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Mechanical engineering student looking for guidance

Hi all,

I am a 20-year-old ME student at a top 10 ranked university in the world for my program (TU Delft). I chose this program simply because after graduating from high school I had no clue what I wanted to study, all I knew was that I liked numbers. So, I applied for a bachelor program in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, I am in my second year of my bachelor, and I am starting to get a feeling that I am not in the right place. I have to admit, I do enjoy most of the mathematics and physics, but I am not sure if I see myself as a mechanical engineer in ~4 years.

The math courses that I will be taking/took during my bachelors are Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential Equation, Statistics and Numerical Methods for DE's. Within less than two years I will have finished my BSc, and then I want to do my masters. The thing is, I do not want to do my masters in ME because of lack of interest. During my bachelors, I discovered that I really like mathematics and programming. Although we did not do that much of programming, most of the coding was simple numerical math models in Python or MATLAB, or simulations (dynamics, thermodynamics, etc.) and I have to say I did enjoy that a lot. If I could go back in time, I think I would have applied for Computer Science & Engineering or Econometrics and Operations Research.

But what am I doing on a quant forum then?

Well, since the age of 15 I had a lot of interest in the financial stock market. I have been investing and trading passively for the last couple of years, not because I want to get rich but simply because of interest in the financial stock market. Idealistically, I would like to combine this interest with my studies - mathematics, programming and the stock market.

There are several masters I have found which got my interest.
  • Bridging program to BSc Applied Mathematics (1 semester) -> MSc in Financial Engineering (same university)
  • Bridging program to BSc Econometrics and Operations Research (2 semesters) -> MSc Quantitative Finance (different university)
  • MSc in Systems and Control or Robotics (same university) - these are ME masters which I would consider if I had to stay within ME.

I am looking for some advice. Has someone been in a similar situation? How did you decide what to do?

Any advice would be very appreciated.

Thank you!

Sorry for my English, it is not my first language.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Delft is #10 in the world??!! No way. We Amsterdammers have a saying "Delft is world famous in Delft". Don't take offence. LOL. And the ranking is not a concern here.

C++ is a good start (almost essential) + more maths.

And looking forward, it might depend on whether you want to work in say Amsterdam or in another country. The courses you mention seem not to be terribly relevant to the current market. I could be wrong.
Delft and A'dam have solid PhD programmes.
Or maybe try USA: Baruch, UCB, CMU,...
 
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I work for one of the big quant trading firms in Amsterdam. We hire from all the degrees that you mentioned for our trading graduates. There is also no real advantage in the selection process having studied something finance related as long as you have a solid background in maths, stats and probability. Pure finance and also econometrics students even tend to struggle more with our interview process. Systems and Control as well as a Financial Maths in Delft have a very good reputation. The situation is a bit different if you want to become a quant. There, we typically look for either a masters in Financial Maths or a general STEM PhD, though there are exceptions too. Feel free to reach out to me directly.
 
Hello,

I was "stuck" with Mech. Eng. for far longer. Was 1 year into my PhD when I finally decided to try and become a quant.
Now enrolled at a decent MFE program.

My experience is that mech eng gives you a very solid foundation in maths. Not so much in coding and statistics.
My advice is don't rush with deciding, look around (this forum is a good place to start - read threads about what different quants do..),
and in the end you will know what to do.

Best of luck
 
Delft is #10 in the world??!! No way. We Amsterdammers have a saying "Delft is world famous in Delft". Don't take offence. LOL. And the ranking is not a concern here.

C++ is a good start (almost essential) + more maths.

And looking forward, it might depend on whether you want to work in say Amsterdam or in another country. The courses you mention seem not to be terribly relevant to the current market. I could be wrong.
Delft and A'dam have solid PhD programmes.
Or maybe try USA: Baruch, UCB, CMU,...
Hahah! If I have to believe my professors, we are 'just ' behind Harvard xD!

I would like to study in the Netherlands, that's why I mentioned all the options I could find which had my interest. I am really doubting if I should continue engineering, do a more math-heavy masters OR switch to Econometrics with a specialization in Quantitative Finance. Fortunately, I do have more than enough time to think about this decision ... Do you think a PhD is essential/advantage to get in one of the big boys? Flow Traders, Optivers, etc...
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Hahah! If I have to believe my professors, we are 'just ' behind Harvard xD!

It's a start.
BTW happy anniversary 179 years THD/TUD.

Just a guess but they want C++, traders. PhD?
Can you program in C++?

an idea is the C++ Meetup in A'dam etc. organised by Ray Burgemeester. Finance people attend.
 
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Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
I went a few times but mostly encountered people working on low-latency execution software there, not so much quants.
Same hare; I haven't been there for a while. And expensive after-ski bars in that area :)
TBH it started to become a bit show-offy .. who uses cool C++?
 
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Hahah! If I have to believe my professors, we are 'just ' behind Harvard xD!

It's a start.
BTW happy anniversary 179 years THD/TUD.

Just a guess but they want C++, traders. PhD?
Can you program in C++?

an idea is the C++ Meetup in A'dam etc. organised by Ray Burgemeester. Finance people attend.
Hi Daniel,

I cannot program in C++. I never have considered this simply because all my university programming projects are done either in Matlab or Python. Is C++ essential for quants, traders, algo developers? If yes, why is C++ the preferred language?
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Hi Daniel,

I cannot program in C++. I never have considered this simply because all my university programming projects are done either in Matlab or Python. Is C++ essential for quants, traders, algo developers? If yes, why is C++ the preferred language?
I would say C++ is still the gold standard.
 
I would say C++ is still the gold standard.
It really depends. The more research-driven the team is - especially within trading companies, the more Python will be used these days. I can see how banks with big legacy pricing and risk libraries want graduates with C++ background to become productive quickly. My team for example doesn't assess C++ during interviews. We spent the vast majority of time working in Python on prototyping and strategy research. We teach the software engineering skills needed on the job through intensive mentoring at the beginning as well as code reviews.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
We teach the software engineering skills needed on the job through intensive mentoring at the beginning as well as code reviews.
Fair enough.
 
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