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LC85
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Joined: August 31st, 2010, 9:04 am

Front office requirements

September 12th, 2010, 6:58 pm

Hi thereI'm currently a year away from finishing my PhD in experimental physics and am looking to work as a quant once I finish. I do not have a financial background other than my own personal reading and was hoping to get some opinions on whether I stand a realistic chance of getting a front office position in London? Would I be at a severe disadvantage compared to someone who also has say an MFE or a financial internship?I just wanted to get a feel for how realistic I was being with my ambitions? I'm not too keen on ending up in a middle office position, yet I'm aware of how competitive front office positions are.I'm doing my PhD at a university in the top 10 on this list, have a 1st in Physics from my UG and should have my name on ~10 papers by the time I finish. I think my C++ and VB are pretty solid but would obviously need to sharpen them up before any interviews.Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Last edited by LC85 on September 11th, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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twofish
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Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 1:22 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: LC85I'm currently a year away from finishing my PhD in experimental physics and am looking to work as a quant once I finish. I do not have a financial background other than my own personal reading and was hoping to get some opinions on whether I stand a realistic chance of getting a front office position in London?If you have only limited experience in finance, then how do you know that you really want a front office position. Also, can you explain briefly, what a front office position is? The good/bad news is that physics Ph.D.'s do more or less the same thing in front office/mid-office/back-office.Yes you do have a realistic chance of getting a front office position. The real question is do you want one?
Last edited by twofish on September 12th, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DevonFangs
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Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 9:14 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: twofishQuoteOriginally posted by: LC85I'm currently a year away from finishing my PhD in experimental physics and am looking to work as a quant once I finish. I do not have a financial background other than my own personal reading and was hoping to get some opinions on whether I stand a realistic chance of getting a front office position in London?If you have only limited experience in finance, then how do you know that you really want a front office position. Also, can you explain briefly, what a front office position is? The good/bad news is that physics Ph.D.'s do more or less the same thing in front office/mid-office/back-office.Yes, this is a very hot topic and I am interested in getting a better insight too.What's the difference between what a physics guy can do in FO and in MO? I mean, apart from breathing the hormones pumpin air there's on a trading desk.
 
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LC85
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Joined: August 31st, 2010, 9:04 am

Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 9:29 am

QuoteIf you have only limited experience in finance, then how do you know that you really want a front office position.The impression I get is that front-office work is better paid and more interesting / exciting / challenging. Of course I haven't had any first-hand experience of either the middle or front office but I can (assumably in the same way a lot of PhDs do) read-up and speak to people about it. I imagine most physics PhDs don't start out their PhD with a move into finance in mind (it would be very difficult in my opinion to have the motivation to finish it if this were the case) but of course people change their mind or become more aware of the realities as life as a postdoc as time progresses.QuoteAlso, can you explain briefly, what a front office position is?My understanding is that front office quants model and structure derivatives where as middle office quants are more invloved in validating / testing these models. Please let me know if I have it wrong.QuoteThe good/bad news is that physics Ph.D.'s do more or less the same thing in front office/mid-office/back-office.What exactly do you mean by this? Are we hence all destined to work in model evaluation / risk analysis type roles regardless of where we are situated?
 
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barny
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Joined: May 8th, 2007, 6:55 pm

Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 12:12 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: LC85Hi thereI'm currently a year away from finishing my PhD in experimental physics and am looking to work as a quant once I finish. I do not have a financial background other than my own personal reading and was hoping to get some opinions on whether I stand a realistic chance of getting a front office position in London? Would I be at a severe disadvantage compared to someone who also has say an MFE or a financial internship?I just wanted to get a feel for how realistic I was being with my ambitions? I'm not too keen on ending up in a middle office position, yet I'm aware of how competitive front office positions are.I'm doing my PhD at a university in the top 10 on this list, have a 1st in Physics from my UG and should have my name on ~10 papers by the time I finish. I think my C++ and VB are pretty solid but would obviously need to sharpen them up before any interviews.Any help would be greatly appreciated!Well, a lot depends on which uni on the list you went to. All of them will give you a good chance except UCL, which doesn't belong in that list.
 
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eh
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Joined: March 2nd, 2010, 9:26 am

Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 1:02 pm

QuoteWell, a lot depends on which uni on the list you went to. All of them will give you a good chance except UCL, which doesn't belong in that list.Why don't you rate UCL? I seems that it was in the top 10 for the last 4 years.
 
