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vmkulkarni
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Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

September 5th, 2002, 2:55 am

Defcon,I completely agree with you that persistence pays off. I was in software company as an functional consultant and it was difficult for me to convince banks that i can be successful on the trading desk. But after lot of efforts and working with bank I managed ultimately. I feel same principle applies to knowledge too. One can acquire knowledge by his own self efforts and study instead of going to school for a Ph.D. But my question is how does market compare a Ph.D with a person who has learned on selfstudy?
 
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Johnny
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Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

September 5th, 2002, 8:39 am

dbmIf you want to find out about the market place, I would ring up some headhunters and have a chat with them. Prepare a list of intelligent questions first. If you know anyone at all in any investment banks in the kind of areas in which you are interested, grill them too. You may need to buy some lunches or coffees in the process of doing this, but that's not such a hardship, is it?Do I think there's an old boys' club to break into? No. I think there's a young boys' club. Leaving aside any considerations about why few people remain in the industry after the age of about 35. Consider only the question of new entrants into the industry at this age:Suppose you are head of a desk (trading desk, quant area, structuring group, whatever). You need to hire someone to be a cog in a wheel, i.e. to do a particular task with energy and enthusiasm over and over again, from before sunrise to way after sunset every day. Do you hire the 25 year old with nothing better to do outside work than drink beer? Or the 35 year old with a wife and young children? It's much more difficult to ask a 35 year old to come in every morning at 06:30 and work late (and weekends) time after time.The deal with investment banking is to pass up your life for some years in order to have a load of money at the end of your period of servitude. A 35 year old will almost certainly have ingrained habits relating to quality of life and other fancy notions that are simply not desirable in a new recruit. etcetera. My main advice is to go and talk to as many people as you possibly can. Spend some lunch money! And, despite my skepticism, the best of luck with it.
 
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dbm
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Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

September 5th, 2002, 9:59 am

Johnny,Thank you for your well articulated if somewhat downbeat response. You come across as someone who speaks with a lot of experience and a lot of maturity. I loved the 'A 35 year old will almost certainly have ingrained habits relating to quality of life and other fancy notions that are simply not desirable in a new recruit' bit. I certainly fall into that category.Your insight into the reality behind these advertised jobs comes somewhat as a shock. I thought there would be a lot more 'thinking and planning' to these roles than the doing,doing, doing you infer. Surely, there are roles that require a deep level of analysis that bring together mathematics, finance, economics, business and market awareness.What is the role of the Financial Engineer within Investment Banking? Where do the 35+ year-olds go to after they've served their time (analogy to prison intended )? There must be something I can do once I gain the PhD.I would love to take a few old hands out to lunch, but I'm based in Manchester and therefore have restricted access.I'll certainly take up your point on giving an agency a call- the thing is they are likely to sell these jobs as somewhat exotic and exclusive, focus on the positives and not tell you how bad they really are (unlike you).Thanks Again.
 
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Johnny
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Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

September 5th, 2002, 1:34 pm

dbmAlthough my tone is downbeat, I hope that I'm being realistic rather than negative.On the subject of 'doing, doing, doing': I'm interested to hear the views of experienced forum members on the question of the ratio of thinking-time to doing-time. I'll start the bidding at 3%. You're paid the big bucks to do a job not to figure out how to do it. The appetite of investment banks for carrying out experiments into financial theory is relatively limited.On the subject of where all the 35 year olds go: By the time someone has been working 12 hour days for ten to fifteen years, it's likely that they've paid off the mortgage, got some spare cash and have started to run out of energy and enthusiasm. One fine morning the question strikes: "Is this what I want to be doing?"The organisational structures of investment banks are very flat; no flabby layers of middle management and the humblest geek gets to sit withing spitting distance of a managing director. However, this means that competition for promotion is intense, whilst the only way of having a long term future within an investment bank after the age of about 35 is to continue being promoted.Note that this process is all good and allows younger poorer people to get well-paid jobs at the expense of older richer people who need them less. Finally, despite living in Manchester, you really should spend some time talking face to face with people that will give you good guidance. Having to brave Virgin rail is no excuse for making a bad decision in your career! All the best
Last edited by Johnny on September 4th, 2002, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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tbonds
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Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

September 5th, 2002, 2:47 pm

I think there's still too much middle management in I-banking. Despite looking "flat" because everyone sits on the same floor space and arm-to-arm, there are plenty of fat layers in I-Banking, IMO.
 
