{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Should I have been a quant? Was a USAMO level math competitor as a kid, but fell out of that world after being sick of it all. \n\nAfter two years of aligning logos and models at an IB, I’m in an enviable place — but still earning less than some of my former peers who’re at Citadel and Jane Street, with worse hours. I like the work I do now, but it’s kind of frustrating that I’m never really using the skills I was once world class at. \n\nIs the grass actually greener?", "post_id": "616615b948168e002b9cd69b", "reply_count": 5, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "553769a790f5eebe1d2a0f92", "bowl_name": "Finance" }

Should I have been a quant? Was a USAMO level math competitor as a kid, but fell out of that world after being sick of it all. After two years of aligning logos and models at an IB, I’m in an enviable place — but still earning less than some of my former peers who’re at Citadel and Jane Street, with worse hours. I like the work I do now, but it’s kind of frustrating that I’m never really using the skills I was once world class at. Is the grass actually greener?

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Do you mean you earn less than peers at citadel who are doing quant? Or fundamental? I’m someone who set out to be a quant but ended up switching to fundamental investing this year. Worked as a risk quant (only required stats/programming) before deciding to apply to MFE to up my math background; then decided that 1) the bar is higher for quant than fundamental investors; and 2) quant models didn’t do very well in tail events like COVID. I switched to real assets PE and am now in later stages with one of the top HFs for a L/S equity role. So my anecdote is that you could skip formal fundamental work experience and still get an investment seat if you can craft a pitch. Can’t skip MS PhD if you want a quant seat. And the upside is unlimited at both, so why spend time and $ on higher ed? I also think direct market exposure is more useful than academia.

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I am not saying the bar is low. Getting into Citadel/millenium/P72 is hard. But they are more open to those with investment ideas even without the “right background.” I never did ER/banking but I can build models and generate ideas. I was also self taught in machine learning and can build those models but always got the feedback that quant funds strongly preferred MS/PhD candidates who know 3 programming languages. Higher ed could be right for others, but I don’t want to spend another 5 years being drowned in theories. At the end of the day, investors outperform on creativity and business acumen. You can hire others to build/implement technical models but you need ideas on what the models do.

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Trading and algorithmic strats are very different, which are you looking at?

Yes, it is greener. WLB isn’t great (55 hrs/wk on average), but blows banking out of the water, and I have my weekends to myself. I considered banking in college but definitely made the right decision in hindsight. If you were USAMO level, you should have no problem getting interviews/offers from those trading shops (provided that you review concepts since you’ll probably be rusty). Happy to refer you if you pm me.

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