Starting out early
Posted: April 3rd, 2009, 5:52 pm
Hi, I am currently finishing my freshman yr at the University of Toronto studying a Specialist in Mathematical Applications in Economics and Finance. I have recently started doing some research about the quant career and the field of financial math in general, and I find it very interesting and appealing. However, I am not quite sure what I should be doing in order to get into that field.I know it is still very early in my education career, but I already want to have some kind of a plan of what I want to be studying/working in within the next few years. My main strength is Mathematics (International Math Olympiad Bronze and Silver, 2 pts off Honorable Mention in Putnam 2008), and I really want to continue studying and doing Math in the future. Finance seems very interesting as well. I will end up taking a lot of pure math courses in my undergrad yrs as well as math application, stats, and eco courses and some computer science.I plan to do grad school but not yet sure if I should do an MFE/Master of Financial Math or PhD or even both. I know that MFE takes less time and getting it from a top-tier school gets good prospects, however some quant jobs out there require at least a PhD. But then on the other hand getting an MFE+PhD is like 6 yrs or something, which is a lot... Which one should I choose?I know experience is very important in order to get into the field, but it is hard for me to find an internship in Toronto because it is a much smaller market, there is currently a slump, and I have no relevant work experience, and at the summer undergrad student level firms are looking for business students rather than students who are good at problem-solving. Are there any internships out there which are looking for the last type? Also, what should I be studying (ie computer skills, maybe some professional exams) to get a decent chance of getting hired maybe next yr? Should I be looking in New York for internships as well (many want only US citizens)?Finally, is it maybe I am not able to break into the field or anywhere close to it because I am just finishing my freshman year? If so, when does this kind of breakthrough usually happen (maybe 3rd/4th yr)?I would really appreciate if you could help me with any of the above questions.Thank you very much for your help!