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August
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Joined: August 26th, 2002, 9:04 pm

Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

September 6th, 2002, 9:51 pm

Hello, Defcon, there might've been some mistake. What I really want to write was "I'll do something 'another' in 10 y.r."--I'm not a citizen--. As most people do, I gave up to be a "genius" or something like that at a very young age. I just do my best. Thank you for your advice.------Augustinus
 
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imereli
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Joined: July 7th, 2005, 12:50 pm

Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 6th, 2006, 8:08 pm

This is nonsense. 35 year old with wife and children understands very well what he needs. He has a greater responsibility.I have a same problem. I am 41, PhD in physics. All my life working building models, data analysis, MC simulations an so on.I thought everybody can understand that math required in theoretacal high energy physics are more than enough to understand Hull-White or any other textbooks in this area. This is also nonsense that 40 years old person can not work more than 25 years old. I do not know where they find hard working young PhD's or students. I do not see many students or young postdocscoming in the lab before me and going home after me.And I do not know any young guy here, who writes more effectively than me or other old guys.This is called experience and this experience is more valuable in programmingand numerical calculations.It was amazing when one young and "smart" guy asked me during the interview "could you programm our formulas?" Can you imagine level of this young and "brilliant" quant? He thinks that coding formulas is a very complicated job.There is probably social problem. 30 or 35 years old boss prefers to have 25 years old person to work for him.If one asks me, 40 years old married person is more suitable for 12-14 hor work than 25 years old.25 eyars old has to chase women or men depending on his orientation, if he is healty.Married person does not have such a problem.
 
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DominicConnor
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Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 6th, 2006, 9:17 pm

Some HH's are shall we say "over sensitive" to what they perceive as the prejudices of the client.Talking to people that actually do hiring, they are of course at pains to say that they respect the full diversity agenda of their firms and thus do not make decisions based upon age, sex, sexual orientation, race, faith, disability, or shoe size.But my sense is that they usually really don't care. Getting good people is hard, if it wasn't I'd have to go back to doing a real job.In finance the staff turnover rate is so high that the fact that you will retire in 20 years time is as relevant as the future development of teleportation in planning your journey home tonight.Experience is as imerei says good. Trick is to have the right experience. MC and HEP have direct mappings to finance, but to do the job right I'd want to know how well they'd adjust to a different style, not just the hours.Of course if you're good and 40 something, when you first transition you will go from expert to neophyte. Not everyone can deal with that well.One mechanistic problem I've hit with a few late entrants to the market is internships. These can make you very much more marketable, but that's hard to schedule into any current job, and of coursenot exactly a glorious period in your life.The ideal HH is someone who will use your age as a plus, certainly I'd like to be able to say "...and he's got ten years of solving PDEs in C++"
 
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nocturne2
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Joined: January 11th, 2006, 5:45 pm

Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 6th, 2006, 9:32 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DCFCIn finance the staff turnover rate is so high that the fact that you will retire in 20 years time is as relevant as the future development of teleportation in planning your journey home tonight.If you could list 3 (or 5) top reasons why the high turnover rate, what would they be? Thanks!
 
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imereli
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Joined: July 7th, 2005, 12:50 pm

Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 6th, 2006, 9:36 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DCFCSome HH's are shall we say "over sensitive" to what they perceive as the prejudices of the client. Of course if you're good and 40 something, when you first transition you will go from expert to neophyte. Not everyone can deal with that well. I agree, for most of people it is not so easy. On the other hand, if one already made decision, he knows what he is doing and what to expect.There is another detail here as well. Physics is rather wide area (even theoretical particle physics).Let's imagine somebody who was working in Superstrings all his life. The transition wil not be easy for him.He was on the top, and now he is a beginer in the field that looks trivial compared to "high physics".If one works in the phenomenology, jumping from one model to another, analysing data, make codes and so on, it will be easy.He already had such a " transitions" many times. You jump in the new model and you are neophyte there. After 2-3 days you understand mathbehind new model, after 2-3 weeks you know some tricks, after 1-2 months you are expert. Because you have done it many times.These kind of poeple know that they have to get numbers as a result. The new work will be practically the same what he was doing all his life. More painful for 40 years old beginer will be a changing atmosphere, relationship between colleagues and so on.
 
