Optimal level of education for quant roles

Does a bachelors, a masters, or a PhD offer the best opportunities as a quant?  Also, what do you think is the best major?  CS, stats, math, or physics?

Hedge Fund Interview Course

  • 814 questions across 165 hedge funds. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
  • 11 Detailed Sample Pitches and 10+ hours of video.
  • Trusted by over 1,000 aspiring hedge fund professionals just like you.

Comments (4)

Oct 23, 2021 - 11:33am

AFAIK bachelor is perfectly fine for quant trading, but it's hard to get quant research at prop shops / hedge funds without at least a masters, majority will have PhD. Certainly superstar undergrads who already have solid publications can get research positions, but even then idk if there might still be a glass ceiling for someone without a PhD?

For bank quant MFE is probably fine.

Edit: ideal major is some amalgamation of math (probability, stochastics, optimization, numerical methods), stats (theoretical, applied) and cs (algos/data structures, machine learning). Physics is also chill if you're willing to practice probability a lot. But I don't know anybody who did well after picking one of these majors specifically to go into finance, if you don't actually enjoy solving difficult quantitative problems you'll almost definitely fail to put in the work to get good enough to be hired, and you will definitely be miserable.

Most Helpful
Oct 23, 2021 - 12:04pm

I think as long as you are sufficiently quantitative and can program (to a reasonable level) any 'quant' major can work (ex: stats, math, physics, cs, etc). All in all, you will get the most opportunities as a PhD, but if you can get job opportunities after undergrad, there is no reason not to use that as an opportunity to get in the door. I would say by my observation (somewhat subjective though) that there really isn't a 'glass ceiling' based on degrees if you are in a PNL generating role whether performance is fairly clear, although there may be if its one of those 'academic' firms where pedigree has positive externalities unrelated to your personal performance. Although, as a general rule, for alpha/signal generating type roles, PHD's tend to have more success (hard to tell if more correlation, ex: people who do PHD's were already better at research, or causation, ex: doing a PHD makes you better at research). Likely its a bit of both.

Nov 10, 2021 - 2:21am

Dolor distinctio vitae in corrupti alias. In provident perspiciatis totam totam nostrum vel qui accusamus.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

November 2021 Hedge Fund

  • Vice President (20) $488
  • Director/MD (10) $359
  • NA (5) $306
  • Portfolio Manager (7) $297
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (21) $288
  • Manager (4) $282
  • 2nd Year Associate (28) $241
  • Engineer/Quant (52) $238
  • 1st Year Associate (64) $187
  • Analysts (195) $166
  • Intern/Summer Associate (17) $122
  • Junior Trader (5) $102
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (215) $82