Is quantitative finance as diffcult as medicine?

diegosanaz

BU MSMF
Agree with Stephen, trying to feel superior by the difficulty of what you study is "emotionally stupid". Seriously, the way you want to flirt is by feeling how superior you are compared to the other person? That is why you get that "ewwww"
 

Archidamus

Member
Like with any kind of quantitative comparison, lets first define what makes a program 'harder' and what makes a person 'smarter'.

You'll quickly see that any definition of 'harder' and 'smarter' is either insufficient or too subject, and thus there is no way to make the comparison. This is the proverbial "Apples and Oranges" scenario.

Just remember, Matt Damon was a janitor who solved graph theory problems for fun. The job doesn't make someone smart or not.
 

TehRaio

Active Member
This thread gives me more motivation to actually go into academia. I find a lot of people who aspire (or who are) in Quant Finance, are insufferable idiots (Op included, please grow up, or pick another field), as seen in this very thread. I wonder how people pick careers. is it all a dick measuring contest to some of you guys?
anyways best thread. :love:
 

Beep Boop

New Member
I'm pretty sure the OP is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek one, but somehow people just took it too seriously.
 

vertigo

Member
i speak as somebody who worked in academia, formally a "scientist"

How long did you work in the ivory towers? Did you have tenure?

I get the feeling from your posts that some jobs are 'better' than others? Maybe I have misunderstood.
i am not sure how to respond to this, because the first question has no connection to the second question, which is not even a question, it is a statement, and in my view a fact. i did not have tenure - i completed a phd, worked on a post doc, then left. i had no ambition of becoming a professor. i did/do/will not want (or care) to teach people (those who can do, do, those who cannot do, teach, think of Hardy when he wrote his essay about why mathematics is a young man'ss game), therefore i did not stay in academia.

of course some jobs are better than others. but what it means to be "better" is all down to a person. if i like animals, then working in a zoo is better than working as a doctor or as a quant.
 

TehRaio

Active Member
i had no ambition of becoming a professor. i did/do/will not want (or care) to teach people (those who can do, do, those who cannot do, teach, think of Hardy when he wrote his essay about why mathematics is a young man'ss game), therefore i did not stay in academia.
Not trying to be snarky but I'm glad people who think like that aren't in (or tend to leave) academia. This is very toxic and borderline stupid. a PhD is wasted on a lot of people.
 

vertigo

Member
Not trying to be snarky but I'm glad people who think like that aren't in (or tend to leave) academia. This is very toxic and borderline stupid. a PhD is wasted on a lot of people.
that quote is from Hardy, not me. he was (arguably the best) UK's top mathematician in a time where academia had far more respect than it does now. while i am sure there remain some good researchers, academia in the modern age is a cancer - it is overpopulated at the student, postdoc, lecturer and professor level. quant finance in academia is a joke (10+ years behind the industry, they still use one factor discounting). you have a theory that cannot be tested (string theory) that people in academia take seriously. it suffers from a replication crisis - most studies cannot be replicated, be it in economics, psychology, etc... it is an absolute joke... the person creating the toxic atmosphere in academia? he is the sane one, the person who realizes that it is a Ponzi scheme.

i would say it the converse is true - a lot of people are wasted on a phd. the ideas of a failed practitioner are 100 times more valuable than the idea of any academic.
 

vertigo

Member
because people in academia will not believe me, and especially those in quant finance academia who have egos the size of supernovas, consider this simple example that explains the "those who do, do, those who cannot do, teach"

when Black and Scholes published their paper on the Black Scholes model, they did it so for European options.. they were looking to extend it to American options. the hedge fund manager (and former mathematician - originally trained in functional analysis) Thorp met them to discuss this topic, he had already applied the "Black Scholes model" (really it was the Thorp model, or the Bachelier model, or the Samuelson model, but who cares) to American put options... but he did not reveal it to Black and Scholes.. he kept it for himself and his clients. what does this example illustrate? that the best minds and ideas in quant finance are not in academia (black, scholes, merton, ross, etc....), they are in the industry (thorp, simons, etc...).
 
Like with any kind of quantitative comparison, lets first define what makes a program 'harder' and what makes a person 'smarter'.

You'll quickly see that any definition of 'harder' and 'smarter' is either insufficient or too subject, and thus there is no way to make the comparison. This is the proverbial "Apples and Oranges" scenario.

