• 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!

Should I leave my current job for MFE?

Hi all, the applying season is over and now I am facing with another dilemma. So here is the story, I majored in Maths and completed a PhD in engineering. I always wanted to work in Finance but all I could have after graduation were IT jobs offers. Although many of these offers are very attractive in terms of remuneration, I still really want to work in Finance. After trying hard and fast and could not get a financial related positions, I accepted an IT position as senior systems analyst. After 2 years I got promoted to consultant and my pay now is over 140K. The problem is that the job is really boring, I work in a large firm but I do not have enough challenging work so I have plenty of free time, I work like only 2, 3 hours a day and can complete all the things I got assigned and the rest of the day I just attend meetings. So this year I decided to try applying for MFE programs. Now I got admitted in many of them, but by asking around it seems I will have a drastic pay cut after graduation as most positions are below 100K. Given the job market now, I am also worried I do not even have a finance job after going through the education or worst become a developer which I do not like. I know it is hard to step out of the comfort zone of a high paying and easy job but I just feel that this is not my passion and I don't want to work like this the rest of my life. I am having a hard time making decisions now and any comments are highly appreciated. I just want to hear some more ideas, especially from people who are also leaving their current jobs for this education.
 
I don't understand. you applied and got offer, everything is as planed. but you had second thought now and cannot move on.
is the offer not from your target school? or does your family have different opinions about you going to mfe? unsure about the prospect of quant market in the next decade? it's different from IT in risk and undulations, competition with young Olympic medal owners and, ivy talents...it's also exciting if that research matches your interest.. you also develop your business network in mfe.
 
Regarding finance, what exactly are you passionate about? Perhaps you should google "opportunity cost" and do a NPV calculation of your current career path vs a whole new one in finance. Might just ruin some of the "passion".

Besides, if you are THAT into "finance", do it part time at your current job.
 
This just goes to show if you work in a job that you absolutely HATE, no amount of money will make you happy. When you are a college student with no prior real world job, OP sounds like he got the dream job but when you get a few years under your belt, money is just relative.
In this aspect, I do share OP's sentiments.
Keep in mind that jobs for MFE grads are increasingly more technical so if the thought of spending hours a day getting his code to work bothers OP, MFE is not a good choice. He needs to do this well just to get through the program first.
Sadly, most MFE grads won't ever get a "2-3 hours work/rest meeting" kind of job right out of school.

What aspect of finance that you are passionate about?
 
This just goes to show if you work in a job that you absolutely HATE, no amount of money will make you happy. When you are a college student with no prior real world job, OP sounds like he got the dream job but when you get a few years under your belt, money is just relative.
In this aspect, I do share OP's sentiments.
Keep in mind that jobs for MFE grads are increasingly more technical so if the thought of spending hours a day getting his code to work bothers OP, MFE is not a good choice. He needs to do this well just to get through the program first.
Sadly, most MFE grads won't ever get a "2-3 hours work/rest meeting" kind of job right out of school.

What aspect of finance that you are passionate about?

I like something challenging and let my brain to keep working each day instead of resting in a comfort zone of routine tasks. The problem of a traditional IT job is that after a while you are just doing based on what you have in your memory and experience and there is nothing to challenge you to use your brain at all. It is just like following a checklist. In Finance, I like modelling and solving complicated problems such as trading algorithm designs and risk management. I find the world of finance is complex and very intriguing. And no, I do not HATE my job, I just feel that I can do something more challenging than what I gotta do every day now
 
I don't understand. you applied and got offer, everything is as planed. but you had second thought now and cannot move on.
is the offer not from your target school? or does your family have different opinions about you going to mfe? unsure about the prospect of quant market in the next decade? it's different from IT in risk and undulations, competition with young Olympic medal owners and, ivy talents...it's also exciting if that research matches your interest.. you also develop your business network in mfe.

When you are applying, you just apply first and think later, there is nothing to lose right? But when you really have to make a decision, it is another story... and the schools I got in are my target schools
 

alain

Older and Wiser
There is a good chance the finance job you will land will be worse than the one you have now. It could probably be as boring but for a longer work time and less pay. You say you work 2-3 hours a day and get your stuff done. What do you do with the rest of the day? Why don't you challenge yourself instead?
 
