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twofish
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Theoretical Physics Ph.D. looking to get into the Quant business

October 8th, 2010, 3:56 pm

This is going to seem silly but it's important. Nowhere do you mention that you are a particle physicist that has done string theory. *I* can figure out that you are a string theorist (well branes but it's close enough). Your average HR/HH will not know this. Also, you should mention that you've written "numerical models using (whatever) to simulate the behavior of black holes using finite difference methods." Again, it's not obvious to your typical HR person that you've done numerical models.The important thing to remember about HR is that HR never makes hiring decisions involving these sorts of positions. What they do is to act as gatekeepers, and since they are non-technical, you have to spell things out for them, and state things that are may seem obvious to you.
Last edited by twofish on October 7th, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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KackToodles
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October 9th, 2010, 2:07 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: twofishQuoteOriginally posted by: KackToodlesQuoteOriginally posted by: twofishI got quizzed pretty hard on numerical general relativity. if they're asking you that, it's for their own amusement -- you are no longer under serious consideration. Interesting since I ended up with an offer from the firm..... well, why didn't you tell us it was a crappy code monkey job in the first place?
 
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twofish
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October 9th, 2010, 5:15 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: KackToodles well, why didn't you tell us it was a crappy code monkey job in the first place? I thought you would have already figured it out. If you are reading this newsgroup, there is a 90% chance that you will get a job which at its core is being some sort of code monkey (or spreadsheet monkey). Now there are cool code monkey jobs and there are code monkey jobs from hell. But if you absolutely hate any sort of code monkey job, then I really don't understand why you are reading this forum.
 
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KackToodles
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October 9th, 2010, 5:33 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: twofish if you absolutely hate any sort of code monkey job, then I really don't understand why you are reading this forum. i'm not a monkey but i like to go to the zoo to look at them.
 
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tavisor
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October 13th, 2010, 12:58 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: vlad32...have you considered computational biology/genetics or large-data set analytics for private companies or semi-government research, pay is very decent, obviously not finance, but given the years are pretty lean for the first two years in your career, I don't think the difference is that much, much better job security and much less 'master of the universe' types to deal with...more free time to work on your ideas...I know I should not be writing this reply on this forum, but here it goes: I opted for finance because it looked like this is where I could apply my skills. I wouldn't actually get out of academia if it wasn't for the moving every 3 years, and the uncertainty that maybe after 3 postdocs (which in theoretical particle physics is something very usual) it might still be difficult to get a permanent job. Even in academia in many cases it is more about who you know than what you know. I don't need outrageous amounts of money. I was reading another thread on this forum about the things/amounts that some consider necessary to be living the high life. Well, many of the things written there didn't sound like they were worth selling your extra time for.I am also contemplating other things besides this. I also put some applications with European Space Agency, but I just found out that unfortunately I have the wrong citizenship at this point.
 
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tavisor
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October 20th, 2010, 10:32 am

It looks like I will have a phone interview. The person who arranged it mentioned that the interviewer will test my technical and programing knowledge as well as understand my background and where I want to be in 5 years. I have no idea where I want to be in 5 years. I am just trying to get started in this area. Is there anything that I am expected to say?
Last edited by tavisor on October 19th, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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AbhiJ
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October 20th, 2010, 11:13 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: tavisor I have no idea where I want to be in 5 years. I am just trying to get started in this area. Is there anything that I am expected to say?This is a true confession true for majority of people starting out in finance. Still the firms want to hear an answer, something like - I want to be a badass quant in five years from now.
 
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twofish
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October 20th, 2010, 12:05 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: tavisorThe person who arranged it mentioned that the interviewer will test my technical and programing knowledge as well as understand my background and where I want to be in 5 years. I have no idea where I want to be in 5 years. I am just trying to get started in this area. Is there anything that I am expected to say?Yes, but it's going to be different from interviewer to interviewer, and it's a matter of luck. If I were to ask the question, then "I don't know" would be a perfectly good answer, because *I* don't know what I'll be doing on five years. That answer might hurt you with another interviewer, but there really is no way of telling.
 
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tavisor
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October 20th, 2010, 12:13 pm

So, now I have a very quick question. The interview was arranged by a recruiter who initially sent me the job announcement and now got me the interview. The idea is that on the job announcement it said that knowledge of one software was necessary, and that particular software is in my Cv, and I used it. Now my contact person/recruiter just sent me an email with more details about the interview and as it turns out they specify that they will interview on my programing skills which are on a software not on my CV and which i never used, plus it is different than what they have in the job announcement. What do you think I should do? Learn VBA in 2 days?
 
