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Old 13-04-2016, 12:33 PM
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Default Quant Finance Jobs in Asian Bank

I am finishing my Ph.D. in Computer engineering from Nanyang Technological University and need to get my feet in the door. I am interested in areas of interest rate derivative, options pricing, valuation models, stochastic finance etc. along with coding.

I am particularly interested in Asian banks, or banks with a large presence in my preferred locations (Singapore and Hong Kong). Although I am a fresher, I hope to learn and progress fast enough.

My top choice is DBS, which I know has some quants in investment banking division, but I am not sure about the application process. I shot an email to their HR, but they sent a canned reply pointing me to the management/graduate associate programs, without making clear whether they are really the ones for quant positions. From some career talks at my university, I figured those programs are more for front-end, customer-facing positions, targeting general undergrads.

So some lead to any specific position (DBS or elsewhere, but preferably Singapore) or guidance in the application process will be really helpful. Cheers!

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Old 13-04-2016, 02:19 PM
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I am finishing my Ph.D. in Computer engineering from Nanyang Technological University and need to get my feet in the door. I am interested in areas of interest rate derivative, options pricing, valuation models, stochastic finance etc. along with coding.

I am particularly interested in Asian banks, or banks with a large presence in my preferred locations (Singapore and Hong Kong). Although I am a fresher, I hope to learn and progress fast enough.

My top choice is DBS, which I know has some quants in investment banking division, but I am not sure about the application process. I shot an email to their HR, but they sent a canned reply pointing me to the management/graduate associate programs, without making clear whether they are really the ones for quant positions. From some career talks at my university, I figured those programs are more for front-end, customer-facing positions, targeting general undergrads.

So some lead to any specific position (DBS or elsewhere, but preferably Singapore) or guidance in the application process will be really helpful. Cheers!
Those who are interested in banking quant jobs already got all the relevant internships and settle on their networks & sponsors earlier on. I think you are a bit late to almost finish PhD then start asking for application process.

How come never do the necessary homework during your school days?

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Old 13-04-2016, 02:52 PM
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My top choice is DBS, which I know has some quants in investment banking division, but I am not sure about the application process. I shot an email to their HR, but they sent a canned reply pointing me to the management/graduate associate programs, without making clear whether they are really the ones for quant positions.
That is DBS HR polite way of saying that they are not interested in you. In fact they see you as no different from a business bachelor grad when they ask you to apply for MAP.

You must bring something extra to the table besides just saying you have a PhD. Have you taken part and won anything in competitive banking or finance related initiatives? Any portfolio or prototype vetted by industry panels that can be used to pitch?

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Old 13-04-2016, 02:52 PM
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Those who are interested in banking quant jobs already got all the relevant internships and settle on their networks & sponsors earlier on. I think you are a bit late to almost finish PhD then start asking for application process.

How come never do the necessary homework during your school days?
Thanks for the reply even though it is more judgmental than helpful.

The "necessary homework" did not include an internship because we, the Ph.D. students, are "employed" by our department throughout the year, for conducting research and teaching. We do not get summer and winter off like the undergraduates. I viewed my Ph.D. as a full-time job. As for the network, I had a few sessions (organised by my university) with people from J. P. Morgan, Barclays etc. but perhaps you know dedicated networking courses, sessions etc. are not parts of the Ph.D. curricula, unlike the MBA folks. That said, I have networks via collaborations, joint publications etc. in the academia and research community, who unfortunately do not belong to the finance industry.

I do not want to sound boastful, but I believe my CV justifies my four years for a Ph.D. at least in terms of skills acquired and some research publications. So anyway, my question is still unanswered about applications to DBS etc. If you have any information regarding that, particularly whether they recruit freshers without internship (but with good knowledge of finance, mathematics and coding) I will be grateful.

And most Ph.D.s from my university or NUS etc. are exactly in a similar stage, without an internship because Ph.D. is a job.
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Old 13-04-2016, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TheSpartanguy View Post
I am finishing my Ph.D. in Computer engineering from Nanyang Technological University and need to get my feet in the door. I am interested in areas of interest rate derivative, options pricing, valuation models, stochastic finance etc. along with coding.

I am particularly interested in Asian banks, or banks with a large presence in my preferred locations (Singapore and Hong Kong). Although I am a fresher, I hope to learn and progress fast enough.

