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qwerty_phynatical


Total Posts: 14
Joined: May 2020
 
Posted: 2020-11-16 15:35
Hi,

1. What are the top 10 Mathematical Finance programs (or other Masters programs) in the UK, which are target schools for quant hedge funds and prop trading firms?
2. Is it true that the UK doesn't have a significant number of quantitative hedge funds or prop trading firms?
3. Are there any issues that you would want to warn me about, if I plan on pursuing an MSc in Mathematical Finance to get into quant funds/prop shops in the UK/EU?

I am not applying to the US because of the H1B lottery uncertainty and applying to the UK because of its upcoming 2 year post study work visa.

EspressoLover


Total Posts: 463
Joined: Jan 2015
 
Posted: 2020-11-17 21:49
Take what I say with a grain of salt. It's not like I've managed my own career that well. But why Mathematical Finance specifically? I'd go for a more portable degree, like CS.

I don't really think MathFin is going to help you that much in getting your foot in the door on the buyside. The curriculum's more oriented towards structuring and hedging derivatives, and the main demand for that skill are banks. Prop shops are almost certainly going to hire more CS grads, and quant funds are probably 50/50 at worse. The biggest consideration is that if you decide you don't like finance, CS gives you way more options outside the industry.

Good questions outrank easy answers. -Paul Samuelson

qwerty_phynatical


Total Posts: 14
Joined: May 2020
 
Posted: 2020-11-18 06:23
EspressoLover, thanks for responding.

I'm already few years out of undergrad, and I work as a quant in derivatives modeling at one of the top banks since ~20 months(think GS/MS/JPM). My plan is to do a 4 month pre Masters intern in a boutique quant investing fund before I go for the masters, if at all I go. For context, my current location is Asia, and I'm looking to move to the UK.
(1) Given my profile and strategy, do you still think I'll struggle getting interviews with HFs and prop shops?
(2) In the worst case scenario, I'm okay with taking up a role at a bank in the UK. While I'm there, I can work on building network, profile, etc. and switch to the buyside/prop trading later when I get a chance. But I at least get to change my location to the UK.

With respect to keeping more options open, I thought it was rather easy to interview with Google, FB, etc. for their SWE roles irrespective of your degree. SWE interviews have become so standardized, with fixed chunk of topics that you've to master to make it through. IMO doesn't make sense to get a CS degree just for that. If a prop shop wanted to hire me as a quant trader/researcher, they'd interview me irrespective of my Masters subject I guess. I don't want to do HFT developer/programmer type work. I think I'll do a CS degree only if I want to make use of its courses in future.

So earlier I was planning to apply to CMU MSCF, MIT MFin, Princeton MFin. But due to H1B uncertainty and the shitty immigration policies, coupled with UK's relaunching of 2 yr post study work visa, I'm shifting my focus from the US to the UK. So in some sense, I'm searching for the equivalents of CMU/MIT/Princeton MFin in the UK. So I'm applying to Mathematical Finance specifically because these are the ones that appear to be equivalents of the CMU/MIT/Princeton MFin programs in the UK.

Do you think that instead of MSc FinMath, Master of Finance might be a better degree for HF/prop roles? As per my research,
(1) Master of Finance programs in the UK are non-quant and at best can open doors for fundamental funds and not quant funds.
(2) Most quant funds end up hiring people with relevant experience or they hire PhDs that fit their requirements. I'm not sure myself what I can do apart from MSc FinMath to get interviews at quant funds in the UK. Any ideas on this front are most welcome.

silverside


Total Posts: 1425
Joined: Jun 2004
 
Posted: 2020-11-18 12:35
I agree with EspressoLover' comments

Master of Finance wouldn't be so relevant for what you want - possible more relevant for Investment Banking / stock analyst type roles

back in the day there are numerous threads comparing various MFinMath programmes , have a search - Warwick , Imperial, and City (London) had a good reputation

for buy side roles Big Data (Data Analytics) may be more sought after and this would also give you an in to Google/Facebook data roles ?


Maggette


Total Posts: 1271
Joined: Jun 2007
 
Posted: 2020-11-18 14:42
Dito that. Out of finance for a while, but I guess for prop shop like activities I would prefer CS,Math/Stats, Physics, OR or EE/Signal Processing. Especially since you already have a decent/good base in finance.

Ich kam hierher und sah dich und deine Leute lächeln, und sagte mir: Maggette, scheiss auf den small talk, lass lieber deine Fäuste sprechen...

