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Quantitative Finance: closest thing to go back to Science for business student?

  1. Jul 4, 2011 #1
    I'm a 20 years old female, need some guidance from seniors. :)

    It's been my dream to work with rockets, propulsion, and everything related to outer space. In short: NASA. I understand that the competition in this field is fierce considering skills in numeracy (physics/math). I took Science stream with major in Physics in high school. My grade was good enough, 9 out of 10 although I never enter any competition due to financial difficulty. This issue was my obstacle to continue pursue Science in university. In the end I took Diploma in Banking and Finance, a cheap major yet credible enough.

    I'm aware that my shot to be a "rocket driver" :) is unattainable anymore, but I still want to work in that field (designing rockets, programming ISS, etc). Therefor, I need to keep my Math skill sharp (hence my decision to take quant finance). But also I cannot ignore the need to earn money. Not only for day-to-day living but also paying the loan for my study.

    From what I've heard, hedge fund managers is a lucrative job nowadays. Hedging involves mathematics quiet a lot, but I'm not sure with this fact. Is Quantitave finance worth enough considering my situation? Is this job/field stable enough for at least until 5 years later? (it takes 3 years for Bsc and hopefully I'll apply next year)

    And most important thing is, if after I finish Bsc and take Master in science, will there be a big gap between science/engineering and quant-fin in term of numerical skills? My experience is people from Science background study business/social science easier than business to science.

    If there's any alternatives, please share. Thank you :)

    ps: my A level further math is B. so math background is good.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2011 #2
    It's worth considering but there is no particularly reason to be focused on it.


    Except in specific situations, I think that people are better off not getting an MFE but rather getting either a straight degree in Masters Finance, business administration, CS, Statistics, Applied Math, or Economics.

    The problem is that if the market in QF changes, and you have a masters in statistics, you can do something else. If you just have an MFE, you are in trouble.
  4. Jul 5, 2011 #3
    Should I also consider university support programs such as compulsory mentorship/internship, overseas exposure, etc, or focus just on my preference, the market condition and academic advantage? Many Asian universities integrate these support programs heavily into their curriculum but I'm not sure if it's going to be useful in case I want to work in Europe/States.

    How handy is this route? I heard that physics is the safest bet.
  5. Jul 6, 2011 #4
    Having work experience in an international bank will help a lot.

    There are about a dozen different ways to get in. The problem with physics is that it's likely that you'll have to get a Ph.D. to be competitive, and if you want to do finance, physics is one of the least efficient ways to do it.

    The reason that there is this connection is that most of the people that go from physics to finance are more interested in physics than finance, and finance is a decent job for a physics geek. If you are not a physics geek, then you just make things hard for yourself.
  6. Jul 6, 2011 #5
    What's your advice? There are (too) many combination of degree today such as Applied Physics and Management Science/QF and Risk Management/Mathematical Science and Business Management, although Math and Eco/Applied Stats still can be found, but rarely and only in old and big universities. And how impressive Asian universities such as HKU, NUS, HKUST, especially in Europe (vs. Oxbridge, LSE, etc)?

    It blurs everything. What kind of quality should I have as a fresh graduate to impress people from IBD? I think in the end, it all comes down to the whole package instead of pure academic transcript.
  7. Jul 7, 2011 #6
    The good and bad news is that there are a dozen different ways of getting in. Do which ever you think that you will be good at.

    There is a pipeline from HKU, HKUST, and NUS into the major banks in Hong Kong and Singapore. Most graduates of those schools really don't have much of an incentive to look for work in London or NYC, since there are a lot of opportunities locally.

    It's important to be good at whatever your degree is in. Also, for technical positions, banks often prefer people with work experiences outside of finance.
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