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So I am 2 months away from getting my MFE. Now what?

**WARNING long post**

I would like to thank everyone on this forum for all the advice they have given me. A few years ago I decided to apply to MFE programs and the help I got here was immensely helpful. There is no way I would have gotten into my choice of school had it not been for the help I got here.

More than two years have now passed and I am now 7 weeks from completing my degree. Wanted to get everyone's input on the best possible course of action.

I am currently a bank developer working directly on trader/structurer-oriented pricing engines/applications for Rates. My end goal is a strat/quant-developer/desk quant type job either at a hedge fund or a bank. The most important criteria though, is that I don't want to report into Technology or Operations even if my job is basically a developer (as I am doing now). It's too much bureaucratic BS and not enough reward for the amount of work done.

First things first I am currently getting sponsored for a green card and that's expected to take until at least June 2017. And I don't expect to be able to move right away, even if I am switching departments internally, so I expect to remain in the job for at least 6 months after getting my GC. Of course, that doesn't mean I can't start looking around, talking to people, and prepping for interviews while I wait.

With that said, I have over a year after graduation to do networking, job research, interview prep, etc until the time finally comes when I start looking in earnest.

1) Should an internal move be my first consideration?
I already "network" internally in the sense that I work closely with our quant group and have made contributions to their codebase. Nothing fancy though. It just so happens that my team has heavy interaction with them. It seems a lot easier especially if I continue to work with them and if they know my name.

2) Where should I start in terms of prep for my career shift?
I have bought all the interview prep books, math books, C++ books that I could find here which have good reviews. Well over 20-30 books. I just haven't had the time to go through them because of juggling school & work. My weaker areas relatively speaking are general finance and stats (as opposed to math and programming).

3) Any indicators for how the job market will look in a year? Right now, risk and CPM, CVA, etc are all the rage. Is this expected to continue well into the foreseeable future?

4) Should I even bother using recruiters and job sites / company HR sites, or should I mainly focus on leveraging my connections? I'm not a super-experienced hire but will have a good 5 years of industry experience by the time I start looking and have made many acquaintances during my MFE and also at my job. The areas are diverse from hardcore quant to trader to structurer to risk to financial technology.

Thanks very much for any advice! Am glad to be part of this community. :)

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
1) Yes. Path of least resistance and least risk.
2) Highly idiosyncratic and dependent on the specific job requirements.
3) Not my area.
4) Leverage first, especially if you're still employed while looking, as you have more optionality. If you were unemployed, there's always a timing problem when you get your first offer as you choose between taking it and continuing to interview, so in that case you're incentivized to keep the timing tight between your own connections and recruiters/job sites