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How Do I Become a Quantitative Analyst?

The ability to think analytically is essential to becoming a quantitative analyst.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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There are four steps required to become a quantitative analyst: post-secondary training, related work experience, apply for a job, and complete the job interview process. A quantitative analyst spends the majority of her day working with specially designed software programs. Using the data from financial transactions, the analyst applies numerical and quantitative statistical techniques to calculate risk, pricing, and other values for senior management. This role is unique to the finance or investment industry.

People who have an analytical thought process, enjoy working independently, and are comfortable exploring multiple scenarios find the greatest satisfaction in this type of work. Although quantitative analysts are expected to have presentation skills for meetings, the more important skill to have is an affinity for numbers. Attention to detail, discipline, and focus are all essential for anyone who wants to become a quantitative analyst.

The first requirement to become a quantitative analyst is to complete a post-secondary education program. University degrees in math, statistics, data management, or a related field are all suitable for this role. College programs typically do not provide the level of theoretical knowledge required to be an effective analyst. The vast majority to candidates have a master's degree in a quantitative field.

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Related work experience is often obtained through a job placement or cooperative education program. The research projects assigned to students provide a great opportunity to practice applying the concepts to actual data and attempting to provide an answer to others. Roles in the financial industry as a financial analyst or business analyst can provide helpful context when looking at the transactional data.

When applying for a job to become a quantitative analyst, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double-checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Research the company and determine if you are interested in pursuing this type of analysis. There is a wide range of options available within this field. As the volume and complexity of investment vehicles increase, new methods are required to track activity, minimize risk, and identify new opportunities.

During the job interview process, most banks have at least two rounds of interviews. The first round is with the human resources staff and is a preliminary interview. They have a standard list of questions and are looking for complete, concise responses.

The second round is with the department head and direct supervisor. Keep in mind that everything you say will be written down and reviewed. Think about your answers, stay calm, and focus on the skills you bring.

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anon339684
Post 3

I have to agree with David09. You cannot call yourself a quant if you don't have a solid background in coding. There is no way someone who can do complex statistical analysis qualifies for a job as a quantitative analyst. Most of these jobs require you to know mid-to-high level coding.

NathanG
Post 2

@David09 - I agree. I'd also like to point out that if you like working in high-powered settings, I think the quantitative analyst jobs are ideal for you.

A lot of these graduates get picked up by banks as well as big investment firms and accounting organizations. I think you’d definitely have plenty of room to move up the corporate ladder, especially if you’re good at what you do.

You’d also get to travel too as some of these corporations have offices in Asia and Europe as well. Furthermore, I heard from a friend that landing an internship might even be helpful in terms of paying for your college tuition.

She told me that if you intern with some banks, and they know you’re majoring in the field, they might offer to pay your college tuition. Of course, I’m sure that this would be contingent upon your agreeing to work for the bank upon graduation for a set term, which would be fine with most people I would think.

David09
Post 1

Although it’s not quite spelled out in the article, I think that a degree in computer science would be a good qualification for a job as a quantitative analyst.

I majored in computer science, and while much of the stuff we learned had to do with computers, the rest was math. It was raw, “plug and play” math if you will; calculus, statistics and stuff like that.

Math of course is foundational to the quantitative analyst job. However, most of these people work with computer software too.

I think it’s almost impossible to perform the job without software. So many of today’s complicated financial instruments like derivatives require rapid-fire, real-time calculations. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do that stuff in my head. At any rate the computer science degree would give you the added edge in that regard.

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