972. For economics background, it will be a bridge too far. Imperial might be also too ambitious..
Rudin (POMA) is a standard book for a first course in real analysis, period. Pugh and Zorich are also great.
 
Bro all the very best.... i am 12th grader from Mumbai and am preparing for Mhtcet as i am struggling lot with JEE as my math was very weak (Kudos to online 10th) I have also been trading in markets from past 4 years
I definitely pray for you to land up at some Hedge fund (it's my dream as well) 🙃💫
Do keep an eye on Point 72 capital's internship program it's amazing program..
It's good that you are keeping backups. MHTCET provides a lot of decent colleges trying to get into a maths heavy course. Something like Mathematics and computing is tailor-made for QF. Also, choose a college where banks and quant firms come. There are many colleges apart from IITs where GS comes for SDE roles also some quant firms like Graviton and Alphagrep visit other colleges. If ur in Mumbai JPMC can give u a good opportunity as well. They hire a lot from outside IITs for risk management and SDE roles. Idk where MS visits.
Thanks for the advice I'll sure do look out for it.
Good luck to u as well.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Rudin (POMA) is a standard book for a first course in real analysis, period. Pugh and Zorich are also great.
Rudin dates from 1958. It's stodgy. Been there, done that.
Do people really use it? In my day it was for special honours maths degrees for those who do PHD later.
 
Rudin dates from 1958. It's stodgy. Been there, done that.
Do people really use it? In my day it was for special honours maths degrees for those who do PHD later.
Given it is an introductory book for real analysis, all of the topics covered are pre 1920s/1930s and really pre 1900s given there is only one chapter on Lebesgue integration. It is very much the same today, it is a great first analysis book for those students looking to do a PhD in math in my opinion.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Given it is an introductory book for real analysis, all of the topics covered are pre 1920s/1930s and really pre 1900s given there is only one chapter on Lebesgue integration. It is very much the same today, it is a great first analysis book for those students looking to do a PhD in math in my opinion.
I don't agree that it is a good book in the sense that you claim. We used Asplund/Bungart and Riesz-Nagy, among others, I never used Rudin after 1st year! (btw I had 4 years of Measure, Lebesgue, Functional Analysis and related Probability, challenging stuff).
PhD math >> Rudin.
BTW his Real and Complex Analysis is much better. And Schaum's Real Variables by Spiegel is not bad.



And for incoming MFE students Rudin #1 is not suitable. Cruel.

@bigbadwolf
 
Last edited:
I don't agree that it is a good book in the sense that you claim. We used Asplund/Bungart and Riesz-Nagy, among others, I never used Rudin after 1st year! (btw I had 4 years of Measure, Lebesgue, Functional Analysis and related Probability, challenging stuff).
PhD math >> Rudin.
BTW his Real and Complex Analysis is much better. And Schaum's Real Variables by Spiegel is not bad.



And for incoming MFE students Rudin #1 is not suitable. Cruel.

@bigbadwolf
What % of incoming MFE students do you think even take real analysis? I’d venture to say less than 10%. If you’re going to learn real analysis, Rudin is certainly not a bad candidate to start with. Like I said, Pugh and Zorich also have written good analysis books, but in my opinion Rudin is a must read book for math majors and is still very much present in honors UG math real analysis sequences in the US.

Real and complex analysis by Rudin is not UG level, it largely functions as a first year PhD text for a real/complex analysis sequence. I personally prefer Royden/Folland for real and Ahlfors for complex. Papa Rudin is definitely great, I just have found it to be incredibly challenging to read.

And Schaum’s outlines real analysis instead of Rudin? Surely this must be a joke?
 
Last edited:
Top