Confusion about my future please comment and help

*** this is long, sorry. only read if you want to help someone graduating college or find yourself in a similar situation.***

So I am just very confused ab my career. I want to be a trader. I like the game theory aspect, decision making under pressure, and the immediate feedback loop. I was never bored at all this summer on my desk. Have an offer at a bank to be on rates swaps/vol desk as trader. I am interviewing w quant/omm firms as well. I got rejected during a few final rounds and might have more final rounds coming up. I want omm/quant offer more because the usage of more data analysis, earlier access to trading, and honestly just a place for me to become even smarter and smarter. It also helps that you really are rewarded for your hard work and there are flatter hierarchies. 

At the bank, they said that they would let me start to make small trades in the "back book" a few months in. It is honestly a good seat, but I was not really the biggest fan of how its so corporate, a lot of boring work, and tech stack is so outdated (Im not a coding wiz or anything but really enjoy statistical learning/simple ML). At the bank, I really enjoyed thinking about the macro picture(economic prints, fed members talking, japanese ycc and policy, ecb policy, the bond moving 20bps in one week etc) and analyzing how each market(cash, swaps + spreads, vol surface, cash/futures basis) was reacting. It was even more interesting to put some fake trades on and see how they did. Realistically I would want to go to a hedge fund, but 2-3 events have to align correctly for that happen - it is not certain. 

I guess the best would be a mix of them both. Macro trading in a quantitative manner (i know is pretty hard w OTC)

If I do not get a quant offer, I was thinking of maybe doing a masters in stats and data science and re-applying to quant trading roles, or roles in hedge funds that are data/trading based. I think I could get into a good program applying from a t10. Realistically this would help me get an even better skillset than I currently have and add more value immediately. BUT, i am foregoing a pretty good seat tbh and in two years I could be on the way to the buyside or doing a masters then?

Sometimes I think about just going w the bank offer and then working really hard and progressing in life, but is that me just taking the easy way out? I sometimes convince myself that I like macro more (which I think I do honestly) so I should go with the bank offer because its a good place to learn vol in rates. Is this just a mental cop out? 

I have talked to my parents but they dont really understand. any adviser or non finance person is like, why would you pass up 150-160k ish? and then all really smart quant kids rightfully say that im just not smart enough.

what are thoughts


Hey there, it sounds like you're in a bit of a pickle! It's great that you're considering all your options and thinking about what you truly want from your career.

If you're passionate about trading and enjoy the game theory aspect, decision making under pressure, and the immediate feedback loop, then the offer at the bank could be a good fit for you. It's a solid opportunity, and they're even offering you the chance to make small trades a few months in. However, you've mentioned that you're not a fan of the corporate environment and outdated tech stack.

On the other hand, you're also considering quant/omm firms, which you seem to be more excited about due to the use of more data analysis, earlier access to trading, and the opportunity to continuously learn and grow. It's clear that you're ambitious and eager to work in a place that rewards hard work and has a flat hierarchy.

If you don't get a quant offer, pursuing a masters in stats and data science could indeed enhance your skillset and make you more attractive to quant trading roles or data/trading based roles in hedge funds. However, this would mean passing up on the bank offer, which is a pretty good opportunity.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you value most in your career. If you're more excited about the quant/omm firms and think you'd be happier there, it might be worth taking the risk and pursuing that path. If security and stability are more important to you, then the bank offer could be the better choice.

Remember, there's no right or wrong answer here. It's about what feels right for you. Good luck with your decision!

Sources: Be wary of greener grass; there are always tradeoffs..., MBB vs Quant at IBank, Market Risk at Commercial Bank VS Ops Risk at MM, Does everyone wants to leave Investment Banking after 2 years?

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