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Financial/Commodity Trading: which MSc? : Have a Physics BSc

  1. Sep 23, 2014 #1
    A programme was broadcast last week at 9pm on BBC2 entitled Traders: Millions by the Minute


    Of particular interest was the group of people based in London, who were being tested to determine if they had the ability to trade live with real money which belonged to the company in question.

    I would have some interest in this field. I shall be graduating with a BSc Physics degree, and was wondering which MSc would potentially help in this role?

    Possible options are:
    1) MSc Materials Science (lower Russell Group uni)
    2) MSc Advanced Composities & Polymers (ex-poly uni)
    3) MSc Computational Finance & Trading (lower Russell Group uni)
    4) MSc Plasma Physics (lower Russell Group uni)

    Concern with option 1): would a MSc Materials Science be of interest to trading employers?

    Concerns with option 2): this is not a Russell Group uni, also would this degree be of interest to trading employers?

    Concerns with option 3): potentially this course will be of little use outside trading if I later discover I'm not suited to trading (as was the case last night with one guy who had an MSc Business). Also, possibly no point taking this course if going to be working in the field, since probably need to work in the field to genuinely understand it.

    Concern with option 4): there are considerably more jobs available in the field of Materials Science than Plasma Physics, therefore MSc Materials Science more useful if looking for a non-trading job.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    The BBC2 doco was rubbish - do not make decisions based on it.
    Have a look at: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/08/quants-quantitative-analyst.asp
    To be employed as a quantitative analyst (say) you need a background in finance and a strongly quantitative science that uses computer models a lot. Some of the edgier companies may be taking risks on people from the endges of physics - but you'd basically have to know them to talk to first to get a look-see. There is no road-map for this stuff.
  4. Sep 23, 2014 #3
    Thank you Simon.
  5. Sep 23, 2014 #4
    That BBC documentary is such junk. If you think you can beat people devoting loads of resources and are in the know (ie have access to information you dont) at home you are a chump and should just buy a lotto ticket.

    Also these guys are in their "up" times and can say they are doing everything right but in a stochastic process some people are going to win no matter what they do but are just as likely to lose later.
  6. Sep 24, 2014 #5


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    I haven't watched the documentary but my advice is to work on whatever you enjoy the most! If you're truly good at a skill, there's a multitude of ways to get wealthy doing it, you probably don't want to be in finance if you're optimizing your career path for wealth anyway.

    If it helps, programming experience and the quality of your research publications will generally weigh in your favor more so than your specific specialization. Your mileage may vary depending on the actual firm that you're applying to.
  7. Sep 25, 2014 #6
    Thanks guys, I suppose one big issue I'd have with doing option 3) is that if I didn't go into trading that it would be a completely useless MSc in any other field.
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