Just remember, Matt Damon was a janitor who solved graph theory problems for fun. The job doesn't make someone smart or not.
LOL great answer. Thank you OP for providing some much needed humour to this forum.

To be controversial:
  • Mathematics/Physics: Probably need top 5-10% intellect. Level of intellectual aptitude requires goes up the harder courses you do and who you study under at a graduate level.
  • Medicine: Probably need top 10-15% intellect.
  • Law: Probably need top 20% intellect.
The average Mathematics/Physics student is probably smarter than the average Medicine/Law student.

However if you sit in top 5% intellect and wasted your life creating financial derivatives products OR creating algorithms to make people buy more stuff online - then the joke is on you. The average Doctor is probably much more fulfilled with their life vs the average Mathematician or Lawyer working in finance.

This is why I believe lots of smart techies are leaving tech to join healthcare/biotech companies (or sectors that actually help humanity). You have no reason to hold your head high because ultimately you will do probably do nothing in finance good for society (unless you donate your big salary to charity).
 

vertigo

Member
LOL great answer. Thank you OP for providing some much needed humour to this forum.

To be controversial:
  • Mathematics/Physics: Probably need top 5-10% intellect. Level of intellectual aptitude requires goes up the harder courses you do and who you study under at a graduate level.
  • Medicine: Probably need top 10-15% intellect.
  • Law: Probably need top 20% intellect.
The average Mathematics/Physics student is probably smarter than the average Medicine/Law student.

However if you sit in top 5% intellect and wasted your life creating financial derivatives products OR creating algorithms to make people buy more stuff online - then the joke is on you. The average Doctor is probably much more fulfilled with their life vs the average Mathematician or Lawyer working in finance.

This is why I believe lots of smart techies are leaving tech to join healthcare/biotech companies (or sectors that actually help humanity). You have no reason to hold your head high because ultimately you will do probably do nothing in finance good for society (unless you donate your big salary to charity).
this is complete bullshit. you don't get to say what it means to "waste your life". people are different - some take pleasure in valuing financial derivatives, others in creating algorithms, others in volunteering. you are not the master of the universe - you don' t get to make claims about who is more fulfilled without researching such claims, otherwise you are a bullshit merchant. well, you are a bullshit merchant.

think more - it's not enough to make a claim that sounds "correct" with no evidence or theory behind it. a lot of young people think this way these days. do some research on what actually makes people happy.
 
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Liam

Member
This “debate” will resolve nothing. The only thing it will accomplish is make members of the QuantNet community look childish, naive, and (by the original poster’s own admission) imagine that our physical appearance elicits reactions of “ewwww” from members of the opposite sex.

This thread needs to die.
I agree that it makes quantnet members look childish and it reminds me too much of crap Sheldon Cooper would say. But even if a mature debate had occurred it wouldn't have made a difference to quants' or quantnet's "image". People that pigeonhole quants and have naive views on the job would either ignore it or find some way of writing it off as 'exception to the rule'. It wouldn't change a thing.

I'm sure you probably agree with this and already do this anyway, but my own view is if you have soft skills and emotional intelligence just use them, move on and forget about people that rabbit on about degrees being easier than others or any other bollocks they come out with.

Getting back to the OP - if there is any issue that you should genuinely be concerned with, it might be to be aware of how intimidating people can find your intellect, even if what you do is actually pretty basic and/or you're not some IMO genius. Don't get caught up in this whole "is blah an easier degree than blah" debate as it will just make you look arrogant, something that can be hard to hide.

And it's very easily done - I find when talking to parents of teens I tutor that it's very intimidating for them when I talk about my career or degree, so sometimes I don't harp on and instead start talking about stuff they are good at. The biggest issue is that people will keep silent about these things. Ultimately instead of focusing on holding your head high, why not focus on soft skills? When it comes down to it, as your career progresses you will increasingly work with people that don't have a numerate background, so it would be best to learn how to talk to them as early as possible. And tbh your med student friends are in the similar boat, albeit for different reasons (e.g. dealing with patients).
 

Liam

Member
this is complete bullshit. you don't get to say what it means to "waste your life". people are different - some take pleasure in valuing financial derivatives, others in creating algorithms, others in volunteering. you are not the master of the universe - you don' t get to make claims about who is more fulfilled without researching such claims, otherwise you are a bullshit merchant. well, you are a bullshit merchant.
Dead on. I think there's too much advice on these forums based on members' own experiences. The trouble is that if you are a PhD expecting to be publishing papers while doing some mega research for traders and smoking the occasional cigar, you might not like the job and then harp on about it in one of these threads, something I have seen. And it's hard to pin down every reason why you might not like the job.

