Monday, August 06, 2007

Quant resume

Anyone looking to hire a PhD quant? Someone I know is moving from theoretical physics to finance. Below is a partial resume. The candidate is 100% fluent in both English and Mandarin, easygoing, hardworking and a nice guy. I've edited a little to preserve privacy.

I guarantee you, he is at least as smart as this guy.

For you youngsters in physics, please read this.

Quantitative Qualifications

9+ years of advanced experience in Monte Carlo simulation of complex processes and parameter determination

7+ years of experience in constructing models to fit to a large data set and explain anomalous phenomena

Financial readings: John Hull’s “Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives”, Martin Baxter and Andrew Rennie’s “Financial Calculus”, and Salih Neftci’s “Introduction to Mathematics of Financial Derivatives”

Familiar with binomial models, Ito’s lemma, Black-Scholes, interest rate derivatives, bond pricing, volatility estimation, modern portfolio theory, and CAPM

Solid knowledge of mathematics and statistical techniques: Monte Carlo simulation, Linear Regression, Maximum Likelihood Method, Neural Networks, Linear Programming Methods, and Fourier Analysis

Proficiency in FORTRAN, Mathematica, Matlab and FORM. Working knowledge of C++, Java, and Perl


Ph. D. in Theoretical Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison (UW), August 2001, GPA: 3.9/4.0, with Mathematics minor

Professional Experiences

2004-Present: Postdoctoral research associate at [major research university]

Proposed and constructed extensions to the Standard Model of particle physics to fit to a very large set of experimental data, using linear regression

Used maximum likelihood method to constrain parameters of a new force carrier

Numerically solved correlated second order differential equations for renormalization flows to explain the convergence of three gauge interactions

Calculated resonance production cross sections of the Majorana neutrinos with Importance Sampling Monte Carlo integration

Conjectured a new weakly interacting particle to explain an anomaly in experimental data and suggested new processes to test the conjecture

2001-2004: Postdoctoral research associate at the Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL

Performed a state of the art high order calculation of the production probability of a supersymmetric (SUSY) particle. Combined both analytical and numerical evaluations to achieve singularity cancellation and integrated over multi-dimensional phase space using Monte Carlo

Proposed new ways of breaking large Lie groups in higher space dimensional models and constructed the first dynamical breaking of SO(10) group via deconstruction

Designed the best way to determine one of the most important SUSY parameters with different experimental input

1997-2001: Research assistant at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Led several projects in calculating production probabilities of Higgs boson and SUSY particles

Wrote the standard reference in determining the SUSY charge and parity violating phase through electric dipole moments. Sampling of up to 26 dimensional parameter space was done using Monte Carlo simulation

Solved Einstein’s equation in high dimensional Anti de Sitter space


28 scientific papers published in top international journals, with more than 590 citations

4 papers in conference proceedings


Anonymous said...

As a relatively young guy in physics, I followed your link and read your posts and the essay by Dr. Katz. I really don't know what he's talking about. From what I've seen, there're lots of jobs for experimental condensed matter physicists out there and some of them pay quite well. I think his claims only apply to some areas of theoretical physics, not all of science. As for the money issue, I'm familiar with several scientists who've started successful companies with their research and made millions. While they may be the exception, people can nonetheless still make an excellent living in science.

steve said...

I don't think prospects are nearly as bad for experimentalists as for theorists.

Among theorists, there are many people with excellent credentials (see resume in post) that are not able to find permanent (faculty) jobs in physics.

I think it's important that professors are honest with students as to what career prospects are really like.

Anonymous said...

What if, the Financial Engineering market is just as competitive, and demands just as high standards of excellence, as the Theoretical Physics market ...

steve said...

Apparently not, since the majority of PhDs in theoretical physics from my generation left the field (most unable to find permanent positions; counting alone tells you that's the case), and the majority of those who left have been quite successful in finance. Of course it is possible that the two fields are selecting for entirely different abilities, but I don't think that's true (slightly but not entirely different).

As far as I can tell, and I have reasonably large statistics by now, the *typical* theory PhD has more than enough ability to succeed as a quant, whereas the typical theory PhD has little chance of getting a faculty job.

Anonymous said...

Some more readings for him: "Dynamic Asset Pricing Theory" by Duffie, "Robust Libor Modelling" by Schoenmakers (especially if he's interested in the fixed income space)

Tell him not to be too afraid of cold calling (or, if you fear seeming too intrusive, cold e-mailing). My first job came from doing just that, and I'm far less qualified than this guy.

Anonymous said...

The 3 crucial texts I found in making the transition between my (theory) physics PhD and being a quant were Duffie's DAPT, Lipton's 'Mathematical Methods in Foreign Exchange' and Brigo and Mercurio's 'Interest Rate Model's - Theory and Practice'. I recommend to anyone making the physics - quant transition to do whatever is required to read and understand every line of those three texts. IMHO, the payoff for working as carefully as possible through those 3 texts is enormous.

That said, your guy will have no problem making a career in finance. It will take time to find a position but, he'll find one. To land that first job, I'd recommend 1. getting started on the above texts ASAP, 2. getting in touch with some professionals online such as at the books and career forums Mark Joshi has on his page ( and 3. Start building pricing codes in Java / C++ that includes the normal xlw addin /interfaces that are standard to the industry.

The last exercise will determine several things about what kinds of 1st jobs are possible.


Anonymous said...

I am looking for a PhD Quant to work in NYC. Here is the job description.

Please email me at

Anonymous said...

Templar Pacific Executive Search Hong Kong is looking for:
Quant, 1-3 years experience to work on IR Exotics Desk in Hong Kong, must have hands on experience as Quant in IR Exotics.

IRD Structurer; Hong Kong, fresh grad with engineering degree chinese speaking will most useful.
Only relevant CV's considered

Concerned Reader said...

You complain on one hand that you only exercise half your capabilities at your finance job, so what are you doing the rest of your day? Einstein developed his theory while working as a clerk. What have you done? Einstein didn't need a scholarship or tenure position to come up with his theories so what the heck do you need? It's not like you require access to high-tech equipment. You spent years getting a PhD in theoretical physics and can't get a tenured position so you complain and put down other professions as intellectually beneath you. How petty. If you are so damn smart, apply your theoretical physics (if that is possible) to find a cure for cancer.

Lisa Flynn said...

Have you ever thought of applying to teach online? I work for an online University, Western Governors University. We have a faculty position open in the Business College on the Quantitative Analysis team if you are interested check out the posting (Quantitative Analysis Course Mentor) at:

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