SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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Yaknow
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MSc Numerical Techniques for Finance Nottingham

August 7th, 2013, 11:54 pm

Hi everyone just have a few questions please forgive me if I make a mistake I'm new to this forum.I have just completed my BSc in mathematics at the University of York attaining a 2.1. In my final year I specialised in stats and taken a C++ module I also completed a dissertation looking at financial risk from an extreme value theory point of view. I will now be attending the university of Nottingham to study "numerical techniques for finance" MSc. In due course I will post a link to the course.In terms of work experience I have worked as a data analyst within local government for a month, done voluntary work for a charity, accounting work experience for 2 weeks and done some summer work marking exam papers for GCSEs. Am I lacking in work experience? If so how can I gain more.With all the above in mind what are my chances of getting into a quant role with an IB/prop shop after finishing my masters? I have bumped into a few quants and they have emphasised the importance of getting an education from the likes of UCL, LSE, imperial, Oxford or Cambridge. Sadly I do no have the means to undertake similar courses at these universities due to cost. As a follow up I would like to ask whether the emphasis placed on these institutions is warranted? Is it possible to break in if you do not attend those universities.Thank You and sorry if my post was a little long.
 
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Yaknow
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MSc Numerical Techniques for Finance Nottingham

August 7th, 2013, 11:58 pm

Here is a link to the course page below:http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/cou ... aspxPlease tell me your thought
 
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MattF
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August 8th, 2013, 9:51 am

It's very difficult to get hired as a quant without a PhD these days (actually it's difficult with a PhD too). It's too late now but I would have suggested a masters in Quant Finance or Financial Engineering. What do I think of the course? I think the course is poor. Compulsory Computational Linear Algebra Programming for Scientific Computation Variational MethodsOptional - students must choose 60 credits from: Algorithm Design Corporate Financial Strategy Financial Reporting Financial Security Valuation Object Oriented Systems Operations Research and Modelling Options and Financial Derivatives Risk Management in Financial Institutions Stochastic Financial Modelling Vocational MathematicsLinear Algebra isn't going to get you very far. You need to be studying how to solve PDEs numerically. And the Programming for Scientific Computation module teaches you in Fortran. Most of the optional modules have nothing to do with the subject which doesn't look good.
Last edited by MattF on August 7th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Marco72
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August 8th, 2013, 10:46 am

I think you will struggle getting an interview with such a program, since it doesn't seem to be focused on financial maths. I don't think it's necessary to get an MSc from the likes of Oxford, Imperial, or LSE, but you do need to attend some kind of mathematical finance program. The CQF would probably give you better chances than this MSc.
 
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Yaknow
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August 8th, 2013, 4:18 pm

Hi Matt,Thank you for your input. When did the quant job market become difficult for non-PHDs? I thought things were ok for MSc people. Also are there any quant roles in particular that offer better prospects for MSc people?I looked at the variational methods module and that is all solving PDEs so I guess that will help. As for the options I could opt for risk management, stochastic financial modeling, algorithm design and object orientation (which is in C++) which all seem relevant. I think your right about linear algebra it is not really relevant. From my knowledge most of the programming quants do is C++, java or python and thus fortran won't be of much help. What is fortran like anyway? is it used in industry much?In light of above would you still class the degree as unsatisfactory from an IB quant perspective? Also what is the job market like for quant roles at the moment?Just a final thing do banks expect candidates to have relevant experience through banking internships or can candidates land a role without much work experience?Sorry to bombard you with questions I'm new. QuoteOriginally posted by: MattFIt's very difficult to get hired as a quant without a PhD these days (actually it's difficult with a PhD too). It's too late now but I would have suggested a masters in Quant Finance or Financial Engineering. What do I think of the course? I think the course is poor. Compulsory Computational Linear Algebra Programming for Scientific Computation Variational MethodsOptional - students must choose 60 credits from: Algorithm Design Corporate Financial Strategy Financial Reporting Financial Security Valuation Object Oriented Systems Operations Research and Modelling Options and Financial Derivatives Risk Management in Financial Institutions Stochastic Financial Modelling Vocational MathematicsLinear Algebra isn't going to get you very far. You need to be studying how to solve PDEs numerically. And the Programming for Scientific Computation module teaches you in Fortran. Most of the optional modules have nothing to do with the subject which doesn't look good.
 
