Best Undergrad degrees for roles in Investment Banking and Fund Management?

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TigerBlood18
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I'm doing my A-levels and am interested in two areas of finance. The first is working in sales and trading at an investment bank in a trading role and the second is working as a quant, either at an IB or Hedgefund etc.

I'm aware of the general personality traits which come with each and that trading is a much more fast paced environment compared to working as a quant analyst where you'd spend a lot more time using complex mathematics.

I currently hold two offers from UCL to read Electrical and Electronic Engineering or Theoretical Physics. Although I'm interested in both, I'm pretty sure that I'd rather do the physics degree as it covers a lot more areas which I'm particularly interested in and is more maths based which is something I'm pretty good at. I'm aware that UCL is a fairly targeted uni by a lot of banks thanks to it's reputation and location, (although it's rank for EEE is a fair bit better than for Physics). I'm not sure if this will make much of a difference. (If anyone has information on that, that would be great!)

So:
1) Will the rank of the actual subjects make a difference?
2) Is either a more preferable subject for a trading role and the same for a quant role?
3) If finance doesn't work out; if I've done the physics degree and don't want to go into research, can I still get another job? (A LOT of people are telling me to do EEE since engineers are 'highly employable' whereas physicists aren't.)
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Voss_1
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(Original post by TigerBlood18)
I'm doing my A-levels and am interested in two areas of finance. The first is working in sales and trading at an investment bank in a trading role and the second is working as a quant, either at an IB or Hedgefund etc.

I'm aware of the general personality traits which come with each and that trading is a much more fast paced environment compared to working as a quant analyst where you'd spend a lot more time using complex mathematics.

I currently hold two offers from UCL to read Electrical and Electronic Engineering or Theoretical Physics. Although I'm interested in both, I'm pretty sure that I'd rather do the physics degree as it covers a lot more areas which I'm particularly interested in and is more maths based which is something I'm pretty good at. I'm aware that UCL is a fairly targeted uni by a lot of banks thanks to it's reputation and location, (although it's rank for EEE is a fair bit better than for Physics). I'm not sure if this will make much of a difference. (If anyone has information on that, that would be great!)

So:
1) Will the rank of the actual subjects make a difference?
2) Is either a more preferable subject for a trading role and the same for a quant role?
3) If finance doesn't work out; if I've done the physics degree and don't want to go into research, can I still get another job? (A LOT of people are telling me to do EEE since engineers are 'highly employable' whereas physicists aren't.)
Well done on your offers. UCL is a target uni for investment banks - you will have a chance of getting in no matter what discipline you are studying. so to answer you're question, it doesn't really make a difference, although in reference to your third question, it is true that there is a high demand for engineers - so if a career in finance doesn't work out you could easily get an engineering based job. Although, this has to be a personal decision, which subject do you enjoy more? picking the degree you enjoy more will motivate you to work harder and perhaps achieve higher grades. so perhaps in this case you would be more inclined to do a physics degree?.
Both engineering and physics are regarded as highly quantitative degrees, if you want to be a quant, neither will hinder you as they both have a lot of mathematical content.
In all, for finance it doesn't matter which of the two you pick - both engineers and physicists go on to work in IB or hedge funds. pick the one you enjoy most and has good job prospects if you decide you don't want to go into finance in the future.
Hope this helped ;-)
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TigerBlood18
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(Original post by Voss_1)
Well done on your offers. UCL is a target uni for investment banks - you will have a chance of getting in no matter what discipline you are studying. so to answer you're question, it doesn't really make a difference, although in reference to your third question, it is true that there is a high demand for engineers - so if a career in finance doesn't work out you could easily get an engineering based job. Although, this has to be a personal decision, which subject do you enjoy more? picking the degree you enjoy more will motivate you to work harder and perhaps achieve higher grades. so perhaps in this case you would be more inclined to do a physics degree?.
Both engineering and physics are regarded as highly quantitative degrees, if you want to be a quant, neither will hinder you as they both have a lot of mathematical content.
In all, for finance it doesn't matter which of the two you pick - both engineers and physicists go on to work in IB or hedge funds. pick the one you enjoy most and has good job prospects if you decide you don't want to go into finance in the future.
Hope this helped ;-)


Thanks for the reply. Nice to hear a reassuring response! May I ask if you work in the city and are speaking from experience or whether you too are a student with just more exposure than myself?

In either case, picking up on your penultimate line about enjoyment and employment prospects; I've attended various events at universities as tasters to engineering and physics and have family members who have studied engineering and I can 100% say that if it were purely down to enjoyment, I would pick physics without a doubt. BUT as you said, engineering offers, well... engineering jobs! Which considering how hard banking is to get into at the moment, if probably a good option to have. You wouldn't happen to know much about people with physics undergraduate degrees (or masters) who go to work in engineering fields?
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Voss_1
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(Original post by TigerBlood18)
Thanks for the reply. Nice to hear a reassuring response! May I ask if you work in the city and are speaking from experience or whether you too are a student with just more exposure than myself?

In either case, picking up on your penultimate line about enjoyment and employment prospects; I've attended various events at universities as tasters to engineering and physics and have family members who have studied engineering and I can 100% say that if it were purely down to enjoyment, I would pick physics without a doubt. BUT as you said, engineering offers, well... engineering jobs! Which considering how hard banking is to get into at the moment, if probably a good option to have. You wouldn't happen to know much about people with physics undergraduate degrees (or masters) who go to work in engineering fields?
its okay! & Im a university student. Spent hours research various websites about how to get into investment banking because it seems so specific. Been talking to the HRs of various investment banks and they've all told me the same thing about how the degree title doesn't matter as much (especially as you're at UCL). a credit suisse trader told me how some traders working on his desk had actually graduated with classics / history degrees.
Because IBs teach you everything you need to know about the job in a 4 week induction after getting a job with them. therefore they don't expect you to have any re-requites to get the job.
& Mhmmm truee, that factor is something you'll have to look more into, i have no clue in that industry - I'm a business school student ;-)
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TigerBlood18
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(Original post by Voss_1)
its okay! & Im a university student. Spent hours research various websites about how to get into investment banking because it seems so specific. Been talking to the HRs of various investment banks and they've all told me the same thing about how the degree title doesn't matter as much (especially as you're at UCL). a credit suisse trader told me how some traders working on his desk had actually graduated with classics / history degrees.
Because IBs teach you everything you need to know about the job in a 4 week induction after getting a job with them. therefore they don't expect you to have any re-requites to get the job.
& Mhmmm truee, that factor is something you'll have to look more into, i have no clue in that industry - I'm a business school student ;-)
Again, many thanks for the reply. I guess I'll be better off posting a more specific question about physics and it's potential careers excluding finance on some other physics forums.

Thanks for the info. regarding the world of IB! Now I'll just have to make sure I'm ready for all those spring week and internship placements!
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Voss_1
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(Original post by TigerBlood18)
Again, many thanks for the reply. I guess I'll be better off posting a more specific question about physics and it's potential careers excluding finance on some other physics forums.

Thanks for the info. regarding the world of IB! Now I'll just have to make sure I'm ready for all those spring week and internship placements!
glad i could help man! & I wish you the best for the internship process!
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