SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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engineerPhD
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Joined: December 15th, 2007, 12:36 pm

Advice on a first quant job

December 15th, 2007, 1:44 pm

Hello, I'm new to the world of finance and would very much appreciate a few pointers to help me out.I've just completed an applied physics PhD (well nearly, just awaiting a viva) and have been looking for jobs. I was told by a friend to have a look at quant jobs in finance, and can see a fair bit of overlap in what I can do and what is required for a quant position. I have been reading Mark Joshi's book, and find it fairly interesting - I had never known that finance required such level of modelling (please excuse my ignorance - I haven't really looked at any of this till now). Thoughout my PhD I have done a fair bit of simulation, modelling, and programming. For the modelling and simulation work I normally use Matlab, but I do know C & C++ and will put some effort in to brushing up on it. My background prior to my PhD was Electronics Engineering degree, followed by 2 yrs work.I had thought I'd spend a month or so preparing myself properly and then try and apply for programmes at major banks. However I have started to notice that these are closed/closing now, and I might have to go for direct entry instead or apply whilst not being fully prepared. I had wanted to get on a programme because that would assist my conversion and I figured that the time invested into you by the bank would be beneficial in the long term. Plus I have absolutely no idea what segment of banking I should be aiming for. For instance I saw an advert on these boards for an entry level HF quant that sounded perfect, I wouldn't want to go to the wrong type of place and get pigeon holed early on. Plus (and no offence here to anyone), I never know when an agency is just harvesting my CV.Am I needlessly worrying? Should I just start applying to the few remaining programmes now, or wait till I'm a little more well versed on finance? Should I get someone to pimp me and advise me? - P&D seem to have morals, I don't want an agency to stitch me up.Sorry but this is all new to me and I really don't know what to do, or what traps to truly avoid (though I've been reading P&D's guide this morning).Thanks.
 
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DominicConnor
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Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Advice on a first quant job

December 15th, 2007, 3:29 pm

Joshi is not a bad first step, but I fear you have more than a months work to get yourself where you want to be.There is a small % of maths/physics/EE PhDs which directly map into roles in banks but that is pure luck, and odds are against.An optimum way forward includes things that retain your access to the university library and the ability to sit in on courses.If you are committed to this line of work, then maybe teaching undergrots whilst you learn stuff and wait for job ? P&D seem to have morals, Wash your mouth out...We have the sense to realise that by treating people like we'd want to be treated, and be seen to do so is worth good money.Efficient greed is us.You will have missed some "Programme entry" jobs, that's true at any point in time, and you need to focus on future ones and other options.The vast majority of programme hires are not done through HHs so you need to apply direct. That is time consuming and irritating, but frankly nothing to do with us.Some hires are done directly by business units through HHs, and the optimal strategy is to go for both.
 
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engineerPhD
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Posts: 6
Joined: December 15th, 2007, 12:36 pm

Advice on a first quant job

December 15th, 2007, 5:38 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DCFCJoshi is not a bad first step, but I fear you have more than a months work to get yourself where you want to be.There is a small % of maths/physics/EE PhDs which directly map into roles in banks but that is pure luck, and odds are against.I've started to realise this now. I wish the adverts didn't say things like 'no finance experience necessary, though an interest is important'. These get me thinking I am wanted. I do have the techniques, I just need to understand the application further - hence why I wanted a programme.I have access to the library, but I think the business school has a separate swipe card access. I'm part of a major research group so there is no room for non lectureship teaching. This gives me a bit of a problem financially as I really do now need to get a job.I suppose I just have to get down to it!BTW I wasn't insulting P&D, just pointing out that they seem a cut above most agencies (well the ones that I've dealt with in the past).
 
