How to switch to finance? MFE worthwhile?

Google queensnyc
Jul 28 25 Comments

Worked at Google and financial institution as developer. I feel like dev job kind of boring thus would like some change with more fun. And here in nyc I worked on portfolio analytics team and developed strong interest in finance and seems buy-side or portfolio manager earn way much more in a long run.

So how to build portfolio manager career from tech/software/quantitative background? I guess the first step is to get "real finance" individual contributor role (like quant)? Then would MFE /master of financial engineering a good option for career switch, or at least be a quant?
Thx

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TOP 25 Comments
  • Goldman Sachs fake engineer
    MFEs are pretty useless IMO. It's not that the material is bad, the problem is it's primarily used by foreigners to get visa preference just like a lot of big CS masters programs. The quality of graduates from e.g. Columbia MFE is pretty poor from my experience, and they can only get an entry level role.

    You already have experience in portfolio analytics, that's super relevant. You'd probably drop a level relative to where you are at Google if you tried to go back to that but I think you can easily get your foot in the door. Right now the demand for strong developers is much higher than for quants who aren't as versatile SWEs like me :/ When you get to the job, absorb knowledge from the veterans and you'll be able to break into portfolio management.
    Jul 28 20
    • Google neweng1
      Self-study math and show the skill during interview? That’s it? Don’t need a Columbia/NYU finMath record on my resume to pass HR screen?
      Jul 29
    • Goldman Sachs fake engineer
      No, there's nothing you can do short of a full math degree to convince people you're good at math from your resume, so this is how you internally move from "pure software".

      As an example, a lot of MFE grads I talked to think a 100 level analysis or PDEs class is really abstract and difficult. There are plenty of math majors from good schools to hire instead of these guys.
      Jul 30
    • Google neweng1
      Hmmm so sounds like it’ll be better option to enroll into statistics or applied math master at Columbia or NYU? But I heard stuff like Columbia Statistics is even more like cash cows with extremely low hiring bar?
      Jul 30
    • Goldman Sachs fake engineer
      I would not enroll in statistics for the reason you mentioned.

      I am not a fan of going back to school if your career is already established. Internal transfers are so much easier.
      Jul 30
    • Google neweng1
      Cannot say enough thanks for the remind! Yes show the best performance and dig out opportunities inside!
      Jul 30
  • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
    You’re already in portfolio analytics. It’s ax close as it gets to portfolio management without actually being pm. Talk to the head trader and express your interest, be patient. One day one of the traders will leave, or they’ll need someone to help with... anslytics at the desk. They’ll reach out to you
    Jul 28 3
    • Google queensnyc
      OP
      Wait, right now my title is "software engineer", so you mean I could seek chance to be trader/quant by internal transfer? Sounds like I just need self-study and maintain my good performance and express interest later on? And further education is not necessary? (Of course even for education, it'll be just part-time degree)

      Also actually I'm asking about "long-term" career plan to be portfolio management, because I think this is senior position requiring management experience of many years. Such role should be quite different from individual contributor tech role (SDE/quant), right?
      Jul 28
    • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
      I’ve seen people doing this transition several times. It worked exactly like in my reply: they first expressed interest and they were working with traders in other capacities

      I’m sure I could easily switch if I wanted. Education is good but not strictly required
      Jul 28
    • Bloomberg DINE<GO>
      Portfolio manager is often a managing director position on the buy-side. Not something that takes a couple years. Takes about a decade assuming you started straight from undergraduate.
      Jul 29