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psibladeZX
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 19th, 2013, 10:53 pm

I have a masters in economics and a masters in quantitative finance (got both simultaneously in 2011). The only job I could find at the time (when looking in the fall of 2010, with a start date of June 2011) was the technology analyst program at B of A Merrill Lynch. So, out of desperation, I took it because I didn't have any other interviews in quant, let alone offers (this was the only offer). I got placed into counterparty credit risk technology where I do mostly business analysis and they're re-focusing my group to be pure developers (full life cycle development). I've been looking pretty hard to get a proper quant job (preferably on a desk) with not much luck (trying direct applications, headhunters, and networking). I've been told that market risk is the way to go to interact with the trading desk. So my first question is, is market risk really the way to go to talk to the trading desk? Is there no hope of getting on a desk directly?I'm not really a tech guy and don't really care about data flow and batch automation... I just want to go from being a cost center to be a revenue generator. So, my second question is, do the longer I stay in tech, the worse it is for me? I'm already 30 and do not want to be pidgeon-holed as a third master's in hopes of a career change is a little undoable for me at this point. I'm trying to figure out what the most efficient, least time consuming path is, to get to a trading desk. Any help/advice/contacts would be greatly appreciated.
 
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neuroguy
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 20th, 2013, 5:42 am

Some questions to ask yourself (not meant to be harsh, but they are important questions)-> Given that there are these desk quant jobs that you seek, what would set you appart form someone with a PhD in applied math and (probably) previous experience?-> Do the jobs that you seek actually exist? If so, where, who does them and what qualifications do they need? -> Who are the risk VPs/MDs etc? (applied math/physics PhD, ex-structurers/ex-traders in my experience)Looks to me like you either need some kind of gold plated amazing contact, extreme luck or a relevant PhD and experience. You could think about how you might cast your net wider than banks in order to get the kind of experience/proximity to money that you desire. i.e. funds, boutiques or less well known banks.
 
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QuantCentral
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Joined: January 24th, 2013, 9:16 pm

How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 20th, 2013, 2:34 pm

Your background does not seem to fit a desk quant role, so a less quantitative market risk role might be your best bet. I don't know how you can get there. Headhunters are not there to help you switch a career. Networking seems the only viable approach. I know this is hard, but a lot of people on this forum face the same problem so you are not alone.
 
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traderjoe1976
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 20th, 2013, 3:12 pm

Which school did you do your MQF from? Some schools like Berkeley and CMU are having good success in placing students in S&T roles. Most of the other schools are placing their MFE students in Risk / Technology roles. You should try to use the alumni network of your school.
 
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DevonFangs
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 20th, 2013, 9:16 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: neuroguySome questions to ask yourself (not meant to be harsh, but they are important questions)-> Given that there are these desk quant jobs that you seek, what would set you appart form someone with a PhD in applied math and (probably) previous experience?-> Do the jobs that you seek actually exist? If so, where, who does them and what qualifications do they need? -> Who are the risk VPs/MDs etc? (applied math/physics PhD, ex-structurers/ex-traders in my experience)Looks to me like you either need some kind of gold plated amazing contact, extreme luck or a relevant PhD and experience. You could think about how you might cast your net wider than banks in order to get the kind of experience/proximity to money that you desire. i.e. funds, boutiques or less well known banks.I had hoped all this PhD crap had come to an end, and instead here we go again. I've recently interviewed lots of PhD people who on papers look amazing but who in practice just don't stand a chance against equally smart people with relevant work experience instead of further study. I have come to attach less and less weight to the PhD entry in the resumes I'm vetting. There, I said that.
 
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ashkar
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 9:38 am

There is no chance of moving from IT to trading. You need to move to a desk facing IT team. You'll get lot of interaction with FO and quant teams there. Then you can move to quant team more easily. However if they hire you, it will be mainly to build tools or write code. From what you say, if you're not a tech guy then this isnt the right way forward for you.you dont need any advanced degrees for risk management. even on the exotics side, there are risk managers from control background. probably the complicated stuff is done by market risk quants now a days. In the old days it was common for risk managers to move to trading but things are completely different now.at the end of the day if you're not good at IT then move to risk management. Its very unlikely that you'll get to move to trading but you'll get promoted quicker and make slightly more money than than an average IT career.
 
