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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 26th, 2009, 12:33 pm

Open University - one of the pioneers in distance learning. Good reputation.Open U - HomeOpen U - WikiThe Open University (commonly Open University or OU, but officially the is part of its name) is the UK's distance learning government-supported university notable for having an open entry policy, i.e. students' previous academic achievements are not taken into account for entry to most undergraduate courses. It was established in 1969 and the first students enrolled in January 1971.[4] The majority of students are based in the UK, but its courses can be studied anywhere in the world.[5] The administration is based at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, but has regional centres in each of its thirteen regions around the UK. It also has offices in other European countries. The University awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates, or continuing education units.With more than 180,000 students enrolled, including more than 25,000 students studying overseas,[6] it is the largest academic institution in the UK by student number, and qualifies as one of the world's largest universities. Since it was founded, more than 3 million students have studied its courses. It was rated top university in England and Wales for student satisfaction in the 2005[7] and 2006[8] UK government national student satisfaction survey, and second in the 2007 survey.[9]
 
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twofish
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 26th, 2009, 3:27 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: cryptic26There always will be exceptions like there always are outliers in a sample. But these are good enough for emotional inspiration, which agreed, means something but not everythingExcept that none of the people involved were exceptions or outliers. In the case of the oil industry, you had lots of programmers that got hired out of school during the boom in the 1970's and continued to program until they hit retirement, and it was pretty typical for me to be the only late 20-something in a room full of 50,60-somethings.In the case of physics, you have lots of professors that were hired during the Sputnik era, and since they all have tenure, they keep doing physics until they drop (which is a problem for younger people in physics). If you look at the skills that are relevant for either programming and physics, none of them really have a sharp decline until/unless you start getting affected by Alzheimers, and that only starts in the 70's and it doesn't hit everyone. There are cognitive skills that decline markedly with age (the chief one is reaction time), but none of those are particularly important for physics or quantitative finance.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 26th, 2009, 3:33 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: twofishQuoteOriginally posted by: cryptic26There always will be exceptions like there always are outliers in a sample. But these are good enough for emotional inspiration, which agreed, means something but not everythingExcept that none of the people involved were exceptions or outliers. In the case of the oil industry, you had lots of programmers that got hired out of school during the boom in the 1970's and continued to program until they hit retirement, and it was pretty typical for me to be the only late 20-something in a room full of 50,60-somethings.In the case of physics, you have lots of professors that were hired during the Sputnik era, and since they all have tenure, they keep doing physics until they drop (which is a problem for younger people in physics). If you look at the skills that are relevant for either programming and physics, none of them really have a sharp decline until/unless you start getting affected by Alzheimers, and that only starts in the 70's and it doesn't hit everyone. There are cognitive skills that decline markedly with age (the chief one is reaction time), but none of those are particularly important for physics or quantitative finance.Wonderful stuff.
Step over the gap, not into it. Watch the space between platform and train.
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cryptic26
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 26th, 2009, 8:29 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: twofishQuoteOriginally posted by: cryptic26If you look at the skills that are relevant for either programming and physics, none of them really have a sharp decline until/unless you start getting affected by Alzheimers, and that only starts in the 70's and it doesn't hit everyone. There are cognitive skills that decline markedly with age (the chief one is reaction time), but none of those are particularly important for physics or quantitative finance.Skills need not diminish but competitive forces reduce if not eliminate the value of some skill that someone with relatively average IQ could easily acquire. Since he is young, less experience and worked less hard to acquire the same skill, he is willing to do the same job for less money. Programming was relatively harder in 80s and even in early 90s, when quants had to break their derivative pricing models into bits and pieces as there was not enough hard disk or cpu to compile. Not today
 
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KackToodles
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 26th, 2009, 9:41 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: cryptic26There is a small fraction of quants that belongs to the "pencil and paper" category. Most of them are former professors working in banks & most likely have gone back to academia in this market. In my experience, former professors (at least the few who manage to get full time bank jobs) either become "strategist" (a fancy name for salesmen who run around delivering sales pitches to clients) or, if they are young enough, become regular desk quants to get experience until they become strategists. Why would a bank pay somebody to do "pencil and paper" calculations when they can download all the pen and paper calculations they want for cheap from part-time academic consultants?
 
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KackToodles
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 26th, 2009, 9:45 pm

I dunno any scientist who did their nobel prize winning work after the age of 45. Most did their nobel prize work in their 20s. After that, they wait until they're 40-60 to collect their accolades. Science and math, like sports, is a young man's game. In contrast, literature and peace prize winners, like al gore, do their best work between 40-60.
 