But others might like the job. For instance 60% of my first role involved risk reporting, with the other 40% actually pricing projects. I loved the reporting as part of the job was to check the reports and fix queries. The thing is that someone expecting the moon and the earth would have probably bitched about the reporting and the role not being "quant enough" and start posting here with a sob story. And there's no excuses - most of the quants I worked with there found that working at that firm helped their career to no end. In all fairness though when people say "you don't need someone with a 5 year PhD" they are right in many respects and, in fact, some tasks I have done as a quant I could teach to a teen.

Also, it has to be said some jobs have more modelling stuff than others, other firms are better than others - some will be like being in a financial crash movie, others won't. I can't comment completely as quant roles have changed, but the one thing that hasn't changed is that you can't advise people based on one experience. Even if your experience is recent, talking that way is no different from my Dad giving me condescending advice based on how he managed staff in his job in the 1960s-90s (and in an industry and role so far removed from QF it was a joke).

The way you think needs to be annihilated - make a stupid claim with no evidence or theory behind it. a lot of young people think this way these days. do some research on what makes people happy.
I see a bit of it with a Meetup group I'm in where I advise on coding related careers and collaborate on coding projects. In all fairness most have been ok, but there have been some headcases that think they know an industry from looking up salary graphs (one of whom even gave me a dressing down for not working at Google or Facebook - I'm not even sure he was employed).
 
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this is complete bullshit. you don't get to say what it means to "waste your life". people are different - some take pleasure in valuing financial derivatives, others in creating algorithms, others in volunteering. you are not the master of the universe - you don' t get to make claims about who is more fulfilled without researching such claims, otherwise you are a bullshit merchant. well, you are a bullshit merchant.

think more - it's not enough to make a claim that sounds "correct" with no evidence or theory behind it. a lot of young people think this way these days. do some research on what actually makes people happy.
"Young people think this way these days" you clearly do not read any philosophy at all.

Most in finance contribute nothing to humanity or society. That's a fact. Period.

In response to your point - Hedonism and being "happy" in your personal life does not equal living a life of purpose or contributing to humanity.

As a question - you're telling me that a quant working in an HFT/Latency Arbitrage trading firm will contribute more to society than a Doctor (assuming the trader donates 0 dollars to charity?) I am allowed to define the former as a waste of a life. It's my opinion. You're allowed your own.
 

vertigo

Member
"Young people think this way these days" you clearly do not read any philosophy at all.

Most in finance contribute nothing to humanity or society. That's a fact. Period.

In response to your point - Hedonism and being "happy" in your personal life does not equal living a life of purpose or contributing to humanity.

As a question - you're telling me that a quant working in an HFT/Latency Arbitrage trading firm will contribute more to society than a Doctor (assuming the trader donates 0 dollars to charity?) I am allowed to define the former as a waste of a life. It's my opinion. You're allowed your own.
i am not replying to argue with you - it is clear you have some mental problems - you remind me of a typical Marxist from the Soviet Union. my reply is to make sure that people reading your posts, who at first think "what is wrong with this lunatic?" will be more confident when they see other people calling you out for being a bullshit merchant.

you have no authority to make the claim about what people in any industry contribute. If I play your game - I can make that claim that you contribute nothing to society. And that is a fact. Period. when i said you are not the master of universe, do you realize how stupid you made yourself look by saying "that's a fact. period." ... as if you are the master of the universe??

epicurus (i do not read philosopy, so im not supposed to know this) is the founder of hedonism - pleasure is the only instric value - but this does not mean that we do not contribute to society. he held the view that we abstain from unnecessary desires and achieve tranquility by being content with simple things. Being happy in your personal life does not mean you are not contributing to society. by choosing not to smoke, commit crimes, buy silly things, etc, you are contributing to society. In case you are not getting it - those who are happy in their personal lives tend to contribute to society.

