How to Get a Job in Quantitative Finance

27 May

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A career in quantitative finance can be incredibly rewarding both intellectually and financially. Nonetheless, competition is fierce for positions within hedge funds and investment banks. Having straight As and a initial class science degree is not sufficient anymore, specially since the downsizing of the business that followed the 2007/2008 financial turmoil. So what qualities does a very good candidate need to have to possess and what can you do to get that elusive role as a quantitative analyst?

The term “quant” covers a broad spectrum of roles. Locations such as quantitative trading, quantitative analysis, risk management, derivatives pricing and numerical software development all match within the term. Hence, the initial stage is to determine your core skill set. As soon as you know where your capabilities lie, you’ll be in a much better position to apply for the correct sort of function. These days, investment banks are hiring much less, while personal funds are hiring much more. Hence there is a shift away from derivatives pricing (due to the backlash more than the mortgage securities models) towards statistical trading strategies.

There are three main entry routes into quantitative finance. The much more standard approach is to acquire a PhD in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or Laptop Science. Useful locations of study contain Probability, Statistics, Stochastic Calculus, Machine Learning/Pattern Recognition and of program, Mathematical Finance. A PhD system lets an employer know that you are confident researching material independently and do not need “spoon-feeding”. This is particularly crucial in some of the analysis-led “collegiate” atmospheres of the best tier hedge funds.

The second, and far more latest, route into quantitative finance is by means of a Masters of Financial Engineering (MFE) program. These courses are often taken by people who may possibly lack certain numerical abilities in the monetary location, but are nonetheless mathematically confident. They are particularly well suited to men and women who want to make a career modify. A excellent MFE system from a top school will prepare the student in areas such as derivatives, probability/stochastic calculus, risk management and programming (probably C++). The professors will have excellent links to companies looking to employ and the network alone can be worth the high costs (typically in excess of $50,000).

The third route is more suited for talented software program developers, specifically these with sophisticated object-oriented encounter – C++ or Java becoming preferable. These “quantitative developers” will work closely with the quantitative analysts to implement the models (often a prototype) in a robust and optimised manner. The required abilities can be varied in nature. A higher-frequency trading fund could demand low-level operating technique and concurrency capabilities, while a systematic pattern recognition firm might be interested in your machine learning talents. One thing is particular even though – programming skills are rapidly becoming the differentiating element in interviews, so the better your C++/Java/Python/Matlab/R expertise, the much more likely you are to get that profitable job provide.

43 Responses to “How to Get a Job in Quantitative Finance”

  1. Issac February 18, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    or minor in business with a major in accounting? Either way, can you give me details about schooling (how long, what classes, etc.) salary, career possibilities starting out, job availability, anything and everything?
    Please and Thank you.

  2. Cassondra February 21, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    A top class job which rakes in a lot of money but in the business field, perhaps more qualatative as opposed to quantative?

  3. Willard February 21, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    i am contemplating majoring in both finance and math. What kind of careers and salary would this degree get me?

  4. Fidel February 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    What is the best PhD type to get a job as a quantitative analyst.
    PhD in physics
    PhD in math
    PhD in finance
    PhD in economics or others

    Please and thank you

  5. Shawn February 24, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    I am very interested in entering the investment banking field, and would like to know the different types of positions available.

  6. Jeannine February 25, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    What is the difference between the two? After graduation which one gives more job opportunity, and which one earns more money?

  7. Dudley March 27, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    I’m a freshman in college majoring Computer and information system. But I don’t like it, my mom made me choose it. I’m planning to change my major on monday, and I was considering business and economics. I would like to know which one is better, and which one is easier to find a job. I was also considering accounting. What about it? what do we do in these three areas. I have an Idea, but I want to make sure. Can I also study two majors at the same time?

  8. Deedra March 27, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    I suppose there will always be a need for quantitative analytics but maybe it will be very restricted

    what do you think?

  9. Delmar March 29, 2013 at 1:12 am #

    I am a History Major in college. I want to go ino finance after but I dont want to major in business or economics because my personal opinion is that its a waste of time those classes taht you never actually need in business and are boring but i can enjoy my history classes an ddo well in them. Does a major really matter?

  10. Man March 29, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    I am looking for my first job in quantitative finance and found the following position: “We are currently seeking an Associate candidate who will be a member of the X group within the Y Department.” What is that ‘Associate Candidate’? Is it just the position’s title, or it implies something, like a temporary position or something else?

  11. Margert April 5, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    I’m majoring in Business Admin minoring in accounting, getting my MBA after I graduate. I know it’s hard out there but I know with good internships (experience) and the degree’s it’s still a chance to land the job I want. anyone with some helpful advice, that have gone through this road before?

