The qualification for a $125k 'strat job' on Wall Street
As we've observed plenty of times on this site, 'strats' (a kind of hybrid of quants, programmers, data scientists and traders) have become some of the most in-demand people in finance. Becoming a strat isn't easy: you'll need to be exceptionally good at math and exceptionally good at programming. It might help, too, to take a strat-focused qualification like a top masters in financial engineering course.
Carnegie Mellon University just released its employment report for graduates of its masters of science in computational finance course. 30% of the class of 2019 went into 'strats or modelling' jobs, with another 29% going into quant research and 15% going into trading. Nearly 60% work in investment banks, with the remainder on the buyside, in fintech, consultancies or insurance.
Entry-level pay is generous. In the first year of employment Carnegie's MSCF graduates earned an average of $125k in salary and signing on bonuses. The highest paid graduate earned a salary alone of $170k. 76% of graduates work in New York.
Richard Bryant, executive director of the MSCF program, said the course has changed significantly in the 25 years since its inception. "25 years ago, the program was all about the math needed for exotic derivatives and CDOs. Then, from 2007 to 2012 it was all about risk management. Since around 2013, the emphasis has been much more on data science and analytics, plus risk management and regulatory capital."
Bryant said high frequency traders and hedge funds are also very interested in the course graduates. "Our students are self-selected as interested in quantitative finance - they don't want to be a Google programmer (although a few end up that way) and this appeals to a lot of recruiters."
The course is heavily over-subscribed, with 1,000 applicants for 100 places. "We need highy motivated students with top grades from good institutions," says Bryant, adding that he also rejects applicants with poor communication skills. "We turn down some very strong uqants either because their English isn’t satisfactory or because how they present themselves is going to be a problem."
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