PhD physics / math vs. MFE

Sky

Member
I have a question about the required education to become a quant nowadays (post-2008 financial crisis). I am seeing a lot of differing opinions on this, and contradictory information from job search websites. I would like to become a quant, and I believe this would be the best application of my skills (as opposed to another financial career path, such as trading). I am deciding whether it is better to pursue a PhD in physics or math, or to go for the MFE. I've read many of the postings on here, and it seems that most people would suggest the MFE, but when I look at job postings (such as on efinancialcareers), I find that many positions require a PhD in physics or math. What would you suggest?
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
First, what kind of quant, what kind of asset class?
You need to be focused on a subset of jobs that your skills and experience are most applicable. The Mark Joshi guide may give you some good starting point.

Invariably, many quant job postings require PhD because it's a template that many recruiters use. If you look at the kind of jobs posted on our Jobs section, you will see that Master in Financial Engineering are listed along PhD.

That's where MFE programs come in. Top MFE programs will be able to send their graduates directly to the hiring managers and bypass the PhD/HR filter. Graduates from the other also-ran programs will find it very difficult to find a job.
 

Sky

Member
Andy,

Thank you so much for the reply -- it was very informative and helpful. Per Mark Joshi's guide, I think being a stat arb quant is my best option, as I would like to work for a well established hedge fund one day. However, I can't commit to an asset class yet, as I have zero experience in the field. Still, I'm very interested in applying math and programming to solving financial problems, I stay current on financial news, and I'm studying for the GRE.
 
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