SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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DominicConnor
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Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 8th, 2014, 8:15 am

There was a time ten years ago when going to work for a bank was the best career move for a very large % of numerate grads.But we have seen changes and events since then...Recently I've heard several senior people that I respect tell me that getting the very best IT people is getting hard, especially on Wall Street, but I detect this concern in the UK as well.Of course programming is only part of making it in Quant and IT skills by their very nature apply to any kind of business, so a downtick in desire to work for banks or an uptick somewhere else easily translates to a fall.But could IT be a forerunner for that math/modelling skills in Quant ?If you went back to your university to talk about careers, how wholeheartedly would you recommend this line of work ?Do you think that someone with the skills to make it as a good quant would have better (say) ten years 2014 to 2024 than in data science, engineering, the internet of things, smart grids, new energy, etc ?
 
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Gamal
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Joined: February 26th, 2004, 8:41 am

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 8th, 2014, 8:48 am

Yes. They don't promiss you millions anymore but there are still things to be done and still it's an attractive job.
 
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frenchX
Posts: 5911
Joined: March 29th, 2010, 6:54 pm

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 8th, 2014, 12:35 pm

In 2007, "quant" was the best career ever for guys from my school. Now it is "consulting". People prefer to go to McKinsey rather than Goldman.
Last edited by frenchX on January 7th, 2014, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Gamal
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Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 8th, 2014, 12:47 pm

I did consulting with one of the Big Four firms for a short period of time. Never more.
 
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DevonFangs
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Joined: November 9th, 2009, 1:49 pm

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 8th, 2014, 1:59 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: GamalI did consulting with one of the Big Four firms for a short period of time. Never more.Big 4 and McK is quite a different story, but in the end same sh!t if you ask me.I also agree with you that quant is still an attractive job for science people, even though probably less so than it was back in the days (but I wasn't even born yet, so who am I to say). Of course I'm talking averages here, i.e. average numerate grad in average quant job I think is reasonably happy. Unless, deep in their heart, they want to be bankers, in which case quant is a shit idea. That's pretty much also what I say to the, actually surprisingly numerous, students that approach me on linkedin seeking advice (and if you saw my profile you'd found that hilarious).
 
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neuroguy
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Joined: February 22nd, 2011, 4:07 pm

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 9th, 2014, 6:45 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: DevonFangsQuoteOriginally posted by: GamalI did consulting with one of the Big Four firms for a short period of time. Never more.Big 4 and McK is quite a different story, but in the end same sh!t if you ask me.I also agree with you that quant is still an attractive job for science people, even though probably less so than it was back in the days (but I wasn't even born yet, so who am I to say). Of course I'm talking averages here, i.e. average numerate grad in average quant job I think is reasonably happy. Unless, deep in their heart, they want to be bankers, in which case quant is a shit idea. That's pretty much also what I say to the, actually surprisingly numerous, students that approach me on linkedin seeking advice (and if you saw my profile you'd found that hilarious).Indeed, it completely depends upon what you want out of life. Furthermore, what you want out of life can be a moving target.Not many people I know were born wanting to be a quant, or to work in finance. It seems people end up here by a) being pretty capable and b) being subject to the kind of moving goal-posts life can throw out. I dont normally 'recommend' lines of work to anyone. I am of the opinion that you follow your interests (with an eye on what skills might be useful in future) and you make sure that you do well relative to your peirs in whatever you are doing. Be oportunistic, seek situations that facilitate oportunities of varied kinds and life then tends to do the rest.So in a nutshell 'be flexible'. Right now its big data (and of course that is permeating finance). So right now, yes that is a good option. But ten years ago, not so much. Ten years from now? Who knows. Hence, make sure you get solid quals and you are flexible. Whatever happens in ten years, enterprises who actually need to get stuff done are still going to be digging solid computing/maths/stats/communication sklls.For liberal arts people who can blag then yes, maybe consulting is a better option!
 