its interesting you assume that contributing to society means giving money to charity - another sign that you are an idiot. volunteering is free - often people do not talk about how they help out. do you make the rules on what it means to contribute to society? nope. do you know what people are thinking, what they have done? nope. so how can you be so sure that quant traders do not contribute more to society than doctors? i made the point before - but without a robust banking system, forget having doctors - you wont have food, or shelter, or even a functioning government. there is a good story about a senior government official in the soviet union telling Reagan that they were very happy that the americans had markets - to which Reagan was puzzled and ask why - and the official said : "well, we need to know how to actually price things, and how much to pay people".

my point about young people comes from reading Nietzsche- namely his hatrid of subjective/relativist thinking. he had the view that the reason why people hated philosophers is that philosophers "understood" people - because philsophers are so superior and understand us normal people - and could say what is the right or wrong thing to do freely. well, he tears that type of thinking to pieces - read the will to power, or beyond good & evil, or zarathustra. the will to power has a few paragraphs in a section roughly called "on philosophers", that, in better english (well, german) explains this perfectly.

it is true that we are entitled to our opinions. but nobody will take you seriously - maybe Marxists or those nutty anti Wall Street protestors - but they are idiots. thats a sign that your opinion is garbage.
 
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diegosanaz

BU MSMF
Well, this thread has gone down south very quickly. It's making zerohedge comments look good at this point. Not surpising given how this thread began.

Anyone care to tell a joke before we stop posting here ever again?
 

Archidamus

Member
Gamma: Are you free this Friday, I'd like to take you out on a date?
Chi-Square: Distributions can only date their own kind, and I saw you with a Weibull last month.
Gamma: Its okay, I'm alpha 1, beta 2.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
1. What the difference between a carpenter and a cabinet maker?
2. Why can't you trust Fibonacci numbers?
 
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Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Medicine is EASY, it's just a ton of memorization which is boring and tedious.
Indeed.

Your toe bone connected to your foot bone, Your foot bone connected to your ankle bone, Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone, Your leg bone connected to your knee bone, Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone, Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone, Your hip bone connected to your back bone, Your back bone connected to your shoulder bone, Your shoulder bone connected to your neck bone, Your neck bone connected to your head bone, I hear the word of the Lord!

And in the old days, you had to learn the terms in Latin (it being more precise than English).
 
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i am not replying to argue with you - it is clear you have some mental problems - you remind me of a typical Marxist from the Soviet Union. my reply is to make sure that people reading your posts, who at first think "what is wrong with this lunatic?" will be more confident when they see other people calling you out for being a bullshit merchant.

you have no authority to make the claim about what people in any industry contribute. If I play your game - I can make that claim that you contribute nothing to society. And that is a fact. Period. when i said you are not the master of universe, do you realize how stupid you made yourself look by saying "that's a fact. period." ... as if you are the master of the universe??

epicurus (i do not read philosopy, so im not supposed to know this) is the founder of hedonism - pleasure is the only instric value - but this does not mean that we do not contribute to society. he held the view that we abstain from unnecessary desires and achieve tranquility by being content with simple things. Being happy in your personal life does not mean you are not contributing to society. by choosing not to smoke, commit crimes, buy silly things, etc, you are contributing to society. In case you are not getting it - those who are happy in their personal lives tend to contribute to society.

its interesting you assume that contributing to society means giving money to charity - another sign that you are an idiot. volunteering is free - often people do not talk about how they help out. do you make the rules on what it means to contribute to society? nope. do you know what people are thinking, what they have done? nope. so how can you be so sure that quant traders do not contribute more to society than doctors? i made the point before - but without a robust banking system, forget having doctors - you wont have food, or shelter, or even a functioning government. there is a good story about a senior government official in the soviet union telling Reagan that they were very happy that the americans had markets - to which Reagan was puzzled and ask why - and the official said : "well, we need to know how to actually price things, and how much to pay people".

my point about young people comes from reading Nietzsche- namely his hatrid of subjective/relativist thinking. he had the view that the reason why people hated philosophers is that philosophers "understood" people - because philsophers are so superior and understand us normal people - and could say what is the right or wrong thing to do freely. well, he tears that type of thinking to pieces - read the will to power, or beyond good & evil, or zarathustra. the will to power has a few paragraphs in a section roughly called "on philosophers", that, in better english (well, german) explains this perfectly.

it is true that we are entitled to our opinions. but nobody will take you seriously - maybe Marxists or those nutty anti Wall Street protestors - but they are idiots. thats a sign that your opinion is garbage.
You should read more. Not even worth responding. Another finance guy who isn't smart - surprise surprise.
 
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