Profile Evaluation (Math Research to Quant)

Hi everyone,

I am currently entering my 4th year at a top 5 public university with a double major in mathematics and statistics. I recently decided that I was interested in taking the quant path but I'm unsure about the strength of my application. I previously was aiming to go into academia in mathematics, however I decided that I would rather enter the industry. Therefore my academic background is more focused on research-level mathematics and I am lacking in experience in the finance area. My application is as follows:
  • Mathematics + Statistics double major from top 5 public university (3.9 GPA)
  • 1 research internship in mathematical biology (computational fluid dynamics, differential equations)
  • 1 analyst internship at major health insurance company (some finance related experience here)
  • Mathematical biology research project (computational epidemiology, hope to have a paper published this fall)
  • Multiple differential equations modeling competitions
  • Plan to take the GRE in 1 month. Expect >168 quant score
  • Graduate level classes taken in statistics and mathematics
  • Self study with some fin-eng textbooks (from the quantnet reading list)
  • I expect 3 strong letters of rec (2 from professors, 1 from industry)
  • Strong Python, R, SQL skills, still learning C++
How strong would my application be? I know I don't have much of a finance background but would that severely hurt my chances?

Thanks in advance!
 
Hi Llama,

I commend you for deciding to become a "quant" before entering the fourth year of college and would advise that you keep your eyes on the prize and finish strong. Now, let's focus on your application.

1. Public University: You mentioned that you are currently a top 5 public university student but did not provide further details. So, I will assume your university is in the USA and is a well-ranked university. If my assumption holds, then I think that's an advantage.

2. Major/Concentration: As someone who is pursuing a degree with a double major in mathematics and statistics, you must be well-versed in core mathematical and statistical concepts that would come in handy during your master's in financial engineering or mathematical finance program. It will also boost your application before the admission officer compared to other applicants with undergraduate degrees that are unrelated.

3. GPA: In my opinion, you have a strong GPA which would give the admission officer an idea that you are smart, focused, and can handle pressure because passing exams is no joke.

4. Research: As someone who has had the privilege to work as a Quantitative Analyst at a hedge fund, I can tell you categorically that the ability to conduct research is an advantage, and I think admission officers in charge of MFE or MQF programs know this. Your research may not be related to the finance industry, but you have learned how to find solutions or potential solutions to problems. In my opinion, that's a boost to your application.

5. Competitions & Internship: The differential equations modeling competition(s) and the internship at a major health insurance company are a plus to your overall application. Hence, you must know how to tell your own story so that your admission officer can get a holistic picture of how the competition and internship have made you a better candidate for their MFE or MQF program.

6. GRE: You expect a quant score of 168-170 out of 170 when you take the GRE, and I think it's feasible. I will also advise you to take the verbal seriously because it can impact your overall score. So, if you have a high GRE score, I think it would make your application stand out.

7. Programming: You have a good chance of thriving in any MFE or MQF program if your claim of having robust Python, R, and SQL skills is valid, and any admission officer would be pleased upon seeing your application. Since you are still learning C++, you can check out the QuantNet C++ program. I recently went through the table of content, and I think it's an excellent program to prepare you for your MFE or MQF master's program.

8. Finance: I think you are moving in the right direction and on the right platform to get good advice and relevant materials. I will advise that you familiarize yourself with core financial concepts related to quantitative finance or financial engineering. QuantNet's reading list, as you stated, is sufficient to help you self-study. Don't forget to mention your improvements in this area in your interview with an admission officer or when writing your statement of purpose (personal statement).

9. Recommendation: 3 strong recommendations would go a long way in boosting your application and candidacy. Just make sure they are people you trust, look up to, and are sure would provide a positive "strong" recommendation.


Final Advice (Conclusion): I think you stand a chance of getting admitted to any MFE or MQF program of your choice. In my opinion, not having a finance background would not severely hurt your application.
 
Hi Llama,

I commend you for deciding to become a "quant" before entering the fourth year of college and would advise that you keep your eyes on the prize and finish strong. Now, let's focus on your application.

1. Public University: You mentioned that you are currently a top 5 public university student but did not provide further details. So, I will assume your university is in the USA and is a well-ranked university. If my assumption holds, then I think that's an advantage.

2. Major/Concentration: As someone who is pursuing a degree with a double major in mathematics and statistics, you must be well-versed in core mathematical and statistical concepts that would come in handy during your master's in financial engineering or mathematical finance program. It will also boost your application before the admission officer compared to other applicants with undergraduate degrees that are unrelated.

3. GPA: In my opinion, you have a strong GPA which would give the admission officer an idea that you are smart, focused, and can handle pressure because passing exams is no joke.

4. Research: As someone who has had the privilege to work as a Quantitative Analyst at a hedge fund, I can tell you categorically that the ability to conduct research is an advantage, and I think admission officers in charge of MFE or MQF programs know this. Your research may not be related to the finance industry, but you have learned how to find solutions or potential solutions to problems. In my opinion, that's a boost to your application.

5. Competitions & Internship: The differential equations modeling competition(s) and the internship at a major health insurance company are a plus to your overall application. Hence, you must know how to tell your own story so that your admission officer can get a holistic picture of how the competition and internship have made you a better candidate for their MFE or MQF program.

6. GRE: You expect a quant score of 168-170 out of 170 when you take the GRE, and I think it's feasible. I will also advise you to take the verbal seriously because it can impact your overall score. So, if you have a high GRE score, I think it would make your application stand out.

7. Programming: You have a good chance of thriving in any MFE or MQF program if your claim of having robust Python, R, and SQL skills is valid, and any admission officer would be pleased upon seeing your application. Since you are still learning C++, you can check out the QuantNet C++ program. I recently went through the table of content, and I think it's an excellent program to prepare you for your MFE or MQF master's program.

8. Finance: I think you are moving in the right direction and on the right platform to get good advice and relevant materials. I will advise that you familiarize yourself with core financial concepts related to quantitative finance or financial engineering. QuantNet's reading list, as you stated, is sufficient to help you self-study. Don't forget to mention your improvements in this area in your interview with an admission officer or when writing your statement of purpose (personal statement).

9. Recommendation: 3 strong recommendations would go a long way in boosting your application and candidacy. Just make sure they are people you trust, look up to, and are sure would provide a positive "strong" recommendation.


Final Advice (Conclusion): I think you stand a chance of getting admitted to any MFE or MQF program of your choice. In my opinion, not having a finance background would not severely hurt your application.
Hi @SamDQuant. Thank you very much for the response. First of all, yes the university I'm attending is in the USA and is considered top 5 by US News and World Report. I really appreciate the advice!
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Regarding the QN C++ course(s) (I am the originator) the examples and projects are finance-focused, e.g. Monte Carlo, PDE, numerics.
 
Top