Preparing for a career in quantitative finance requires motivation, drive and desire. Cultivate these qualities as you pursue summer internship possibilities, so you can use them in the future.
You will be working in a dynamic, challenging and fast-paced environment and putting in long hours – most likely as an intern, just as you would as an employee – but the long-term rewards and financial compensation far outweigh this effort.
Follow these tips as you seek your dream summer internship position:
Investment banks, hedge funds and myriad other organizations are on the lookout for new math and programming talent. It’s a wise choice to keep your options open.
- Be flexible about what you want to do. For instance, you may want to consider interning in risk management or analytics instead of sales and marketing, which is the first choice for many candidates.
- Investment bank or fund? It may be trickier, but more worthwhile, to secure an internship at a fund. Whether the topic is openly discussed or not, there is a perceived hierarchy in finance – and working at a fund is seen as more prestigious. And, it’s easier to transition from a fund to a bank than vice versa.
- Cast a wide net. Invest time to work on your internship applications. Apply to as many companies as you can, both on- and offline.
Be proactive as you network. Students who take this initiative are not forgotten by movers and shakers in their field. Go to as many conferences, workshops and professional events as possible.
- Collect business cards and distribute your own. Talk to as many people as possible, at firms of all sizes and varieties.
- Build your LinkedIn network and database of friends and connections.
- Ask about student discounts. Many organizations offer them as they seek to build their membership bases and put out feelers for prospective talent.
Demonstrate Your Knowledge
When you land an interview for that coveted internship, be ready to showcase your quant expertise. No one is going to ask you to code a finite differencing scheme or solve stochastic differential equations. However, it will behoove you to emphasize coursework and other expertise in areas including:
- Values such as the S&P and Dow Jones Indexes, VIX, EUR/USD, CAD/USD, the company’s stock and market cap, Fed Funds rate, 6-month and 10-year US Treasury Yields, 10-year Bund Yield, WTI Oil, copper, and the latest employment data.
It also will be helpful if you:
- Can pitch a stock. This is especially relevant in sales and trading positions.
- Have a real-time feel for current events. Read The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.
- Demonstrate product knowledge. At the internship level, this translates to familiarity with CDS, IR swaps, Vanilla (American and European) options, Asian options, Barrier options, corporate bonds, MBS, CDO, equity, futures and forwards.
As you prepare to launch your quantitative finance career, it is critically important to make the right choices. If you are looking for a great job opportunity after graduating, consider partnering with the recruitment experts from Select Group, Inc. We specialize in quant and related areas, and you can benefit from our market intelligence, industry databases and vast expertise. Contact us today for more information.