what do employers really need?

I have summarized a list of knowledge / tools / applications for the financial engineering program. I just hope that we can gather some information from your fellow classmates who have some on the job experience. Therefore, we can figure it out what skill set we need to develop in order to better suit the job. I believe that each job has its unique set of functions. People do bonds will only deal with bonds, people do options will only deal with options. ETC. The employers just want their employees to be specialized on one or two things so the efficiency can be maximized. Therefore, if you could, please post what you know about a particular job title and what they do on the job? This thread will help us all to develop the proper skill set to increase job hunting efficiency. I have listed the job functions and job titles.

STORY:
I tell you what I heard from a post grad student. Although his major was bio-chemistry, but the theory still applies. He told me that many post grad students CAN"T get a job or getting 40,000 a year to do research in school. He said that he was passionated by the bio-tech and that is why he dedicated to the bio-chemistry for 5 more years of Ph.D program and 3 more years of post grad research. However, the reality makes him very upset. He recently got a real full time job in my company as a application scientist. He told me that the company just want him to focus on one thing, CENTRIFUGE. That is it, he doesn't need to do anything else. All he has learned and passionated about can be dumped sadly. The reality is that the company just want you to focus on ONE thing and that is IT, nothing else. You really have to be specialized on ONE thing and be very very good at it."

1. Financial market and Arbitrage pricing.
2. Forward and future market.
3. Theory behind derivative pricing.
4. Options primer and intro. to binomial option pricing.
5. Intro. to options
6. Pricing options in discrete time - the standard option pricing framework.
7. Basic swaps - swaps markets.
8. Binomial and Monte Carlo option pricing 1 and 2.
9. How to price more complex derivatives.
10. The black-Scholes formula and its applications.
11. Bond valuation and term structure of interest rates.
11. Intro. to bond.
12. Theories of term structure and empirical evidence.
13. Valuing interest rate derivatives.
14. Modeling the term structure.
15. How to value interest rate derivatives.
16. How to analyze defaultable bonds.
17. Asset-backed securities 1.
18. Mortgage-backed securities.
19. Asset-backed securities
20. Risk management.
21. Advance tools for risk management.

***************************************
1. Senior Credit Modeler
2. Collateral Analyst
3. Senior/Junior Risk Management Officer
4. Portfolio Manager
5. Risk Analyst
6. Index Options Analyst
7. MBS Modeler Analyst
8. Business Analyst
 
Man, you really have to work on improving the signal-to-noise ratio.

FYI I work at Credit Suisse, in a programming group that is one degree removed from the quant modelers. So I am not completely unaware of the obstacles to getting a quant finance job.

Your list looks like a cut and paste from somewhere.

8. Binomial and Monte Carlo option pricing 1 and 2.

What's the diff between Binomial/MC 1 and 2?

17. Asset-backed securities 1.

Only section 1? I don't understand why you picked this list, and not say the Table of Contents from Hull's Book.

It's not clear to me what you want from the other people on this forum. afai can tell you just completed a degree in a completely unrelated topic, and now you've decided to become a financial engineer by the end of the week, because your field of expertise does not pay as much as you feel you are worth, and quant finance apparently does.

In and of itself, that's not problematic. There are lots of people on this forum (self included) who are in jobs they openly think they can be improved upon. That means either more salary or better job satisfaction or both - for my fellow students in the Baruch intake of Fall 2007, I KNOW this is not always just about the money. It's 100% not clear to me that this degree is going to get me better pay 3 years from now, but I am enjoying it, and it pulls together a lot of things I am good at - undergrad math, computing, a bit of finance.

The difference is that these people are adopting a more measured approach to the problem of how to get from where they are now to that new job. For example - by targeting and researching advanced degree programs that can help them get to where they are, and then applying (against heated competition) to those courses. Then either getting by as a fulltime student for more time, or continuing to do their regular job until they are at least partway through. By tracking down and reading relevant texts so they can understand where they are heading. Even for experienced programmers or finance people, this transition can take one or more years (I started my own journey from a pure programming role at Microsoft nearly 3 years ago now).

My advice to you is to suck it up and get a job in the field you are trained for. Meanwhile, do the reseach everybody else here has already done on self-study and/or advanced degrees for financial engineering, returning here to ask questions when you can phrase them in a form that can realistically be answered quickly by the helpful people on this forum. In short, when you know a bit more what you are talking about. The people on this forum who can and will help you are for the most part much further along than the below in their level of preparation, so a post like this is just randomizing, adding nothing to the sum total of forum knowledge.

If you are really passionate about this, do your basic due diligence and apply for the Masters program of choice next fall (after getting a job), and finish it as fast as you can while working full-time. UC Berkeley Haas has a Masters degree in the right area, as I recall. I am sure there are others in the Bay Area, although finding a decent internship to go with the degree might be easier in Chicago or NYC. Talking to the people who run these programs will also help you understand your chances of admission.

Honestly, given your current skillset (even if you learn SAS or whatever), my guess is that any investment bank or hedge fund will take 5 seconds to review and dump your resume. Do you think you are the only current or recent grad who sees quant finance salaries and thinks "I could do that"? Anybody with a connection to dice.com or monster.com or whatever can find these allegedly high-paying quant finance jobs. The problem for you is that the supply of well-trained candidates is multiplying as MFE degree programs spring up to meet that demand. There will probably be a bunch of smart quant people from mortgage desk and hedge funds hitting the job market in the next year, as well. Get real about the task ahead of you, or you will get nowhere.

