If you’re a PhD in CS I don’t think the good shops that only hire PhD’s (TGS, PDT, SIG) will badger you with the bullshit brainteaser questions and rather would ask about your research experience and pro-gambler experience (a huge plus that sets you aside from the other top-tier PhD’s with a high profile resume like yours, not sure why you’re downplaying this). Undergrads, even with the medals and top school, have to prove themselves, you’ve already proven yourself with research record. Besides it’s not that hard to learn the basic classical stats and calculus that they ask especially for a PhD in CS.
Thanks for the confidence boost! Including the ones already mentioned, my shortlist of places to apply to is AQR, CTC, Citadel, DE Shaw, DRW, HRT, IMC, Jane Street, Jump, Old Mission, Optiver, PDT, Point72, RenTech, SIG, TGS, and Two Sigma. Any other suggestions?
If I were in the same position I would really try to go for the serious and rather small research-focused shops like PDT, TGS, Rentech, Voleon, etc. (Voleon in particular likes AI/ML researchers and run ML strategies) that ONLY hire PhD’s rather than the big mega-funds like Citadel, DE Shaw, Two Sigma as they tend to have better collaborative academic environments and run pretty much purely their own money in market-neutral alpha strategies (so you don’t have to deal with bureaucracy and clients). Unfortunately those super legit funds tend to be in the middle of nowhere...
Thanks again for the great info. The forum posts I've come across for people in similar situations (e.g. PhD in STEM and/or not recent grad) do tend to direct towards places like RenTech, PDT, and Voleon, although they equally as often mention DE Shaw, Citadel, and Jane Street. It's not clear to me if that's due to fit or just because those are considered the top shops. When I first started asking around a month ago, the one that always came up for me specifically was SIG which makes sense with the poker background.
I also just came across a recent post where someone was asking about academia-inspired shops and the suggestions were RenTech, PDT, HRT, TGS, DE Shaw, and Two Sigma. However you're making what seems to be a significant distinction between some of these, could you elaborate more in addition to possibly expanding on the "etc."? Is the distinction based on my interview preparedness (i.e. I would not get through a mega-fund interview, but could at a small shop) or just the better environment? In either case, additional good fit suggestions for me are invaluable.
I think SIG would be a great place for you as many card games are a part of there interview process. I know many people there are high level poker players as well so definitely makes sense that you could be a quant researcher there. It’s a tough place to land but great if you could.
A mega-fund will throw all kinds of brainteasers and whatnot regardless of who you are, because they need to filter out lots of applicants. I would imagine that a small shop would focus more on your research experience and what you actually did, rather than those brainteaser-type stuff. In either case it's not too hard to learn how to get through all the brainteasers or generic probability questions given all the critical thinking experience and mathematical maturity developed during the course of a STEM PhD.