Advice needed on if i'm on the right path to break into S&T/AM

Hey everyone, long time lurker and occasional commenter, decided i needed to ask a question of my own. I have always been extremely fascinated with the stock market ever since i was a kid, and studied finance in college (non target in the south, more well known for energy trading than placing on wall street). Unfortunately, i was not able to break into sales and trading out of college, 2014 was a bad year for commodities and none of the big guys were taking much of a risk on hiring classes of new traders. But, i was still fortunate to return to the company i interned with during my junior year of college (very large asset manager, a step below Vanguard and BlackRock but top 20 in Assets under Management)

Im currently working back office in an accounting role. While Back office is not the ideal role one has graduating from school, its been a great experience learning the ins and outs of the business, and getting to be on ad hoc projects for senior management. Also, its been nice getting to interact with a few portfolio managers and pick their brain on what kind of thought process they have when picking stocks for their respective mutual funds.

In recent years, we've all probably noticed that technology has transformed the way finance works. Ive realized this in only the 3 years ive been empolyed. And i kind of want to use that to my advantage for my long term future. I am currently a post bac student taking math classes to eventually qualify to apply to some full time quant programs around the country. Ideal places would be Georgia Tech, Washington, NYU, Carnegie Mellon, RPI, or UT. Goal after that would be to break into S&T somewhere, or work for my current employer in a more risk/quant role for our mutual funds and etfs.

With all that being said, do any of you currently have experience in the quant realm of finance? Do you think the future looks promising for aspiring quants as myself, or would you recommend going to a different field? Would you say that you enjoy your life as a quant, or do you wish you had been able to go down a different path? I'm sorry for the long post, thanks again for any and all advice thats received.


Comments (6)

Jun 6, 2017

I am going to bump this. I am currently doing my last internship with a BB in Credit Derivatives as a developer(it is advertised as a Front-office). But I want to move into something that requires more quantitative programming or a trading role. If possible I would like to do this without a masters degree for now. I will also be doing a research in Computational Finance with a professor during my last school year.

Jun 6, 2017

Op, honestly 3 years into a Back Office role it's going to be really hard to get into s&t. Why haven't you been taking the CFA exams? Banking on a top quant program is not enough, and many of those students have advanced degrees in math before doing an MFE.

Jun 6, 2017

Right, its not been the most ideal situation staying in back office. had some family stuff going on the past couple of years where i havent been able to devote enough time needed to successfully pass the CFA exams. i was hoping to actually start studying for those again, and maybe take the test in may 2018. its not a s&t or bust type scenario. Ideally, i would like to work in s&t/quant. are you stressing to start again on CFA material? Im hoping to lateral into a more middle office role at my current employer soon, something that will get me more in contact with front office people

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Jun 7, 2017

Passing CFA levels would make a relevant lateral much more possible. I would recommend maybe trying to move into a MO role somewhere where there entire business model is trading. AM of HF. Network do CFAs and go from there, maybe a MSF would help instead. I'd just be careful about your wishful thinking for the quant programs you mentioned. Not saying you are not smart or not capable. Look around on linkedin or school websites at the students you will be going against for admission. You will see a lot of international math prodigies with advanced STEM degrees and even some with phds. Coming just from a finance ugrad and taking the 3 calc sequence, lin algreba, dif equations probably won't be enough.

Jun 7, 2017

thanks for the insight and the words of advice, greatly appreciated.

Jun 10, 2017