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german_quant

New Member
Hi folks,

Mailing from Europe. I'm currently considering whether it isn't time to look for something else. I like my company and my team but I don't agree with the decisions I have to do for work and fear that my quantitative skills will vanish. It is already some work to refresh seemingly basic concepts so.. time for a change before I'm trapped?

I'm currently a risk quant at a Clearinghouse. We could have interesting topics but the strategy we are now switching to leaves little hope on my work getting more technical again.
I have a very good M.Sc. in Mathematics from a good german University and did my thesis in a world-wide top 20 university for Mathematics.


I'm applying now and it looks a little bit less promising than hoped. In Germany there is not much happening in the quant finance space (in comparison to London or the US) and the situation is getting worse with Brexit and the US making it harder for foreigners. I could try in Switzerland or Amsterdam but to be honest, I'm 30, I don't want to grind mental math in my free time just to get past a minimal score in an application process. Tried that, worked somewhat and passed those stages once or twice but keeping that level passable eats up enough time.

Desk quant positions seem to dry up a bit and my C++ is not strong enough I think because I honestly never really cared about it, i think there are equally fast and more interesting languages to program in so I did the basics and skipped then because I wasn't applying for dev positions - looking at the last 7 years I focussed on actual programming in Python (beyond 'import pandas as pd'....) so that is difficult. I would like to leave risk but I wouldn't say it would be terrible to stay within risk. I did already turn down a quant developer position with a bulge bracket in switzerland because the salary wouldn't match too.


My current options are:
- join a small bank/private wealth mgmt firm and do some quant developer/portfolio stuff there. No derivatives exposure and potentially... boring?
- join a robo advisor that really wants me (30 people, not very well known, seems to perform well though). Could be cool, but I'm afraid that it is a downgrade in career progression
- join an energy provider as a quant. This could be cool, they do renewables and that's a topic I'm personally interested in. But I'm not sure how 'transferable' the things I would learn there are in the market if I ever wanted to join a bank for example. Let's say it's suspiciously easy to get interviews in that sector - but maybe I'm paranoid :)
- move to a larger bank but with less quantitative content or risk quant dev with the possibility to maybe lunch my way to an internal job switch to the front office..? But I don't know how often this happens tbh. In that time I would then focus on getting my C++ to a passable level.
- stay at my current employer, my boss loves me and the hours are awesome for what I'm paid, move to mgmgt in a year or two for maybe a little pay bump and forget about this quant nonsense more and more because oh boy do people not care about reasonable principles. Or at least not somewhere below the top hedge funds into which I will most likely not get because I haven't been successful in networking my way into there.
- stay, aknowledge to myself that I'm unhappy about how I'm asked to work and keep looking for another job.


Share your insights. The longer the answer, the better.
 

Berenger

Active Member
...
My current options are:
- join a small bank/private wealth mgmt firm and do some quant developer/portfolio stuff there. No derivatives exposure and potentially... boring?
- join a robo advisor that really wants me (30 people, not very well known, seems to perform well though). Could be cool, but I'm afraid that it is a downgrade in career progression
- join an energy provider as a quant. This could be cool, they do renewables and that's a topic I'm personally interested in. But I'm not sure how 'transferable' the things I would learn there are in the market if I ever wanted to join a bank for example. Let's say it's suspiciously easy to get interviews in that sector - but maybe I'm paranoid :)
- move to a larger bank but with less quantitative content or risk quant dev with the possibility to maybe lunch my way to an internal job switch to the front office..? But I don't know how often this happens tbh. In that time I would then focus on getting my C++ to a passable level.
- stay at my current employer, my boss loves me and the hours are awesome for what I'm paid, move to mgmgt in a year or two for maybe a little pay bump and forget about this quant nonsense more and more because oh boy do people not care about reasonable principles. Or at least not somewhere below the top hedge funds into which I will most likely not get because I haven't been successful in networking my way into there.
- stay, aknowledge to myself that I'm unhappy about how I'm asked to work and keep looking for another job.
...
Last choice you give yourself is kind of circular, a GO TO: start of the loop again.

You can be far more helpful to me than I can be to you I believe:
1. have you found those job proposals through linkedIn?
2. how much do you know about mathematics for finance (books read for instance)?
3. there are proprietary trading firms in Frankfurt that are looking for people, I know it for a fact.
 

german_quant

New Member
Last choice you give yourself is kind of circular, a GO TO: start of the loop again.

You can be far more helpful to me than I can be to you I believe:
1. have you found those job proposals through linkedIn?
2. how much do you know about mathematics for finance (books read for instance)?
3. there are proprietary trading firms in Frankfurt that are looking for people, I know it for a fact.
1) most of them, yes. I talked to some recruiters but the german ones I talked to have absolutely no clue what quant actually is. There is stuff there but not much.
2) That depends on whom you ask. I have no idea what volatility models are used in FX models and I will have trouble deriving the price of a bond option in a LMM without a book. I can derive BS and can, if I must, derive a closed/semi-closed formula for barrier options on paper and so on. You know, that stuff you'll do in the interview and then never look at again until you interview again :)
3) At least I'm not aware of anything interesting. They need accountants and some "risk analysts" here that calculate regulatory bounds (e.g. not much more than pushing an excel back and forth, fit your assumptions to the quarterly revenue goals of management and pack it in 19 different PowerPoint presentations) there and I won't touch a job that contains more than 5% VBA. There are very, very few companies like Quoniam for example but they also don't have anything interesting at the moment.
 
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