Career Advice Needed: Job or Further Studies?

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Career Advice Needed: Job or Further Studies?

Postby rajat25690 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:18 pm

Respected Prof. Joshi,

I am a 22-year student from India. I will be completing a Masters degree in Mathematics and Computing from the Indian Institute of Technology by May 2012. For the past several months, I have been in a dilemma regarding the career path I should take. I have already received a job offer to work as a statistical arbitrage quant. Should I accept the job offer or should I gather specialization in financial engineering through a MFE program before entering industry as a quant full-time? I would be grateful if you could take some time out of your busy schedule to lend me some of your expert advice.

I have been reading recent news-items suggesting extreme over-crowding of the quant job market due to the explosion of graduate quant/general finance programs as well as the recession which is forcing large-scale job cuts from several big names. Firstly, would top finance programs such as those of CMU, UC Berkeley and Princeton be immune to such happenings and be able to provide good placement opportunities to its graduates during hard times? Do fresh graduates out of such finance programs get desk quant roles or are they reserved for the more experienced and more qualified (PhDs) candidates? Another of my apprehensions is that I do not have any idea of what the work and lifestyle of a quant is like. So I am not sure of whether I would like to remain in the profession down the line or will get fed up and want to switch to something else (possibly through an MBA). In such a scenario, do you recommend that I first experience the life of a quant through my current job offer or take the risk of spending 1-2 more years in college in the hope of getting a better (by better, I mean better in terms of role, pay, promotion rate, brand value of employer, better location like NY, London) placement?

Many thanks in anticipation.

With warm regards,
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Re: Career Advice Needed: Job or Further Studies?

Postby mj » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:17 pm

I'd take the job for a year and then decide if you want to do more study. A year's experience will count more than an MFE. You will learn more by doing the job then MFE than from MFE then job as well.
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