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Is there such things called a 'mini' quant?

Hi all,

I was recently offered a job to be a quantitative analyst at a local bank in South East Asia but am now unsure as to whether it is suitable for me or not! I did my BSc and MSc in the UK and was originally planning to pursue a PhD but stopped short at it due to many reasons. My programming skills are sub par, I don't seem to be have an affinity to probability nor am I proficient in finance!

However, I returned to my home country and stumble on a job advertisement for a quantitative analyst which seem to coincide with the responbilities of a quant but at a lower level! One thing lead to another and eventually, I got the job (which I suspect is primarily due to the reputation of both my alma mater). Nevertheless, I am worried that I just don't have the smarts for it.

In fact, would it be damaging to start a career as a lowly quantitative analyst (the bank only requires their applicants to have a Bachelors in a quantitative subject).

Anyway, I am currently watching the Yale videos on Financial Markets just to familiarise myself with the subject. What else do you guys think I should do to buck up or should I just forsake this job?

Edit: Arggh! The thread should read "Is there such a thing called 'Mini Quant'?"
 

Ken Abbott

Managing Director
jo_joejoe, I'm a fairly senior guy at a very big firm. On a really, really good day, when I'm seeing things really clearly and everything makes sense, I consider myself a 4th-rate quant. It's not about how much math you've taken, unless you want to be a pure theoretician or how well you code, unless you want to work in IT. It's about how you apply the skills that you have to solve problems. Some of those problems are purely mathematical. Most are not. They will involve industries, clients and their specific needs, and idiosyncrasies of the markets. Mostly, however, they will involve people.
You'd be surprised at how many senior people there are who have a masters-level understanding of quant topics. To be successful, you need to understand the concepts and how they're applied. You need a strong technical background, but more often that not, you use that background to frame the problem for specialists. Learn about the markets. Learn about companies. Learn about how to communicate effectively. After nearly 30 years, I still consider myself a "lowly quantitative analyst" and I'm fine with that. It has served me well.
 
In the (anecdotal) words of one of my previous employers, when asked how he got to head the large division of our company, "weeeelll... I'll tell you. I don't know a lot about anything... but I know a little about everything..."
 
jo_joejoe, I'm a fairly senior guy at a very big firm. On a really, really good day, when I'm seeing things really clearly and everything makes sense, I consider myself a 4th-rate quant. It's not about how much math you've taken, unless you want to be a pure theoretician or how well you code, unless you want to work in IT. It's about how you apply the skills that you have to solve problems. Some of those problems are purely mathematical. Most are not. They will involve industries, clients and their specific needs, and idiosyncrasies of the markets. Mostly, however, they will involve people.
You'd be surprised at how many senior people there are who have a masters-level understanding of quant topics. To be successful, you need to understand the concepts and how they're applied. You need a strong technical background, but more often that not, you use that background to frame the problem for specialists. Learn about the markets. Learn about companies. Learn about how to communicate effectively. After nearly 30 years, I still consider myself a "lowly quantitative analyst" and I'm fine with that. It has served me well.

Hello Ken, thank you for sharing your insights on this. I hail from a Mathematics background but has never been very good at it compared to some of my peers. Thus, my problem solving skills maybe be sorely lacking which does not bode well with this position! My only redeeming quality is a keenness to learn from others, which do not seem to be sufficient to ensure my survival in the field.

Nevertheless, I will heed your advice and keep an open mind. I do not mind being a "lowly quant" at all but if it renders me easily replaceable even after some years of working experience, then it might be risky decision on my part. I will be devastated if someone with a PhD in Mathematical Finance or whatever whoosh by and took the job away from me, just because he is perceived as better qualified.
 
In the (anecdotal) words of one of my previous employers, when asked how he got to head the large division of our company, "weeeelll... I'll tell you. I don't know a lot about anything... but I know a little about everything..."

The latter is something I can do! I amass knowledge quite easily though I don't seem to be an expert in any of them.
 
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