SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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ab1
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 19th, 2005, 10:28 pm

I'm in the US and am considering switching from physics to quantitative finance. I have been trying to find out information about the kind of work life I can expect as a quant, but am having problems finding people who are currently working as quants in the US and are also willing to talk to me. I've read E. Derman's book, M. Joshi's .pdf file, and this ( from Jayendran Rajamony) website posting about a day in the life of a buy-side analyst.Can I get some feedback on how representative these are in terms of work life for a US quant? Is Derman's book still applicable for someone starting today? How well do M. Joshi's comments translate into the US market?Ideally, I would like to see something like Rajamony's post for all different types of quant work, but I realize quants are very busy people. If anyone out there could spare a second and help me (and probably many others) out:What are your work hours?What city do you work in?What kind of quant are you?How much of the day do you feel intellectually stimulated?Feel free to pm me if you are willing to help me get a feel for the job, but don't really want your answers made public.Thanks,ab1
 
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ab1
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 6:58 pm

I realize that everyone is very busy, but any responses (to any of my questions) from quants would be most helpful!Thanks again,ab1
 
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swoop2
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 7:42 pm

what is joshi's .pdf file? Can you send it to me...swoop2_2000@yahoo.comthanks
 
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SanFranCA2002
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 7:53 pm

I find that Jayendran's link is an extremely accurate representation. He only left out the part that for more senior quants, generally a limo service of bikini-clad super-models will chauffeur them home after work. Hope this helps.
 
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ab1
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 8:03 pm

SanFranCA2002: I apologize for being dense... Did you actually find it accurate? If not, which parts were not accurate? Is only the chauffeur appeallingly clad, or is the entire limo filled with such people?swoop2: The M. Joshi file I am referring to is this. I found this listed in one of his replies on this forum for a topic called 'newb seeks advice.'ab1
Last edited by ab1 on September 20th, 2005, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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SanFranCA2002
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 8:18 pm

Joshi and Derman are the real deal. As for that link, I can't find anything correct about it. and I would bet it was written by someone who has never had anything to do with quantitative finance. Yes, I know he lists Investments something as his association. I don't buy it. Maybe its just me. After that fiasco where I tried to switch our cat to Friskies from Deli-Cat, my judgement has really been called into question. If your cat doesn't trust you, that says a lot. Maybe others can share their wisdom. And, one last thing. If you are first and foremost inquiring about the hours worked, you should not get into that profession. Thats the sort of question that a prospective Wal-Mart employee might lead off with. Not a good sign.
 
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ab1
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 9:01 pm

SanFranCA2002: Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it. I am curious about many things regarding the worklife of a quant, hours worked is only one facet. I'm familiar with long work hours, they don't scare me. I can't say the same about cats who don't trust me. But I do want to know what is normal for a work day. For instance, a friend of mine was offered a quant position that told him they expect 12 hours a day (7am-7pm) M-F and then a half day (6 hours) on Saturday. That doesn't sound bad at all. Is that usual? Is it on the low end? Were they just lying to him to get him in the door (he didn't take the job, he stayed in physics)? I'm trying to get an accurate picture. I'm not looking for a 9-5 job.I'm obviously more interested in finding out if I like the work, hence my question about intellectual stimulation. Long days doing something interesting seem much shorter than a few hours doing something boring. I find the math part and the computer programming quite stimulating. Are there any parts to the job that are not so stimulating? This is subjective; I'm wondering whether anything compares, in terms of boredom, to being on endless university committees as an assistant professor.Thanks again,ab1
 
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SanFranCA2002
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 9:13 pm

