SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

dsl
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: July 29th, 2013, 6:04 pm

Hi all,I'm currently trying to determine if I need the CQF in order to move into a front office quant role, preferably in the NYC metro area. Here is a bit about my current situation:Academics:-BSc in computer science, minor in applied mathematics from a fairly reputable US institution; GPA=3.5-Masters in information systems management from a very reputable US institution; GPA=3.9 (this degree is not as difficult or rigorous as an MSc in CS - it was much more implementation based, teaching a wide breadth of newer IT-industry technologies with some management thrown in - a "technical MBA" if you will, but no true MBA)Work experience:2 years of IT consulting (pre-masters); primarily C++ development, some perl1 year in back office IT of a HF; C#/.NET development7 months in front office IT of an IB; presently hold this position, primarily Clojure development, some C#/.NETI'm leaning towards the CQF, since I'm not sure that my current qualifications would open any interview doors for quantitative roles, but I do believe I have a decent enough background (at least in programming and mathematics) to potentially get into some entry level roles.Any input is greatly appreciated!*Note: I'm willing to disclose any of the universities or companies I've attended or for whom I've worked, but I'm choosing to leave it anonymous for confidentiality, for now.

ArthurDent
Posts: 1166
Joined: July 2nd, 2005, 4:38 pm

QuoteI'm currently trying to determine if I need the CQF in order to move into a front office quant role, preferably in the NYC metro area.What happened when you interviewed for some of the roles that interest you? Did you get the feedback that the only thing separating you from your job was the lack of knowledge of financial math? If so, jump into the CQF with eyes closed.Quotesince I'm not sure that my current qualifications would open any interview doors for quantitative rolesYou have correctly recognized that your academic qualifications are weak. Perhaps you should get a strong "signalling"degree instead? Say Berkeley MFE or Harvard MBA.

capafan2
Posts: 924
Joined: June 20th, 2009, 11:26 am

Most Quant roles depend on pedigree. Yours will not help. Your CS is good your Information Systems Management will be perceived as a nothing degree. Plus it generates a lot of confusion. If you like Quant roles why go for IM. Honestly like AD said without another degree from a Big School you stand no chance.Save your CQF money. In NYC it is hardly known and done unless you are already into the field and want to get knowledge fast. I personally think it is good if you math and programming are both good already (they say math is refreshed but trust me, you don't learn Stochastic Calculus in a half baked manner and certainly cannot clear and interview like that. Also people in NYC do not know enough about CQF. These are just some of my observations.

Marco72
Posts: 128
Joined: March 14th, 2006, 11:09 am

As someone who regularly screens CVs and interviews candidates for a London-based consultancy, I would not normally consider someone with your background to be suitable for a junior quant role. With the CQF, or a master's degree in financial maths/engineering, you could get an interview. Of course, I have no idea what the situation is like in NY.

dsl
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: July 29th, 2013, 6:04 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: ArthurDent What happened when you interviewed for some of the roles that interest you? Did you get the feedback that the only thing separating you from your job was the lack of knowledge of financial math? If so, jump into the CQF with eyes closed.Wasn't even given an interview (which is unsurprising, based on what others are saying) for a couple quant positions, but one company at least told me that they would consider speaking to me after I had "gained more quantitative financial knowledge/experience." Puts me at a bit of a catch 22 without a degree or the CQF - I'll be browsing the many other threads on MFE vs. CQF.QuoteOriginally posted by: Marco72 As someone who regularly screens CVs and interviews candidates for a London-based consultancy, I would not normally consider someone with your background to be suitable for a junior quant role. With the CQF, or a master's degree in financial maths/engineering, you could get an interview. Of course, I have no idea what the situation is like in NY.QuoteOriginally posted by: capafan2 In NYC it is hardly known and done unless you are already into the field and want to get knowledge fast.This is also what I've found from searching around online - that the certificate isn't widely recognized or known in the US. With that said, I'm quite willing to widen my geographic preferences, especially if it would be for a first quant role. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the experience of being in any quantitative role at a foreign financial organization trump the relative lack of recognition of the certificate in the US, in terms of achieving a second position?

ArthurDent
Posts: 1166
Joined: July 2nd, 2005, 4:38 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: dslin terms of achieving a second position?The only thing that matters for that is your first position.Frankly, you should go to school again only for a very high quality degree.QuoteSave your CQF money. In NYC it is hardly known and done unless you are already into the field and want to get knowledge fast. I personally think it is good if you math and programming are both good already (they say math is refreshed but trust me, you don't learn Stochastic Calculus in a half baked manner and certainly cannot clear and interview like that. Also people in NYC do not know enough about CQF. These are just some of my observations. +1.To get good value out of a vocational program, you should have strong foundations in the basics.

tagoma
Posts: 18379
Joined: February 21st, 2010, 12:58 pm

QuoteSave your CQF money. In NYC it is hardly known and done unless you are already into the field and want to get knowledge fast.What does make you say so?