  12. Liliana April 7, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Im really considering a job as an investment banker after going to grad school but ive heard that you will not have any life at all, and have no time for family.
    Is The Money great and will you usually be working in New York or are there other places.

  13. Chauncey April 21, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    I am a junior studying economics (minor finance) at a top 50 university (Syracuse). I am a member of several organizations with a 3.5 gpa. Assuming I get several years of work experience under my belt (I already have a “top 10 internship”), what are my realistic chances at getting into this school? Are B-school admissions more based on undergraduate work, work/life experience or GMAT scores?
    I will probably work for 3-4 years after I graduate as a financial analyst, then apply. Will I even be considered if I only have 3.5/4.0 gpa?

  14. Annabell April 24, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Or would they have to go back to school to get a financial engineering degree?

  15. Jarrod May 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    double major in computer science and business is a good path to become Quantitative analyst?

    Another question. What kind of jobs could I get before to become a quant(hopefully i will someday lol) in order to get experience? business analyst? thanks guys

  16. Malcolm May 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Ive tried accounting but i am not good at that.

  17. Corrin May 25, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    If I do my undergrad in finance can I do my post grad in economics or are they too different?

  18. Dwain June 5, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    I have my undergrad degree in Finance, but it has done absolutely nothing for me with the job market the way it is. So I was thinking of going back to school and doing my Masters. One of the Master degrees I was looking into is the Masters of Science in Finance or the Master of Financial Economics. But would it be useful for me to study that since I already have an undergrad in finance and what kind of jobs would it get me?

    Could I also get that degree in Australia and it would be fully accredited in the States and be comparable to the US degree?

  19. Sixta June 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    I understand double majoring can be difficult and will take more time than one degree. Having said that I noticed that the school I plan to attend has most of the support courses required overlapping between the two majors. I also wonder if people think it would be better just to do econ and try to pursue a one year MS in finance after graduation. The school also has a quantitative concentration for economics that might be better for graduate study. Thanks for any suggestions.

  20. Eusebio June 21, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    I am currently a junior and getting a BS in Accounting. I want to go in Finance for my masters either MBA or in Quantitative Finance. Which degree would help me find a higher paying job?

  21. Phillip June 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    I’ve always been curious to know what it is like being in the gender minority in a professional setting. Careers like engineering, IT, logistics, finance, or anything technical/quantitative, are heavily male dominated. What is it like to be a woman going into it? Or for a man to be entering into the job market in nursing or early childhood education.

    Also, what is it like for a woman to be in nursing school? Do the girls complain a lot about how there are no guys?

  22. Grisel June 24, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Hi, i have just finished my Degree in banking and finance and was wondering what are the pre-requisites or relevant job experiences that is needed to be a fund manager junior? or a Security analyst? I can’t seem to find any reference to know what are the relevant experiences needed to take this two positions! i would prefer to take a path that would be able to lead me to what i wan to work as.

  23. Mahalia June 27, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Hi!I would like to work in finance and am gonna get my bachelor’s and master’s in Operations research.So,what type of jobs will be available for me?Also,another question,if i plan to work as a financial analyst,would i need an engineering degree?

  24. Chauncey July 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    I am wondering what is the best option towards getting a career started towards the investment banking industry. My situation is that I am considering applying towards financial engineering masters, MBA, or positions. My skill sets lie in quantitative analysis, programming, and writing and speaking communication. I am just finishing my engineering degree from a large state university, with no financial experience. My GPA is below 3.5, but with a 4.0 upward trend.

  25. Era July 11, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    I want to work in investment banking/ finance after college, and was wondering if Computer Science would be a good quantitative major for an undergraduate degree.

    Ultimately, I want to get an MBA right after or at least a Masters of Finance degree before I start working.

  26. Daniel July 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    As an economics major, will it be hard to find a job? I will be graduating in 2 years, so the economy should be better then. But in general, are economists in demand?

  27. Nickolas July 19, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    Do you think you would be able to do a reasonably good job of Feasibility Study analysis and interpretation without the use of financial ratios? Justify your answer. In the absence of the following set of ratios, what other financial and quantitative techniques would you employ to still come up with an equally competent Feasibility Study evaluation?
    a.) liquidiy ratios b.) stability ratios c.) profitability ratios d.) turnover ratios e.)growth ratios

  28. Barbra July 25, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    I have worked at a retail bank as a financial specialist and am interested in working for a hedge fund. I have a 4 year BA degree but in english, not anything finance related. I have 4 years in retail banking and am wondering how I can get into a hedge fund. I have been applying at wirehouses to get licensed but am clueless as to how to get to where I need to be.

