Quant thread

Can we get a thread where the MBA weenies aren't allowed?  Quants only.

What's your education?  PhD or MS?  What fields are best?  CS, math, financial engineering, physics, signal processing?

How did you prepare to get a job or an internship?

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Comments (57)

May 7, 2021 - 11:19am

BA. I think CS, Math, and Physics are all very solid. Today I would say coding skills are very important regardless of your major/field, so if you don't study CS it is a good idea to take some classes there. Not a fan of financial engineering but some of those kids do place well, esp from Princeton.

For prep, I think it is important to know your basic statistics and probability, and have your linear regression formulas down cold. Some firms also do coding screens that aren't too dissimilar from those done by FAANG (but perhaps less heavy on algorithms/data structures). Beyond that, it has been my experience that questions will be tailored to your strengths. If you purport to be an ML whiz, you may get some questions accordingly. Also, if you're an experienced candidate you will obviously get questions on strategies that you've worked on in the past. 

May 10, 2021 - 3:56pm

Probably not much needed for the dev side, where CS skills (coding, algorithms, data structures) are more important. I think knowing Stat 101 level can be important, you'll want to know how to do things like calculate Variance in an online way. 

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May 13, 2021 - 7:29am

I think it's still trendy these days, and that the narrative that ML is useless for quant trading is overblown. Fitting a deep NN to daily returns certainly won't work (at least easily), but there are areas where it can add value, eg hierarchical clustering for portfolio construction, NLP for transcripts/news, etc. 

However, there is so much fluff and hype around ML/Data Science, and as a result there are many subpar candidates who fill their resume with buzzwords like LSTM, Attention, etc. Data Science courses also tend to be much less rigorous than say martingale theory as well. Thus I suspect those interviewers did a quasi Bayesian calculation p(good researcher | ML enthusiasm) < p(good researcher | preference for linear regression). 

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  • Anonymous Monkey
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May 7, 2021 - 12:22pm

I explored being a quant one time. Was thinking of getting a phd in math. Have some friends with phds in stats. I'm a fan of Jim Simons and the rest of the quant guys. I've read some of those books. Good stuff. I think a former roommate of mine is a quant at DB and have some friends who work at DESCO. Best wishes to all

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 10, 2021 - 8:15am

hey guys I have a friend who is interested in becoming a quant and has asked me for advice. I will be in IB and have no clue how to help him, could someone give me some resources I could share with him. 

May 13, 2021 - 7:25pm

I think the general narrative is that you can learn CS on your own (hell some of the best SWE's I know are self taught), but doing this with math is much harder. Think of it this way: The math motivates the what and why to do something, the CS is just the tool to let you do it.

"one for the money two for the better green 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine" - M.F. Doom

May 10, 2021 - 4:17pm

Hey hey big boi, don't diss on the MBAs. Moreover, don't even call yourself Quants lmao. Most of you are CS junkies who aren't actual Quants. Unless you know what a Ornstein-Uhlenbeck Operator is or even what a semimartingale is, you are a CS junkie, not a Quant.

May 10, 2021 - 5:01pm

See, you don't even know basic mathematics. Yet you are eager to call yourself a Quant.

Simons also doesn't hire people like you. He likes academics. You my good sir are a CS junkie like most others here. Physics employs heavy use of mathematics from elementary differential geometry to infinite dimensional stochastic analysis. Good Physics PhDs are well versed in mathematics. 

May 10, 2021 - 5:28pm

OU and semimartingales are standard fare, albeit not so useful unless you're doing options. 

There is nothing wrong with being a CS junkie, there is highly nontrivial mathematics in fields like machine learning and randomized algorithms. Agreed though that OP sounds like a newbie. 

May 10, 2021 - 5:40pm

Agree with you that there is nothing wrong with being a CS junkie, but there is also nothing wrong with being an MBA working in traditional/fundamental roles.

However, once OP started taking hits on MBAs, it became fair game. Thinking you're better than MBAs whilst being a CS junkie is wrong.

May 10, 2021 - 5:10pm

Chemistry w maths from a UK IB target good enough? Learning python if that helps and willing to self study probability modules at uni

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