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psibladeZX
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Joined: March 12th, 2013, 4:28 pm

How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 11:18 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: ashkarThere is no chance of moving from IT to trading. You need to move to a desk facing IT team. You'll get lot of interaction with FO and quant teams there. Then you can move to quant team more easily. However if they hire you, it will be mainly to build tools or write code. From what you say, if you're not a tech guy then this isnt the right way forward for you.you dont need any advanced degrees for risk management. even on the exotics side, there are risk managers from control background. probably the complicated stuff is done by market risk quants now a days. In the old days it was common for risk managers to move to trading but things are completely different now.at the end of the day if you're not good at IT then move to risk management. Its very unlikely that you'll get to move to trading but you'll get promoted quicker and make slightly more money than than an average IT career.That's exactly what I was asking. I know moving to being a desk quant is pretty impossible. Obviously market risk is my best choice. How would I go about getting a job in market risk quant? My background is well suited for it (financial econometrics).
 
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bluetrin
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 11:45 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: psibladeZXQuoteOriginally posted by: ashkarThere is no chance of moving from IT to trading. You need to move to a desk facing IT team. You'll get lot of interaction with FO and quant teams there. Then you can move to quant team more easily. However if they hire you, it will be mainly to build tools or write code. From what you say, if you're not a tech guy then this isnt the right way forward for you.you dont need any advanced degrees for risk management. even on the exotics side, there are risk managers from control background. probably the complicated stuff is done by market risk quants now a days. In the old days it was common for risk managers to move to trading but things are completely different now.at the end of the day if you're not good at IT then move to risk management. Its very unlikely that you'll get to move to trading but you'll get promoted quicker and make slightly more money than than an average IT career.That's exactly what I was asking. I know moving to being a desk quant is pretty impossible. Obviously market risk is my best choice. How would I go about getting a job in market risk quant? My background is well suited for it (financial econometrics).If you are young and open to summer internships, sometimes in our company, the risk managers take interns. Some of them end up staying in the team.Just be aware that the competition is quite fierce ... and you always run the risk to be given uninteresting things that will teach you nothing and then to not receive any offer at the end of your internship. I think, in your case, it will be hard to justify wanting to join a team via internship since you already have working experience and I am sure you would not want it anyway.
Last edited by bluetrin on March 20th, 2013, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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psibladeZX
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 12:23 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: bluetrinQuoteOriginally posted by: psibladeZXQuoteOriginally posted by: ashkarThere is no chance of moving from IT to trading. You need to move to a desk facing IT team. You'll get lot of interaction with FO and quant teams there. Then you can move to quant team more easily. However if they hire you, it will be mainly to build tools or write code. From what you say, if you're not a tech guy then this isnt the right way forward for you.you dont need any advanced degrees for risk management. even on the exotics side, there are risk managers from control background. probably the complicated stuff is done by market risk quants now a days. In the old days it was common for risk managers to move to trading but things are completely different now.at the end of the day if you're not good at IT then move to risk management. Its very unlikely that you'll get to move to trading but you'll get promoted quicker and make slightly more money than than an average IT career.That's exactly what I was asking. I know moving to being a desk quant is pretty impossible. Obviously market risk is my best choice. How would I go about getting a job in market risk quant? My background is well suited for it (financial econometrics).If you are young and open to summer internships, sometimes in our company, the risk managers take interns. Some of them end up staying in the team.Just be aware that the competition is quite fierce ... and you always run the risk to be given uninteresting things that will teach you nothing and then to not receive any offer at the end of your internship. I think, in your case, it will be hard to justify wanting to join a team via internship since you already have working experience and I am sure you would not want it anyway.Unfortunately, the internship ship has sailed... I'm already 2 years out of grad school and turning 30, so not young. Would *any* quant role suffice, then move to the appropriate one? For example, at my company there's some fraud risk quant positions open.
 
