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Where do I fit as a CS/EE/ME, problem solver, entreprenurial, ivy MS graduate?

While in undergrad and grad school(PhD but left after MS) I did not focus on a specific career. While some part of finance was always the goal, I was more interested in learning as much comp sci, electrical and mechanical engineering as I can, to develop a solid foundation in tackling difficult engineering problems. One reason for not focusing on finance was no one recruited at my undergrad for positions other than BB technology: IT, non quant developers, hence I had no idea quants existed.

My Ivy grad school however was an eye opener to the FO part of finance. However, only after accomplishing a few significant projects in grad school, graduating and co-founding a co(requiring stat learning), perusing a MM trading job which I learned is not the best fit for my background did I learn where I can use my skills: HFT, stat arb, quant devel.

Getting any interview not being in school has been a challenge. I find myself to be a good interviewee, Ive been recommended by interviewers to other groups which better fit my background.

In summary: I've wasted a considerable amount of time(unemployed) studying the fields of finance and identifying where my skills fit by trial and error: interviewing at a few places and agreeing with the interviewer that the work would not fit my background and or goals: IT, pure application devel, corporate finance, mm. Now I know where I fit, how do I get an entry level role which requires coding (c to python and everything in between), data analysis, problem solving and some research freedom not being in school?

Options seem to be:
a) take any job i can at this point
b) keep trying to obtain an interview/offer from a job which offers a somewhat clear view, or a path to a view, of my contribution to P&L.
c) return to continue a PhD
 
You don't know if a job is a good fit until you spend some serious time with it, through good and bad time so I find it's curious that you agree with the interviewers that you are not a good fit. People don't invite you for interview if they don't see you as a good fit. It's just a big waste of time of everyone involved.

Now, I think you should give yourself a chance to really experience what it is like working in finance. It may not be a perfect fit made
in heaven but it surely beats unemployment.

If you are entrepreneurial, why not go solo?
 
While it has been an obscure challenge for me to learn of the existence of quant roles and the backgrounds required, especially those like HFT and stat arb, the question at hand is only personal on a skills level. Given that many funds are quite secretive about their internals one cannot directly look at their products, such as looking at Apple's iphone, and say I have a pretty good idea of what was involved to produce the final product and where my skills would be an asset.

The question is twofold:
* Have I identified the areas that tend to favor a strong CS and engineering background correctly: HFT, stat arb, quant dev as opposed to risk, model construction which are more physics/math heavy (or can you suggest other areas)?
* Among those roles identified all are interesting(and seem equally respectable) however, realistically a candidate should focus on the one most likely attainable at the current time and strongly pitch complimentary skills to a potential employer instead of being "wishy-washy" stating past accomplishments without painting a clear picture that you will hit the ground running . So which role should I target?
 
CompSci: c, c++, python, c#, sql along with some database research background, networking research background: ins-outs of network protocols, distributed systems, limiting traffic, power efficiency, behavior monitoring; robotics research: embedded control, motion planning, graphs, subject tests, hmi and haptics. Along with the standard CompSci fundamentals.

EE/ME: matlab, designed and built hybrid power vehicles from paper to complete, running, safe system (one received a design award in international competition), required open/closed loop control, FEA, circuit design, kinematics, +thousands of hours of elbow grease. Think of building a Prius from scratch.

post grad: utilized statistical learning, financial modeling to bootstrap an auction service arbitrage co in a foreign market where challenges beyond technology involved legal and accounting standards along with market targeting.

People skills: have taught classes, managed 5-15 person design projects in a design, technical and managerial role, hired and fired.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
Getting any interview not being in school has been a challenge. I find myself to be a good interviewee, Ive been recommended by interviewers to other groups which better fit my background.

How many interviews have you been already? What was the feedback from these interviews?

CompSci: c, c++, python, c#, sql along with some database research background, networking research background: ins-outs of network protocols, distributed systems, limiting traffic, power efficiency, behavior monitoring; robotics research: embedded control, motion planning, graphs, subject tests, hmi and haptics. Along with the standard CompSci fundamentals.

EE/ME: matlab, designed and built hybrid power vehicles from paper to complete, running, safe system (one received a design award in international competition), required open/closed loop control, FEA, circuit design, kinematics, +thousands of hours of elbow grease. Think of building a Prius from scratch.

post grad: utilized statistical learning, financial modeling to bootstrap an auction service arbitrage co in a foreign market where challenges beyond technology involved legal and accounting standards along with market targeting.

People skills: have taught classes, managed 5-15 person design projects in a design, technical and managerial role, hired and fired.

From all these, it would seem you have a lot of experience and you could be a great asset. However, you don't have a job yet. So, what went wrong? There must be something wrong with this picture. You think you are a good "interviewee", is that opinion shared by the people doing the interviewing as well?
 
Alain:
I have had 3 interviews. The interviewers explicitly stated I am a good interviewee and one group recommended my candidacy to another firm at which I went through several rounds of interviews but fell short on one type of skill they wanted. Since the interview is bi-directional the other two were not a fit: corporate finance and BO application development. All interviewers have kept in touch and asked for contacts in my personal network.

The problem is obtaining interviews, not being on campus and going through the standard recruiting channels while applying to top firms turns out is a HUGE barrier. The other "what went wrong" is website submissions are a black hole, I have wasted a good portion of time perusing roles that are not the best fit(read first post) and I have been aiming at very competitive firms.

Which leads to the main topic of the thread: to help me focus on an area to target.
 
Recruiters seem to work best with more experienced candidates and when you specifically state this is what do, this is what i want. At least that's what those who have worked with any have said, unless someone knows recruiters who are happy to look for entry level roles in the industry that are not back office IT and wont spam DEShaw(play the lottery with my resume) like everyone else with no direct group focus.
 
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