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    I'm currently an undergraduate and I'm thinking about possibly doing an industrially focused applied mathematics PhD after I graduate and becoming a quant is one thing that looks like a very favourable career at the moment, so I have some questions.

    My undergrad isn't at Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial obviously and I have heard that they want people with masters/phds from these kinds of universities, so would my undergrad matter at all if I did indeed get these qualifications from such prestigious universities?

    How competitive is the market for such roles? It appears quite difficult to enter once you've just finished a post doc and there are very few entry level openings?

    A lot of job posting asks for people to be familiar with SAS, SPSS and so on which I doubt I will get a chance to use, so how would I go about doing this?

    What kind of experience is required to get in? General finance internships for undergad and I assume something a bit more heavy done during postgrad?
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    (Original post by TheBBQ)
    I'm currently an undergraduate and I'm thinking about possibly doing an industrially focused applied mathematics PhD after I graduate and becoming a quant is one thing that looks like a very favourable career at the moment, so I have some questions.

    My undergrad isn't at Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial obviously and I have heard that they want people with masters/phds from these kinds of universities, so would my undergrad matter at all if I did indeed get these qualifications from such prestigious universities?

    How competitive is the market for such roles? It appears quite difficult to enter once you've just finished a post doc and there are very few entry level openings?

    A lot of job posting asks for people to be familiar with SAS, SPSS and so on which I doubt I will get a chance to use, so how would I go about doing this?

    What kind of experience is required to get in? General finance internships for undergad and I assume something a bit more heavy done during postgrad?
    1. Generally, I've heard that the postgraduate institution you go to for a PhD isn't particularly important, it would however, have been important if you were only planning on a Masters. What's more important is the subject you study and any of Maths/Physics/CompSci would suffice - so, you're on the right tracks

    2. As with any finance role, demand for jobs will be fairly high. Except in your case, the pool of acceptable applicants will be significantly smaller than it would be if you were aiming for a normal grad position. The quality of applicants for quant jobs tends to vary somewhat too. There'll be the technical geniuses thay can't relate on a human level and the ones that aren't quite as technically sound but have a better personality; banks tend to lean towards the latter for their hires and quant hedge funds/prop trading firms lean towards the left of that spectrum.

    No. of jobs out there is continually growing as markets become more sophisticated. It wouldn't surprise me if by the time you start recruiting the available positions will have significantly increased in number.

    3. There are only a couple of things you need to be good at to get through the quant recruitment process: solid maths ability (both mental maths and complex, advanced level knowledge), programming proficiency (C++ is a huge language, so is R and Python, some places use functional language a like Ocaml, Haskell etc) and a strong background in statistical analysis (exposure to SQL, SAS databases etc, probability, and some data mining stuff). If you can hone these key areas, your life will be made a whole lot easier when it come time for you to recruit.

    4. Anything you can get your hands on. Some banks/quant hedge funds/prop shops have quant internship programs specifically designed for those undergoing a PhD/Masters but on the whole, finance work experience isn't hugely advantageous. Certainly apply to internships whilst you can and it'd be nice to have one to speak about, but they aren't the be all and end all.

    This is as much as I can glean from speaking to a couple of current quants/thorough research. Hope it helps.

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    (Original post by TheBBQ)
    I'm currently an undergraduate and I'm thinking about possibly doing an industrially focused applied mathematics PhD after I graduate and becoming a quant is one thing that looks like a very favourable career at the moment, so I have some questions.

    My undergrad isn't at Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial obviously and I have heard that they want people with masters/phds from these kinds of universities, so would my undergrad matter at all if I did indeed get these qualifications from such prestigious universities?

    How competitive is the market for such roles? It appears quite difficult to enter once you've just finished a post doc and there are very few entry level openings?

    A lot of job posting asks for people to be familiar with SAS, SPSS and so on which I doubt I will get a chance to use, so how would I go about doing this?

    What kind of experience is required to get in? General finance internships for undergad and I assume something a bit more heavy done during postgrad?
    Read the book, Options, Futures And Other Derivatives, by John Hull.

    If you understand and are still interested, then you might suceed in becomming a quant, otherwise forget it.

    All "proper" quants, ie those in an IB, not Asset Management, would need to have demonstrated knowledge of, (have preferably applied), stochastic calculus, pdes and probability.

