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Morning Coffee: The 27 year-olds getting chased by hedge funds, and how to become one

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Is it a while since someone called you to offer you a new job? Since a recruiter gave you a special gift? Since your employer gifted you tickets to a sold-out show? You’re in the wrong area of finance. If you were in a highly quantitative role, you’d be getting all this and more.

So suggests the Wall Street Journal in the latest instalment of its series on the resurgence of quants.

A 27 year-old quant associate working on risk systems at a large financial-services firm in New York, tells the WSJ that she’s fighting off the recruiters. Between three and five of them call her every week, touting offering jobs at "other finance firms" and tech companies.

A recruiter tells the WSJ that he “love-bombs" quantitative candidates with golf lessons and “private dinners” with tech firm founders.

And it also reports that hedge fund Citadel is gifting its quantitative employees with tickets for Hamilton in Chicago and New York.

For a breed of finance employee widely vilified for causing the financial crisis not so long ago, quants have become inordinately popular. And as the example above shows, it’s not just banks who want to hire them. It’s also hedge funds. And it’s tech firms like Google and Facebook. Along with every other company with a need to analyse data.

“Google is trying to hoover up every data scientist in the world,” the chief executive of Man Group confides to the WSJ, adding that even Man can't compete with Google in terms of pay. If you're looking for the most sought-after spot in finance and tech, the data scientist/quant is it.

Separately, and more pertinently, how do you become one of these people every bank wants to hire? The traditional route has been to do a PhD, but a growing number of Masters courses prepare students for data science jobs too. The hotly pursued quant studied Maths at Chicago and Columbia, followed by the comparatively new Master in Information and Data Science degree at Berkeley.

If you're based in Europe, however, you might want to consider Imperial College. The Financial Times reports that the London University College started an MSc in business analytics three years ago and has already achieved some exciting things - including a visualization depicting a tendency to accumulate senior staff at the Royal Bank of Canada.


Magnetar, a hedge fund once known for its discretionary investment strategy, has "gone quant" and is now 20% comprised of technologists. (WSJ)

At Google: "A male Googler drank excessively at an offsite event and touched a few different female Googlers in a manner that made them uncomfortable, made inappropriate comments, and followed two women back to their hotel room and told them 'I'm following you.'" (Bloomberg) 

If you want to be a tech entrepreneur you must do your MBA at Stanford. At the typical business school, some 3% of recent MBAs start a business upon graduation. At Stanford, it’s about 16%. (Bloomberg) 

The worst thing about interviewing at tech firms: "Imagine being brought into a room with a complete stranger, being handed a mysterious algorithm, then being told to implement and analyze it within 45 minutes while said stranger evaluates your ability to do it." (Business Insider)

Blackrock's begun benchmarking its benefits against tech companies. (BenefitsNews) 

Bank of America's been shaking up its U.S. high-touch equities trading business. (Bloomberg) 

Rothschild's new U.S. boss, Jimmy Neissa, keeps hiring. He just added three new senior M&A bankers in NY and one in LA. (Financial News) 

Crispin Odey still thinks UK stocks will slump 80% after Brexit. Too many Britons have borrowed money they can't pay back. (Bloomberg) 

Your brain will eat itself when you're chronically sleep deprived. Literally. (New Scientist) 



AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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