Jurassic


Total Posts: 379
Joined: Mar 2018
 
Posted: 2020-11-18 15:04
@qwerty_phynatical if you already a quant in a large american bank, I'm surprised you cant get any interviews on the buy side

qwerty_phynatical


Total Posts: 14
Joined: May 2020
 
Posted: 2020-11-18 17:15
@Jurassic, that's because in the country that I live in (in South Asia), there is essentially no quant buy side :D

tabris


Total Posts: 1276
Joined: Feb 2005
 
Posted: 2020-11-18 23:24
"@Jurassic, that's because in the country that I live in (in South Asia), there is essentially no quant buy side :D"

Unless you live in some obscure country like Maldives which I don't think that is the case since you are at a large bank, I actually highly doubt this is the case. The problem is more like you don't actually know.

Dilbert: Why does it seem as though I am the only honest guy on earth? Dogbert: Your type tends not to reproduce.

tabris


Total Posts: 1276
Joined: Feb 2005
 
Posted: 2020-11-18 23:38
"(1) Given my profile and strategy, do you still think I'll struggle getting interviews with HFs and prop shops?"
Depends on your undergrad degree. If it is anything outside of EECS or applied math or stats there is very little chance you would get a look.

"(2) In the worst case scenario, I'm okay with taking up a role at a bank in the UK. While I'm there, I can work on building network, profile, etc. and switch to the buyside/prop trading later when I get a chance. But I at least get to change my location to the UK."
You and almost everyone at a bank thinks this way so you would need to distinguish yourself quite hard.

"(2) Most quant funds end up hiring people with relevant experience or they hire PhDs that fit their requirements. I'm not sure myself what I can do apart from MSc FinMath to get interviews at quant funds in the UK. Any ideas on this front are most welcome."
Get a useful masters degree like CS or stats as most other folks alluded to. Master of Finance is a fancy way of saying a slightly worse MBA...

Dilbert: Why does it seem as though I am the only honest guy on earth? Dogbert: Your type tends not to reproduce.

qwerty_phynatical


Total Posts: 14
Joined: May 2020
 
Posted: 2020-11-19 13:22
"Unless you live in some obscure country like Maldives which I don't think that is the case since you are at a large bank, I actually highly doubt this is the case. The problem is more like you don't actually know."

I live in India. There are maybe 2-3 firms here, but as I said in my first post I want to live in a first world country for a few years so it doesn't make sense to get into these firms in any case. If you are telling me that it is possible to get interviews at HFs/prop trading firms in EU/UK while I am here, I would love to know more. By the way, there are 2-3 prop trading firms in EU that sometimes do hire laterally from banks in India, and that's something I'm working on in parallel. But yeah, apart from that, switching laterally from this country to EU/UK is almost impossible.

"Depends on your undergrad degree. If it is anything outside of EECS or applied math or stats there is very little chance you would get a look."

Umm, I disagree with this. That's the same story I was told when I was just out of undergrad looking for roles. I got into my current role of derivatives modeling with a core undergrad degree (think Civil/Mechanical). I know seniors who did their undergrad in Mechanical, Chemical Engg, etc. and currently are PMs at discretionary relative value HFs, after their Masters in Finance. From what folks in the industry have been telling me, my work experience (which includes heavy use of math, stats, programming) will matter more than my undergrad degree.

sharpe_machine


Total Posts: 69
Joined: Feb 2018
 
Posted: 2020-11-19 14:41
> If you are telling me that it is possible to get interviews at HFs/prop trading firms in EU/UK while I am here, I would love to know more.

Citadel, GSA, Quadrature, Jump, HRT, Jane, XTX are the ones which would be happy to bring a person from anywhere in the world to London modulo a demonstrated skillset. I'm sure there are many more like them.

bandi_np


Total Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2020
 
Posted: 2020-11-19 16:03
Can you elaborate on the kind of profiles that these firms are looking for recently?

I tried to apply at Quadrature and got rejected directly and Jump didn't even reply (I have a related post here https://nuclearphynance.com/Show%20Post.aspx?PostIDKey=199797)

tabris


Total Posts: 1276
Joined: Feb 2005
 
Posted: 2020-11-20 00:01
"Umm, I disagree with this. That's the same story I was told when I was just out of undergrad looking for roles. I got into my current role of derivatives modeling with a core undergrad degree (think Civil/Mechanical). I know seniors who did their undergrad in Mechanical, Chemical Engg, etc. and currently are PMs at discretionary relative value HFs, after their Masters in Finance. From what folks in the industry have been telling me, my work experience (which includes heavy use of math, stats, programming) will matter more than my undergrad degree."

You can disagree all you want. Your confirmation bias and small sample size does not represent the truth nor does it reflect reality. You say you want to be in "quant hedge fund" and now you are disagreeing using your confirmation bias via PMs at discretionary relative value HFs. I am done here...