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DevonFangs
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Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 1:10 pm

Indeed I think UCL is kinda 4th in the world
 
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LC85
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Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 1:23 pm

I agree, although these lists are never great and I certainly wouldn't say UCL > Oxford, MIT, CalTech etc. UCL is certainly not a bad school.
 
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harrisont
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Joined: February 16th, 2010, 5:29 pm

Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 1:29 pm

This is actually a horrible list from QS world universities, it is extremely biased towards british schools. UCL is not close to a world top 10 school, it would be better to look at a British U ranking and decide if your school is top 5 in england. In which case UCL probably still is, so what I said so far doesn't matter. And I made it to front office at a great shop from a school that is rank 100-150 on that "list" haha. Anyway that list is a joke.
 
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DevonFangs
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Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 2:13 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: harrisontThis is actually a horrible list from QS world universities, it is extremely biased towards british schools. UCL is not close to a world top 10 school, it would be better to look at a British U ranking and decide if your school is top 5 in england. In which case UCL probably still is, so what I said so far doesn't matter. And I made it to front office at a great shop from a school that is rank 100-150 on that "list" haha. Anyway that list is a joke.I feel this is not absurd. How much do you people sincerely think that the university one comes from actually cares? I mean in real life, not in the entry-level screening.
 
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barny
Posts: 387
Joined: May 8th, 2007, 6:55 pm

Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 4:29 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: ehQuoteWell, a lot depends on which uni on the list you went to. All of them will give you a good chance except UCL, which doesn't belong in that list.Why don't you rate UCL? I seems that it was in the top 10 for the last 4 years.Well UCL is good, but better than Oxford, Princeton etc?
 
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eh
Posts: 494
Joined: March 2nd, 2010, 9:26 am

Front office requirements

September 13th, 2010, 4:45 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: barnyQuoteOriginally posted by: ehQuoteWell, a lot depends on which uni on the list you went to. All of them will give you a good chance except UCL, which doesn't belong in that list.Why don't you rate UCL? I seems that it was in the top 10 for the last 4 years.Well UCL is good, but better than Oxford, Princeton etc?I am not saying that I agree with the QS rankings. University rankings have various criteria. I guess that it is important to use the right table for the right application. I was just surprised at your dismissal of UCL. It does great research, so I would imagine it is a great place to do a PhD.
 
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twofish
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Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

Front office requirements

September 14th, 2010, 8:45 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: LC85The impression I get is that front-office work is better paid and more interesting / exciting / challenging.There is just enough truth in that statement to make it dangerously misleading.QuoteMy understanding is that front office quants model and structure derivatives where as middle office quants are more involved in validating / testing these models. Please let me know if I have it wrong.Yes. You do. Much of the work of front office is trader support. There is a computer program. It has a bug. Find that bug. Find that bug *quickly*. A lot of the more strategic issues are done in middle office. Also a lot of the cool technology jobs are in back office, since those are the people that run the supercomputers.Also, I'm not sure what a quant really is. A lot of the books that talk about physics Ph.D.'s in finance are quite outdated, so I don't know if quants really exist any more.QuoteQuoteThe good/bad news is that physics Ph.D.'s do more or less the same thing in front office/mid-office/back-office.What exactly do you mean by this? Are we hence all destined to work in model evaluation / risk analysis type roles regardless of where we are situated?If you are a physics Ph.D. you will be hired as code/math monkey, and your job will be to stare at a computer screen for hours on end trying to make something work. Whether that happens in the front office/mid-office/back office doesn't make a huge amount of difference to the basic job.
 
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ArthurDent
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Joined: July 2nd, 2005, 4:38 pm

Front office requirements

September 14th, 2010, 9:57 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: LC85 The impression I get is that front-office work is better paid and more interesting / exciting / challenging.Wrong!FO is better paid, more adrenaline, more pressure but less intellectually challenging - think Excel spreadsheets and debugging code to support traders. There are off-desk positions in MO/BO like housekeeping IT that deal with even more boring stuff, but not all of MO/BO is like that.Do not compare the most attractive FO position with the least attractive BO position.
Last edited by ArthurDent on September 13th, 2010, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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yaourt
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Joined: January 21st, 2009, 12:50 pm

Front office requirements

September 14th, 2010, 10:32 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorPersonally I think the German universities are graded better than they deserve, but again that's just my call. really? the German educational system must be pretty poor on an international level, given that its best University is only ranked 51st and that even undiseveringly!!
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