I'm sorry if that seems blunt, but the people that get these jobs are the best of the best, so it's going to take some hard spadework from where you are, however good your basic smarts.

Regarding your friend's story - in the real world, most jobs are like that to start with (and many jobs stay like that for ever). Nobody enters their first full-time job and changes the world right away, or uses all their book learning on the job. You have to learn on the job before you can advance. Why did he even take the job if he hates centrifuges?
 
"You have to learn on the job before you can advance. Why did he even take the job if he hates centrifuges?"

Overall good advice.

He took that job because he got no other choice. This is life, as you said could have NO other options. You are telling me like there is no options. Well.....it does look like it.

I think that what I was really asking is simple. What knowledge / tools / applications do you need on the job? That is IT.

You can list all the knowledge / what program language / tools / applications you need on your job in order to survive in your position. That is all I want you guys to share. Thank you!
 
Steve:

How excellent your speech is!!=D>=D>


Vistabond:

People here like Steve are so nice that they will spend their time looking at your post and giving you such a good reply.

Do your homework and google what you want, PLEASE. There are numerous job description related to the positions you post in efinancialcareer.com
 
Just like to add that Steve is Vice President of Fixed Income at Credit Suisse and in that position, he's interviewed/hired/denied many job applicants. So the fact that he gave a thorough response is very much indicative of the helpfulness level of Quantnet community.

While his answer may come off a bit blunt/frank, I have to agree to everything he said. I couldn't even give a better answer myself. I doubt you can get a better answer from anyone/anywhere else.

I think that what I was really asking is simple. What knowledge / tools / applications do you need on the job? That is IT.
It would be lovely if there is a simple answer to this question. Every position has an unique set of skills/tools. The same positions at Goldman and Credit Suisse may require entirely different set of skills/tools.

Your best approach would be to find out the position you are interested in (This could take a really long time) then enroll in an appropriate program. After all, our program will not prepare you with a specific skill/tool but rather applicable knowledge and rigorous training of what you may need to do in your future jobs. During the program, you will pickup on many skills that turn out to be useful for a vast range of jobs, be it programming, analytical mindset, patience, endurance, etc

Most of the students admitted to our programs spent months, if not years doing a background research on the programs, jobs before they decided to change their career. It did not happen overnight or in weeks.

Don't take what our members post here the wrong way. Essentially, what everyone here tell you is that you took the correct first approach by asking question on our forum. Just keep in mind that it takes lot of time and preparation to enter this field/career/program. Once you are more clear of what you want to do, your questions can be answered in a much detailed manner. You got everything in a big haystack right now and it would not help.

There are lot of guides you can read about careers in finance and what skills one needs. Here are some

What do quants do? - QuantNetwork - Financial Engineering Forum
Free book: Careers in Financial Market - QuantNetwork - Financial Engineering Forum
 

alain

Older and Wiser
I have summarized a list of knowledge / tools / applications for the financial engineering program. ...

You really have to be specialized on ONE thing and be very very good at it....

Hi Vistabond,

From your comments, I get that you want to make a lot of money quick and that you are good in investing in stocks. If you want a really short cut, why don't you join a day trade shop or brokerage house to work on commission? That will be the quickiest route to make a lot of money if you are good.

If you want to go into FE, the route won't be short and it won't be easy either. Do some research and apply to a program that you think will fit you.
 
You may be right

Hey Alain
I think you might be right! In fact, I even borrowed money to trade. Well....it is 0% APR. Are there any training classes for trader? I found a set of training but it is very basic stuff.

http://www.schwabat.com/education/Online_Seminars.aspx

That is the only one I've found so far.

I have to clarify one thing that I am not totally into the money. I'll say 60% for the money and 40% of interest and personality.

Living in the bay area is very expensive so money is very essential here, so is NYC.

Your idea is good. Being a trader, I don't know how is it like bing a trader thou and I don't see there are training classes for that. Any advice?
 

alain

Older and Wiser
Are there any training classes for trader? I found a set of training but it is very basic stuff.
There are no classes for trader per say because nobody wants to give you their trading ideas. Whoever has a trading class, they usually want the money from you. You should study by your self and come up with your own strategies. Then, trade your own account. That's the only way to learn

Another option is to start from the very bottom and work your way up in a desk if you can. However, don't expect to make the big bucks going in. You will sweat blood.
 
what about this?

There are no classes for trader per say because nobody wants to give you their trading ideas. Whoever has a trading class, they usually want the money from you. You should study by your self and come up with your own strategies. Then, trade your own account. That's the only way to learn

Another option is to start from the very bottom and work your way up in a desk if you can. However, don't expect to make the big bucks going in. You will sweat blood.

swiss finance academy
Swiss Finance Academy - IB
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Steve is right about the s/n ratio, and the question is itself not quite the right one...

The question is not what they need, but what they will pay for., as a headhunter with a background in this line of work, I appreciate the difference keenly.

They will pay for good maths, C++ and are awfully keen to pay for people who can handle real data very well.
They want people who can do things, not just absorb what they are told.

They want an ill-defined but important characteristic which we label "intellectual curiosity".
 
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