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twofish
Posts: 4944
Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

Advice on a first quant job

December 15th, 2007, 10:03 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: engineerPhDI had thought I'd spend a month or so preparing myself properly and then try and apply for programmes at major banks. However I have started to notice that these are closed/closing now, and I might have to go for direct entry instead or apply whilst not being fully prepared.I think you have more than enough experience to go for a job through a head hunter. Most Ph.D. level positions are not hired through programs, but rather directly through HH's.QuotePlus I have absolutely no idea what segment of banking I should be aiming for.Don't aim for anything. Once you get in, you can take a look around to see what is interesting to you. It's much better in getting in if you don't have very strong ideas about what you want to do.Quoteor wait till I'm a little more well versed on finance? Should I get someone to pimp me and advise me?I wouldn't wait too long. There is only so much that you can learn from books, and the process of working with HH's, finding a position, and figuring out what to say and what not to say in interviews is part of your educational process. The interviews are not going to mainly be on finance, but rather your research background, your ability to crunch numbers, and your programming skill. You are not going to be hired based on your financial knowledge, which may be a good thing, since that means that you aren't going to be rejected because of your lack thereof.One of the things that I would read up on is C++ and math puzzles.
 
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mj
Posts: 3449
Joined: December 20th, 2001, 12:32 pm

Advice on a first quant job

December 25th, 2007, 6:03 am

since you are reading my book, I'd suggest working through the computer projects at the end.also, see my guide on www.markjoshi.com
 
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ZmeiGorynych
Posts: 876
Joined: July 10th, 2005, 11:46 am

Advice on a first quant job

December 25th, 2007, 11:28 am

Get P&D's guide to getting a quant job. Now. And read it all the way through. Master Crack and Joshi. Then ask DCFC for a chat.That's to a large extent what I did way back when and it worked (a great job offer 1w after my first actual interview ever ) - YMMV as always, but DCFC is a pimp who knows his stuff.
 
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ozzy66
Posts: 15
Joined: August 18th, 2007, 5:55 pm

Advice on a first quant job

December 25th, 2007, 3:43 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DCFCWe have the sense to realise that by treating people like we'd want to be treated, and be seen to do so is worth good money.Efficient greed is us.That's the reason why you do not even answer private messages?Dear engineerPhd my 2 cents:do not waste too much time in reading books on finance, have a lookto Hull's book (which you will find quite trivial if you got a Phd) andwrite a good cv (less trivial). Then have a look to websiteslike efinancialcareers.co.uk and start applying. That is what i did to find a job.
 
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DominicConnor
Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Advice on a first quant job

December 25th, 2007, 4:49 pm

The "no finance experience necessary" is an industry standard lie. To be fair to job advertisers HHs get told this by banks.It is true, actually it must be true else no one would ever git hired.But that is why I wrote in the Guide about "showing commitment" to this line of work.A rational manager wants to reduce his risk of hiring someone who doesn't work out. Fact is that intelligence is a set of abilities, and some bright people don't "get" finance, even when they have relevant or impressive PhDs from brand name schools.Thus they could test your maths ability without it being in the context of finance, but that increases risk with no real return, so it's a bad trade.Of course as HHs we do not always see great recruitment processes and people ask finance questions simply because they are too lazy to think of better ones. This means they hire slightly less able people on average, but although it is their mistake, it is your problem.Also as a HH, it worries me when I find someone who says that they are mad keen to do quant finance, but show no evidence of making any effort to learn about the subject.Of course, our reach these days extends into people who aren't yet in the point in their academic careers where spending much time on finance is an optimum use of their time, so I don't hassle them much to start hitting the books.But as you see in G2, we understand how to subvert PhD study a little to improve your chances.I do part company a little with 2Fish about aim.Yes, it is not wise to focus too tightly on one type of job, but another industry standard lie is that internal moves within a bank are easy, and that "this job is good for picking up the business".Banks are shit at managing the development of talent, losing people rather than bringing them on.No industry with which I have ever been involved in is worse than banks at this.They are so crap that I can freely point this out publicly to 30,000 people on this site, in the sure and certain knowledge that no matter how eloquently I make a good business case for managing career development at banks in a professional way I can be certain that it will not improve things in any way that cuts the unnecessary staff turnover that profits pimps like me.
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