Quant researcher after finance phd

Hi all,

I'm midway through my phd in finance at a top3 school and a few internal recruiters at funds like DE, citadel, twosigma, aqr etc have been reaching out for "informational" interviews.

how good are those roles? anything like a normal analyst does at a HF in terms of potential to become PM one day or I'd just be a glorified back office monkey?

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Aug 5, 2019

If they are for research roles those are all excellent firms/roles. The potential to become a PM is definitely there though quant firms don't have formal PMs as much. You'll just become a more senior researcher. Most quant firms have legacy strategies that they have been running for a while that you will simply be iterating on. You might get the title of "portfolio manager" at one firm that really just means "senior researcher" if that makes sense.

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Aug 5, 2019

That makes sense, thanks. Do you know if its possible to transition to more standard trader/analyst roles down the road when starting as a quant researcher? I don't really want to be writing code forever...

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Aug 5, 2019

By standard trader/analyst do you mean a fundamental trader/analyst role? Probably not. But if you don't want to be writing code you can probably do something like product strategy. AQR and firms like it will have people who will work with clients to formulate an investment solution that fits a specific objective. A product strategist would work with researchers/technology as well as clients and other folks to develop and implement the strategy. An example of this might be a new type of smart beta product or it could be related to ESG. Usually it relates to some portfolio construction thing.

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Aug 5, 2019

A lot of quant funds are actually hiring fundamental analysts (presumably the idea is to merge the fundamental analyst's fundamental understanding of markets/economics with the quantitative talent such as yourself from top PhD programs). Point is that it's definitely a possibility.

I'd say you can't go wrong with any of those firms you mentioned, so definitely take the interviews and see where you'd best fit in. And as far as "writing code forever," I'd say the more senior you get the more likely it is you take on a more "strategist" role, one that's not purely writing code, but rather combining your technical skills with your market intuition to generate ideas/profit.

Aug 5, 2019
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