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Hansi
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October 20th, 2010, 12:33 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: tavisorWhat do you think I should do? Tell them the truth, they won't grill you on something that you've said you are not really familiar with.QuoteOriginally posted by: tavisorLearn VBA in 2 days?If you've done any programming, getting the basics down should be a question of only spending a few hours with it.Feel free to send me an PM with your e-mail if you want me to send you some basic VBA notes.Otherwise this is okay too: http://www.anthony-vba.kefra.com/index_011.htm
 
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traderjoe1976
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October 20th, 2010, 12:35 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: tavisorSo, now I have a very quick question. The interview was arranged by a recruiter who initially sent me the job announcement and now got me the interview. The idea is that on the job announcement it said that knowledge of one software was necessary, and that particular software is in my Cv, and I used it. Now my contact person/recruiter just sent me an email with more details about the interview and as it turns out they specify that they will interview on my programing skills which are on a software not on my CV and which i never used, plus it is different than what they have in the job announcement. What do you think I should do? Learn VBA in 2 days?If you have decent expertise in any programming language you can easily learn a simple programming language like VBA in 2 days. C++ would require more time, but VBA is real easy. Just study for 48 hours straight and give the interview. Don't make an excuse to back out of the interview. You have to give several interviews to get the job. Start studying VBA and best of luck in your interview.
 
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twofish
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October 21st, 2010, 2:03 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: tavisorSo, now I have a very quick question. The interview was arranged by a recruiter who initially sent me the job announcement and now got me the interview. The idea is that on the job announcement it said that knowledge of one software was necessary, and that particular software is in my Cv, and I used it. Now my contact person/recruiter just sent me an email with more details about the interview and as it turns out they specify that they will interview on my programing skills which are on a software not on my CV and which i never used, plus it is different than what they have in the job announcement. What do you think I should do? Learn VBA in 2 days?Yes.The reason that people look for C++ programmers is that it's assumed that if you know C++, you can be decent in any other language very quickly. Mention that you have no experience in VBA, that everything you learned, you learned in two days, and see how you do on the interview. You have nothing to lose, and hopefully the interview will be focused on whether or not you can develop basic literacy in a new language, very quickly. There are jobs that may require a hyper-expert in VBA, but if you had one of those, then they would have tossed your resume.The reason this is an important skill is that firms want people that they can dump a new language on and have them do something useful with. You aren't going to be an expert swimmer, but they do want to see that you don't drown. In reality, any non-trivial system is going to be written in about a dozen languages, some of which are internal and totally undocumented, and a lot of the work involves interfacing two different languages.
 
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vlad32
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Theoretical Physics Ph.D. looking to get into the Quant business

October 23rd, 2010, 3:44 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: tavisorQuoteOriginally posted by: vlad32...have you considered computational biology/genetics or large-data set analytics for private companies or semi-government research, pay is very decent, obviously not finance, but given the years are pretty lean for the first two years in your career, I don't think the difference is that much, much better job security and much less 'master of the universe' types to deal with...more free time to work on your ideas...I know I should not be writing this reply on this forum, but here it goes: I opted for finance because it looked like this is where I could apply my skills. I wouldn't actually get out of academia if it wasn't for the moving every 3 years, and the uncertainty that maybe after 3 postdocs (which in theoretical particle physics is something very usual) it might still be difficult to get a permanent job. Even in academia in many cases it is more about who you know than what you know. I don't need outrageous amounts of money. I was reading another thread on this forum about the things/amounts that some consider necessary to be living the high life. Well, many of the things written there didn't sound like they were worth selling your extra time for.I am also contemplating other things besides this. I also put some applications with European Space Agency, but I just found out that unfortunately I have the wrong citizenship at this point.The uncertainty in finance is even higher - coding mistake/model blow up/aggro monkey trader blow up/other part of the firm blows up... just a few reasons you can lose your job uber quick, so nothing beats academia job security (but academia politics is a nasty one, I agree, you might as well run for Congress). So if you are not in for the money, it's really hard to justify taking on such tremendous amounts of risk/ pressure/ random master of the world types bs. They will own your extra time anyways so you might as well try to extract as much money for it as you can. It's the culture,even if you don't want it, it coerces you into this behavior. Oh, and did I mention working with most traders is like dealing with members of organized crimes syndicate, they are not that different after all ).I am not trying to discourage you, by all means, the best things is to try it yourself before you judge, I'm just describing the facts as seen in large firms throughout the industry.To me it sounds like you can get what you are looking for in places like Google, Yahoo, Apple or MS or other companies that deal with large data. Work life balance is much better and the salaries supprisingly good for non-finance. If you manage to get into a reasonable startup with some equity, you might even end up with a decent chunk of money one day. who knows.I am sure you can apply your skills quite profitably in places other than finance, equally well.
Last edited by vlad32 on October 22nd, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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KackToodles
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Theoretical Physics Ph.D. looking to get into the Quant business

October 24th, 2010, 4:29 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: AbhiJThis is a true confession true for majority of people starting out in finance. Still the firms want to hear an answer, something like - I want to be a badass quant in five years from now.they know this isn't realistic because the average career with one firm doesn't last that long.
 
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ArthurDent
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Theoretical Physics Ph.D. looking to get into the Quant business

October 24th, 2010, 4:52 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: KackToodlesQuoteOriginally posted by: AbhiJThis is a true confession true for majority of people starting out in finance. Still the firms want to hear an answer, something like - I want to be a badass quant in five years from now.they know this isn't realistic because the average career with one firm doesn't last that long. The purpose of this question is to see two things:1. You have put some thought into the matter, you know something about the target firm and are not interviewing on a whim,2. You can explain clearly and concisely your decision making process.
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