Computer Science or Math/Economics degree to break in as a Quant?

CalvinKlein's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 7

Alright guys I am a community college student who got accepted to Brown University for Computer Science, and also University of Pennsylvania for Computer Science also. For Math/Economics I got accepted to UCLA and for Computer Science/Business Administration I got accepted to USC.

  1. I was wondering for undergrad, what school do you think will be most advantageous for me to break in the industry as a Quant? I've already finished 3 semesters of Physics and also Linear Algebra with Differential Equations. I can also create applications for the apple store, I don't know if that helps.
  2. As a transfer, am I at a disadvantage when it comes to getting a job in the finance world?
  3. If you were me, what route would you go?

Thanks.

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Comments (11)

May 9, 2017

Penn CS. It's the most rigorous of the programs listed. Having a coding background will give you a pretty big edge as a quant (most quants, in my experience, are research-oriented coders, as opposed to people who can build maintainable pieces of software).

You should still take math and econ courses, though.

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May 10, 2017

Is it better to get a job at a software startup, then go get my masters in financial engineering and apply to a hedge fund, or try to first get a job at an investment bank because Hedge Funds don't look at bachelors? What route should I take?

May 13, 2017

You don't have to plan it out right now. There will be many doors open to you as a Penn comp sci major. I know people from that program that have gone into start-ups, established tech companies, investment banking, and quantitative finance.

Since you seem to be interested in quantitative finance, I know a couple of people that have gone directly to Two Sigma / Citadel from Penn on the quant side (lots of people go to Two Sigma on the software side, but that's presumably not what you want to do).

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Best Response
May 10, 2017

Agree with Penn CS. All the major quant shops recruit at Penn. Take classes at Wharton in finance/statistics. What a great opportunity.

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May 10, 2017

Completely agree with @Ace Rothstein. To answer question #2, no it shouldn't as I was an undergrad transfer back in the day. If you're doing two years opposed to three at whichever school you select you'll just have to hit the ground running immediately to work on securing solid internships.

"We listen, if it feels good we shake."
"This town is nuts, my kind of place."
-WSMFP

May 10, 2017

Where should someone like me try to get internships as a Computer Science Major? Investment Banks, Hedge Funds, or ?

May 10, 2017

S&T or a Hedge Fund would be a good spot. Especially if you want to be a quant.

"We listen, if it feels good we shake."
"This town is nuts, my kind of place."
-WSMFP

May 13, 2017

Regarding the school choice, Like others said, I agree with Penn.

Also, beyond a perfect GPA, there is two things that are important to asses in your resume before you finish grad school and enter the job market:
- 1: Your adaptability to a quant environement : Mastering several quant languages (python+C+sql being a good start), working on dev projects (managing Git, sticking to a project workflow, etc...), mastering basic analytical statistics and pricing-models.
- 2: Your edge: Point 1 just makes you acceptable. To enter a HF you need to be above average in at least one specific field. That can be AI in its several aspects, that can be market-microstructure, that can be pricing-models (well no that much anymore today, but used to be).

That in mind, I would try to work on part 1 with a tech intership, not necessarily in finance, but at least data oriented in a dev team. And part 2 with taking as much as possible statistics classes and putting lots of effort in your thesis in a well chosen finance topic.

May 13, 2017

CS and Stats would be ideal. Definitely not econ.

May 13, 2017