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cryptic26
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 27th, 2009, 1:13 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: KackToodlesQuoteOriginally posted by: Why would a bank pay somebody to do "pencil and paper" calculations when they can download all the pen and paper calculations they want for cheap from part-time academic consultants? Why? You said it yourself- salesmanship. And these part-time academic-consultants are the ones who work at banks on sabbatical. Then they go back when the market is tough.Banks keep some of the "pencil and paper" kinds to publish regularly for their client network. Then send these papers as part of their analytic to some hedge funds where bunch of MBAs talk with MBAs about PhDs as if they are doing some state-of-the art work. Part of the time these quants interact and supervise junior quants, who do the programming, etc. Once in a while they come up with their "Cool" models that some desk like to use at some point in time. There used to be couple of them at Goldman, Citigroup and even JP.
Last edited by cryptic26 on April 26th, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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deepvalue
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 27th, 2009, 5:38 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: cryptic26where bunch of MBAs talk with MBAs about PhDs as if they are doing some state-of-the art work. wouldn't it be smarter to hire some writers and mbas to write all those client papers because the mbas know better what they want to read and how to sprinkle the jargon in to make them sound like top secret gospel brilliance? most academics don't know how to write well and don't know how to sell well either.
 
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thexyz
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 27th, 2009, 2:58 pm

Really some good informative conversations....thanks for your time guys..People here at times wondered why Im so adamant to become a quant analyst....I've read a few books and articles about the job as quant analyst...its something I think I will enjoy doing and the job sounds challenging and fulfilling...of course money is there if you do well but thats not the primary instinct..I have a natural interest in Maths, Finance and IT. I know its a bit late in my career but Im motivated to persevere. C++ may not be a big hurdle for me and I love coding. I will have to brush up my Maths and Finance/Banking knowledge and improve the level understanding.Lately after going through the replies, Im also considering the option of a self-study instead of taking the route of taking Maths degree. So the plan may be like:# 1st step - Try for Developer job in IB - Do you think any previous banking/finance knowledge before applying? Any ideal role I should be applying for in order to help me move/land in a quant analyst role later? Any other tips that may help me get a foot on the door will be appreciated.# Meanwhile, start learning 'relevant' Maths and Finance - If Im planning to follow books, would you know the list the books(both Maths and Banking) I should have been thorough with at the very minimum before applying for quant analyst role. The above information may help me quantify the amount of preparation required and therefore the time if I take this route.Thanks again in advance.PS:two fish quoted-QuoteI did, but many of the people that I work with don't, and a lot of them have backgrounds that are very similar to the one of the original poster. The reason I suggested getting a non-quantish IT job and then moving into something more quantish, is that I know people that have done exactly that. But that opens up the question of exactly why the original poster wants to be a quant. If it's for the money, then the strategy is bad, if you are a java developer that wants to go after money, it's probably better to study databases and multithreading than quantitative finance.- I think, non-quantish IT job = any IT developer role in bank?- didn't quite understand ' if you are a java developer that wants to go after money, it's probably better to study databases and multithreading than quantitative finance'
 
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quantmeh
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 27th, 2009, 3:12 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: thexyzIf Im planning to follow books, would you know the list the books(both Maths and Banking) I should have been thorough with at the very minimum before applying for quant analyst role. ok, test yourself on Marchuk.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 27th, 2009, 3:29 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: jawabeanQuoteOriginally posted by: thexyzIf Im planning to follow books, would you know the list the books(both Maths and Banking) I should have been thorough with at the very minimum before applying for quant analyst role. ok, test yourself on Marchuk.Especially the chapters on Soviet Splitting method
Step over the gap, not into it. Watch the space between platform and train.
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phil451
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 28th, 2009, 1:46 pm

Along with the BBC the Open University is a British Institution that makes me proud to be British and that is a feeling that can be difficult from time to time.The quality of the degree is generally ranked 7th in the UK by the Times Educational Supplement. I got my Mathematics degree from the OU and i can verify its quality and the enthusiasm of tutors and other students. Although you hear people knocking it from time to time i have never suffered any discrimination as a result of having an OU degree and find that anybody that counts values it. Certainly anybody at IB with hiring power rates it.
 
