Junior undergraduate at top school (think HYP) studying quantitative field. I've been fortunate enough to land summer offers with DE Shaw (trading), Two Sigma (quant research), and Citadel (itap - investment and trading associate program). I'm hoping to make a decision in the next two weeks.
Could anyone give me some advice on which offers I should pick? The factors I am considering are:
- Advancement - with little experience in finance, I want to learn as fast as possible - which place will help me advance the fastest?
- Median pay growth - don't think I will be a "superstar" performer at these places, so think this would be a valuable metric for me
- Reputation - i know the three funds are top quant funds, but for those in the industry, I would like some more specifics. afaik, Citadel is high turnover but very high pay, DE Shaw has the prestige of generally being "the quant fund" though recently has been declining, two sigma more unknown but recently has been growing in popularity with high returns
Choosing Between Quant Firm Offers
While the OP is in a great position with offers from 3 prestigious firms, it is a difficult choice to make between these three offers. While our users feel that all offers are strong options, our users suggest taking the Citadel offer over the others due to pay and the scale of the fund which also has different strategies. Our users discuss below:
User @xqtrack, a hedge fund analyst, also commented that the OP should follow the best fit:
Go where you felt the most at home with the people. they are what will matter. All 3 have stellar reps, all 3 are fairly broad and do more than just quant, and you can be successful at any of them. Since it's a summer offer, you probably could pivot to one of the other 2 if you don't like the one you pick for full time.
Citadel Careers Outlook
Our users shared that Citadel is the best known and has many strategies with the best pay.
All three pay pretty well, with Citadel being known for the highest. For Advancement, I would say: 1) Citadel 2) Two Sigma, and 3) DE Shaw -- simply because I know the first two have structured programs that help everyone while I am not THAT familiar with DE Shaw.
Citadel is your classic quant shop mega fund with many strategies being deployed simultaneously. The deal with Citadel is yes turnover is high and the exits are pretty good since everyone knows what you did or were doing there. That being said, you get some pretty amazing resources to do your work/research as well as some serious access to industry experts, or engineering programming, basically anything you can think of with little resistance. As far as reputation, these guys are known as the best.
Citadel is a household name and I think most people would say this is your best bet. The real selling point for me is that it has so many strategies. A lot of these places- some more than others- have prevalent internal mobility, so knowing that you can move around within Citadel's strategies until you find your fit is a huge plus. That said, you obviously have to excel in your first role, but with offers from all 3 of these firms I think you will.
Read more about Citadel on the WSO Company Database.
D.E. Shaw Careers Reputation
While our users had less to share about DE Shaw - our users disagreed with the belief that DE Shaw is falling in prestige status.
Finally, I haven't come across anything or anyone that suggests the prestige of DE Shaw is declining. As you alluded to, this shop has had, and still has, some of the brightest quant minds in the industry. I would hate to see you turn down DE Shaw because you felt it wasn't prestigious enough. Because it's known as the quant fund, many people might say it's the place to go to if you know for sure you want to do pure quant. As a college kid I think it might be a bit foolish to limit yourself to one HF strategy, but it's not like you're making a bad choice either way. I would personally be more attracted to the multiple platforms at Citadel.
Read more about D.E. Shaw on the WSO Company Database.
Two Sigma Internship Offer
Two Sigma remains a more unknown name in the hedge fund industry with a reputation for being highly entrepreneurial. Our users explain below.
Two Sigma. These are the "new kids on the street" taking quant science and the capital markets to the next level. While Citadel is heavily structured and focused on the markets, Two Sigma gets a bit more creative from what I understand. I heard they almost launched their own satellite to monitor parking lot volumes of Walmart and Target to determine activity/earnings... This could be fully made up, but it sounds creative compared to some of the stuff other HFs do. For reputation, Two Sigma is a bit under the radar... so not as well known. Almost everyone knows who Citadel is... No many know who Two Sigma are...
Two Sigma is a super interesting place to work. I've heard similar things about the uniqueness of their projects. I'd say that if you are more of the adventurous/entrepreneurial type then you should really look into this place, but if not, I think the prestige of Citadel and D.E. Shaw trumps Two Sigma. Again, I am more risk averse, and love the idea of having one of those two names on my resume over Two Sigma.
You can see how Two Sigma describes their strategy below.
Read more about Two Sigma on the WSO Company Database.
Read More About Prop Firms on WSO
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