SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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kev30
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 8th, 2015, 3:50 pm

Hi everyone!Firstly, I am sincerely sorry for the long post. I would be very grateful for answering the following questions, your opinions, thoughts etc. I am currently a 3rd year Bachelor's Degree student majoring in Finance and Accounting. I'm from Poland so generally I do not have major chances to gain education and become a quantitative analyst here. But since I discovered the world of financial modelling and it became my passion, I'm learning on my own and I'm highly motivated to go abroad and work as a quant in one of the financial centers such as London or Frankfurt. I think it's the right time to ask the community of Wilmott Forum for advice!My plan for now is to complete Master in Finance course here in Poland (Wroclaw University of Economics) and gain an IELTS certificate in order to apply for a MSc in Quantitative Finance/Financial Engineering/Risk Management in UK.1. Is the Master in Finance course here in Poland sufficient, having in mind I'm going to apply for Quantitative Finance studies abroad? I'm learning on my own and trying to constantly develop my skills in programming (VBA, MatLab) and numerical methods. Do I need to have a mathematical education, is it necessary to gain a strictly mathematical degree? What I'm trying to ask is, from your experience, quantitative finance is about being a financier that knows how to use mathematical tools to solve problems or a mathematician that knows certain market mechanisms?2. For now I'm thinking about Quantitative Finance and Risk Management course on Newcastle University, generally because of the relatively small fee. In my wildest dreams I couldn't afford a similar course in let's say Imperial, Warwick, LSE... What are your thoughts about this course? 3. In your opinion, what are the absolutely crucial skills when it comes to becoming a Quantitative Analyst?4.There is a MA Quantitative Finance course in Poland (University of Warsaw) that I could manage to get in, but I really don't know if it makes sense - studying quantitative finance here in Poland (and getting a MA?) The Curriculum does not contain anything about let's say stochastic calculus and so on...http://www.best-masters.com/ranking-mas ... arsaw.html On the other hand the course fee is nowhere near the amounts I would have to pay let's say somewhere in the States, so that's a big plus.5. Last, but not least. Kinda philosophical, but don't be irritated please: do I stand a chance? I mean, I'm a polish student and I have no doubt there's a large gap between me and students working on their quant careers from the very beginning on the best business schools in the world that I probably never will be able to afford. Do passion and ambition is enough or do I generally have very small if any chances to become a Quant and need to start looking for something else?Again, I would be very grateful for your responses, thank you in advance and have a nice day :)!
Last edited by kev30 on June 7th, 2015, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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bearish
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 8th, 2015, 11:59 pm

First of all, don't sell your Polish roots short. I know people by the names of Bielecki, Gatarek, Musiela, and Rutkowski who all studied in Poland and have made an impact in the big world of mathematical finance. Second, it is odd, or at least unusual, to do a master's program in order to qualify for another master's program. I don't know anything about the program in Newcastle (other than that they talk funny there), but I am pretty sure that this is not the sort of thing you want to shop for on price alone. Much of quant finance is about being somebody who can solve moderately hard mathematical problems by writing supportable software, and being able to sell the resulting product to the end user. It is usually not about deep math, but it is also rarely about being a "financier". That end is usually covered by business school grads who know more about market technicals, taxes, accounting rules, capital regulations, cocktails, strip clubs, etc.
 
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kev30
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 9th, 2015, 1:20 am

Thank you for your response bearish!It is rather odd but for now I would not manage financially to apply for any of QF programs abroad. The degree I would achieve after graduating Master in Finance course in Poland, is not equivalent to Master of Science degree - correct me please if I'm wrong. The definition of being a quant you provided is actually pretty interesting - Of course I was aware that part of the job is implementing ideas using own designed software, but I didn't think it has such a "technical support" character. Anyways, thank you for your answer once again - waiting for more to come :)!
 
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QuantOption
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 9th, 2015, 8:00 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: kev30I am currently a 3rd year Bachelor's Degree student majoring in Finance and Accounting.don't want to discourage you, but i don't know many quants with finance/accounting background (the country itself is not a big factor). the competition is very high, in general they would have masters in maths/physics/engineering, if not phd (more so in model val quant roles). the odd ones with softer degree might have got into quant position internally through other departments, at least that's what i observe. and are you sure you'd want to be a quant? it's hell of a lot of coding (at least in front office)!
 
