7 Pro Tips for Finding Your First Quant Opportunity

If you’re looking at finding your first quant opportunity – a new and emerging career for people studying maths, statistics, physics, economics, engineering or computer science – use these tips from graduates who have been there and done that to tailor your search.

Every year, SAGEA works with more than 2 000 graduates to track the latest trends in their career thinking1. When we look at the feedback from quants grads in particular, we find some great insights into how they found, chose and ultimately began working in their first quant job. Here’s what we found out:

Pro Tips from Quant Grads

  1. Quants want to keep growing. Key factors that influenced their decision to join the organisations they ended up with were learning and development opportunities, and challenging and interesting work with organisations who had a strong reputation. If you’re looking to build your career as a Quant, research the companies you’re interested in to understand how they will help you to keep learning, both academically and on the job.
  2. Postgraduate studies matter to Quants. Most students entering into these roles have studied further at University, with 79% having at least an Honours degree. From past experience, we also note that many go onto study further with their employer. This means that to compete for these roles, you may want to sign up for an Honours degree. You can find information about funding your postgraduate studies on QuantifyYourFuture.co.za2.
  3. Experience makes a difference. This group of students take work experience seriously, with more than 50% having taken advantage of a work experience or internship opportunity and more than 40% taking on part time work. Try to find opportunities for this kind of experience with the employers you’re interested in joining, and don’t underestimate the skills you can develop as a part-time tutor, waitress, shop assistant or similar.
  4. Many Quants start looking early. Even though most students are seeking out opportunities in their final year at university, some are more proactive. Almost half of the quants in our survey – 42% – completed their job search before their final year of study.
  5. Use LinkedIn. More than 91% of future quants are using LinkedIn as their business media tool, with more than 40% indicating it was very useful!
  6. Quants like to be informed. When deciding on where to apply, content tops the agenda for quants with more than 80% of graduates indicating that this was their highest priority while they were looking for opportunities.
  7. Use a multichannel approach for your search. Quants rated employer websites and events, career fairs, and peers in their network who were already in industry as the most useful sources of information.

Using these steps in their search for opportunities led to a high rate of satisfaction with their career choices for quants, with 63% of this group of graduates indicating they managed to secure a role with their first choice of employer and a further 37% indicating they managed to get into their top 3 choices of companies.

And now

Six months down the line, indications are that 75% of quant graduates are reporting better than expected experiences at work! Mentoring, flexibility, management support and further learning have led to this high level of satisfaction.

More than half of the quants in our research said they would stay with their first employer for the at least five years if career advancement, variety, a great culture and content of work remain part and parcel of the mix.

Though adjustment to the world-of-work can be difficult for graduates – more than half said they were worried about maintaining their social life, adjusting to work life balance and staying fit and healthy – quants who put effort into finding work opportunities are now on the road to building a successful career.

So why not start using these insights from quant grads to get your search for opportunities in emerging careers off to the best possible start?

References

1. SAGEA Annual Employer Benchmark and Candidate Insights – https://sagea.org.za/the-sagea-employer-benchmark-and-candidate-insights-2020/
2. Funding Options – https://www.quantifyyourfuture.co.za/index.php/funding-options/

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