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rmax
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Joined: December 8th, 2005, 9:31 am

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 9th, 2014, 12:47 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: frenchXIn 2007, "quant" was the best career ever for guys from my school. Now it is "consulting". People prefer to go to McKinsey rather than Goldman.Welcome back FrenchX!Surely the question is whether a career in banking is going to be as lucrative as it once was. With all the regulatory changes/confusion and charges I think that it will be a while before the riches flow again, and the people that will gain will be smaller in number.
 
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katastrofa
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Joined: August 16th, 2007, 5:36 am
Location: Alpha Centauri

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 9th, 2014, 3:35 pm

Quants do not work for banks only.
 
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DominicConnor
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Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 16th, 2014, 1:06 pm

Yes, there seem to be several uses of the term quant, one trend I see is "marketing" type quant work ie Big Data intersecting more with financial quant work.
 
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DevonFangs
Posts: 3004
Joined: November 9th, 2009, 1:49 pm

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 16th, 2014, 1:27 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorYes, there seem to be several uses of the term quant, one trend I see is "marketing" type quant work ie Big Data intersecting more with financial quant work.any insight into how the pay is for those job?
 
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DominicConnor
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Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 16th, 2014, 4:46 pm

The pay seems to be less than in banking quant and I am seeing that someone making that transition would find the same kind of issue as someone going the other way...Without finance knowledge the money you will get for a mix of maths and programming is rather less, a good quant marketing role would require tha you have some understanding of marketing and the thing being sold.One example...The consultant told the supermarket chain that for a white male of between 25-30, single who drove a Ford with above average income the four most likely things that the customer would buy when he visited the store.Pretty impressive.The four things were milk, bread, eggs and coffee.Since of course the 4 most common things for everyone else are these.That's mildly amusing and obviously useless, but if I'd swapped the nouns for more obscure ones and/or the analyst didn't bother to try and understand the domain, it might have looked good. I'm not advocating any career changes here, or even warning against them, but business knowledge is an important barrier or enabler for jumping about....oh yes and you have to master the maths and tech as well.There isn't anything like the CQF or a MFE to be had in this stuff yet, which is good and bad. Bad because it is hard, good because it is hard which means fewer people are doing it.
 
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gianluca19
Posts: 50
Joined: March 20th, 2012, 3:02 pm

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 20th, 2014, 3:33 pm

I can tell you what it looks like from my point of view (I study maths and have several friends in PhD programmes or doing very well in undergraduate, I myself interviewed for a couple of quant positions at BBs)The best undergraduates in maths tend to either be completely focused on research or they want to go into trading/IB in BBs or management consulting more than quant positions.Most of the top PhD students obviously stay in academia, the good but less successful ones try to get jobs in hedge funds or banks and tend to find them without too many problems. To be honest I still think finance quant work is the top option for people that can't have a good academic career (there are a few exceptions, the ones who are against working in finance a priori and some stats people that want to work at places like google).Obviously my point of view is skewed by the university I attend.
 
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gianluca19
Posts: 50
Joined: March 20th, 2012, 3:02 pm

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 20th, 2014, 3:33 pm

-double post
Last edited by gianluca19 on January 19th, 2014, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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liam
Posts: 175
Joined: November 16th, 2004, 11:51 am

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

January 22nd, 2014, 1:23 am

To answer your original question Dominic, I think I would recommend quant work but not "wholeheartedly".I may do this as part of my STEMNET volunteering for secondary schools and have thought it through. Yes quant work I did was fun, especially COD pricing and even some of the Excel stuff, but I think there is an element of "missing the boat" for prospective graduates, as even if quant hiring took an upturn, there's too many MFE grads out there and that will stay for some time.It appears that too many grads are aware of what quants do thus flooding the market with talent. Perhaps the point to get across to kids is to try and find newly emerging fields, many of which mightn't even exist now but will when they look at masters or PhD studies. If they can even get a fraction of the satisfaction I got as a CDO pricer they'll know true happiness.
 
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blueraincap
Posts: 80
Joined: February 21st, 2013, 3:04 pm

Would you recommend Quant work as a career ?

February 3rd, 2014, 12:38 am

no
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