Advice on further education for quant

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Advice on further education for quant

Postby Kevin.nor » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:10 am

So I am a former premed student who decided not to go into MedSchool and changed to finance because for me there was much more interest in my finance electives than my bio/chem courses. I have been reading a lot everywhere I can about quant finance. I am a bit overwhelmed by it all and was wondering if anyone could clarify a few things and offer some advice. A bit about me, my name is Kevin Patel and I did my undergrad degree at Yale in Biology. I was premed and realized after I finished and had already been accepted into Med School that I was doing medicine for all the wrong reasons (my parents are doctors). I did take some advanced math courses though and have been learning programming since high school. After this I decided I wanted to work in finance because I actually really enjoyed the finance courses I had taken at Yale so I did my Masters at Oxford in Finance.

However, since then, the jobs I worked in have been unfulfilling and not challenging, and quite boring actually. What drew me to quant was the way Mike from describes it as a collegial and intellectual atmosphere. I definitely want to do something that intellectually challenges me. I am going to go back to school for my PhD (probably MPhil to PhD) but before I did I wanted to make sure I did the right studies. My MSc in Finance feels totally useless in terms of leveraging a job with it and at that time I thought any kind of degree in econ or finance would do because my background was biology. Obviously that was wrong. Most of the most interesting stuff I learn seems to come from independent study, which is why I thought a PhD might be good for me. It might allow me time to independently learn what I need to outside the pressures of a full time job and allow me to delve deeper into the academic side of quant finance. Not to mention I always enjoyed the idea of teaching at the collegial level and have experience teaching discussions/lab courses at Yale. After reading most of the info here any other websites though I realize I need a solid plan for the 3-4 years of PhD studies and really do both independent study and university courses to get to where I need to be.

My questions thus for now are general. From what I understand there are three general categories of quant jobs, quant traders, quant developers and quant analysts. It seems that quant traders usually work in hedge funds/asset management and and work with statistical analysis, pattern recognition, etc and have better hours and quant analysts work in areas like derivative pricing models at usually investment banks and like most jobs at investment banks have crazy long hours. Lastly quant developers can work in either and are involved more with software infrastructure development and translating languages, maybe from Matlab to Java or something. I ask this because I want to make sure I have time for social things, mainly family. Family is very important to me and I don't want to wake up 45 one day and unmarried and realized I worked too much. I of course know I will be working quite a bit which I am used to but I would like to be there for my family as well. Can you advice me on which area of quant would make sense for me in that case.

My other question is about what to study and choice of programs. I know many recommend a PhD in financial mathematics but also state that statistical analysis and machine learning are big now, and the machine learning research groups are usually in the computer science PhD departments, so I was wondering if that might be a better choice or if I should stay with PhD programs in mathematical finance only? If so, I found quite a few so far but I was wondering if anyone could recommend any as well. Lastly I wanted to ask about thesis topics. I wanted to do option pricing during mergers, after the announcement but before the deal goes through, as well as models to predict probability of success of the merger. One of my main research interests during my Masters was cross-border mergers with bidders from developing nations and targets from developed nations. However, after reading a lot about quant work it seems like derivative pricing would pigeon hold you into quant analyst jobs at investment banks and I don't know if that's what I want. Of course there is no rush to choose a thesis topic but I was wondering if anyone had any broad suggestions on areas to focus that could be the most use in an applied/practical/industry sense. In other words, what would make the most sense to do to gain the most practical knowledge and utility? I know people say you do a PhD because there is a clear area of research you want to explore at a deeper level. However, my interest in doing further research is more about delving deeper into its applications. As with my masters thesis, I like to look at the conclusions of any research and really think about the implications on everything from firm level policies to government policy formation. I know I definitely want to do research that involves programming, which I had originally began learning as a way to design websites during high school but have since grown to really enjoy and really love the puzzle like nature of it.

I am a bit all over I know, I always feel a bit like I don't know what I am doing in the world of finance because I spend all my undergrad time/energy/extracurriculars/etc focused on premed so now I am trying my best to learn as much as I can before wind up pursuing another useless degree.

I apologize for the long thread and thank you for any advice,
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Re: Advice on further education for quant

Postby peterdekock » Sat May 23, 2015 9:05 am

Undoubtedly seek the knowledge from cradle to grave.I appreciate your thoughts and idea you are curious about education ..Indeed intellectual solve the problem and genius make prevent them..
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