As you can tell from by name, I do not work in NY so I am not familiar with the hours. And I do not consider myself a quant anyway, but I do know enough that the Jayendran link is not representative of a quant. He says buy side analyst anyway there. So, I was mostly just trying to eliminate that from your consideration, rather than provide expert advice.
Last edited by SanFranCA2002 on September 20th, 2005, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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hammerbacher
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 9:18 pm

the joshi piece pretty much covers it. your friend's job offer was on the high end for hours from my perspective. most quants on my desk are in at 8:30, out at 6:30, M-F, no weekends.if you have specific questions, ask them, and i'll answer. i work on an interest rates desk at a bulge bracket firm in nyc.
Last edited by hammerbacher on September 20th, 2005, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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ab1
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 21st, 2005, 9:35 pm

hammerbacher: 8:30 to 6:30 sounds quite reasonable! OK, here are some specific questions: What percentage of your work do you find unstimulating? Which tasks are unstimulating? I'm asking this because I haven't really found any parts yet that I would consider boring. Finance it itself interesting. I really like financial mathematics. I like programming. I like coming up with new ideas and testing them. Convincing people that your model is correct (or that a model you tested is correct or incorrect) also sounds challenging. Where's the catch? That's what I'm really after. What are the unappealling bits that I don't know about?SanFranCA2002: Thanks again. Knowing which sources to not trust can be just as helpful as knowing which ones are legit. I am also located in northern California, so any information you could give about quantitative finance here is also helpful.Thanks again,ab1
Last edited by ab1 on September 21st, 2005, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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TraderJoe
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 22nd, 2005, 12:26 am

ab1 - sounds like you were born to be a quant .
 
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temnik
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 22nd, 2005, 12:45 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: TraderJoeab1 - sounds like you were born to be a quant .Naaah... he's just another fresh meat... ab1 - just out of curiosity - what are your reasons for quitting physics in 2005?
 
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ab1
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 22nd, 2005, 2:54 am

That's certainly encouraging, but I can't imagine that there aren't some boring tasks somewhere...temnik: My main reason for considering leaving physics is that I am just not as interested in it as I used to be. I want new challenges. Also, a faculty position doesn't look nearly as appealling as it used to. From what I see, the enjoyable part is the research. Since I am not that interested in physics research any more, why not apply my skills to something I am driven to do? But, yes, as your question implies, it is kind of a funny time to be considering leaving physics. In theoretical physics and cosmology (my specialties), the job market is currently better than it's been since WWII. Also, my career seems to be doing rather well. And there is a new huge particle collider (the LHC) that is turning on at CERN in a few years. It's a great time to be a theoretical physicist if you enjoy the work.ab1
 
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twofish
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 22nd, 2005, 6:39 am

Something interesting is that I've noticed that whenever someone asks about quant hours, the response tends to be "if you have to ask then you shouldn't consider the job." Yet, whenever I've seen hard numbers, the work load is actually fairly reasonable compared to some other jobs. 8-6 M-F is not excessive compared to the life of a Ph.D. student or junior faculty or for a developer who has to run support for a business critical app (and hence gets calls at random times in the weekend). And its positively relaxing compared to say a developer in a startup or a game company.The reason that I never went into particle physics is that I didn't like to deal with large massive bureaucratic organizations. The job market in theoretical astrophysics is pretty awful, but curiously theoretical astrophysics is something that one can almost do as a hobby.
 
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energydude
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Can I get input from a real, live, US-employed quant?

September 22nd, 2005, 7:15 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: twofishSomething interesting is that I've noticed that whenever someone asks about quant hours, the response tends to be "if you have to ask then you shouldn't consider the job." Yet, whenever I've seen hard numbers, the work load is actually fairly reasonable compared to some other jobs. 8-6 M-F is not excessive compared to the life of a Ph.D. student or junior faculty or for a developer who has to run support for a business critical app (and hence gets calls at random times in the weekend). And its positively relaxing compared to say a developer in a startup or a game company.The reason that I never went into particle physics is that I didn't like to deal with large massive bureaucratic organizations. The job market in theoretical astrophysics is pretty awful, but curiously theoretical astrophysics is something that one can almost do as a hobby.heh, well said. i've never understood either the lack of response on this important question of lifestyle.for my part i'd say 8-5pm is something you have to do everyday. beyond that depends on various factors such as deadlines and any personal research you might be interested in pursuing. there is also the issue of what the boss does...in your beginning days at least you don't want to leave earlier than him. once he has confidence in you, you can skip out earlier. i tend to average about 8-6 with difficult days going upto anything beyond, that is 10pm, midnight etc have occured. however i think some of that was also my own initiative...
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