SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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twiceasnice
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 9:51 am

Hello sirs,I recently learned that I will be awarded a 1st class in my MSci maths degree from imperial. An MSci degree is a four year degree equivalent to a 3 year BSc and a 1 year masters. What quantitative roles are available to me with these academic credentials? In my third and fourth year I ended up taking some very difficult pure and applied modules including:Lie algebras, Chaos theory, Probabilistic methods in dynamics, Measure Theory, Topological and metric spaces, Probability theory (measure perspective), Geometric methods in dynamics and so on (also did the financial maths module which covered black scholes etc.)and I also completed a 1 year long project with a well respected pure professor on manifolds. Originally I wanted to do a PhD in pure maths but now I have decided I wish to get a job in the city.I understand most quantitative roles require a PhD? However I believe I am capable of learning dense mathematical material very quickly and I understand people with e.g. pure PhD's are taken in these roles. What is it that a PhD candidate in pure has that is need in these roles? Is it simply more mathematical experience?Can anyone suggest a specialist careers service to help me? Or just any advice?Sorry for the long message and thank you for reading.
 
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TraderJoe
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 10:58 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: twiceasniceHello sirs,I recently learned that I will be awarded a 1st class in my MSci maths degree from imperial. An MSci degree is a four year degree equivalent to a 3 year BSc and a 1 year masters. What quantitative roles are available to me with these academic credentials? In my third and fourth year I ended up taking some very difficult pure and applied modules including:Lie algebras, Chaos theory, Probabilistic methods in dynamics, Measure Theory, Topological and metric spaces, Probability theory (measure perspective), Geometric methods in dynamics and so on.That's nice. But can you aply any of it ?Read Hull.
 
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twiceasnice
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 11:18 am

QuoteThat's nice. But can you aply any of it ?Read Hull.Hello there. Well as you can see by the tone of my message, I don't know much about these quantitative finance roles so I can't comment on applicability, but I think if I can master advanced abstract material I can master pretty much anything of a mathematical nature.I am familiar with Hull as I took a module in financial maths. Am I suitable candidate for these kinds of roles? Thanks.
 
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kkna9877
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 12:48 pm

Do you want a job in the finance industry or do uyouwant to do maths. A job is a job and the maths is pretty basic, its engineering. If you are clever and have good social skills you will get a job in a bank, but they won't train you to do advanced maths as they will recruit the experience.
 
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twiceasnice
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 2:08 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: kkna9877Do you want a job in the finance industry or do uyouwant to do maths. A job is a job and the maths is pretty basic, its engineering. If you are clever and have good social skills you will get a job in a bank, but they won't train you to do advanced maths as they will recruit the experience.I was under the impression that quantitative finance was a difficult career that often recruit people with PhD's in difficult sciences. What I am asking is my MSci enough to give me a chance or is it so unlikely for me to land one of these positions that I shouldn't bother? I mentioned some of the modules to emphasise I took a route which covered more challenging modules than your average Imperial maths grad.I don't expect a finance job which has large chunks of difficult maths involved. Although that would be nice.
Last edited by twiceasnice on July 9th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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endian675
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 2:44 pm

Firstly, congrats on your achievement. I've no data on whether the MSci/MPhys/MEng degrees are considered as worthwhile as a Bsc/Msc combination. My personal feeling is that they're not, hence why I bailed out at BSc level. I know of at least one friend who did an MPhys and then still topped up with an MSc (admittedly in applied maths, and he only got a 2:2 in the MPhys).You would do well to apply to the graduate programmes offered by the major banks, several of them now have specific streams for quantitative roles (Barcap is one that springs to mind) so you may wish to go down that route. Good luck.
 