My top choice is DBS, which I know has some quants in investment banking division, but I am not sure about the application process. I shot an email to their HR, but they sent a canned reply pointing me to the management/graduate associate programs, without making clear whether they are really the ones for quant positions. From some career talks at my university, I figured those programs are more for front-end, customer-facing positions, targeting general undergrads.

So some lead to any specific position (DBS or elsewhere, but preferably Singapore) or guidance in the application process will be really helpful. Cheers!
I'll be keeping a look out on this thread. This is the path I wanted to take so update me on your progress. Here's what I know.

Usually PhD in quant subject, namely math, physics, computer science, enter banks at Associate level, usually with a title of quantitative analyst or quantitative researcher. They want your familiarity with graduate level math - stochastic calculus, measure theory - to price their derivatives. So I'll say it's possible. Also, with PhD, I think good chance you can check out the MNCs - Goldman, Stanley and JPM.

Update me on how things work out.
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Old 13-04-2016, 03:02 PM
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Thanks for the reply even though it is more judgmental than helpful.

The "necessary homework" did not include an internship because we, the Ph.D. students, are "employed" by our department throughout the year, for conducting research and teaching. We do not get summer and winter off like the undergraduates. I viewed my Ph.D. as a full-time job. As for the network, I had a few sessions (organised by my university) with people from J. P. Morgan, Barclays etc. but perhaps you know dedicated networking courses, sessions etc. are not parts of the Ph.D. curricula, unlike the MBA folks. That said, I have networks via collaborations, joint publications etc. in the academia and research community, who unfortunately do not belong to the finance industry.

I do not want to sound boastful, but I believe my CV justifies my four years for a Ph.D. at least in terms of skills acquired and some research publications. So anyway, my question is still unanswered about applications to DBS etc. If you have any information regarding that, particularly whether they recruit freshers without internship (but with good knowledge of finance, mathematics and coding) I will be grateful.

And most Ph.D.s from my university or NUS etc. are exactly in a similar stage, without an internship because Ph.D. is a job.
I don't doubt your PhD knowledge. I affirm that dedicating 4 years to learning a technical subject gives you more in depth knowledge which will be applicable to industry. I'm just a comp sci degree holder and where I'm based, it's understood that the PhDs create the models and the comp sci degree's implement them.

Specific to computer science, it's something like you devising an algorithm to improve run time from O(n^2) to O(n) and I implement it in C# because I sure as hell can't do what you did.

How did the networking with Barclays and JPM go? I'm sure they could use PhD knowledge to do exactly that, improve their run time algorithms.

Might be old knowledge. But two years ago, I heard RBS trying to shift their database to the new platform, kdb. And with hardware enhancing technologies like GPU and FPGA to be used in finance, I would think you're well positioned for these positions.
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Old 13-04-2016, 03:09 PM
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Thanks for the reply even though it is more judgmental than helpful.

The "necessary homework" did not include an internship because we, the Ph.D. students, are "employed" by our department throughout the year, for conducting research and teaching. We do not get summer and winter off like the undergraduates. I viewed my Ph.D. as a full-time job. As for the network, I had a few sessions (organised by my university) with people from J. P. Morgan, Barclays etc. but perhaps you know dedicated networking courses, sessions etc. are not parts of the Ph.D. curricula, unlike the MBA folks. That said, I have networks via collaborations, joint publications etc. in the academia and research community, who unfortunately do not belong to the finance industry.

I do not want to sound boastful, but I believe my CV justifies my four years for a Ph.D. at least in terms of skills acquired and some research publications. So anyway, my question is still unanswered about applications to DBS etc. If you have any information regarding that, particularly whether they recruit freshers without internship (but with good knowledge of finance, mathematics and coding) I will be grateful.

And most Ph.D.s from my university or NUS etc. are exactly in a similar stage, without an internship because Ph.D. is a job.
Its not about being judgmental or what - fact is fact. That's how the game is played and if you didn't research and play it properly, you lose the game.

Nobody is interested in your explanation/excuses of why you don't have anything related to banking to present. Academia and joint publications on unrelated disciplines doesn't work in your favor either.

