To be a quant? Seeking suggestion on financial career path

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jhzwtx
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:07 pm

To be a quant? Seeking suggestion on financial career path

Post by jhzwtx »

Hi everyone,

I am working as an aerospace engineer now, however, I do not really

appreciate my job due to some security restriction. What recently comes

into my mind is to be a quant, who generally designs and implements

mathematical model for the pricing of financial products. I am very

comfortable with modeling and programming (Exactly what I am doing

now, except on the Missile). I am not sure how much and what kind of

financial knowledge a quant position requires ? Will some certifications,

such as CFA help to knock the door? Finally, will a quant be good

financial career? Would you choose it ? Any comments will be

appreciated.

Thanks,
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Mel Lindauer
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Quant

Post by Mel Lindauer »

Hi jh:

Perhaps you might write Gus Sauter at Vanguard, since he designed the programs that run the Strategic Equity funds, and they're quant funds.

Regards,

Mel
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gbs
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Buy this books

Post by gbs »

Hi,

Buy this books:

Theory:
Options, futures, and other derivatives
by: John C. Hull 6-th edition

Practice:
Heard on the Sreet-Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews
by: Timothy Falcon Crack 9-th edition.

You will get a good feel for what is required from a quant. If you want to work on theoretical models polish your math skills and derivatives knowledge for hands on work revisit numerical methods, data structures and algorithms.

> Will some certifications, such as CFA help to knock the door?
Answer: NO

> Finally, will a quant be good financial career?
Answer: Depends on your skills if you are good the sky is the limit you can be paid 2-300k per year for 60 to 80h of work per week. I know someone that works with traders and that's the range.

Good luck!

gbs
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Norbert Schlenker
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Post by Norbert Schlenker »

Have a look at http://www.wilmott.com/index.cfm and see if it's what you really have in mind.
yobria
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Post by yobria »

Sure, it's a good career if you like math, spreadsheets, and sports (the guys who can talk sports always get ahead, don't they?). You don't necessiarily have to pull 60-80 hour weeks, though many of the Wall Street quants do. Could work at, say, a GSE. Or at a company that makes software for valuing/analyzing structured products and derivatives. The jobs are mostly in NY, also a few in Boston, SF, Chicago. I've seen salaries for these jobs as high as $800K, though $300K might be more the norm in NY.

Nick
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ddb
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Re: Buy this books

Post by ddb »

gbs wrote:> Will some certifications, such as CFA help to knock the door?
Answer: NO
GBS:

You don't think the CFA designation is potentially helpful in getting a job in the financial analysis field? Why do you say this?

- DDB
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gbs
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Re: Buy this books

Post by gbs »

Hi ddb,

The question was this one:
I am not sure how much and what kind of financial knowledge a quant position requires ? Will some certifications, such as CFA help to knock the door?
If you want to work as a quant the amount of financial knowledge is less important. If you have a good math background you will get hired and taught the financial knowledge required. The thinking is that if you know your math we can teach you were to apply it. Compensating for lack of math skills is more difficult than compensating for finance background.

Most often quants are recruited from people with PhDs in physics and math as opposed to MBAs in an economic field.

There is a book called " My life as a quant" by Emanuel Derman.

gbs
ddb wrote:
gbs wrote:> Will some certifications, such as CFA help to knock the door?
Answer: NO
GBS:

You don't think the CFA designation is potentially helpful in getting a job in the financial analysis field? Why do you say this?

- DDB
Topic Author
jhzwtx
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:07 pm

Post by jhzwtx »

yobria wrote:Sure, it's a good career if you like math, spreadsheets, and sports (the guys who can talk sports always get ahead, don't they?). You don't necessiarily have to pull 60-80 hour weeks, though many of the Wall Street quants do. Could work at, say, a GSE. Or at a company that makes software for valuing/analyzing structured products and derivatives. The jobs are mostly in NY, also a few in Boston, SF, Chicago. I've seen salaries for these jobs as high as $800K, though $300K might be more the norm in NY.

Nick
I am really shocked that those guys can manage to put 60-80th hrs/week.
It should be quite challenging to mental ability for working such a long time in numerical simulation area. Actually, that makes me believe that they are good at talking sports...
matt
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Post by matt »

FYI, you can not actually become a CFA charterholder without financial industry experience. You can pass the exams, but that is not sufficient.

GBS's comments such as "Compensating for lack of math skills is more difficult than compensating for finance background" are reasonable, although perhaps a bit too absolute. Some math whizzes are only good on paper, but real-world judgment counts in investments.
yobria
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Post by yobria »

jhzwtx wrote:I am really shocked that those guys can manage to put 60-80th hrs/week. It should be quite challenging to mental ability for working such a long time in numerical simulation area.
Yes a surprising amount of ones success has to do with physical stamina. You have a much better chance of making it as a corporate lawyer or investment banker if you're the type that can wake up, work 10 hours, go out for a business dinner, head home and dail in for a few hours, then hop out of bed the next day feeling great, ready to do it all over again.

Nick
rockH
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Post by rockH »

here's another website with lots of information on careers in quantitative finance - http://www.global-derivatives.com/forum/index.php

10-20 years ago Wall Street hired mostly PhDs from academia and industry for their quant positions. They still hire PhDs but are also hiring graduates of the Masters programs in Financial Engineering/Quantitative Finance. Many universities have started these programs in the last 5-10 years. Some PhDs have gone back to get the Masters in quant finance, although many PhDs without any finance experience get hired.

Career opportunities are in Wall St. firms, major banks, hedge funds and other investment firms specializing in quantitative investing. Most of the jobs are in large financial centers - New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Connecticut (Greenwich and Stamford), London.
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