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ChicagoGuy
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 3:38 pm

Congrats,With that degree you can probably get a decent quantitative analyst job. I think that some firms want Phds is because PhD have a deeper understanding of maths and stats, to the level that they can teach a specialized graduate classes. Having taken graduate level classes and getting good marks in them is different than having the capability of teaching the class and doing research in that area. Furthermore, PhDs have taken classes in more areas and therefore have more "tools" and mathematical maturity to solve tough problems. Also, I think that you will use the abstract math in fin math mainly to understand the concepts (i.e understand proofs, assumptions, formulations, etc). Quantitative jobs require to come up with an analytical or numerical solution. Going from pure to applied is not trivial as you think it is. You should take classes in econometrics, PDE and ODE numerical analysis, PDE's, stochastic analysis, computational math, and other related areas. Do you know PDE theory and stochastic DE (at a graduate level)?
 
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twiceasnice
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 4:22 pm

Thanks for the replies guys. Endian I will look into Barcap. And at Imperial MSci = BSc+masters in maths (masters students take the same classes as 4th year MSci students).QuoteOriginally posted by: ChicagoGuyCongrats,With that degree you can probably get a decent quantitative analyst job. I think that some firms want Phds is because PhD have a deeper understanding of maths and stats, to the level that they can teach a specialized graduate classes. Having taken graduate level classes and getting good marks in them is different than having the capability of teaching the class and doing research in that area. Furthermore, PhDs have taken classes in more areas and therefore have more "tools" and mathematical maturity to solve tough problems. Also, I think that you will use the abstract math in fin math mainly to understand the concepts (i.e understand proofs, assumptions, formulations, etc). Quantitative jobs require to come up with an analytical or numerical solution. Going from pure to applied is not trivial as you think it is. You should take classes in econometrics, PDE and ODE numerical analysis, PDE's, stochastic analysis, computational math, and other related areas. Do you know PDE theory and stochastic DE (at a graduate level)?That is excellent news, can you offer me any advice as to what companies to apply to? I live in London. I hear where you're coming from, there is much relevant maths I do not know. I know some basic PDE theory and I covered basic stochastic analysis in a financial maths module but as far as numerical analysis and econometrics I know next to nothing. Will these companies expect me to know this material before the interview? Or will they accept I can learn on the job.
 
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ChicagoGuy
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 6:08 pm

"That is excellent news, can you offer me any advice as to what companies to apply to? I live in London"Im in the US so I dont know much about recruiting in London. You should probably ask D. Connor as to where you should apply. Have you looked in efinancialcareers.com or the job postings here on wilmott?"Will these companies expect me to know this material before the interview? Or will they accept I can learn on the job"I think it all depends what you put on your resume, the job you are applying for, and the company. If you say you have knowledge on PDEs and Stochastic Processes then anything is fair in the interviews. I think its never a good idea to put on your resume that you have knowledge in a subject unless you are absolutely sure you can answer hard questions on it. Its better to surprise them by knowing more than they think you know than dissapointing them by revealing you only having some exposure to the subject. You can get lucky and slip through the cracks but then you'll be fucked when you start working with them expecting you to know these things. I would buy some books in PDE numerical analysis, stochastic calculus, and time series analysis and start reading when you have free time. Having knowledge in these subjects will make you a much more attractive candidate. Good Luck
 
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StatGuy
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 6:35 pm

Candidates put a lot of stuff on their CV to look impressive, but beware when you put stuff like C++ or VBA on the CV it suggest that you really know these languages past printing "hello world" to the console. You could get fried with questions on policy designs, memory allocation in C++, differences between compliers etc.. These things will take time to learn, so the interviewer would know if you really know C++ past a month revising the syntax or someone who has had many years implementing some tough algorithms which is part of a huge project with lots of crap code etc.. Having a PhD is fast becoming a requirement in the quant field. Your academics are good and you could probably get into some quant position, but I suspect to get into the more lucrative areas you will probably need a PhD in future. 10 years ago you would have managed it, but now there are more geeks out there with PhDs and more masters , bse etc. I see a time when PhDs will be as common as masters degrees today.Stats Guy
Last edited by StatGuy on July 9th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DominicConnor
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 10th, 2008, 7:36 pm

As you say some jobs do indeed require a PhD.At this point the optimum strategy is not to burn the bridge of doing a PhD or whatever. You should at least look at a MFE or CQF.
 
