• C++ Programming for Financial Engineering
    Highly recommended by thousands of MFE students. Covers essential C++ topics with applications to financial engineering. Learn more Join!
    Python for Finance with Intro to Data Science
    Gain practical understanding of Python to read, understand, and write professional Python code for your first day on the job. Learn more Join!
    An Intuition-Based Options Primer for FE
    Ideal for entry level positions interviews and graduate studies, specializing in options trading arbitrage and options valuation models. Learn more Join!

Prospects of getting into a better quant position without PhD or MFE

Currently I am working as a quant at a branch of danish bank in one of baltic countries. At the same time, I am studying MSc of theoretical physics at university.
My manager runs a programme at the bank where he wants to hire some suitable people (and he says and many people on this forum say that physicists are suitable people for quant job) and teach them to be able to get quant job on any "higher end" bank. I asked him how necessary is the PhD to be able to relocate and get a quant job in Denmark and he said this:
"For London or Denmark you would need either:
1 – No work experience + a PhD in a very related topic, lots of model programming experience and plenty of knowledge.
2 – Some (2yrs+) work experience in a technical area + A PhD or MSc in a highly numerical area.
3- Some (2yrs+) experience as an investment banking quant + BSc or MSc in a highly numerical area"

I would like get more opinions on this. How valuable is real work experience in comparison to academic degree?
The norm from where I am sitting is that after either a MFE (or similar) or a PhD in a quantitative subject (like, say, physics - i.e. not necessarily quantitative finance), one typically gets an internship and then goes to work full-time.

So for your list, I think the importance of degrees is somewhat exaggerated (though I don't think I personally know of anyone working as a quant at a bank with just a BSc): People who figure out early that they want to work in the industry only get an MFE and get a job: 3 years working is going to get you further career-wise than spending the same time pursuing a similar topic in academia anyway. The PhD route is, I'd argue, for those who didn't know early on that they'd end up in finance (e.g. those doing a PhD in physics), or those who were more interested in academia than industry as a work environment, but then changed their minds.

Now, with all that said, if you are in a baltic country and pursuing your education there, you may find it very difficult to move to a quant position at a financial hub: There's no shortage of candidates and so the pedigree does matter somewhat - if for nothing else than just to whittle down the candidate pool to something more manageable. Doing a PhD (in particular out-of-country) would be a good way to differentiate yourself (I assume that there are no MFE degrees being granted where you're based, and I don't think a Master's in Physics is necessarily going to be enough to get interviews at the primary locations of the major banks).
I am not at all wise enough any useful advice 😀

But have you thought about relocating to their Copenhagen office and then move to that “better quant position” in Copenhagen? I assume your work is on Model validation/ model risk / AML or simulation but once in Copenhagen you will probably have more oppurtunites to move to better Quant positions. I am from Stockholm myself and I once met an Estonian in Nordea, who started out in a quant heavy field in Tallinn, relocated and then moved to better quant position here in Stockholm.