There is no shortage of good people all over the world wanting to be quants. If you don't have the necessary achievements, experience or network, then your CV won't even make it past first round - that is exactly what happened to you in DBS, a casual dismisal asking you to go their website to signup for generic grad program. And if DBS isn't interested, you can bet the other foreign banks will be even harder.

Sorry to break the bad news to you, but you should have prepared much earlier. It is what it is. There is no secret application process for either DBS or any other local or foreign bank that anyone can share with you. You can either apply through normal process (i.e. normal jobs) or cold emailing to all the bank HRs hoping that something will stick, but IMHO it won't work anyway.


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Old 13-04-2016, 03:12 PM
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Might be old knowledge. But two years ago, I heard RBS trying to shift their database to the new platform, kdb. And with hardware enhancing technologies like GPU and FPGA to be used in finance, I would think you're well positioned for these positions.
Actually I agree with you this is a relevant area that TS can try and got chance, but unfortunately its a systems role quite far from what people will consider quant.
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Old 13-04-2016, 03:17 PM
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Its not about being judgmental or what - fact is fact. That's how the game is played and if you didn't research and play it properly, you lose the game.

Nobody is interested in your explanation/excuses of why you don't have anything related to banking to present. Academia and joint publications on unrelated disciplines doesn't work in your favor either.

There is no shortage of good people all over the world wanting to be quants. If you don't have the necessary achievements, experience or network, then your CV won't even make it past first round - that is exactly what happened to you in DBS, a casual dismisal asking you to go their website to signup for generic grad program. And if DBS isn't interested, you can bet the other foreign banks will be even harder.

Sorry to break the bad news to you, but you should have prepared much earlier. It is what it is. There is no secret application process for either DBS or any other local or foreign bank that anyone can share with you. You can either apply through normal process (i.e. normal jobs) or cold emailing to all the bank HRs hoping that something will stick, but IMHO it won't work anyway.
I'm not the original poster but the guy giving him some options.

I get where you are coming from. And I'll say it is true. But I'm trying to describe the scenario of the other say 10% that didn't take the usual route you describe, which I'll agree is the definitive way to get into banks after PhD.

I'm giving him the angle that the 4 years of pure PhD work should count for something in the eyes of the HR. The most common example I can think that out of the 10,000 thesis topics out there, the poster's thesis is the ONE thesis they're looking for. That's why I was specific in my responses which in summary is:

Bank could be looking for GPU programmer. OP did GPU research.
Bank could be pricing double barrier options. OP did stochastic calculus to price those options.
Bank could be looking regime state switching models. OP did machine learning research into that.

I'm really not wanting to sound smarter than I am. But since the OP defends his 4 years of PhD knowledge, that's why I'm trying, yes trying, to communicate him at that level. HR hiring a PhD probably expects someone who knows that specialized knowledge.

Basically, OP needs to find an employers who is seeking that very specialized knowledge the OP has. The matches brings the job opportunity.
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Old 13-04-2016, 03:23 PM
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I'm not the original poster but the guy giving him some options.

I get where you are coming from. And I'll say it is true. But I'm trying to describe the scenario of the other say 10% that didn't take the usual route you describe, which I'll agree is the definitive way to get into banks after PhD.

I'm giving him the angle that the 4 years of pure PhD work should count for something in the eyes of the HR. The most common example I can think that out of the 10,000 thesis topics out there, the poster's thesis is the ONE thesis they're looking for. That's why I was specific in my responses which in summary is:

Bank could be looking for GPU programmer. OP did GPU research.
Bank could be pricing double barrier options. OP did stochastic calculus to price those options.
Bank could be looking regime state switching models. OP did machine learning research into that.

I'm really not wanting to sound smarter than I am. But since the OP defends his 4 years of PhD knowledge, that's why I'm trying, yes trying, to communicate him at that level. HR hiring a PhD probably expects someone who knows that specialized knowledge.

Basically, OP needs to find an employers who is seeking that very specialized knowledge the OP has. The matches brings the job opportunity.
I am in agreement with you here actually.

My post was not meant to denigrate TS's PhD. I was just explaining to him that he's got the whole quant recruitment expectation and process wrong.

I'm sure the banks will look kindly to his qualification on IT architecture or systems implementation type of roles and this could be his way of joining a bank. But that doesn't change the fact that joining as a quant upon leaving school is pretty much a no-go for him. Too competitive and he's missing too many critical ingredients.
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