Dear Mark (or anyone else who might have an answer)

I am 24, I have finished MPhil degree in Advanced Computer Science at Cambridge with a Distinction. I had strong interest in theoretical computer science, even in pure math, but found pure math research was too abstract and deviated from reality. I am considering to start a new career in quantitative/applied math.

I have received three PhD offers and I don't know exactly how to choose. I have rejected one from Cambridge, since I want to move a new place and no funding at all at Cambridge. The other one is from Oxford, the research is about categorical logic, the combination of category theory and logic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_logic) and its applications. It is very abstract and I don't see how it can be used in finance, since it is NOT numerical at all. Oxford does have a good reputation though. The third one is from Imperial College, the research is about computational optimization, which can be used in portfolio theory, and many other financial areas. Personally, I prefer the offer from Imperial College.

My question is that which one do you think will provide me a better career as a quant? Do you know anyone who have done category theory or logic become a successful quant? Please note I think category theory or logic is more fundamental and abstract than normal pure math such as number theory, algebra and so on.

The third option is to start a job between software develop and quant. This type of job is called quant developer, I presume. I have contacted with a few Hedge fund such as GSA, Cloucester Research and am considering if I should take the interviews for quant developer roles. But some people say that once I start a job to be a developer, it is difficult to transfer to be a quant? Do you agree? I feel that if I start as a developer, and teach myself the set of applied math skills required for quant, I can apply for a quant a couple of years later, right? In the essence, why a PhD is necessary to be a quant? I am quite confused about the requirement of PhD to be a quant.

Maybe forth option is to apply for MFE next year. I know Oxford and a few US graduates schools offer excellent MFE courses.

Thank you very much for reading such a long message and answering so many questions, I look forward to hearing advice from you.

Kind Regards

Will