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How do I become a quant?

How do I become a quant? I just finished reading "My Life as Quant". Very interesting. I'd like to make some money too! I just graduated with a MS. in Physics. What should I pursue next?

roq
 

Bastian Gross

German Mathquant
Hi Roq,

read https://www.quantnet.com/threads/mfe-after-phd-phd-after-mfe-and-related-questions.613/And this PDF-File.

Do you have some skills in numerical computing? Take programming (Matlab, VBA or C++ :) ) and mathematical optimization courses!

For further information and some job searching this link to efinancialcareers.com would be helpful.

Good luck and a prosperous new year (and a huge salary ;) )
Basti
 
Thanks for the tips. Oh yeah, I'm pretty good programmer - i used to work in industry doing software development. My problem is my age though... I'll be 35+ by the time I graduate if I start a PhD. Is it worth it?
 
Andy, your remark about my age not being a factor is quite intriguing (and happily surprising!) to me. I hang out with other physicists and I'm usually the "old guy". The typical story with my friends is that they finish their undergrad degree by age 22 or 23. Then they go on directly to graduate school. That might take up to 6 years. But all in all, they're minted PhD's before they hit 30.

In my case I'm already 30 and I'm thinking of starting a PhD! Like I've mentioned before, I've spent the intervening years in the software industry. It's always been a life goal of mine to get PhD. I'm just here wondering what options career-wise I'd have after graduation.

What I fear is that if I go to a job interview for a quant position in year 2013, wouldn't my competition be a bunch of 20somethings? Or to put this question to you in a different way: why don't you currently see young physics PhD's from top schools applying for the quant positions?

Thanks for the insider insights!
 

alain

Older and Wiser
Andy, your remark about my age not being a factor is quite intriguing (and happily surprising!) to me. I hang out with other physicists and I'm usually the "old guy". The typical story with my friends is that they finish their undergrad degree by age 22 or 23. Then they go on directly to graduate school. That might take up to 6 years. But all in all, they're minted PhD's before they hit 30.

In my case I'm already 30 and I'm thinking of starting a PhD! Like I've mentioned before, I've spent the intervening years in the software industry. It's always been a life goal of mine to get PhD. I'm just here wondering what options career-wise I'd have after graduation.

What I fear is that if I go to a job interview for a quant position in year 2013, wouldn't my competition be a bunch of 20somethings? Or to put this question to you in a different way: why don't you currently see young physics PhD's from top schools applying for the quant positions?

Thanks for the insider insights!

Do you really want to do a PhD in Physics in order to get a Quant position? That sounds like a lot of suffering with an uncertain reward. I think the MFE route might be shorter. Also, is your passion Physics or Finance? If your passion is Finance, a PhD in Physics won't take you closer to the goal in the short term.

I happen to work with 2 Physics PhD that work in Finance. I will ask their opinions. BTW, the came to the finance world by accident and they happen to like it. I think Derman's case was similar.
 
Hey Roq,

I think Alain is more right. Doing a physics PhD wont take u closer to ur quant dream Im afraid... Actually, the truth is, Im currently a phd student in operations research, and I believe it is in a quantitative field. Once you started phd study, you lead urself into a research career path and devote most of times and energy to become a good researcher in your field rather than thinking about other areas.. Else you may end up in an awkward situation..

Im saying these becoz it is where im now! I want to change my track but already years be scattered on my phd.. Time doesnt wait. If you have already known wat u want in life, approach it fast in a neat and closest way.. Just my2cents.. Just hope u dun end up like me now.. sorts of miserable..
 
Phd in AstroPhysics and then I became a quant

Hi Roq,
I completed my PhD in Astrophysics when I was 28 and then went on to become a quant. I became interested in the subject by reading some books on Econophysics.
Maybe you can do a PhD in Econophysics, that way you won't deviate too far from physics and once you finish you will easily find a job as a quant. If I was to do it all over again i would look at doing a PhD on neural nets on GPU's this will be the next big revolution on wall street in my opinion.

Y
 
Hey Roq,

I think Alain is more right. Doing a physics PhD wont take u closer to ur quant dream Im afraid... Actually, the truth is, Im currently a phd student in operations research, and I believe it is in a quantitative field. Once you started phd study, you lead urself into a research career path and devote most of times and energy to become a good researcher in your field rather than thinking about other areas.. Else you may end up in an awkward situation..

