QuoteOriginally posted by: roundandroundThanks for your thoughts, everyone. There are at least one thing I am concerned about though. I come from a Scientific background, and as time goes on I am increasingly convinced that I am not at all prepared for the HF interviews, even though I may have the skills required for the job. I have spent ~6yrs in the PhD program (still not submitted by thesis, but am close to), and all these years, I have only trained and prepared for a career as a Scientist (or a Research Engineer). Interviews for scientific jobs are *very* different from HF interviews obviously. Questions are mostly focused on individuals' prior research work/publications, solving scientific problems (often in a collaborative way), discussion of specific (well known) algorithms, state of the art/field, etc. A lot of the emphasis is on what the individual can come up with on his/her own, rather than testing them on textbook concepts. Also over time, one loses touch with textbook minutiae, since one is focused on coming up with newer things rather than assimilating what has been done already. For ex., I don't remember the last time I touched a Linear Algebra or Calculus book, although I do know the (big/important) concepts well... All this is going to make it very difficult for me to do well in HF interviews as things stand now. Also, I have an offer from a startup to work for them. Since I don't have much work to finish in my PhD, I might just go for it, and finish my PhD work, and paper writing on the side. I may not have much time to prepare for HF interviews at least for the next 4-5 months unless I am done with all this. All this said and done, I do definitely want to give Quant job a serious try. I don't want to live with regret of not having done it for the rest of my life. Thoughts?That all sounds very familiar to me. However while challenging, the interviews were not quite as impossible as they seemed before I started interviewing. The questions were mostly quite simple... far simpler than things I was working with day to day as a research scientist. The knack is to be able to work methodically and swiftly on such problems while in the mild discomfort of an interview. I have screwed up in interviews before on questions that I absolutely could always do given time and breathing space... but such questions get much harder when you are in a face to face or telephone situation where the pressure is on to get to the answer in 'real time'. So don't be intimidated by it, you will screw up, but you will learn. Even when I have screwed I have looked back and appreciated the idea of the question and grew to understand the strengths and weaknesses of my mind. This is a really good thing because in research your mind tends to follow the easiest channels and you go very deep into areas that you have a certain aptitude for. However quant finance (although this is a broad term) tends to require a large degree of mental flexibility rather than 'depth' (where by depth I mean spending large amounts of time thinking about a problem where there is no known solution and perhaps no known possibility of a solution).The key is simply training. Get the books, get textbooks, go on youtube and solve problems. Watch others solving problems. Get a friend to talk through brainteasers with you (my girlfriend helped me with this... she is really good at the brainteasers, so it was great because that gave me some mild pressure of not wanting to look dumb in front of her... so I had to do the questions with that going on). Treat it like training in sport rather than academic work. Throw yourself into the interviews. That will give you confidence when you do answer things well and teaching when you don't. After the interview make a note of every problem they gave you and then look at them again later on to understand where you could have done better. However... Farmer eloquently makes a truly excellent point. Don't equate hard questions necessarily with a great job. Often, the level of mental prowess required in interviews is a bit beyond what is needed day to day... (its a business and inevitably someone also has to change the oil and check the tyre pressures). Also a very narrow, hard and repetitious interview process can be a sign that whatever they are hiring for is quite specific and commoditised: i.e. they are looking for hamsters in wheels. And as we all know hamsters are fungible (at least if you are not a 5 year old girl) and wheels are infinite but bounded. So I think absolutely keep an eye open for the left field stuff. Warren buffet didn't get rich by drilling statistics problems on his saturday nights. Don't underestimate the importance of audacity, guile and grit. And be aware that the quasi-academic quantification of finance can be alluring but illusory. If you want to do it, do it. I refer you to the late steve jobs:QuoteRemembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.