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neuroguy
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August 8th, 2013, 7:01 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: YaknowHi everyone just have a few questions please forgive me if I make a mistake I'm new to this forum.I have just completed my BSc in mathematics at the University of York attaining a 2.1. In my final year I specialised in stats and taken a C++ module I also completed a dissertation looking at financial risk from an extreme value theory point of view. I will now be attending the university of Nottingham to study "numerical techniques for finance" MSc. In due course I will post a link to the course.In terms of work experience I have worked as a data analyst within local government for a month, done voluntary work for a charity, accounting work experience for 2 weeks and done some summer work marking exam papers for GCSEs. Am I lacking in work experience? If so how can I gain more.With all the above in mind what are my chances of getting into a quant role with an IB/prop shop after finishing my masters? I have bumped into a few quants and they have emphasised the importance of getting an education from the likes of UCL, LSE, imperial, Oxford or Cambridge. Sadly I do no have the means to undertake similar courses at these universities due to cost. As a follow up I would like to ask whether the emphasis placed on these institutions is warranted? Is it possible to break in if you do not attend those universities.Thank You and sorry if my post was a little long.Depends what you mean by a 'quant role'.If your heart is set on interesting research in the front office of a prestigious organisation you may indeed be disappointed. On the other hand if your aspirations are more eclectic then you may not be. You might find you could get a role in a boutique/consultancy/software vendor and then attempt to move up from there. It is possible (as in I know of people who have done it).
 
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MattF
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August 9th, 2013, 8:46 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: YaknowHi Matt,Thank you for your input. When did the quant job market become difficult for non-PHDs? I thought things were ok for MSc people. Also are there any quant roles in particular that offer better prospects for MSc people?I looked at the variational methods module and that is all solving PDEs so I guess that will help. As for the options I could opt for risk management, stochastic financial modeling, algorithm design and object orientation (which is in C++) which all seem relevant. I think your right about linear algebra it is not really relevant. From my knowledge most of the programming quants do is C++, java or python and thus fortran won't be of much help. What is fortran like anyway? is it used in industry much?In light of above would you still class the degree as unsatisfactory from an IB quant perspective? Also what is the job market like for quant roles at the moment?Just a final thing do banks expect candidates to have relevant experience through banking internships or can candidates land a role without much work experience?My only knowledge is of London and there are people here much closer to the quant hiring market than me right now. I think it got tougher post-financial crisis around 2007.Yes you can do the relevant optional modules but your degree title still doesn't say Quant Finance or Financial Engineering and isn't from a prestigious school so it will be tough. The standard entry level for quants now would be a PhD plus a finance masters (or CQF) and considerable programming experience. Fortran was the first language used for serious numerical computing in the 60s and 70s but it's not used in finance these days and is dying off (slowly) in industry.I don't think quants are generally expected to have prior industry experience but of course an internship would help.
Last edited by MattF on August 8th, 2013, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Cuchulainn
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August 9th, 2013, 9:02 am

