Which entry level job to take to set up a buy-side front-office quant career?

Hi all,
Recently, I've gotten some pretty good news in terms of job offers. For background, I am a math undergrad semi-target. Here is the job situation:
  • (back-office) model validation analyst internship at major i-bank (received offer)
  • quantitative analyst at small startup-ish prop firm (passed all technical interview rounds, just have one more final round with a trader)
  • data scientist at tech startup (still on coding challenge part of interview)
  • data scientist at optiver (also still on coding challenge part)
For the optiver role, but I do not estimate a high probability of making it through all the rounds. The situation now is I have 2 weeks to accept the offer from the major i-bank, and I will ask the startup prop firm to schedule a final interview soon.
Basically:
  • If the startup prop firm don't get back to me in 2 weeks should I take the i-bank offer?
  • If I get both offers should I turn it down to still keep rolling the dice for optiver?
My ultimate career goal is QR/QA front office role at a hedge fund (doesnt matter if its one of the big ones like Twosig, DEShaw, etc. or a small one that's doing well).
What do y'all think?
Update: Just got another QA first round interview with a hedge fund that I applied to via college career portal, so throw that into the mix as well.
 
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IntoDarkness

Active Member
you can accept the offer and later renege it. people understand...

i had experience with small hf that did OK for couple of years but not so hot for the next ~5 years or so. it didn't pay very well and job stability was low. so fact that into consideration if you risk averse.

model validation can be a reasonable stepping stone for fo jobs in the same bank or grad school if that can be an option in the future (you might need this for transition sadly). i recommend aiming for no grad school at all or at most part-time student, which usually translates to picking whatever the fo role you can get now.

i believe you understand the general rule of thumb: i. pick function first, fo > mo > bo; ii. then, pick detailed role, decision making > analytics > execution; iii. then, pick prestige; iv. pick colleague, exposure, etc.

but since you are fresh out of the gate, you can absolutely gamble on startups. do it now or it can be difficult to do later in life. hope you succeed in the long run
 
model validation can be a reasonable stepping stone for fo jobs in the same bank or grad school if that can be an option in the future (you might need this for transition sadly). i recommend aiming for no grad school at all or at most part-time student, which usually translates to picking whatever the fo role you can get now.
i want to end up on FO buyside. so the merit of the model validation role will be assessed solely in light of that. yes, i would like to avoid grad school as well, so maybe the best bet is to:

- get the IB to sponsor grad school
- switch to a FO research role within IB and work there for a while
- switch to buy side

?
 

IntoDarkness

Active Member
i want to end up on FO buyside. so the merit of the model validation role will be assessed solely in light of that. yes, i would like to avoid grad school as well, so maybe the best bet is to:

- get the IB to sponsor grad school
- switch to a FO research role within IB and work there for a while
- switch to buy side

?
the best way of cos is to get an fo role now but if you don't like reneging your offer then what you described is probably the tangible way to go for now. in case you decide to commit to this "go around" strategy... are you in new york? your best bets are part-time columbia mafn and nyu mathfin. get ready to apply spring term admission or wait half more year to try princeton for full time (totally worth it for whatever the price tag they charge). the goal is to clear the grad degree as fast as possible (usually in ~2-3 years) make sure you align your interest with the model val work, i.e. validating the right models that give you exposure to your bank's fo side and provide you relevant experience for whatever the buy side you interested in. do a phenomenon model val work and network the right ppl. you should be able to transition to fo quite easily and go from there.
 
the best way of cos is to get an fo role now but if you don't like reneging your offer then what you described is probably the tangible way to go for now. in case you decide to commit to this "go around" strategy... are you in new york? your best bets are part-time columbia mafn and nyu mathfin. get ready to apply spring term admission or wait half more year to try princeton for full time (totally worth it for whatever the price tag they charge). the goal is to clear the grad degree as fast as possible (usually in ~2-3 years) make sure you align your interest with the model val work, i.e. validating the right models that give you exposure to your bank's fo side and provide you relevant experience for whatever the buy side you interested in. do a phenomenon model val work and network the right ppl. you should be able to transition to fo quite easily and go from there.
i don't think mathfin and fineng degrees are the way to go for what i'm trying to do. a masters in stats, applied math, cs, or machine learning is more like it.

yes, it's a major bank in new york. i go to a semi-target university in new york for undergrad as well, it's one of the ones you listed above.

anyway, i'll try to get the other prop shop/HF to expedite the recruiting process so i'll find out whether i get those or not. even if i don't, i'm tending towards turning down the model val offer to keep rolling the dice because i find that when i apply to quant HF jobs through my school career portal, they schedule a first round most of the time and therefore i'm in their target cohort.
 
the best way of cos is to get an fo role now but if you don't like reneging your offer then what you described is probably the tangible way to go for now. in case you decide to commit to this "go around" strategy... are you in new york? your best bets are part-time columbia mafn and nyu mathfin. get ready to apply spring term admission or wait half more year to try princeton for full time (totally worth it for whatever the price tag they charge). the goal is to clear the grad degree as fast as possible (usually in ~2-3 years) make sure you align your interest with the model val work, i.e. validating the right models that give you exposure to your bank's fo side and provide you relevant experience for whatever the buy side you interested in. do a phenomenon model val work and network the right ppl. you should be able to transition to fo quite easily and go from there.
thanks, this is helpful. would you recommend doing side projects in the meantime, since I don't imagine model val would be that stressful and time-consuming? i like ProjectEuler math programming problems and can do those on HackerRank.

also, how do I communicate that I want to do model val work that's closer to FO buy side stuff without giving away the fact that I'm planning to jump as soon as I have the chance? in addition, I think they also want me to do a long term anti-financial crime data science project (no idea if it's even related to the job title of model val, they just saw that i had a machine learning background), if that's better to focus on.
 

MRoss

Well-Known Member
That’s not necessarily true. Reneging on an offer is bad form and people remember it. I know major firms consider that a mark against a school.
Strongly agree. People don't "understand".

Teams are dying for a good hire just like you are dying for a good job. After months of searching and then finally they found someone and rejected the other candidates...and then you turn it on them. Not a good look at all.
 
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