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In need of career advice

This is basically my background:

Junior at the University of Washington: Not a target, but money was a big factor in the selection and this was in-state for me so much cheaper tuition.

Majors: CS & Math
GPA: 3.7
- Could be better, I will admit I have not been as focused as I could and should have been in my years so far.

No internships. Okay one in my freshman year (marketing internship) demonstrating some communication skills, but overall definitely a weak area.

So that's where I stand. In my Math major I've taken the major ones (Calculus/ Diff. Equations/Linear Algebra) some pure math classes (Real Analysis 1 & 2), some Optimization, and now am talking some Probability courses. Next year will take Schastic Calculus.

UW has a great CS program, Top 5-10 in the country. So it's pretty rigorous. Though most of it is in Java. I know quants use C++, will have to make the transition. Is it difficult?

Also, besides for being a CS and Math major, I've taken quite a few business classes. I have an AB (Associates in Business) and have taken some 300 level ECON and some Finance courses. I was originally planning on being a Finance major.

So with CS and Math major plus good amount of business classes....And interest in all 3 of those topics (CS/Math/Business)....I think Quant would be a great fit for me and the work sounds very interesting.


That was my background.

I really want to know what should I do become a quant? Now I know some obvious paths, like get a phD. But I can't do that and that is one of my constraints. Why? Let's just say there are some private financial reasons related to my family. But this is not the only path I believe either. So with my background, and no phD path, what can I do?

The goal is obviously to get into a Top 5 MFE. Is this possible for me? What do you suggest, either

a) Apply to a Top 5 MFE right after UGrad
b) Your stats, even with a good GRE score on quant section, will not be good enough. You need experience.
c) Something else

If you answer a, what exactly are my chances and what can I do before I finish my ugrad to increase my chances?

IF you answer b, what kind of experience exactly should I get after UGrad?

If you answer c, please elaborate.

Any help will be appreciated :)


Quant Headhunter
Don't underprice communications and presentation skills, mumbling shy quants who lack the ability to communicate even in their own naticve language don't have the best pick of jobs.

There's nothing wrong with Java as a learning language, loops, patterns and much else is pretty much the same as C++ You can teach yourself C++, hard but feasible.

I don't recognise the term "Top 5 MFE", some schools are of course better than others, and the outline of your background is not unlike many of the people I've seen come out the other side of schools that have good brand value.

I suspect my answer however will not please you, since it's both simple and hard.

You're doing pretty much ther right options, have the right atttitude and have a clear focus what you want to do within clear constraints. That leads me to saty that you just need to do this as much as you can, apply to a good spread of places, and maybe read a few books that give you a feel for the industry.
Thanks for the replies so far. Some questions though,

What kind of work experience post-undergrad do you think will be useful or favorable if I wanted to get into a Top MFE school? I know becoming a Quant straight from UGrad is very difficult, however are there any careers related to Quantitative Finance that it is a little more common for UGrads to work in?
You think doing something like that will higher my chances of getting into a Top MFE?

What do you think my chances are without work experience given the desirable GRE score of ____
You are a junior CS in UW. Try to get an internship at a hedge fund or financial data/software providers. UW has a few faculty members in accounting/finance/econ with prior quant and hedge fund industry experience. Talk to them.