Advice about getting into quant-style roles

How to get your first job? post your questions and stories here.

Advice about getting into quant-style roles

Postby physlift314 » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:07 pm

I have combed through the Careers forum and seen much advice given to PhD physicists who want to become quants (of which, I am one of). I have been told by numerous people that my skill set is well suited for a quant-style role (and I tend to agree with them). I will be first to admit that I have practically zero finance background. I have been reading through J.C. Hull?s ?Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives? and I have read Wilmott?s ?Frequently Asked Questions in Quantitative Finance.? That is the extent of my finance training, if you will. A possible point against me, but I am a quick learner.

I have a lot of algorithm development in C++, python, etc. I have done countless statistical analyses using MC methods, statistical tests, hypothesis tests, etc. for my PhD and I?ve worked with UNIX, LINUX, and Windows environments. All sounds good, right?

I have interviewed at 6 different places (4 asset management, 2 financial services). One of which I was personally referred to by a former employee. All interviews, at least to me, went exceptionally well and I found myself to be an even better fit for the position after the interview.

However, time and time again I get the ?Thank you for your interest, but we will not be furthering your application in the hiring process? email. The interviews generally consist of my giving my elevator speech, them giving their elevator speech, they ask me some standard questions (Why finance and not academia, what interests you about quantitative finance, describe a project you worked on, etc.), I ask them some questions (What characteristics are you looking for in the person you will hire? If I were offered this position and joined your company, how would you measure my success and what could I do to exceed your expectations? How does this position fit in with the short- and long-term goals of the company? What excites you about coming into work every day?), and we end the interview on a good note.

Part of me thinks that I am messing up somewhere, but I?m not sure where. I?m not quite sure what else I can do beyond reading quant books until my eyes fall out (which I have no objection doing). I also assume that writing ?I have read practically every quant book available? on my resume is not enough either (I hope you caught the sarcasm), so perhaps reading is not enough.

So, are there things I can do better? Differently? Are there things that I can do to make myself stand out more? How can a person whose skill set is a remarkable match to what is described in the job description continually be turned away after numerous interviews? How does one get useful experience when they have none?

Thanks in advance.
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:03 pm

Re: Advice about getting into quant-style roles

Postby mj » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:41 am

well it's difficult to know if they don't give you decent feedback... I assume you've tried and got nothing useful.

To a certain extent you have to just keep plugging away.

Some things you could do are :
1) don;'t just read books, really learn them. If you had to sit a college-style exam on the contents would you get an A?
2) implement the models, eg do the projects at the end of my book Concepts
3) network, network, network
4) participate in an open source project
5) master all the interview question books including mine
6) read the financial press
Site Admin
Posts: 1380
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 7:21 am

Return to Getting a first job

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests