Buy-side quant work from Georgetown undergrad?

Just received my college decisions this past week and barring any waitlist shake-ups, it looks like I'll be headed to Georgetown. I'm happy with G-Town for a lot of reasons -- strength in politics/IR (which is cool), location, extracurricular and social scene, girls -- but am kind of concerned with its weakness in STEM programming given that I've thought about doing quant work when older.

If I end up majoring in math/stats and taking some CS classes at G-Town, will a good GPA and course-load be enough to allow me to be considered for quant research/trading roles? Primarily talking about quant hedge funds and algorithmic trading shops.

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Comments (43)

  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Mar 30, 2020 - 6:34pm

well I went to Umich and was interested in quant stuff, had no problems getting some interviews (SIG, Akuna, optiver, drw, ctc, Belvedere are all common) even tho I went to ross major. I wouldn't think it's too different at GT even tho Umich might be stronger engineering from what I can tel it's not so different than banking- if you're a smart candidate you should get looks and you might not have a great chance at Jane street, citadel, etc. unless you're god but there's absolutely a chance if you're interested. My BIGGEST suggestion (not tryna turn you into an addict) is to get good at poker and play as much as you can. Hopefully you make money and have one of the best EC's possible. source: the reason I got any of my interviews in my opinion

  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Mar 31, 2020 - 9:53pm

Lol, so I definitely wasn't qualified for any CS jobs but would have done okay because of stats+ I feel like I'm good at logic + some math background. But I was also interested in RX and PE and ended up recruiting for a PE fund and it's worked out for me. I was never too committed to going trading route or I would have studied more for interviews than just try and figure out brain teasers on the spot, etc. and taken more quantitative coursework. But it helped me with harder IB+PE interviews with brain teasers and critical thinking and stuff. So I probably shouldn't have even got interviews but I come across pretty smart and capable so that's why I did, which underscores that someone dedicated should absolutely have a shot at these jobs. Good luck with whatever path you go, just remember that being both feet in and having a consistent background (like playing poker consistently or coding on the side consistently) have a huge impact in who you are and how you are perceived. GL! Feel free to ask anything more specific I will probably reply (I am very bored during this quarantine).

Also disclaimer, most of the shops want a math, stats, or CS background especially if its algo work. Others are a bit more lenient (I had some intro CS classes I took for fun + some experience building algos + solid poker background playing professionally and SIG was founded by poker players + I actually got called into interview by people I had randomly networked with freshman year and talked about poker with (LOL) as well as some other places I had some exposure to through networking and stuff so I am by no means an orthodox CS/Math whiz candidate). My interviews weren't mostly quant though, they were prop trading firms mostly so take that into consideration especially because quant jobs have MIT/Caltech people to compete with for sure. Just my experience

  • Prospect in Other
Mar 30, 2020 - 9:54pm

Do you need to know how to code for these shops?

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Apr 3, 2021 - 10:06am

It's true they like to recruit out of Harvard and MIT (especially for the winter months) but these days they'll interview anyone. Bonus if you show competency and genuine interest in the stuff they seem to value a lot ie. poker, competitive math/programming etc. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 31, 2020 - 5:58pm

not sure but I think that user/whitewalker and user/Trading4Hours and user/Jim Simons should be able to answer this question

Apr 30, 2020 - 3:55am

Yeah, I'd say that going into quant trading from Georgetown is definitely possible, but it would be harder than if you were coming from a brand name STEM Program. I don't know what your other options are, but there are less "competitive" schools that would set you up better for quant trading firms. (UCSD for instance) That being said, your ability to get a job at a quant trading firm relies on what you know more than whom you know, at least moreso than a lot of other intro jobs in finance. If you want to go to a top shop just out of school, do some sort of side quant/regression project and use it in real life, and have something to talk about. Code something really cool. Do summer internships in the industry starting freshman year. There is a very feasible GTown -> Jane Street path out there.

May 3, 2020 - 12:18am

I think you will have an easier time getting interviews at algo trading shops than quant hedge funds, assuming you end up with a strong GPA, take the right classes, and get relevant experience. The trading firms will usually interview anyone from a top 30 school with the right background and give them a shot (though the interviews at places like Jump or Jane Street can be quite tough and require lots of preparation, even for people good at academic math/stats).