  29. Tai July 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    I have a bachelors in accounting and worked in corporate tax for most of my career after my Bachelors. I am now taking an interest in mathematics and thought that the best blend of both business/accounting and mathematics would be quantitative finance. In the company I work for, they are giving me an opportunity to take a 1 week training in six sigma and take a test and do a project, at which point I can continue the six sigma training at the next level, take that test, and do 3 projects, all of which involve heavy duty statistics used as a tool to come out to results and resolutions for problems in processes for departments throughout the company. This would probably be the jist of my finance experience. But if I have the masters in Quant. Finance, do you think I would be successful in a career that falls under that graduate programs study? Please let me know what my chances are. Thanks.

  30. Sal July 26, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    Hi,
    Fellows would you tell me that after completing Master’s in Finance, what type of job I can do? Tell me job name. My courses are
    1.Financial markets and institutions: a modern perspective by Saunders A and Cornett M
    2.Quantitative methods in finance by Watsham and Parramore
    3.Corporate Finance by Ross, Westerfield and Jaffe
    4.Investments by Bodie, Kane and Marcus
    I will be very thankful to you. Just guide me what type of jibs I can do and is best for me?
    Regards.

  31. Jay July 31, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    I am thinking about obtaining my PhD in business. Im not sure what I should specialize in, what specializations for business are in demand? Also how hard is it to find a job upon graduation? I do have experience in the business would, I am currently a restaurant general manager.

  32. Bryon August 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    I would like to study one of these as a degree.

    If I would like to become an investment banker which one would I choose: Economics or Accounting and Finance?

    Also what A-Levels be suitable.

    Thanks 🙂

  33. Aubrey August 4, 2013 at 1:47 am #

    I am thinking about going for my PhD in business. I am a good student with a 3.9 gpa and am a very hard worker. How hard is it to obtain your PhD? Also is there a good job market upon graduation? Thanks

  34. Vincenza August 5, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    I don’t mean degrees alone will get you a job, but I’m wondering in general, what university degrees will most likely allow you to work right away after graduation?

  35. Lona August 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    I am an accounting major with CIS minor.
    I have a master’s degree in accounting with a Tax concentration.
    I have a CPA
    My job is related to valuation and securitization of loans and credit risk analysis.
    I’m 23 years old.

    I have recently developed an interest in financial engineering/quantitative finance and would like to pursue it. The problem is I have not done math since AP calculus in high school. What are some options that I have so that schools won’t reject me on the basis of lack of understanding in math?
    Do you think simply taking some courses would be enough or do I need to go back and get a math degree? What are my options here?

    Any opinions are appreciated. Feel like to make some assumptions in your suggestions. Thank you.

  36. Siu August 7, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    What’s the best way for someone with very limited experience in public affairs and government to get involved in the local community on a part-time basis (nights, weekends only – I have a full time job). I work in marketing and finance, am a pretty quantitative guy, and am particularly interested in education, commerce, and transportation/operations. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  37. Jalisa August 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    I am about to apply for Masters in quantitative finance in university of Zurich, switzerland. I am also weighing the option with similar courses from universities in the United States. Although, the university is government funded, the living expenses are very high and there seems to be less options to support ourselves. Can any one advice me on this?

  38. Beulah August 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I have just graduated from college with a BA in finance and information systems. The thing is I’m not sure about jobs that actually related to both of them. I know I sound dumb asking this but I really need help. Does anyone know any?

  39. Floyd August 23, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    I am graduating with MBA in quantitative Finance in a couple of months. It is such a tough market, I don’t know when can I find a job. How badly finance job market is right now, and when it will improve?

  40. Jordon August 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Quantitative Finance
    Management
    Human Resource Management
    Corporate Finance
    Investment Finance

    please give reasons why. Thanks 🙂
    I have to admit, I’m more interested in doing a finance; is it worth it and where would it lead me?

  41. Sana August 27, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    Degree is Australian and I am also enrolled to do a Master in finance or quantitative finance in Sydney. Additionally I am also a cfa level 1 candidate.

    If possible give me some time frame on how long it would take to score such a job, because I am moving to Sydney from another city.

    Thanks.

  42. Danita September 12, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    what kind of jobs can i get and is it hard to acquire?

  43. Hana September 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    I am a freshman in college and I want to be a lawyer. My family tells me I should take up a quantitative major in order to set ymself apart from the rest of the pol sci/pre-law majors. I’m not sure what type of law I want to practice, but would majoring in something quantitative such as accounting or finance make a difference in getting accepted to law school?

    Thanks in advcance.

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