Questions on how to become a quant

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Questions on how to become a quant

Postby sedberg » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:02 am

Dear Mark:

I'm from Argentina, and I recently graduated in economics. Finance is my passion, and particularly I enjoy and have been introducing myself lately in the field of quantitative finance.

My aim is to become a quant, in the way it is described here in your page. I have several questions i wish to make to you:

1) What kind of masters program do you advice me to do? Here in my country, the postgraduate offers in finance do not suit the requirements of a quant

2) The mathematic knowledge i aquired is related to what economics use and demand: calculus, ordinary differential equations and dynamic optimization. What further subjects should i know? Could you recommend me some books?

3) I have been reading for a while several C++ books. I had limited programming knowledge before i started, but that hasn't impeded me from learning at least the basics. Should I incorporate other concepts of programming besides C++?

4) As regards to statistics, i have strong knowledge of time series econometrics (as well as cross-section), and i have learned other concepts that are fundamental to finance, like Markov chains. On what other issues should I deepen?

I have read other threads, and i know that a quant's profile suits better with physics or math students, but as i said before, becoming a quant is the main objective of my life, and I'm ready to make the necessary effort to become one.

Thanks in advance

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Re: Questions on how to become a quant

Postby mj » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:25 am

Well a lot depends on what sort of quant you want to be... Econometrics is useful but more suited to statistical arbitrage and risk roles than derivatives pricing roles.

Re books see my recommended book list.

Re quant masters, well there are a large numbers in the UK eg Warwick, Oxford, Imperial, Kings, York, Heriot-Wattt

C++ is enough but it's important to learn to really understand the language rather than be happy writing procedural code.

Maybe doing a straight masters in applied maths might be an idea.
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Re: Questions on how to become a quant

Postby chaitanya » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:43 am

Dear Mark,
I am a graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in theoretical physics from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, U.K.
I shall be finishing my doctoral study very soon and I am not sure if want to continue with academia anymore. An obvious alternative that appears is to try my luck with some finance/ consultancy job. But I am not sure with skills I have in hand where do I fit in ? I am reasonably comfortable with analytical calculations but equally bad with programming skills. Whereas for most of the "quant" jobs strong programming skills are a must.

Do you know if I can apply for some vacancies in finance/ consultancy which do not require more of programming skills but rely more on analytical capabilities ?
If you can provide any useful site or contact details of a person worth contacting that will be great.

Thanks again for all the help.
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Re: Questions on how to become a quant

Postby mj » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:57 pm

it's difficult to think of a mathy job outside of a university that doesn't involve coding.

Are you bad at coding because you've never tried or bad because you hate it?

If it's the first then you just need to knuckle down and learn the stuff, you may even find
you enjoy it.
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