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TraderJoe
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Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 6th, 2006, 11:18 pm

People are at their most creative and innovative before they hit 40. Sad but very very true.
 
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NoShame
Posts: 173
Joined: August 3rd, 2005, 2:11 am

Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 7th, 2006, 2:28 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: AugustThank you, Defcon, very much for your live advice. I am lucky to hear from you, a senior analyst. Hope you to come back to finance area soon. As you know, the depression won't last long. If I can enter the "stage," I'll do my business in 10 years. So, as for me, the important thing is "how to enter" rather than "how to survive". Could I ask some questions? (i) At what age did you put your first step in fiance? (ii) I understand what you wrote. Part of the difficulties is what I'm experiencing even at school. I still don't know what to do. I think I need to consider both options, quant math and biostat. Let me ask about the former. I guess, if I study quant math, an old(?) fresh finance-job seeker better be equipped with a Ph.D. degree because he/she has handicaps as you wrote. Can a quant math Ph.D. dgree be a make-up or nothing? Does it vary from particular position to position in finane area or almost the same? In short, if I keep going with the "plan to study quant math," had I, an old(?) guy, better finish study as a master's degree or a Ph.D degree? Thank you.------AugustinusIf you believe in yourself, if you decide your own destiny...you should not write yourself off because you are 40.It is your job to make the HH(s) like you, convince them and prove you have the skills to succeed. Believe in yourself is very important.
 
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imereli
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Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 7th, 2006, 2:58 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: TraderJoePeople are at their most creative and innovative before they hit 40. Sad but very very true.Oooops! No way to prove it. One can say that 95% great discoveries are done by young people (25-35). I agree.It does not prove that they are more creative in this age. Great discoveries are made by very talanted people, and very talanted peopleare creative from the begining. Anyway, most of people believe this, best age is 25-35 for science.And I can understand theoretical physics professor when he wants to hire young PostDoc. He expects innovations from young guy.I can understand that young people are welcome in FinMath research for the same reason. Quant job is not resesarch and discoveries of General Theory of relativity. This is practice, using math knowledge, coding, using numerical methods.And here I want to compare theoretical physics and experiment (data analysis). Theoretical physics is more research and data analysis is more practice. In practice old people have big advantage. Accumulated experience in programming, numerical methods, different tricks, intuition.When I say programming I do not mean one particluar language or brilliant knowledge of OOP/OOD. I mean ability to code fast, to track down numerical bugs, to debug code and so on. I am suprised but I have never seen in any programming books discussionhow to find numerical error. This is an art. You can not teach this. This is a staff you can not learn from the books, or form 100 years of OOP design. One has to play this game for a whileI know some brilliant physicists in this business. They are exceptions usually. I wonder how fresh PhD's prove that they are innovative Einsteins, if they did not publish more than 2 or 3 papers and instead to work in physics spent at least half year to learn C++ and FinMath for interview?
 
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doreilly
Posts: 727
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 1:22 am

Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 7th, 2006, 12:58 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: TraderJoePeople are at their most creative and innovative before they hit 40. Sad but very very true.So tJ if you do not contribute an interesting post before you are 40 we should not expect one after that.
 
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twofish
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Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

Headhunters don't like over-40 job seekers?

February 7th, 2006, 3:01 pm

I think that the burst of creative has more to do with sociology than psychology. Physicists are most creative between 25 and 35 because you learn the stuff for the first time at 25, and you have ten years before thing get too familiar. I suspect that if you taught someone string theory at age 45, he could do a lot of creative stuff between 45 and 55, before it gets too familar. Trouble is that educational systems are not set up to do that. If you are a physicist in supernova at age 35, it is even very hard (sociologically) to make the transition to say do stuff in interstellar medium.People who are creative through out their whole life (and I'm thinking about Chandrasekar) tend to force themselves to make a shift every ten years or so. The other issue is "reversion to the mean." Someone who does something spectacular early on, is unlikely to repeat it, simply because it's unlikely for a fluke to happen twice.
Last edited by twofish on February 6th, 2006, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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