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Kaspy
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Choosing the right MQF

May 23rd, 2016, 9:11 pm

Hi everyone,Im a finishing my Spanish degree in Mathematics this month(equivalent to BSc) and planning to pursue a MQF next September. My average gets pretty low when translated into the English system, a high 2.2, very close to a 2.1, so depite having applied to several programs, ive only been admitted to 3 so far:- University of Strathclyde, MSc Quantitative Finance- University of Exeter, MSc Financial Mathematics- University of Leicester, MSc Financial Mathematics and ComputationI would like to know your opinion about which of these would give me the best job prospects and phd opportunities (an option that i havent discard yet). I know these arent top tier programs like Imperial, Warwick, etc. but are the only ones i can aim for now. Ive noticed that the general belief through the forum is that a MQF or MFE of a second tier institution is virtually useless and wont get me to a real quant role. I expect to perform well next year and I also have some extras on my CV (mathematical olympiad awards and chess international master), so I still have some hope :)
 
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bearish
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Choosing the right MQF

May 24th, 2016, 5:24 pm

I would go with the last one on the strength of the Leicester City halo effect. And they do have Sergei Levendorskii on faculty, who is recognized in international math finance circles, but I have no idea how student friendly he is.
Last edited by bearish on May 23rd, 2016, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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MattF
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Choosing the right MQF

May 25th, 2016, 8:10 am

Exeter for many reasons ... clean air ... sloaney girls who like horses ... plenty of weekend chess tournaments in Bristol.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Choosing the right MQF

May 25th, 2016, 8:52 am

And Exeter racecourse is a good way to spend a day.
 
Kaspy
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Joined: July 8th, 2016, 2:37 pm

Choosing the right MQF

May 25th, 2016, 10:36 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishI would go with the last one on the strength of the Leicester City halo effect. And they do have Sergei Levendorskii on faculty, who is recognized in international math finance circles, but I have no idea how student friendly he is.I had also thought about this halo effect, specially if I want to come back to Spain at some point, Leicester might have now even more reputation than Oxbridge there :D. They also mention that the project could be carried out as an internship and they mention some appealing examples of past years:- Time Series Analysis: Analysing Stability and Modelling Future Correlation (CitiGroup)- Relative Pricing of Interest Rate Derivatives: Interest Rate Cap and Swaption (CitiGroup)- Evaluating the Perfomance of Mortgage Underwriters (Santander)- The effect of Implied Volatility Skew on Quanto and Composite Option Pricing (Daiwa Capital Markets Eurpoe)On the other hand, Levendorskii apparently left Leicester University some months ago: he doesn't appear on any research group on the university website and he is working for a private company according to his linkedin profile.In addition, it's not that I care too much about rankings, but Exeter and specially Strathclyde (this was a surprise to me) score much better than Leicester in Accounting & Finance University Rankings. So I was wondering, do employers in the city actually know about Strathclyde? Does it have any more value as a "brand name" than Exeter or Leicester at all?Thanks for your replies so far!
 
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Cuchulainn
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Choosing the right MQF

May 26th, 2016, 12:11 pm

QuoteI had also thought about this halo effect, specially if I want to come back to Spain at some point, Leicester might have now even more reputation than Oxbridge there :D. Indeed; it is time Spain got a few good football teams.
 
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Marco72
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Joined: March 14th, 2006, 11:09 am

Choosing the right MQF

May 28th, 2016, 5:25 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishI would go with the last one on the strength of the Leicester City halo effect. And they do have Sergei Levendorskii on faculty, who is recognized in international math finance circles, but I have no idea how student friendly he is.Actually Sergei Levendorskii left Leicester last year.
 
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bearish
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Choosing the right MQF

May 28th, 2016, 5:32 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: Marco72QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishI would go with the last one on the strength of the Leicester City halo effect. And they do have Sergei Levendorskii on faculty, who is recognized in international math finance circles, but I have no idea how student friendly he is.Actually Sergei Levendorskii left Leicester last year.OK - so by now it's a double halo effect...
 
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Marco72
Posts: 128
Joined: March 14th, 2006, 11:09 am

Choosing the right MQF

May 28th, 2016, 5:52 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: KaspyHi everyone,Im a finishing my Spanish degree in Mathematics this month(equivalent to BSc) and planning to pursue a MQF next September. My average gets pretty low when translated into the English system, a high 2.2, very close to a 2.1, so depite having applied to several programs, ive only been admitted to 3 so far:- University of Strathclyde, MSc Quantitative Finance- University of Exeter, MSc Financial Mathematics- University of Leicester, MSc Financial Mathematics and ComputationI would like to know your opinion about which of these would give me the best job prospects and phd opportunities (an option that i havent discard yet). I know these arent top tier programs like Imperial, Warwick, etc. but are the only ones i can aim for now. Ive noticed that the general belief through the forum is that a MQF or MFE of a second tier institution is virtually useless and wont get me to a real quant role. I expect to perform well next year and I also have some extras on my CV (mathematical olympiad awards and chess international master), so I still have some hope :)I work at a Tier 1 bank and have interviewed very few MSc applicants who didn't graduate from the top institutions. My impression is that if you get an MSc from a not very well known university, you may struggle to convince a recruiter to put forward your CV. You might be able to remedy this to some extent by networking and getting to know some potential hiring managers directly. However, this is easier to do in London, where you can attend the Thalesians seminars, those at Cass or Imperial College, than in other places. The biggest problem these days is not the quality of the courses themselves, but the fact that most students who attend these MSc programs, even at the top institutions, lack even the most basic mathematical skills. You can memorize Ito's lemma and some of the properties of stochastic integrals, but if you don't know basic calculus, probability and linear algebra you won't be able to use this knowledge in practical situations. My suggestion would be to ask yourself if this applies to you. E.g. take a first/second year calculus book, see how easily you can solve the problems there. If you struggle, then an MSc in financial mathematics is probably not going to help you.
 