I haven't seen anyone from Georgetown at any of the quant funds I've worked at (I've been at 3 out of the big ~10 systematic funds) but I think its mostly a self selection reason / if you were good, school shouldn't be a factor that keeps you out.

May 30, 2020 - 5:36am

I go to a top ~20 school and was able to get interviews last year but I had a 3.6 GPA. Unfortunately at the start of next app cycle (new grad), I'll have a 3.3 GPA only. Will that affect me a lot? I'll have another SWE internship at a Unicorn, but I already had experience at 2 FAANG/equivalent companies + one well known but not as prestigious tech company as well. Also, have any ever asked for your transcript? I did really bad in one class that's a major class that pulled me down, which is why I'm asking.

Apr 30, 2020 - 12:48am

This is always a tough question because there are many different paths. However, you should be able to get interviews at places like Akuna, Flow Traders, SIG, and almost more no matter where you go. As they put any effort into giving everyone a chance. However, getting your resume selected and the interviews are incredibly hard.

Another path is potentially doing a master's in financial engineering, at a school with connections to industry.

Or third is the programming route. However, a couple of CS classes aren't going to cut it. I've seen many people get their foot in the door as an engineer or developer. Once again, passing the interview tests are very hard.

I hope this helps it's not an answer, but it's paths I have seen work.

May 30, 2020 - 5:39am

I go to a top ~20 school and was able to get interviews last year (including Citadel, PDT, DRW, IMC, HRT, BW, etc.) but I had a 3.6 GPA. Unfortunately at the start of next app cycle (new grad), I'll have a 3.3 GPA only. Will that affect me a lot? I'll have another SWE internship at a Unicorn, but I already had experience at 2 FAANG/equivalent companies + one well known but not as prestigious tech company as well. Also, have any ever asked for your transcript? I did really bad in one class that's a major class that pulled me down, which is why I'm asking.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - FI
May 29, 2020 - 10:34am

Fellow Hoya math major here. As someone who came from a middle class background/had no exposure to finance growing up, I wish I had known about the quant trading route. Definitely self selection as someone mentioned because everyone only talks about/goes into IB with some S&T/PWM sprinkled in. That being said, agree with previous posters that these shops are just looking for good talent and will absolutely look at you if you do well on coding tests. I have friends out of the CS dept who are at big tech/financial firms on quant side so I have no doubt they have the necessary skills. The only roles Jane Street/Two Sig directly recruit for here are HR/operational so you just have to do a little more leg work and put yourself out there. Gtown is definitely dedicating resources to expanding math/CS as they're rolling out new programs like the stats minor a few years ago and have some wonderful profs who are also active in the DC community (something we pride ourselves in across all depts).
Also you don't have to resort to this but we outsource our engineering program to Columbia via a 3-2 program, some people who decided too late to do SWE/DS/quant went this route and have also placed well.

May 30, 2020 - 12:08am

Thanks for the response! Definitely re-assured me. I think the school seems awesome and can't wait to be on campus in September (hopefully).

One question: I've finished -redacted-. Do you think the math dept. could accomodate me well during my four years? Do they allow undergrads to take graduate courses? Again, not totally sure that I want to go into math/quantitative work given my interest in IR and politics, but just wondering. Thank you.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - FI
May 31, 2020 - 10:55am

Absolutely. What you'll need in trading is stats/probability, so take those classes as your electives, boost your GPA with the pure maths classes you've already been exposed to, and take grad level classes with kids who usually go on to do econ PhD/accelerated 5 year masters in math. Find a prof in the stats dept early on to be your mentor/develop a relationship. Good luck and Hoya Saxa!

  • Analyst 1 in HF - EquityHedge
May 30, 2020 - 4:01am

really depends on the firm. I went to mit/caltech so there were a few firms that only recruited here Harvard and Princeton (5rings, etc). however a lot of traditional prop shops give almost everyone an interview so you just have to perform. I've found shops like DE Shaw/Jane Street/Citadel do tend to recruit out of top quant targets but first like 2Sigma are more open judging from my friends in the field and at school. Honestly, for quant roles, networking isn't going be effective or significant. you just have impress them (usually through math)

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