This is the crux of the problem! If i got a 60K job I will not have to think twice!!
Why don't you learn new programs on your downtime then? Why not learn how to use Matlab, C++, R or study for the CFA or FRM exam on your downtime. If you're interested in finance you can do all these things at work. However, if you learn all these things it might not guarantee you a career change without a new degree.
I think the job market will pick up in 1 or 2 years. It can't stay like this forever. If you're worried about that I think it's a safe bet to go back to school now. However, I think the rest of the opinions here are right. You'll probably be making lower than 140k. I guess the avg. is probably 70-90k start after an mfe. The problem is will you be happy making 90k with a probability of making more later? There are no guarantees in life. There are plenty of people who go to college and can't find a job after school. Everything you do in life is about taking a risk. I would assume that if you are making 140k, then you have some $$ saved up to last for a while. Also, I think it depends on which school you got in. Princeton, CMU and etc.
 
if u ask me, You gotcha follow ur dream and do what u like to do, rest is not important. you can be happy even with 60k if you love what ur doing.
 

roni

Cornell FE
If you tried to find a job in finance with a math and eng degree but ended up in IT, what makes you think MFE will help you get the job you want?
A good number of people in S&T, risk and quantitative analysis are people with no MFE degrees... you don't need MFE to end up in those jobs
 
It is unlikely that an MFE will give you an edge since you have already had a PhD in highly quantitative field. If you read an interview with employers featured in the front page of the forum, you can see that none of the recruiters interviewed put much preferences on students with MFE or people with MS/phd in maths/stat/comp science etc.. The most important thing is how you perform at the interview and how you can show them that you can handle rigorous quantitative work. Again networking is the most important thing in getting this kind of job, and since you have tried hard and could not find a finance related position, it is unlikely that adding a piece of paper will make you get the job you want. I would say use your free time to take CFA, FRM etc and go for networking events such as CFA local events.. meet as many people as you can and sell your resume' and passion, it is a waste of time and money to go to school and forgo such a good job without guarantee of even another job
 
Hi, after reading. I think I will shorten your statements in few words, you currently got "high paying" + "routine tasks", you want "challenging work" + "fortune". What you capable is "Math major", "engineering PHD","IT expertise". And you do not want to do "boring coding", and you would like some adrenaline in your work. Also you look for change of current industry. I mean really, why don't you go for some technology firms. Consider your ability, I think it is a loss for the world if do not use your brain to develop some real cool new stuff for the world. If you success ,it will make you super rich filled with a lot of passion.

2-3 hours work daily = 140k. If you need challenges, you can try to solve unsolved problems, such as "Reimann Hypothesis". But it looks to me that you are not very self-motivated, maybe you need hugh money to push you.

Trust me, jobs you dreamed about is very unlikely existed. Jobs are meant to be repeated.


huhh, just an idea comes to mind, I think you should be self employed. This way you get all you want.
 

Diego Calderon

Grad Student
I agree with what most people say here, keep the job but increase the load or increase difficulty. By going to school you will get to back to school, but after a while you will wish you were still making 140K. Talk to your Manager and ask for more difficult tasks. You will kick yourself for having left a great paying job for 2 years of school (poss. 1 yr) and less pay.
 
The problem is in my kind of job, SAP consultant, there is not much room left to expand unless I wanna go to management which I don't think I will want to; it is easy if you know how to do it from your experience or you are not at all. The programs that I like to go do not have a part time option so it is really only 2 choices, quit the job or decline the admission offers, I can defer 1 of the ad though. Btw I am a CFA level 3 candidate and have completed FRM exams, I used my free time to go through these
 
Which mfe programs did you get into? Maybe people on this forum will have different opinions if you provide this info. Are you located near nyc?
Watch this video ;)
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Andy is right, there's a lot of people frustrated in their finance work, indeed mfe_candidate shows some of the things I experienced in my last real job before I quit to become a headhunter. I model this as an energy term, that provides motivation for changing things at the price of greater risk, the trick is therefore to get the most return from the risks taken.

Also, being paid what amounts to $1,000 per hour is not sustainable, one day maybe tomorrow, maybe next year someone is going to make you do some heavy lifting or fire you and if you're not doing anything hard it means your skills have not developed enough to easily get another job.

He does sound quite a bit like some of the people we get on the CQF with decent jobs in terms of pay but that don't seem to have a realistic chance of evolving into something they can take satisfaction from. However it's cheaper and you don't have to quit your job. I don't know enough to say if he should do the CQf, but it ought to be on the list of options and it is that list that should be the first task.

MFEs of various kinds make sense, but also those in stats and/or econometrics., cast the net wide then remove things you can't get or don't offer enough optionality.

The OP doesn't say what sort of firm he works for, but I'm guessing a consultancy or systems house.
In his place I'd certainly work on my programming, he can get his C++ up to a better level and learn techniques like sucking data out of Bloomberg & Reuters, VBA can also represent a good return on investment.

You can just buy the books, more than one PhD has done it that way.
Work your way through Wilmott's 3 volume book and Joshi's interview questions, Duffy's C++ books as well as Sutters and then attack Shreve. That's a lot of reading (circa 10,000 pages) but with diligence, determination and aptitude that can get you past many quant interviews. Also the Schaum books on LA, PDEs et al won't hurt at all.
This option has the beauty of being cheap ($1500), low risk (you don't have to quit your job) and if you choose to pursue formal education options it puts you ahead of some of your competitors.
It is of course hard work and requires self discipline.
 
Top