Risk Quant at BB - 2nd MSc to get to FO?

Hi everyone and thanks in advance for any advice,

As the title suggests I am currently a risk quant (counterparty credit risk) at a BB in London, I have been here for about 6 months and previously I did an MSc in Maths from Oxbridge.

The job here is not stressful and the hours are good (9:30 to 6:30 most days), but it's very boring and I am not doing any pricing/stochalc/C++, mostly Python quant development.

My goal is to end up in structuring or at least front office quant. I applied for some desk quant roles and got a couple of interviews at other banks but didn't pass them (although I am doing much better now and I think I did reasonably well in the last one I did). I also have an offer to do a 2nd MSc, specifically Maths and Finance at Imperial (which I think is top 3 in europe along with oxford MCF and Dea El Karoui) and now I am really not sure whether to resign and do the masters or just stay at my current job and keep applying for FO quant roles. The tuition fee is not a big issue, it's more the fact that I really don't want to go back from working to being in university. But I would do it if it's the best choice.

The way I see it, the pros of doing the second master is that I can apply for summer internships in S&T and off-cycle FO quant, that it is very well-known in the city and that perhaps I would learn some useful stuff (even though I already know most of the stuff in the curriculum tbh). The cons are the opportunity cost of leaving my job and the risk of not getting a job better than my current one even after the MSc (if I don't do the master, my plan would be to move to a FO desk quant job as soon as possible and then try to move from that to structuring in 2/3 years)

What do you guys think?
 
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Masters is not the key to getting a job actually.
If you think you can study something that’ll be relevant towards your career goals and that you did not study in your previous course curriculum , you can go ahead with the masters.

I am also working in the risk side, I can understand it’s very hard to get to FO role, and even to be interviewed for a Quant research role. You need to understand the industry, appear for some interviews, pass some coding assignments and most importantly show that you are passionate about that field. You’ll get the offer, no need for second masters.

I have been been appearing for quant interviews for almost 1.5 years now. And have converted two quant research roles now. It takes time and patience you just have to keep learning throughout the interview process.
 
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Well first thanks for the reply and congrats on getting the offers for quant research! I think the main value of the MSc would be that it's a pretty famous one and that it would help me land interviews. I don't think I would learn much that I can't study on my own. Did you manage to get quant research roles in banks or is it at other type of firms?
 
You interviews for front office roles should give some insight on what's "missing". Do a few more, record as many of the questions they ask as possible, and find the themes. It's not your background that will hold you back, nor a new degree that will propel you forward. It's can be as basic as answering certain questions to an adequate level. There should then be some mini-project you could do that would demonstrate ability in the problem area. You then take those learnings into the next interview.
Internships have way more competition than regular full-time roles. Moreover, there's a "young person" bias involved, such that you could be passed up for Summer Internships, for younger candidates with no experience - even though you'd do the job better.
 
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You interviews for front office roles should give some insight on what's "missing". Do a few more, record as many of the questions they ask as possible, and find the themes. It's not your background that will hold you back, nor a new degree that will propel you forward. It's can be as basic as answering certain questions to an adequate level. There should then be some mini-project you could do that would demonstrate ability in the problem area. You then take those learnings into the next interview.
Internships have way more competition than regular full-time roles. Moreover, there's a "young person" bias involved, such that you could be passed up for Summer Internships, for younger candidates with no experience - even though you'd do the job better.
Thanks for the reply! I agree on the fact that internships are more competitive than full time roles (at least in terms of getting the interviews, not sure about actually getting the job). However, the brand name helps in getting them: the last two interviewers both had exactly the MSc I have the offer from and some friend who did the master last year and applied seriously got interviews from 80% of the banks they applied to (currently I have approximately a 30% application-to-interview rate for FO quant jobs).

No doubt I would be able to self study to fill the gaps I have in my current knowledge (doable in a couple of months I think) however there would still be things I would learn in the masters that would help for the jobs. I guess my main doubt is that right now I have a relatively easy and safe job where I will still get to 150k£/yr in 4/5 yers (my salary is around 65k £ at the moment and I was promised a promotion to associate next year, which pays around 100k£ all-in) and in some sense "I can only go up" from here (meaning that I can interview for other roles without leaving my job) while getting the msc has a lot of risks (i.e. I might fail some exam, not get any job after the degree or get one that is worse than mine, etc). And the apparently incumbent recession doesn't exactly inspire optimism in terms of the job market. However, I also don't want to find myself still here in a few years time and regret that I didn't take the risk on this master.
 
Regret can outweigh many things, and be haunting. So can student loans. Hehe.

In my hypothetical distribution of scenarios where you go for the masters; the 25th percentile would be:
- internship but not a great one
- student life is no fun since fellow students have 0 experience and only see things as a competition (i.e. no collaboration)
- graduating and working at a lesser bank for lesser pay. (since you would be 2 years without "real" work and thus get "discounted")
- having to rebuild the career progress

Your bonuses would be:
- fresh learning + rigor
- 2 years where, because of your experience you get to compare & combine theory and practice.
- 100% certainty after graduation that if the offers and trajectory aren't there, it's not about educational background/prep.
- no regret

If you can minimize those drawbacks, and have the financing, then probably go for it.
 
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