    With regard to programming, you should be picking it up automatically in your PhD. Typical languages are C++, C#, Matlab, R, Python and VBA.
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    (Original post by Princepieman)

    3. There are only a couple of things you need to be good at to get through the quant recruitment process: solid maths ability (both mental maths and complex, advanced level knowledge), programming proficiency (C++ is a huge language, so is R and Python, some places use functional language a like Ocaml, Haskell etc) and a strong background in statistical analysis (exposure to SQL, SAS databases etc, probability, and some data mining stuff). If you can hone these key areas, your life will be made a whole lot easier when it come time for you to recruit.

    4. Anything you can get your hands on. Some banks/quant hedge funds/prop shops have quant internship programs specifically designed for those undergoing a PhD/Masters but on the whole, finance work experience isn't hugely advantageous. Certainly apply to internships whilst you can and it'd be nice to have one to speak about, but they aren't the be all and end all.

    This is as much as I can glean from speaking to a couple of current quants/thorough research. Hope it helps.

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    Thank you for all the help!

    So if I stuck to my undergrad and then lets say I did Part III at Cambridge or an MSc at Oxford/Imperial in mathematics/theoretical physics/mathematical finance and decided to not to pursue a PhD?

    I'll have covered Matlab, and a choice of C or Python (possibly both) during my undergrad, and C++ and R during a PhD undoubtedly. But I have yet to see mentioning of using SQL, SAS, SPSS during any PhD that I've looked at so far.

    I have seen a few internships for PhD students.

    (Original post by dugdugdug)
    Read the book, Options, Futures And Other Derivatives, by John Hull.

    If you understand and are still interested, then you might suceed in becomming a quant, otherwise forget it.

    All "proper" quants, ie those in an IB, not Asset Management, would need to have expertise in stochastic calculus, pdes and probability.

    With regard to programming, you should be picking it up automatically in your PhD. Typical languages are C++, C#, Matlab, R, Python and VBA.
    Thank you! I'll go read the book over the summer after my exams.

    PDEs and calculus aren't a problem, and stochastics and more probability are things I can definitely pick up during my PhD.

    I very much appreciate your responses, it can be hard to get a clear cut of what is expected of a new applicant sometimes.
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    (Original post by TheBBQ)
    Thank you for all the help!

    So if I stuck to my undergrad and then lets say I did Part III at Cambridge or an MSc at Oxford/Imperial in mathematics/theoretical physics/mathematical finance and decided to not to pursue a PhD?

    I'll have covered Matlab, and a choice of C or Python (possibly both) during my undergrad, and C++ and R during a PhD undoubtedly. But I have yet to see mentioning of using SQL, SAS, SPSS during any PhD that I've looked at so far.

    I have seen a few internships for PhD students.
    Definitely, if you feel prepared enough to tackle the interviews. There isn't an explicit need for a PhD to become a quant, but it does help a lot.

    The extra stuff you can self teach when you have the time. A little bit of initiative won't hurt.

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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    Definitely, if you feel prepared enough to tackle the interviews. There isn't an explicit need for a PhD to become a quant, but it does help a lot.

    The extra stuff you can self teach when you have the time. A little bit of initiative won't hurt.

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    Afraid have to disagree with you on this.

    In all the IBs I've worked in, especially US ones, all quants have at least a PhD, if not been a postdoc.

    Conversely, a lot of Asset Management quants didn't even have a STEM degree. Check out some profiles on linkedin.

    Even if their specific PhD knowledge is not directly relevant, it's a snob factor on behalf of the IB, as it makes their staff list more impressive.
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    (Original post by dugdugdug)
    Afraid have to disagree with you on this.

    In all the IBs I've worked in, especially US ones, all quants have at least a PhD, if not been a postdoc.

    Conversely, a lot of Asset Management quants didn't even have a STEM degree. Check out some profiles on linkedin.

    Even if their specific PhD knowledge is not directly relevant, it's a snob factor on behalf of the IB, as it makes their staff list more impressive.
    Fair enough, cheers for the heads up!

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    (Original post by dugdugdug)
    Afraid have to disagree with you on this.

    In all the IBs I've worked in, especially US ones, all quants have at least a PhD, if not been a postdoc.

    Conversely, a lot of Asset Management quants didn't even have a STEM degree. Check out some profiles on linkedin.

    Even if their specific PhD knowledge is not directly relevant, it's a snob factor on behalf of the IB, as it makes their staff list more impressive.
    Thank you for the clarification!

    May I ask what your position is/was and how many years you have been working in IB?
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    (Original post by TheBBQ)
    Thank you for the clarification!

    May I ask what your position is/was and how many years you have been working in IB?
    Rather not put my cv on TSR!

    PM you.
 
 
 
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