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DGWK
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 10th, 2014, 10:01 pm

Where would you advise someone fresh out of the PhD, with no background in quant finance, to start his/her career?More specifically, I am interested in moving into the more traditional quant job of derivative pricing, but I have no background in this besides having read the classic books (Baxter & Rennie, Hull, Paul Wilmott...).I have a PhD in applied math and a decent C++ programming background (at least for an entry-level position). I am currently being interviewed for various roles including: FX, credit, corporate treasury, and a statistical arbitrage hedge fund. 1) Which one of them is my best entry point? 2) Which desks (in general) would you consider to have the most "broad and transferable knowledge" in quant finance?
 
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ThinkDifferent
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 11th, 2014, 8:04 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: DGWKWhere would you advise someone fresh out of the PhD, with no background in quant finance, to start his/her career?civil/electrical/biological engineering.
Last edited by ThinkDifferent on February 10th, 2014, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DevonFangs
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 11th, 2014, 9:54 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: ThinkDifferentQuoteOriginally posted by: DGWKWhere would you advise someone fresh out of the PhD, with no background in quant finance, to start his/her career?civil/electrical/biological engineering.not if you're from london, and want to stay in london
 
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DGWK
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 12th, 2014, 9:17 am

Sure, thanks to both of you for having responded. Engineering is a great career, but not really what I am looking for right now. I want to be a quant. What I don't know is: Where (i.e. which asset classes/desk/company) should I start?So, let me rephrase my question: Which desk/asset classes are more "math heavy"? Which one gives the best opportunities to "move around" later on? I am looking to start somewhere that would best fit my interests (i.e. more advanced on the modelling side) and would give me the best opportunities to explore other areas in quant finance in the future.Any opinion/advice would be very helpful... Thanks.
 
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Gamal
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 12th, 2014, 4:24 pm

Tehran, IranWarsaw, PolandWroclaw(Breslau), PolandMoscow, RussiaPrague, Czech RepublicMilan, ItalyBonn, GermanyParis, France Toronto, Canada
Last edited by Gamal on February 11th, 2014, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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tagoma
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 14th, 2014, 7:52 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: GamalTehran, IranWarsaw, PolandWroclaw(Breslau), PolandMoscow, RussiaPrague, Czech RepublicMilan, ItalyBonn, GermanyParis, France Toronto, Canadawhat?
 
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Gamal
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 14th, 2014, 8:45 pm

Just places where top quants (in my very personal view) started their careers.
 
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bearish
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 15th, 2014, 12:58 am

I think I can identify some of the people you are referring to, but if we were to be serious about the geographic perspective (which is rather orthogonal to that of the OP), I am pretty sure that NYC would have at least an order of magnitude more than all of those cities put together. Probably followed by London and Chicago. The San Francisco Bay area would most likely trump any on that list with the exception of Paris.
 
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tagoma
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 15th, 2014, 7:24 am

but, times have changed, right?
 
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Gamal
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 15th, 2014, 10:27 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: edouardbut, times have changed, right?Wrong. Times never change, we only forget the past.
 
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Gamal
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 15th, 2014, 11:00 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishI am pretty sure that NYC would have at least an order of magnitude more than all of those cities put together. Probably followed by London and Chicago. The San Francisco Bay area would most likely trump any on that list with the exception of Paris.It depends what you're dreaming of. If it's just money, I wouldn't advise you a quant career or even the financial sector, money is just all aroud and in most cases it suffices to stoop and pick up. There're no general rules, you must just hunt opportunities.But if you want to become a good quant a smaller company offering you an independent position is better as a start place.
 
