What type of quant jobs I may fit in better?

I have a MS in applied math and Phd in Statistics, and I am about to take part-time MFE courses in a good fin math program. My questions are:

1. what type of quant jobs I may fit in better with stats backgrond? I can think of quantitative portfolio management ( i know this area is relatively quite difficult to get in) and stat arbitrage. Are there other places that my stats skills may fit better?

2. what are considered to be areas in quant finance that provide potentials and broader job market? Or say, what are considered to be potential or current "hot" areas in quant finance?

I of course will fo research on my own; but your opinion should help a lot for me as a start-off!

Hi Alain, I will start with UChicago. My understanding is that there are a lot more you have learn on top of the curriculum offered any MFE program, so now I want to focus on a few particular items that may supplement my background better. I may want to hit the market anytime throughout the program. Your opinion, Alain?


Older and Wiser
you need to hit the market. It seems you have a clear idea but you need to hit the job market to find out where you really stand. That's my advice.
Thanks :)

Then what are generally considered to be the "hot" areas in quant finance nowadays? and what will potentially be high demanded areas in quant finance in a few years?


MFE Alum
Well, "hot" areas are not necessarily those that require stats background. If I were you, I would be searching for jobs that have keywords "stats" and "PhD" :).
Yes, searching the job ads can certainly help conclude the areas currently in high demand. I am eagerly awaiting some insights from the experienced on the financial industrial movement or shift of demand for quant skills for years to come, etc..

I know for stats in particular, high frequency is one area that requires the stats modeling skills.
statarb, this might be a bit tangential but i have a question -- have you worked in the quantitative finance realm previously? If you have, then I'd say the MFE may not add that much value in the eyes of potential employers; it might almost seem like a step back. If you have not worked in quantitative finance and are trying to break-in, I think it would help.

[pause...looking at your other posts...]

Okay, so I saw one of your other posts and it sounds like you are in the pharmaceutical industry. here's another question -- do you have a programming background? if so, that might make it easier to break-in, so to speak.

there are hedge funds that almost never hire wall-street talent (Renaissance, for instance) or ones that will consider someone without knowledge of finance as long as you have the quant (phd in a hard science) and programming skills (ideally C++, but java and C# are used quite a bit as well).

to be honest, I'm not completely qualified to answer your question on what types of quant jobs you fit given your background, but I do know that a lot of times the specifics of where you fit gets hashed out as part of the interview process. my advice would be to get on the phone with a few people from different hedge funds or prop trading firms (or ibanks that are running funds) and see what they say. i think trying to figure out where you may fit upfront is a bit tricky. but if i were forced to answer your original question, i'd say you'd be considered for some sort of a quantitative research role within the research group of a hedge fund.

does that make sense? i hope it helps.
Sameer, thanks! You advise sure helps a lot. By seeking opinions from the experienced, I am at a conclusion that my background would fit better for hedge fund or prop trading where significant amount stats modeling are involved. I believe that is also something I would highly enjoy.

As you mentioned, talking to people within the field are quite important, and you mentioned picking up the phone. etc.. What would you say about a person without much connection in finance yet? What would be some channels to network with hedge funds professional?


here are some possible channels to pursue to connect with industry professionals:
1. Your school's alumni center -- I think this is an often overlooked resource. Alumni centers can connect you up with alums in a certain field or in a certain city.
2. LinkedIn -- a friend of a friend might know someone that is knowledgeable about quant finance.
3. Professors at schools that have finance programs -- ask your professors if they will put you in touch with someone that was a student that now works at a hedge fund/ibank/prop trading firm. Or if your professors doesn't know any, ask him/her to put you in touch with a professors that might -- usually ones in finance, math, stats, physics will have an ex-student that ended up in finance.
4. Forums -- our very own Quantnet has great resources. If you just ask to get on the phone, I'm sure people will oblige.
5. Headhunters -- if you know someone that knows a headhunters that recruits for hedge funds, they can give you a some information. In addition, they can put you in touch with others that work in the industry.
6. Events -- if you live in a city like NYC or Chicago, there are events you can attend to connect/socialize.
7. College clubs -- student clubs on college campuses (say the finance club at your alma mater) will have connections since they invite speakers from the industry and such.

Also, if someone is in the same city as you, offer to just go to lunch -- it'll give you a chance to meet them face to face and most people will be happy to answer questions if you buy them lunch!

And finally, so I don't come across as a big hypocrite, you are welcome to PM me and I will be happy to chat with you. Although I don't work as a quant myself (I recruit for hedge funds), I will share whatever I know.
Sameer, that is tremendous help on the information you compiled, and that is not just for me! I recently had a chat with a recruiter and got the contact info of someone he placed before. The guy happened to attend the same MFE program with me. Networking is quite essential, and it gets built up through time.

We should keep in touch not just because you have been helpful, also because you recruit for hedge funds :) I know a close friend with similar background still looking for hedge funds/trading positions. Maybe he should get connected with you.

A comment about the title question.
A good fit is a job that not only utilizes your core skills and develops new relevant skills but also in an environment that you feel comfortable and challenged.
I can't stress enough how much people feel about their job based on how they feel about their boss, coworkers.
So to know if a job is a good fit for you, the only way to know is to work there. Jobs description has very little correlation to what you end up doing.
Don't Focus on what's "HOT"

focus on what interests you. Markets go hot and cold all the time. Do what you enjoy.