capafan2
Posts: 924
Joined: June 20th, 2009, 11:26 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: edouardQuoteSave your CQF money. In NYC it is hardly known and done unless you are already into the field and want to get knowledge fast.What does make you say so?After I got my Math Master's with a sterling perfect GPA and still found out I was not desirable, I asked a lot of people if donning the CQF certificate at the specially low price of $18K would make me more attractive on the street. Everyone online told me I would look beautiful and desirable and irresistible. But when I asked people who work at Quants and Traders in NYC, most came back with "What is it? Do a MFE instead?" or those kind enough to ask around came back with "I know what it is now that you mentioned it but no one else I asked did". Turns out that the Emperor was naked. Marco72 Posts: 128 Joined: March 14th, 2006, 11:09 am ### Soliciting CQF advice I would say the choice depends on your background. If the candidate has a strong maths background, then as far as I am concerned the CQF is probably as good as a master's degree. In any case, I would not assume that someone with the CQF or an MSc actually knows anything, even if they have a distinction, only that they have had the chance to learn.I would probably not call for an interview someone with no CQF/MSc degree and no relevant experience, unless they were able to explain on their CV how they acquired their quant finance knowledge through independent study. capafan2 Posts: 924 Joined: June 20th, 2009, 11:26 am ### Soliciting CQF advice QuoteOriginally posted by: Marco72I would say the choice depends on your background. If the candidate has a strong maths background, then as far as I am concerned the CQF is probably as good as a master's degree. In any case, I would not assume that someone with the CQF or an MSc actually knows anything, even if they have a distinction, only that they have had the chance to learn.I would probably not call for an interview someone with no CQF/MSc degree and no relevant experience, unless they were able to explain on their CV how they acquired their quant finance knowledge through independent study.CQF has practically no entry barriers. Anyone with 18K USD to shell out can do it. Even the final exam is optional (or was when I last looked). Why would you give someone a lookin with CQF alone unless they had more than CQF - like really strong programming experience + good background in Math. CQF alone is no math background. Add this to the fact the most Quant aspirants are only doing it in the hope of making $ in millions. Maybe a particular candidate felt it was a good investment to spend \$18K and just to get a chance to compete for a "Very Lucrative" position.

Marco72
Posts: 128
Joined: March 14th, 2006, 11:09 am

From my limited experience, most quant finance MSc programs these days have little or no entry/exit barriers either. You pay and you get your degree. I would not consider a CQF or MSc sufficient on its own (e.g., I'd be very sceptical of someone with an undergraduate degree in business studies + CQF and no work experience). However, I would presume that someone with a pure maths or physics/engineering background + CQF/MSc has at least had a chance to learn something useful.

AnalyticalVega
Posts: 2260
Joined: January 16th, 2013, 5:03 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: Marco72From my limited experience, most quant finance MSc programs these days have little or no entry/exit barriers either. You pay and you get your degree. I would not consider a CQF or MSc sufficient on its own (e.g., I'd be very sceptical of someone with an undergraduate degree in business studies + CQF and no work experience). However, I would presume that someone with a pure maths or physics/engineering background + CQF/MSc has at least had a chance to learn something useful.Really now, CQF or MFE or another Masters in Quant Finance/Mathematical Finance are all just pieces of paper. The real question is what did you do with the piece of paper? What are you doing with yourself? What useful projects have you worked on? Can you present and defend the value of your work? This are the things that really matter.

Marco72
Posts: 128
Joined: March 14th, 2006, 11:09 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: AnalyticalVegaReally now, CQF or MFE or another Masters in Quant Finance/Mathematical Finance are all just pieces of paper. The real question is what did you do with the piece of paper? What are you doing with yourself? What useful projects have you worked on? Can you present and defend the value of your work? This are the things that really matter.One thing I find surprising is that, when asked if they have any examples of work they have carried out (i.e., Matlab or C++ programs, Excel spreadsheets, essays or research papers, etc), most candidates reply in the negative. To me that indicates a complete lack of interest in the subject.

AnalyticalVega
Posts: 2260
Joined: January 16th, 2013, 5:03 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: Marco72QuoteOriginally posted by: AnalyticalVegaReally now, CQF or MFE or another Masters in Quant Finance/Mathematical Finance are all just pieces of paper. The real question is what did you do with the piece of paper? What are you doing with yourself? What useful projects have you worked on? Can you present and defend the value of your work? This are the things that really matter.One thing I find surprising is that, when asked if they have any examples of work they have carried out (i.e., Matlab or C++ programs, Excel spreadsheets, essays or research papers, etc), most candidates reply in the negative. To me that indicates a complete lack of interest in the subject.Bingo!

ashkar
Posts: 274
Joined: October 17th, 2011, 9:25 am

Your background + cqf will be good enough for a job in a bank (IT, risk management, prod control etc) but very unlikely a quant research position. And, if you're not already familar with derivatives, the course will likely be over before you learn anything useful to switch to non-IT job.All quant managers look for raw talent and CQF unfortunately has a very commercial reputation. I dont know if its a bad thing to have on the CV but I havent met any quant with cqf. I would expect any manager to prefer a fresh applied math graduate at entry level than go with someone with your background + cqf. Consider a full-time maths or financial math ms if you are serious about it.