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Seeking education advice for an older quant aspirant

Hello to all the students, PhDs, and practicing quants on QuantNet!

A little context before my question:
I am currently a 2nd year undergrad CS student at Monash University's Malaysia campus.
I am 25 this year, went back to school after deciding to quit my sales role in wealth management. I also have an irrelevant bachelors degree in a non-quantitative field from another university (I did manage to squeeze in calculus 1-3 as electives).
I am very interested in mathematics and financial markets, but my best option was CS at Monash because there's not much option for a math degree in Malaysia, especially at my age.
My GPA is around 3.5, might be able to boost it to 3.6.

Before this gets too long I just want to say that basically I had no idea quant finance is a thing until a few years ago. Specifically I'd like to be a quant trader, but I think I have more chances with a quant dev position due to studying CS now. My number 1 goal is to get into quant trading at a reputable firm, number 2 goal is quant dev, number 3 is risk management.

My questions:
1) Are there any reputable online higher level math courses you would recommend? Monash does not offer any of the more interesting math courses at its Malaysia campus (e.g Stochastic calculus, real analysis). I'd love to self-study some of these topics but it'll be nice to have something that strengthens my resume.

2) Are there any projects that you recommend doing to help my chances at becoming a quant?

3) Is it possible to get into quant trading/quant dev with a bachelors in CS?

4) Is there a more budget friendly alternative to a MFE? At this point in my life I don't even know if I can justify spending 2 additional years for a masters, and I'll have to take a loan to do it. I'll be around 27-28 by the time I graduate with a CS degree.

5) Am I just too old to be preparing for quant roles at 25?

Apologies for the long list of questions, I'll appreciate any advice or insights anyone here can offer!
 
The good news is that you're definitely not too old and that CS is relevant degree for both quant traders and quant developers. The bigger problem is location I think. Your target job markets are likely Hong Kong and Sydney. I cannot speak for Hong Kong but not studying in Australia likely means you wouldn't be considered for the typical graduate roles at the top trading firms there. I work for one of these companies in Amsterdam and am not aware of a recent graduate hire in the Sydney office who didn't study in Australia. Is there an option for to transfer your degree to the Sydney campus in your last year? With regards to suitable maths courses - note that graduate level quant trader and developer positions typically don't require any financial maths background at all. This is normally only required for quant researcher positions in which case a bachelors degree in CS is almost surely not sufficient.
 
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The good news is that you're definitely not too old and that CS is relevant degree for both quant traders and quant developers. The bigger problem is location I think. Your target job markets are likely Hong Kong and Sydney. I cannot speak for Hong Kong but not studying in Australia likely means you wouldn't be considered for the typical graduate roles at the top trading firms there. I work for one of these companies in Amsterdam and am not aware of a recent graduate hire in the Sydney office who didn't study in Australia. Is there an option for to transfer your degree to the Sydney campus in your last year? With regards to suitable maths courses - note that graduate level quant trader and developer positions typically don't require any financial maths background at all. This is normally only required for quant researcher positions in which case a bachelors degree in CS is almost surely not sufficient.
Thanks for the reply!

Yes, my location does not offer many opportunities. I do plan to do an exchange to the Australian campus for 1 semester to enroll in some units not available in Malaysia. The exchange program has a limit of only 1 semester.
I'm not sure if I will have work authorization for an internship though.

Did you get into your role in Amsterdam with a bachelors? If you don't mind can you share what was your major?

What are some of the most important classes that can be taken at an undergraduate level for quant trader/dev? Should I be taking some finance electives like derivatives?
 
Would the average Dutch national want to emigrate to Australia? It's so far away.
Just saying.
Hello!

If you were referring to me, I am Malaysian and studying in an Australian university's Malaysian campus.

I'm ok with relocating anywhere, preference is Hong Kong or Singapore. Chances are I must emigrate since there's really no entry quant opportunities in Malaysia.

Btw I am very interested in your books! Also very interested in the Datasim online course Pure Mathematics Foundations, I will shoot an email to the listed address to ask about the specifics. But if I can ask a quick question here: Is there a recommended order to do Datasim's courses? Looks like Pure Mathematics Foundations is the starting point, so just wanted to clarify.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Thanks for the feedback.
Regarding courses, there are various options depending on what your requirements are. We can discuss by email if you like. There is also a student discount scheme.

I am also the originator of QN C++ course that I recommend if you wish to learn C++ for your job.
 
Thanks for the reply!

Yes, my location does not offer many opportunities. I do plan to do an exchange to the Australian campus for 1 semester to enroll in some units not available in Malaysia. The exchange program has a limit of only 1 semester.
I'm not sure if I will have work authorization for an internship though.

Did you get into your role in Amsterdam with a bachelors? If you don't mind can you share what was your major?

What are some of the most important classes that can be taken at an undergraduate level for quant trader/dev? Should I be taking some finance electives like derivatives?
About 1/3rd of our graduate hires for quant traders come out of undergraduate degrees. We generally don’t look for specific coursework at all but consider applicants from various STEM fields as well as econometrics. The interview process is not testing subject knowledge but you’re confronted with some trading games and puzzles. These involve some undergraduate level maths but to a large extend focus on other aspects - like ability to make decisions under uncertainty and pressure or structured problem solving.

For developer roles we indeed hire from computer science specifically with a few candidates from maths and physics. Here, the process is similar to what you could expect from a software engineering role at one of the big tech companies.

Regarding location - a single semester abroad (vs. a degree transfer) will likely not allow you to apply for internships in Australia. So maybe focus your search on Singapore and Hong Kong.
 
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