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kev30
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 11th, 2015, 6:47 pm

I like financial modelling and math oriented finance. So being a quant would be an ideal career path for me. Although, as I said before, I didn't though that being a quant has this "technical support" character. Of course, I was aware of the need to have certain skills related to programming. It's also interesting that in your opinion the country in which you gain education itself isn't a big factor. Can I ask than, what is the crucial factor in your opinion and also - what are the absolutely crucial skills when it comes to becoming a Quantitative Analyst? I always thought, maybe too naively, that having a financial background and combine it with self-taught skills regarding maths and programming would be a good combination. Focusing more on what's the purpose to model different market events/know their characteristics in order to use appropiate models than focusing on the technical side of things, assigning the interpretation of secondary importance.Thank you for your reply QuantOption!
 
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Cuchulainn
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 11th, 2015, 7:19 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishFirst of all, don't sell your Polish roots short. I know people by the names of Bielecki, Gatarek, Musiela, and Rutkowski who all studied in Poland and have made an impact in the big world of mathematical finance. Second, it is odd, or at least unusual, to do a master's program in order to qualify for another master's program. I don't know anything about the program in Newcastle (other than that they talk funny there), but I am pretty sure that this is not the sort of thing you want to shop for on price alone. Much of quant finance is about being somebody who can solve moderately hard mathematical problems by writing supportable software, and being able to sell the resulting product to the end user. It is usually not about deep math, but it is also rarely about being a "financier". That end is usually covered by business school grads who know more about market technicals, taxes, accounting rules, capital regulations, cocktails, strip clubs, etc.Andrew LesniewskiPiotr Karasinki Benoît Mandelbrot //BTW Phelim Boyle got his BA in Accounting from Queen's University in Belfast and PhD in Mathematical Physics from Trinity College, Dublin.
Last edited by Cuchulainn on June 10th, 2015, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cuchulainn
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 11th, 2015, 7:27 pm

kev30,Have you had a look at Birmingham?Here are some theses from 2014 http://www.wilmott.com/messageview.cfm? ... adid=98422(disclaimer: I am not objective in this case ;))
http://www.datasimfinancial.com
http://www.datasim.nl

Every Time We Teach a Child Something, We Keep Him from Inventing It Himself
Jean Piaget
 
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QuantOption
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 11th, 2015, 9:05 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: kev30 It's also interesting that in your opinion the country in which you gain education itself isn't a big factor. Can I ask than, what is the crucial factor in your opinion and also - what are the absolutely crucial skills when it comes to becoming a Quantitative Analyst?ehm "50 shades of quant analyst" these days, so it varies somewhat depending on what type of quant are we talking about, but say standard front office quant, solid math background with decent programmings skills is a must. when i wrote country is not that big factor, i meant that those quants are likely coming from top maths/physics/engineeting unis in their country.QuoteI always thought, maybe too naively, that having a financial background and combine it with self-taught skills regarding maths and programming would be a good combination.it's almost exclusively the other way around, i.e. having solid math backgroung which can then be complemented with programming/finance/business knowledge. majority of graduate quant trainees know little finance, but they had to outsmart hundred of other applicants in several rounds of mostly technical maths/logical/algorithmics tests/interviews. hth
Last edited by QuantOption on June 10th, 2015, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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kev30
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 11th, 2015, 9:44 pm

I must say I came across a serious obstacle when it comes to becoming a quant... Actually, I never thought that my financial background would become one. To now on I was thinking in terms of "math is only a tool, I must now the mechanisms behind the markets". Even Mr. Wilmott points out in "PW introduces Quantitative Finance" that 99% of finance requires only basic math - know I see he probably meant "Finance" in general and Quant Finance being that one percent (better late than never :)). It's a pity that after studying Finance for 2 - 3 years I realized what really interest me and for now there really aren't any perspectives.Looks like all that I have left is still developing my skills in Risk Management (my main interest), Quant Finance etc. but try to use them in other areas of finance, not strictly QF. Any thoughts, advices?Again, thank you so much for all the answers, means a lot :)! Looking forward to next ones!
Last edited by kev30 on June 10th, 2015, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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bearish
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 12th, 2015, 1:23 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishFirst of all, don't sell your Polish roots short. I know people by the names of Bielecki, Gatarek, Musiela, and Rutkowski who all studied in Poland and have made an impact in the big world of mathematical finance. Second, it is odd, or at least unusual, to do a master's program in order to qualify for another master's program. I don't know anything about the program in Newcastle (other than that they talk funny there), but I am pretty sure that this is not the sort of thing you want to shop for on price alone. Much of quant finance is about being somebody who can solve moderately hard mathematical problems by writing supportable software, and being able to sell the resulting product to the end user. It is usually not about deep math, but it is also rarely about being a "financier". That end is usually covered by business school grads who know more about market technicals, taxes, accounting rules, capital regulations, cocktails, strip clubs, etc.Andrew LesniewskiPiotr Karasinki Benoît Mandelbrot //BTW Phelim Boyle got his BA in Accounting from Queen's University in Belfast and PhD in Mathematical Physics from Trinity College, Dublin.I'll call you out on Mandelbrot who, while he was born in Poland, was educated almost entirely in France and the US. And I am puzzled where my old friend Phelim fits into this narrative.
 