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quantmeh
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 28th, 2009, 8:45 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: phil451The quality of the degree is generally ranked 7th in the UK by the Times Educational Supplement. how many universities you have in UK?it's interesting to have online degree ranked #7 in entire country
 
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phil451
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 29th, 2009, 9:00 am

It's not exactly an on-line degree although a lot of the study documentation can be delivered in e-format.There are also tutorials, summer schools and shed loads of text books and additional study material in paper format. At the OU student education comes first. There is a large amount of research and although it's not a great example, Beagle 2, which is currently scattered over the surface of Mars was largely an OU initiative.
 
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MikeJuniperhill
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Advice to start as a quant in late 30s

April 30th, 2009, 3:56 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: thexyz- is this plan realistic?- I will be in early 40s by the time I apply for my first job as pure quant analyst; is age going to be big limiting factor?Very interesting issue here indeed. I want to share my own story, because I felt xyzneeds a little bit of encouragement..I am currently 38 and working for an investment bank at fixed income trading unit as analyst and developer. My job includes pretty much everything from pre-research of certain trading strategy to build dll stuff in c++ to be used in excel. I started this career at the age of 31, when I enrolled into university to study finance. Before that, I worked as professional musician, playing electric guitar for about 15 years. I had basically two sources of income: teaching job at the local music school and my own top-40 band playing cover songs. At the best year we did up to 100 gigs practically playing everywhere, starting from your toilet, ending up to big parties crowded by hundreds of drunken people. At some point of my career I realized, that I actually never wanted to be professional musician. Since I was a kid, I was only interested in listening music to the point, that I wanted to be able to play things like some of those great guitarists I listened on the records. My love for the guitar and music led me into obsessive practicing routines at my teens, and for years I lived like a monk, only caring about learning the music. Anyway, it is hard to make living as being a musician, where ever you may live in this planet. And it's getting harder. Even you're working hard, you still end up being "semi-poor" person without any excess cash to have a decent car or possibility to make holiday trips into exotic destinations (exclude all these rap superstars). It's cool when you are 19, but close to being 30 it's not. After all, I come from middle-class family. Finally I made very rational decision to change my life, when I bought the books used in university entrance exams..After some introductory courses I discovered great fascination in finance and derivatives. I really do not know why. Maybe, because there is some extremely tough intellectual challenge implied in these issues. Very soon I also realized, that to be able to really understand that stuff, you have to be able to do a bit more than just some compulsory math. Besides my full-time studies, I had managed to get some assistant jobs at finance department, like collecting raw data the staff needed in their own research. Job had quite lousy payoff and inhuman working conditions, but I saw this as a chance to learn something new and useful, and especially getting connected with these people. At that time I was afraid about, whether anyone will ever hire me, especially when they would learn about my "unproductive years" in the past. Anyway, after two years, I got my first summer job at option trading in investment bank. Do not ask me why. Of course I was not authorized to do any trades on my own, but this experience taught a lot about the greeks and options. Also, significant part of my job there was actually doing some vba/excel stuff for traders, so it was actually there I really started to realize the importance of being able to do some programming. Moreover, I did not feel that it was just something you were expected to be able to do. Everytime I managed to do something useful for these guys, I felt extremely great inside. Pretty much the same way, as learning a new set of chords or scale with the guitar. After that summer, I got part-time job as VB6 developer at one small sweatshop doing some commercial risk management software. The boss there was really a nice guy, who actually taught me a lot of very useful stuff by himself. We were sitting so many nights at the office after midnight when trying to solve some programming problem or making some model testing and validations. Two and a half years ago I finally got my current position at this investment bank. I think one of the reason was my ability to do some database programming, and the guys in the bank were actually asking me to do some programming tasks during the interview..At some point I defined three issues for myself to be studied a bit more closely: applied mathematics, financial instruments pricing and mainly c++ programming. I know what Ihave to able to do and also, how I will get there. The rest is basically just a function of time and intelligence (both are unfortunately limited). So far I've been studying these issues outside working hours. I usually spend my evenings with code editor or spreadsheet or books. Because I do not have any kids I am well able to do that. Anyway, I am aware that odds are definitely against me, and I am working against the clock. But for me, the deepest motivation in these days seems to be more the issue itself: to learn more about markets, models and programming. My view is, that everything else is just a by-product, which you will get sooner or later, if you can do something useful for somebody. I have not discovered any type of age racism yet. So far, everybody have only been interested whether I can do the job or not. Anyway, realistically I know there is a lot of jobs out there I will never get into, even if I wanted to. I will never get a chance to be a quantitative developer at some house like Goldman. Fortunately, there is a lot of work to do out of these big houses after all..Have a nice springtimemike
Last edited by MikeJuniperhill on April 29th, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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