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traderjoe1976
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 1:15 pm

Why don't you agree to be trained as a developer? If the bank wants to move you from BA role to developer role, they are fully aware that you will not be productive for at least three years while you are being trained on the various technologies. After you are fully trained in the various technologies, then you can try for a FO technology support role. That is the closest you are going to get to FO unless you get a PhD from a top-ranked school.
 
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bluetrin
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 1:26 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DevonFangsI had hoped all this PhD crap had come to an end, and instead here we go again. I've recently interviewed lots of PhD people who on papers look amazing but who in practice just don't stand a chance against equally smart people with relevant work experience instead of further study. I have come to attach less and less weight to the PhD entry in the resumes I'm vetting. There, I said that.You are probably one of the few out there, I find that it is almost very hard to move in a slightly different role without having a PhD from a top uni.
 
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psibladeZX
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Joined: March 12th, 2013, 4:28 pm

How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 1:29 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: traderjoe1976Why don't you agree to be trained as a developer? If the bank wants to move you from BA role to developer role, they are fully aware that you will not be productive for at least three years while you are being trained on the various technologies. After you are fully trained in the various technologies, then you can try for a FO technology support role. That is the closest you are going to get to FO unless you get a PhD from a top-ranked school.Your point doesn't address my second question of being pidgeon-holed. I'm almost 100% sure that the longer I stay in tech, the harder it's going to be to get out. The only "coding" I ever want to do is Matlab/SAS/R/C++ for econometric modeling or pricing and even then, I don't really feel like building out tools or anything, just want to use coding as an advanced calculator to answer real life questions. I've got no interest in building GUI's, batch running, etc. For me, I find answering real questions such as "what is the price of this commodity quanto with xyz traits" or "why does this exotic react negatively to xyz country debt moves" a lot more interesting. That's why market risk quant seems to be the way to go... Just trying to see if anyone out there knows about credit risk tech -> market risk quant jumps.
 
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Gamal
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How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 3:25 pm

You have an old fashioned view of the quant job. These days quant work consists in 90% of programming, the model development ended many years ago.
 
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ashkar
Posts: 274
Joined: October 17th, 2011, 9:25 am

How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 3:26 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: psibladeZXQuoteOriginally posted by: traderjoe1976Why don't you agree to be trained as a developer? If the bank wants to move you from BA role to developer role, they are fully aware that you will not be productive for at least three years while you are being trained on the various technologies. After you are fully trained in the various technologies, then you can try for a FO technology support role. That is the closest you are going to get to FO unless you get a PhD from a top-ranked school.Your point doesn't address my second question of being pidgeon-holed. I'm almost 100% sure that the longer I stay in tech, the harder it's going to be to get out. The only "coding" I ever want to do is Matlab/SAS/R/C++ for econometric modeling or pricing and even then, I don't really feel like building out tools or anything, just want to use coding as an advanced calculator to answer real life questions. I've got no interest in building GUI's, batch running, etc. For me, I find answering real questions such as "what is the price of this commodity quanto with xyz traits" or "why does this exotic react negatively to xyz country debt moves" a lot more interesting. That's why market risk quant seems to be the way to go... Just trying to see if anyone out there knows about credit risk tech -> market risk quant jumps.The best way to move departments is to do it internally. If you're in a bank, I suggest you go and speak with the directors in various asset classes market risk management teams. I agree that your background is very good for market risk. Its just a case of building up some contacts and waiting for the right internal move.
 
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qqqqq
Posts: 63
Joined: September 10th, 2010, 1:58 pm

How to get a desk quant job if you're in the back office tech?

March 21st, 2013, 4:34 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: traderjoe1976Why don't you agree to be trained as a developer? If the bank wants to move you from BA role to developer role, they are fully aware that you will not be productive for at least three years while you are being trained on the various technologies. After you are fully trained in the various technologies, then you can try for a FO technology support role. That is the closest you are going to get to FO unless you get a PhD from a top-ranked school.Three years is way too long. It takes a smart person less than a year to learn most technologies used. You don't need a PhD for this either.
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