Dilbert: Why does it seem as though I am the only honest guy on earth? Dogbert: Your type tends not to reproduce.

qwerty_phynatical


Total Posts: 14
Joined: May 2020
 
Posted: 2020-11-20 10:52
@tabris
First, quant hedge funds can be both, discretionary and systematic. There are funds that deploy a PM who make the final trade decisions but is supplied with all kinds of information including quantitative signals.

Second, I'm not claiming any kind of truth. In fact I agree with you that statistically significant number of people who end up in these roles were from a EECS/stats/applied math, etc., but its not like there are 0% of people with other backgrounds. There are a lot of colleges that don't allow students to change their major like they are allowed in the US. So a lot of these students end up taking a lot of courses outside their major, and are sometimes even better at those topics than those who apparently had an EECS/math major. A lot of these firms do know that and dont end up making the stupid decision of blindly rejecting people without a specific degree name on their resume.

qwerty_phynatical


Total Posts: 14
Joined: May 2020
 
Posted: 2020-11-20 11:14
@sharpe_machine

Yes, I've seen people move from India to GSA, Optiver, Flow Traders. I did ask an alumnus from my college who is quite senior at Citadel - they don't look for people outside the UK since they have enough talent in the local market to hire from. I guess they would be willing to interview someone incase that person has a stellar profile and pushes really hard through their connections to land an interview.

I haven't seen Jane, HRT, XTX hire someone from around here, even directly from undergrad. But I guess no harm in trying.

sharpe_machine


Total Posts: 69
Joined: Feb 2018
 
Posted: 2020-11-20 14:07
> I did ask an alumnus from my college who is quite senior at Citadel - they don't look for people outside the UK since they have enough talent in the local market to hire from.

This contradicts my own experience. Plus quickly searching over LinkedIn proves it even further.

> and pushes really hard through their connections to land an interview

Well, I am not saying connections do not matter... But generally quant-y jobs (=QR, QD, SWE) are more about skills and performance on the junior-mid levels. Surely, to reach a D/MD level you need to be well-connected, but at the beginning it is mostly about skills and decent track-record in academia or past jobs.

My suggestion is to contact a reputable recruitment firm which works directly with the firm you are interested in (for example, it is pretty easy to find HHs for Citadel, Quadrature, GSA) and ask for a color. It is their job to manage connections with interested people.

qwerty_phynatical


Total Posts: 14
Joined: May 2020
 
Posted: 2020-11-21 06:37
> This contradicts my own experience. Plus quickly searching over LinkedIn proves it even further.

I see a lot of SWE who got into Citadel UK from outside the country. Will search more to see if I can find researchers/quant traders making the same shift.

> My suggestion is to contact a reputable recruitment firm which works directly with the firm you are interested in (for example, it is pretty easy to find HHs for Citadel, Quadrature, GSA) and ask for a color. It is their job to manage connections with interested people.

Exactly. I thought the same - HHs would give me a better idea of overseas hiring. BTW, any tips when talking to these HHs? Like you can talk informally to them, or you shouldn't reveal all your cards? Or any other general advice?

nuprin


Total Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2009
 
Posted: 2020-12-03 12:18
@qwerty - just two points of advice:
1) You have been given spot-on advice, by people who are actually doing what you want to do, and by the likes of things, are extremely successful at it. Please take the time to stop and reflect on the generosity + wisdom being shared with you, by the previous posters on this thread.
2) I graduated from an MF program (a MF-ing expensive one :) ). And while I don't completely regret it, I can say from experience that I think there is absolutely no value-add from you attending one in your situation, given you're already working at a bank, which is what the MF programs tend to feed.

EDIT: just saw this thread is >10 days old :)

Maggette


Total Posts: 1271
Joined: Jun 2007
 
Posted: 2020-12-03 13:29
MF program is waste of time if you want to work in for one of the fancy prop shops or smaller HFs. Or commodity trading operations.

Maths, Physics, CS, Operations Research or an good Engineer. Like EE or Aerospace Engineering. I even would prefer to hire from the "bastard" programs like Biophysics, Bioinformatics or Computational Neuroscience.

Of course if your extra curriculum activities show you have interest in doing practical hands on work (contribution to open source projects, competitions, even Kaggle competitions...) you might get considered.

Other than that I do not see a single reason why anybody else like the retard HR department of a big bank would consider you. Sorry. Just being honest.

And like many people already told you: you should reconsider your approach a bit. Let me put it that way. Somebody like tabris knows his shit. On this board we tend to add disclaimers to our post when our knowledge is outdated or our sample size is small. If tabris doesn't do so, your first assumption should be: tabris is right, I am wrong.



Ich kam hierher und sah dich und deine Leute lächeln, und sagte mir: Maggette, scheiss auf den small talk, lass lieber deine Fäuste sprechen...
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