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Execution Quant -> Alpha Research Quant, how to make the transition?


New Member
Hi all,
Already tried getting posting this on WallStreetOasis and Reddit but didn't really get any responses, so hopefully this will be a more appropriate area to post.

Could really do with some advice on how to best position myself to make the above switch.
About me: UG and PG both in Economics with a leaning in econometrics. I currently work as quant on an execution-only desk(basically a desk strat, spend most of my time here developing tools/analytics/data pipelines for execution) at a large long-only shop. I have about a year of experience in this area and have previously worked in conlsulting as a quant and as an economist at a BB (totalling to a couple of years). In terms of programming, this means I have a few years of experience using Python and SQL.
So I already have some quant experience and I am looking to get into something that is closer to the money i.e. alpha generation, strategy construction etc. However, i'm finding a lot of recruiters seem to be very hesitant putting me in for quant dev or quant research roles and i'm wondering if this is because of my lack of traditional quant education. My question is: is it worthwhile doing another more quantitative MSc in something like maths or stats and then trying to make the switch? - hesistant about doing an MFE as it is usually about 3x more expensive. Or would I be okay with my current background? I should also note that I am struggling to get interviews through traditional online applications.
And I guess as a follow up question - what is the best way for me to make this switch? Are recruiters still the best resource here? Or is there another way?


Active Member
It is better should you able to find someone inside to recommend/refer you to that type of position since you are in the industry for a while.

I don't know all the colleges, but as far as I know, MFE program normally does not really focus on the trading strategy construction, alpha generation stuff like those. It is more about stochastic process, derivative pricing, computational finance...etc. Even tho these can be the blood and bones of your future strategy. However, I think it is a great time to learn rather than go on to the market to find some luck. Because current time is exceptionally harder then normal, the whole economic environment is shitty. If you have the money for a prestigious school, why not? With your background, feel like you have good chance to get in.

Quant Dev role required you have very strong programming skills and experiences. And every shop has its own preferences. But C++ normally is a must for large fund in my opinion. Quant Research or senior analyst, in my opinion, is a position really for people with a PHD degree(just based on my observation, in reality, there are lots of exception tho) Just read through the job description, do you really qualify and have all the bullets they need.

As for trading strategy, you can try to build you own if you have something special in your mind. There are platforms and tools out there free to use. If you really build one, then, nothing else need to be said.