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twiceasnice
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 11th, 2008, 8:45 am

I have read your replies and done some more research and it does seem a lot of people say PhD's are increasingly required and of course this is not the optimum time to look for a quant job given the market conditions.I have looked on Wilmott and efinancial careers and I can't really see any recent positions for someone who wishes to enter the job market with 0 years quant experience, so I will contact some recruitment people, including the esteemed Dominic you all speak so highly of.
 
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markusmeinhold12
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 20th, 2008, 8:57 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: StatGuyCandidates put a lot of stuff on their CV to look impressive, but beware when you put stuff like C++ or VBA on the CV it suggest that you really know these languages past printing "hello world" to the console. You could get fried with questions on policy designs, memory allocation in C++, differences between compliers etc.. These things will take time to learn, so the interviewer would know if you really know C++ past a month revising the syntax or someone who has had many years implementing some tough algorithms which is part of a huge project with lots of crap code etc.. Having a PhD is fast becoming a requirement in the quant field. Your academics are good and you could probably get into some quant position, but I suspect to get into the more lucrative areas you will probably need a PhD in future. 10 years ago you would have managed it, but now there are more geeks out there with PhDs and more masters , bse etc. I see a time when PhDs will be as common as masters degrees today.Stats GuyI strongly disagree. I thought that a PhD is a must, too, and was seriously considering to start a PhD programm (so far I have a MSc in mathematics and a diploma (i.e. the German version of the MSc) in Business Mathematics)). However, seeking for advise a talked to people at two major banks (HR and quants) , to several professors in Financial Mathematics and to one of the partners of a leading quantitative finance & risk consulting company and asked them if a PhD is neccessary or at least a big plus for a career in quantitative finance or risk management. Well, all answered that it wasn't a key requirement as long as you had the skills which you can also learn on the job. According to the prof I talked to there were three major reason for doing a PhD: To satisfy your scientific interest, to boost your ego and to have the option to teach when you have seen enough of business. But it will not promote your career, he said, compared to the alternative track of learning three years on the job.Further, according to my insight in the daily work of quants in banking and risk consulting, nobody really deals with mathematical tools you haven't seen yet as a good MSc-graduate. And as the people I interviewed said, nobody holds you back to read some math books while being employed to close some knowledge gaps just in time.So basically I would state doing a PhD is an alternative track to get a quant role, but not better than starting to work with an MSc. It is just a personal decision what one prefers. I admit that perhaps PhD studies might be more fun than three more years of work in life - but that depends on your character.
 
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StatGuy
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1st class MSci imperial degree in maths

July 20th, 2008, 10:16 pm

QuoteSo basically I would state doing a PhD is an alternative track to get a quant role, but not better than starting to work with an MSc. It is just a personal decision what one prefers. I admit that perhaps PhD studies might be more fun than three more years of work in life - but that depends on your character.As I said below a PhD is not a must, but given the rise in MSc's I can see eventually a PhD will become a standard requirement. Whilst you might not learn any more special maths as opposed to a good MSc in a PhD, you will need a huge amount of commitment over many years to finish a PhD, which you don't get in any MSc program. PhDs on average have higher pay than the average Msc grad, so there is a benifit in gaining a PhD IMO. Sure there will be cases when you done well without any qualifications, but I think on average a PhD will do better in this field. Just look at most of the top people in this area like Paul, etc,, they all have PhDs in hard sciences. Even in Mark Joshi's guide to becoming a quant it states:"Generally, a PhD (or almost a PhD) is a necessity to get a quant job. I would advise against starting before it's awarded as it tends to be hard to get it done whilst doing a busy job. Having a masters degree in Financial mathematics but no PhD tendsto lead into jobs in banking in risk or trading support but not straight quant jobs. Banking is becoming progressively more mathematical so the knowledge is useful in many areas in banks. Some people then manage to move into quant later on."Stats Guy
Last edited by StatGuy on July 20th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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