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liam
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Joined: November 16th, 2004, 11:51 am

Choosing the right MQF

June 17th, 2016, 12:08 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: Marco72I work at a Tier 1 bank and have interviewed very few MSc applicants who didn't graduate from the top institutions. My impression is that if you get an MSc from a not very well known university, you may struggle to convince a recruiter to put forward your CV. You might be able to remedy this to some extent by networking and getting to know some potential hiring managers directly. However, this is easier to do in London, where you can attend the Thalesians seminars, those at Cass or Imperial College, than in other places.My impression too x2. The only way to network in this game is to know quant managers directly. Knowing someone that knows someone never cuts it as that intermediary is usually a clown that will put you forward for a non-quantiative role without realising it. Alternatively find a better prestige MSc, as at junior level it is harder to network into a role than get a job through a recruiter. Maybe I didn't do it effectively enough or it was because I wasn't living in London, but I never got anywhere with networking until I did a client facing role and could meet with people I had met through work.QuoteOriginally posted by: Marco72The biggest problem these days is not the quality of the courses themselves, but the fact that most students who attend these MSc programs, even at the top institutions, lack even the most basic mathematical skills. You can memorize Ito's lemma and some of the properties of stochastic integrals, but if you don't know basic calculus, probability and linear algebra you won't be able to use this knowledge in practical situations.I'd second this - my MSc was in what I would regard as a "top" institution but there was no quality control and many in the course were very weak at absorbing notation. Indeed one had done languages and one maths module which essentially let him in. Never saw the guy at graduation but I'm guessing he didn't make it. I really noticed a gulf in class between guys that had done rigorous maths and the rest.It's very easy to see the difference between the 2 types. In most cases it was evident from the undergrad they did. In one case it was the case that he had done a mediocre undergrad but had done some very technical thesis which was way above the standard of the guys he had done undergrad with. As a quant you need to know how to read research papers quickly. Having good grades in a masters just tells me you can memorise stochastic calculus but it doesn't tell me if you can model or price whatever fucked up derivative we throw at you. The war cry I always hear in response to that is "work your way up" and wannabe quants being told "you WILL be a quant" and to reduce it to "confidence issues". Anyone that says this shit has no idea - add in PhDs that have spent 4-5 years using maths for practical applications and you realise what you are up against. The only thing you can do is highlight it if you have these practical skills and/or ensure you go for a stochastic calculus thesis and highlight anything that says you can learn new math quickly and can model anything. Quant finance is very different from, say, being a car mechanic where very few courses on car maintenance would give you the skills needed - I'd say 50-70% of quantitative skills I have I developed in my degree and masters with the other 30-50% being "on the job" and most of your competition will be of that standard.
Last edited by liam on June 16th, 2016, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
bondnote
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Re: Choosing the right MQF

March 2nd, 2018, 4:48 am

Thanks @Liam for the Heads up. I now understand some stuff. Now for me is a a different situation. Did my undergraduate studies at University of Zimbabwe. I did a CQF level 1(July 2016-September 2016) , and currently trying to raise the remaining bucks to finish the CQF (Have been out of work for the past year and it seems to be getting harder, need to get it in by June). I recently earned my MSc in Mathematics at University of Zimbabwe. I have submitted my CV locally and internationally and what I keep getting are regrets internationally and locally no company has had the guts to even call me to say sorry we cant take you in. Thats in Zimbabwe. I did my MSc research in Stochastic analysis with a dissertation  in Mathematical finance and SDEs where I worked with stochastic Volatility models to study risk premium in power markets . Of which my masters I had a chain of Merits, two passes and a distinction for the dissertation. The challenge though lies in my undergraduate studies, my honours was a 3 year honours, during my second year, I chose to do some courses and they really impacted that year. Not because I wasnt good, but got some 3s where I could have gotten 2.1s. Not that I am not able to do the courses well but I know the stuff but it was a fussion of factors (including the lecturer, seems no one is good enough to him to get above a 3, and to some extent you put too much effort there and it impacts your grade, actually all students who pass through him are like that, wish i could provide the data to show this coz its a known trend across the department and people actually avoid his area because of that). In my whole transcript thats the year that seems to develop a buzz.  All the others are awesome. They show consistency except that year If you were to consider my undergraduate thesis, it was based on research papers which were current to that time, more of solving ODEs in Mathematical Physics.  I am at the point where I need to decide on what to do coz  I turned 30 recently and the only work experience I have had is teaching. I have also been doing some programming and recently got one project out, am working on another. Am trying to create reference points outside the academic circles.The other thought was going for a PhD, of which that would mean outside Zimbabwe. But that alone has its challenges of whether by the time I complete will I be able to get employment.  any advise you can give
 
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Alan
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Re: Choosing the right MQF

March 10th, 2018, 9:21 pm

@bondnote,
My advice is to emigrate, if possible, to a financial center and look for an entry-level job in some part of the financial industry, which is huge. There are brokers, insurance companies, banks, money managers, consultants, ratings agencies and more. You won't be solving SDE's, but you will be working with numbers and started on a career outside academia.
Good luck.
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