Im saying these becoz it is where im now! I want to change my track but already years be scattered on my phd.. Time doesnt wait. If you have already known wat u want in life, approach it fast in a neat and closest way.. Just my2cents.. Just hope u dun end up like me now.. sorts of miserable..


You hit the nail on the head here, Meg. Roq if you really want to become a quant then you should. I am in a very similar situation as you, except that I am a lot younger. But mentally, I am definitely in the same state as you are-very intrigued and interested by quantitative finance and wanting to jump into it. I will, in all probability, start an MFE degree this fall.

I think you're age shouldn't be a problem. Of course, if companies are looking to hire MFE's for junior or analyst positions then they will probably look for young or fresh graduates. Your age will eliminate you here. But then there are hardly such positions for early starters and you probably don't want them anyway. So age should not matter.

I think MFE would be better for you if you want to learn more of finance. But PhD in Physics is also a traditional favorite for quant positions, especially the good ones. So go ahead and study what you are more interested in.
 
can a PhD in Computer Science work as a quant?

Hi everyone,
The thread is excellent! Andy, Alain, Bastian thanks for the wonderful posts!
I am Santanu. Currently i am in my 2nd year of phd in computer science. I work in the wise manet labs as an RA and have very recently started growing a compulsive interest in quantitative finance. My mentor is very mathematics oriented so all our research is a good mixture of probabilistic modeling, graph theory and good amount of coding. Once i complete my phd i wish to work as a quant, but i lack any fromal financial background. My question is what kind of jobs can a phd in computer science expect to apply for in the realm of quantitative finance ? Also if there's a chance is it worth taking finance courses from the business department like (derivatives, investment portfolio management etc) or just stick to maths and programming? I just wanted to plan early as I graduate in 2 yrs:)
 
Hi everyone,
The thread is excellent! Andy, Alain, Bastian thanks for the wonderful posts!
I am Santanu. Currently i am in my 2nd year of phd in computer science. I work in the wise manet labs as an RA and have very recently started growing a compulsive interest in quantitative finance. My mentor is very mathematics oriented so all our research is a good mixture of probabilistic modeling, graph theory and good amount of coding. Once i complete my phd i wish to work as a quant, but i lack any fromal financial background. My question is what kind of jobs can a phd in computer science expect to apply for in the realm of quantitative finance ? Also if there's a chance is it worth taking finance courses from the business department like (derivatives, investment portfolio management etc) or just stick to maths and programming? I just wanted to plan early as I graduate in 2 yrs:)

Quantitative finance is pretty broad, so the answer is definitely yes. In certain areas (e.g. algorithmic trading) the weight can be much more on software engineering and computation than complex pricing models.

It would probably be easier to start on a development oriented role. Assuming you have a Math foundation, you can build up financial knowledge. This path followed by quite a few MFE graduates with Comp. Sci. experience as well.
 
What is the career ladder for quants?

Hi Stefan,
Thanx for the answer. I was wondering what is the career ladder for the quants and respective salaries ( Sorry if that's a taboo question..just curious). Also as a fresher how would one start looking for a job? I have read a lot about this, just wanted some some more ideas.
 
Numerical methods or stochastic calculus

Hi everyone and thank you for your answers,

Actually, I have the opportunity to pursue my PhD in Civil Engineering doing research in either numerical and computational methods or stochastic calculus. The stochastic side is at an Ivy League University and involves less programming skills, but my professor is an authority in stochastic calculus. The computational side is at a public university ranked among the top 5 in engineering and involves extensive programing and less stochastic calculus. Which one would you recommend to have more chances for finding a job as a quant?
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
sep, that's the wrong question...

The right questions can mostly be answered by yourself,

They are:
What do you enjoy doing ?
In what areas do you beat most other people most often ?

A PhD is a long time to spend doing something you hate.
 
Hi DominiConnor,

I appreciate the time you took to respond to my post.

I am going to consider those questions at the time I make the final decision. Those are the questions which I am the only person who can answer. The questions I raised here, on the other hand, are those which can be answered only by experts and that is why I wrote them here.

I am pretty much aware of what I enjoy and in what I can often beat people. Moreover, I never said I hate either of the subjects. I would appreciate if you answer the questions with less philosophy and more facts and statistics involved.

Thanks,
Sepehr
 
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