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liam
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 15th, 2014, 3:06 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: GamalQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishI am pretty sure that NYC would have at least an order of magnitude more than all of those cities put together. Probably followed by London and Chicago. The San Francisco Bay area would most likely trump any on that list with the exception of Paris.It depends what you're dreaming of. If it's just money, I wouldn't advise you a quant career or even the financial sector, money is just all aroud and in most cases it suffices to stoop and pick up. There're no general rules, you must just hunt opportunities.But if you want to become a good quant a smaller company offering you an independent position is better as a start place.I'd second these sentiments. Even if you had gotten into CDO pricing 10 years ago (or even trading) the problem has always been the all or nothing nature of the business. It's not really the cutthroat business people think it is - for quants there plenty of MO roles free from politics but the issue is usually abrupt changes to business that affect your role and simply the size of markets which isn't the same as you might get in IT. People naively think this is a reference to the credit crisis, but it's something that I saw in 2003/04, indeed a friend of mine spent 2 years getting out of banking in that period.The second sentiment is more or less accurate. Getting into the small firm as part of a small team I think suits quants as typically they are independent minded intellectuals. Yes one has to smooth out the rough edges, but banks can go overboard on bullshit and politics, particularly if you become a FO quant. However in my experience sometimes smaller finance cities (my point of reference is Dublin) will have a handful of large corporations and a sector that flatters to deceive with very little depth and certainly very little in terms of niche firms, while London gets a variety of firm and role types so location can be vital, especially as quant roles would be scarce in smaller cities in ways you wouldn't get in, say, corporate banking. But you can't generalise - while certain types succeed in large corporations in any sector, politics do sometimes exist in the "dream" small firm job.The main thing is that in places like Dublin (and I'm sure others of similar size) once you've finished searching through the 3 or 4 companies that hire quants it's time to move on. Yes some companies like SIG or First Derivatives seemed to give solid experience to college friends, but beyond that it's not the same as London, NY etc
 
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neuroguy
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 15th, 2014, 3:30 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DGWKWhere would you advise someone fresh out of the PhD, with no background in quant finance, to start his/her career?More specifically, I am interested in moving into the more traditional quant job of derivative pricing, but I have no background in this besides having read the classic books (Baxter & Rennie, Hull, Paul Wilmott...).I have a PhD in applied math and a decent C++ programming background (at least for an entry-level position). I am currently being interviewed for various roles including: FX, credit, corporate treasury, and a statistical arbitrage hedge fund. 1) Which one of them is my best entry point? 2) Which desks (in general) would you consider to have the most "broad and transferable knowledge" in quant finance?I am afraid the answers to those questions are rather conditional.If you want to do 'traditional' quant derivative pricing, then really, you are looking at going to a bank and working for a derivatives team. Your description of the roles is a bit lacking (FX could mean anything to do with currency). But I would guess that credit might be the most relevant to derivatives pricing (depending on the derivative and depending on what you mean by credit).Stat. arb is likely to take you well out of the derivative quant area, unless said arb. is of derivatives. 1. I think it depends quite a bit on the firm and the team, rather than just the precise role. Personally I would go for stat. arb, but then I have never wanted to be a derivates pricer.2. What you consider 'broad' and transferable is completely dependent upon where you want to transfer to! Also, if you are always targeting 'transference' you might never really get into the meat of anything. Personally I am not sure that this is a great criterion, maybe for a grad scheme, but not for a PhD. Its very important to be agile, to learn, and be able to transfer. But as a PhD, you might be better off transmitting the image that infact you are not 'broad' but deep and not 'transferable' but able to plow the f*ck through specific, difficult problems, that the 'broader' people in the business can't even understand (P.iled h.igher and D.eeper right?). That is why they need a PhD in the first place. If you want to be broad and transferable, consider doing an MBA.Best of luck though, it sounds like you have some nice options.
Last edited by neuroguy on February 14th, 2014, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Gamal
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 15th, 2014, 4:06 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: liamThe main thing is that in places like Dublin (and I'm sure others of similar size) once you've finished searching through the 3 or 4 companies that hire quants it's time to move on. Yes some companies like SIG or First Derivatives seemed to give solid experience to college friends, but beyond that it's not the same as London, NY etcAgree, at some stage of your career you must move to NY or London, being a head quant in a bank trading at most IRS may be a bit frustrating. But on the other hand - if you start in a large IB, it's quite likely you get stalled for years in auxiliary works.
 
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mathmarc
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Best place to start a quant career?

February 15th, 2014, 9:05 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: Gamal [...] being a head quant in a bank trading at most IRS may be a bit frustrating. [...] Plenty of very nice and deep quant work done for IRS since 2007 (multi-curve framework and collateral framework). And there is more to do. Considering IRS as 'frustrating' from a quant perspective was the dominant pre-2007 view not the current one anymore (even if personally I had not that view, even pre-2007).
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