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bearish
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 12th, 2015, 1:37 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: kev30I must say I came across a serious obstacle when it comes to becoming a quant... Actually, I never thought that my financial background would become one. To now on I was thinking in terms of "math is only a tool, I must now the mechanisms behind the markets". Even Mr. Wilmott points out in "PW introduces Quantitative Finance" that 99% of finance requires only basic math - know I see he probably meant "Finance" in general and Quant Finance being that one percent (better late than never :)). It's a pity that after studying Finance for 2 - 3 years I realized what really interest me and for now there really aren't any perspectives.Looks like all that I have left is still developing my skills in Risk Management (my main interest), Quant Finance etc. but try to use them in other areas of finance, not strictly QF. Any thoughts, advices?Again, thank you so much for all the answers, means a lot :)! Looking forward to next ones!Finance is a very broad topic with many distinct ways to make a good living while (arguably, or at least hopefully) making the world a better place. Quant finance, as defined by those of us who do it for a living, is a very narrow slice that calls for mastery of levels of math and related fields that are difficult to achieve if you start out on a traditional finance/accounting path. From a different perspective, there are plenty of people with a PhD in physics, math, engineering, etc. who have tried and failed to make the transition into the quant finance world, for one reason or another, but (I think) mostly because the finance/economics part is more subtle than meets the eye. I would encourage you to focus on the fundamentals and see if you can improve your quant skills around the edges.
 
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kev30
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 12th, 2015, 1:04 pm

thank you for the answer bearish! I recently ran into an interesting question: Do Risk Analysts/Risk Managers (Market/Credit Risk) are considered as quants? What are your thoughts about it? It's a bit of an offtopic question, but as I observed there's actually a high demand for risk specialists in Poland. Also that's my main interest when it comes to finance - backtesting risk models, volatility measurment, financial econometrics, time series analysis.Looking forward for your opinions, answers also to my previous posts :)Have a nice day!
Last edited by kev30 on June 11th, 2015, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 12th, 2015, 1:59 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishQuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishFirst of all, don't sell your Polish roots short. I know people by the names of Bielecki, Gatarek, Musiela, and Rutkowski who all studied in Poland and have made an impact in the big world of mathematical finance. Second, it is odd, or at least unusual, to do a master's program in order to qualify for another master's program. I don't know anything about the program in Newcastle (other than that they talk funny there), but I am pretty sure that this is not the sort of thing you want to shop for on price alone. Much of quant finance is about being somebody who can solve moderately hard mathematical problems by writing supportable software, and being able to sell the resulting product to the end user. It is usually not about deep math, but it is also rarely about being a "financier". That end is usually covered by business school grads who know more about market technicals, taxes, accounting rules, capital regulations, cocktails, strip clubs, etc.Andrew LesniewskiPiotr Karasinki Benoît Mandelbrot //BTW Phelim Boyle got his BA in Accounting from Queen's University in Belfast and PhD in Mathematical Physics from Trinity College, Dublin.I'll call you out on Mandelbrot who, while he was born in Poland, was educated almost entirely in France and the US. And I am puzzled where my old friend Phelim fits into this narrative.Phelim started as accountancy and OP is also studying it.
http://www.datasimfinancial.com
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Every Time We Teach a Child Something, We Keep Him from Inventing It Himself
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kev30
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 12th, 2015, 7:06 pm

QuotePhelim started as accountancy and OP is also studying it.I would like to correct a bit: I'm studying Finance and Accounting so I'm both familiar with strictly financial concepts (corporate finance, financial instruments valuation etc.) and accounting concepts but my course was mainly based on finance :). To be honest, accounting was a chore...
 
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Cuchulainn
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Asking for advice regarding career as a quantitative analyst

June 13th, 2015, 10:47 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: kev30QuotePhelim started as accountancy and OP is also studying it.I would like to correct a bit: I'm studying Finance and Accounting so I'm both familiar with strictly financial concepts (corporate finance, financial instruments valuation etc.) and accounting concepts but my course was mainly based on finance :). To be honest, accounting was a chore...On the other hand, I have never seen an out-of-work accountant.
http://www.datasimfinancial.com
http://www.datasim.nl

Every Time We Teach a Child Something, We Keep Him from Inventing It Himself
Jean Piaget
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