Some of my IMO regarding numerical analysis in general .... Fortran should be replaced by C++ as being better for job prospects. To be honest, Fortran has no future these days. It's time to move on asap..The references are interesting if somewhat academic (FEM oriented, no FDM?) but I see no references to classic 'building block' texts from the golden era of numerical analysis.. No mention of using C++ libraries (Boost, GSL, Root, alglib)? QuoteComputational Linear AlgebraFirst time I have heard this term. aka Numerical Linear Algebra or Matrix computations. Golub/van Loan is classic text here. edit: maybe even better for MSc students is to learn using Python.
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Yaknow
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August 11th, 2013, 3:05 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: neuroguyQuoteOriginally posted by: YaknowDepends what you mean by a 'quant role'.If your heart is set on interesting research in the front office of a prestigious organisation you may indeed be disappointed. On the other hand if your aspirations are more eclectic then you may not be. You might find you could get a role in a boutique/consultancy/software vendor and then attempt to move up from there. It is possible (as in I know of people who have done it).I think that everyone seems to agree the chances of front office at 1st tier banks is low. So what are my chances with second tier ones like RBS? or commodities trading firms?I do not know quant consultancies well and do not know which software vendors hire quants so can you kindly give me a list. This will help me a lot when I apply in a couple months time. Thank you.
 
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neuroguy
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August 14th, 2013, 6:15 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: YaknowQuoteOriginally posted by: neuroguyQuoteOriginally posted by: YaknowDepends what you mean by a 'quant role'.If your heart is set on interesting research in the front office of a prestigious organisation you may indeed be disappointed. On the other hand if your aspirations are more eclectic then you may not be. You might find you could get a role in a boutique/consultancy/software vendor and then attempt to move up from there. It is possible (as in I know of people who have done it).I think that everyone seems to agree the chances of front office at 1st tier banks is low. So what are my chances with second tier ones like RBS? or commodities trading firms?I do not know quant consultancies well and do not know which software vendors hire quants so can you kindly give me a list. This will help me a lot when I apply in a couple months time. Thank you.That is what google is for!However if you PM me I will send you my list of finance firms.
 
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DominicConnor
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August 18th, 2013, 1:54 pm

Yaknow, who emphasised LSE ? The idea of the LSE being a better school these days than (say) Warwick is at best a question.These things are both time varying and subjective, the LSE used to be one of the very best schools on the planet, no I don't really know what happened.I know it's easy for me to say from my position, but if you're good enough to do this shit, you should ignore the different costs of Masters courses, even if your financial education hasn't got beyond NPV, it should be clear that this delta is trivial compared to the area under the curve.As others have said, the chances of getting a research quant role with a MSc from anywhere aren't great, seems to me that you're targetting quant/dev roles and numerical techniques backed up with a spine of C++ maybe with CUDA is a perfectly attainable path.
 
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Yaknow
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August 29th, 2013, 4:24 pm

Thanks for your input Dominic sorry I have taken along time to respond. I'm quite surprised the LSE has fallen in recent times. That's very interesting... so your saying a better masters would only provide residual help. So right now I just have to apply and see what happens. Are there any places I should apply as a back up option just in case my applications for quant roles do not yield anything? By the way what is CUDA? I'm not good with acronyms.
 
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Hansi
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August 29th, 2013, 11:54 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: YaknowBy the way what is CUDA? I'm not good with acronyms."CUDA is a parallel computing platform and programming model created by NVIDIA"Pretty much the first 10 pages if you google CUDA relate to it. Well unless you click on images. As for LSE I think it depends on the programme and courses chosen. We have someone from their MSc Applicable Mathematics joining our team on Monday.I've discussed most of his studies there with him and there are clearly some people teaching there that are a net negative for students but overall the programme seems to have bee quite good. But I'm sure that the same can be said about pretty much any programme related to "quant related" education in the UK.
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ashkar
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August 30th, 2013, 11:53 am

You have a better chance as a quant developer so I would suggest focussing more on c++/python and get some practical experience such as quantlib (this will teach you good c++ too). The problem is that at grad level hiring isnt clearly split between quants and quant developers so you will find it hard to get shortlisted for interviews. From what you've said, your profile isnt strong enough for most quant grad programs in banks but you might find something outside of banks. At experienced level, quant developer hiring is quite clear-cut from quant hiring in most places so you can always change later to a bank if it looks attractive.
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