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Life of a quant

I'm sorry if this information is already posted somewhere, but I'd looked around and couldnt find it.

I'm an undergraduate trying to decide what career or at least field I'd like to go into, and I was just wondering about the lifestyle of a quant. I know that people in non-quant finance are known to work easily 60, and up to or more than 70 hours a week. I was wondering if there is any info on the hourly workweek of a quant, and also generally how long it takes a fresh MSFE (or similar) graduate to be receiving 100k+ salary.

Appreciate any info you guys, thanks in advance!

-Gordo Wardo
 
I am currently applying to MFE programs, w/ one acceptance so far and hoping for more to come. As far as the work load goes, I think quants usually get to work at least an hr before the market opens and then go home a few hours after the market closes. So that would give you an estimate of around 60-80 hours/week. I guess there is no way of escaping the grind if you wanna work in finance. And for compensation, I would imagine most first-year quants to make just above 100k, including bonuses. Hedge funds like DE Shaw and Ren Tech probably pay a bit more. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
 
How about a little more recent, that I just got told from an interview with SIF solutions?

You work 80 hours a week. Six days a week. Your work day lasts from 9 to 10:30, and sometimes more. You have to adjust your body biology, since the market doesn't wait for you to go to the bathroom, unless you want to miss the arbitrages.

That said, this might not apply to all hedge funds, since this one is a professional sports-stat-arb shop.
 
Thanks a ton for the answers you guys

Ok, so a quant can expect to work 70-80 hrs/week. i mean I'm sure quants expect to have families at some point, so say 10 years or so into your career, is there a sector that quants can switch over to and use their experience to still make a good amount of money but work less hours?
 
I kinda have the same concern. How long can you work like that? till you burn out?! what is the culture in this regard on the Street?
 
Thanks a ton for the answers you guys

Ok, so a quant can expect to work 70-80 hrs/week. i mean I'm sure quants expect to have families at some point, so say 10 years or so into your career, is there a sector that quants can switch over to and use their experience to still make a good amount of money but work less hours?

Unless of course you find yourself a quant wife.

Try to check out if there is the possibility to log into your work PC remotely. Very convenient for those with families when things come up, and yet you can still be productive.
 
Thanks a ton for the answers you guys

Ok, so a quant can expect to work 70-80 hrs/week. i mean I'm sure quants expect to have families at some point, so say 10 years or so into your career, is there a sector that quants can switch over to and use their experience to still make a good amount of money but work less hours?

80 hours a week is needed only in some cases. Many others require normal 50-60 hours. You don't have to "work with the market" unless you are really front-office or close to that. For instance, you can work on stress testing, modeling, middle-office credit risk etc. In these areas you would work as much as needed.
At smaller shops, you may need to work close to 80 hours if market demands it. However it is not always case either (e.g. rating a structured deal)
 
In fact, working with the market is a very low hour job.

9:30-4:00=6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. I wish I could get a job working with the market!
 

Sanket Patel

i do stuff
In fact, working with the market is a very low hour job.

9:30-4:00=6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. I wish I could get a job working with the market!

Yep...doing equities in Dallas
 
I don't see any quant past their 50 work the crazy hours mentioned here. I guess is that they have already moved to other capacity, academics or something else.
Human body isn't meant to work 80-100 hours for 30-40 years (the normal working age till retirement at 65). At some point, the mind and body will break down. Add the level of stress, changing life events (marriage, kids) to the mix you aren't likely to do the same thing you started out.

We also need to carefully define "quant". People who ask these type of question often have little idea of different type or job function out there. Many people on this site who already working with some kind of "quant" on their title, it basically is front office desk quant, quant developer where programming, data analysis is a big part of their daily routine.

And there are "blue sky research quant" which is rare but exists.

So before jumping head first into the pool, I would suggest that you define the life style, goal and what you enjoy most about your life. You don't want to trade finer, enjoyable things to do things for the money and regret later at some point in life.

There is no fun being 20-ish but looking like an overstressed, lonely 40-ish poor soul. Pick a career that you enjoy.
 
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