I used to work with an ex-colleague at a major investment bank as a quant pricing equity derivatives until 2011. The day I quit that job, my boss was fired and I was offered to become the new boss, but I decided to go to the hedge fund I was planning to move to. So, I would have been my ex-colleague’s boss.
Since that time, my success has been limited....I’ve been to a few hedge funds and the funds always did poorly while I was there. A couple times I was offered to run the quant pricing desks, but I wanted to be closer to the trading, so I declined. One place I declined to take the head role because I planned on quitting to go to a systematic trading outfit (my dream job where you are a quant who is part of the profit center instead of the cost center). I was there for a year before that startup fund tanked in March due to being way offsides during Covid.
Now, my buddy (the ex-colleague) at a very well known prop shop said he would be thrilled to bring me to his place. He was always highly deferential to me and I was almost like a mentor to him. Truth be told though, he is the one who became much more successful, but he is still highly deferential and really trying to bring me in as his head of quant research for systematic options trading.
I’ve met 7 people so far in the interview process and everyone liked me a lot. They all praised my technical knowledge with options, mathematics in general, python, and C++. However, my buddy’s boss is still skeptical since I only had a year of systematic experience and I never managed a large group (though I’ve been asked to do so!).
Now, the recruiter through this process is nice enough on the phone, but he keeps dicking me around with comments like, I’ll call tomorrow or the next day for next steps. Then he disappears...and I reach out to my buddy to ask him what’s going on...then my buddy has to crack the whip to move things along. This has happened a few times already.
I wrote up a 26 page Latex document explaining my thought processes and general ideas for systematic trading and sent it to my buddy to pass along to his bosses to try to assuage their concerns (I wrote it for this job, but I can still use it and expand on it). My buddy thought that was helpful. I gave him names of people that can attest to my management skills. The recruiter said they want to set up an interview with my buddy’s new boss - the firm’s global head of trading. Then we can decide how to proceed - either as a boss or individual contributor. A week ago he said he would contact me the next day or early the following week. Still no contact. Every time he says he will reach out by some date, he fails to do so and I have to speak to my buddy to make anything happen. I’m reluctant to keep doing this. I emailed the recruiter to ask him about scheduling with the head of trading earlier today and still no response.
Should the interpretation be that the firm really doesn’t want me at all and I’m really forcing my buddy to spend all his newly acquired political capital on me? Most other large prop shops usually don’t give me interviews since I have mostly a pricing quant background instead of systematic...or I’m way too senior with 15 years of option pricing experience.
Should I just wait it out? This is nerve wracking being unemployed...on top of that it would be a huge boost to my career pay wise and resume wise.
Update Feb 19:
Yup...it was agonizing, but I did get the offer with a good markup and started in late November - three months from this post! Other senior people I’ve worked with in the past tell me their processes usually do take 6-12 wherever they interview, so I guess patience matters. I doubled my previous pay and got a 10% raise two months later.
The role is as a senior quant researcher. The good thing about the firm is that you are not a second class citizen by virtue of being “just a quant” and not a trader. They view the quants as equals or even slightly better. I didn’t get the management position, but I doubt the management position would pay more.
My current manager (I have a “people” manager who I officially report to, but he’s more like my advocate than a boss whereas my prior colleague sets all the priorities and is my functional manager) strongly emphasizes that the number of reports doesn’t correlate to pay very well at all. The firm pays based on actual contributions which does seem to make sense.
There are some big players here with few reports totally crushing it (multimillion bonuses). That also makes sense where a lot of traders at hedge funds I’ve previously worked at act as solitary creatures making millions with no reports or just an assistant or two. Those guys were overpaid because while they had no reports, there were a ton of under appreciated support staff that made their profits possible. The new place still segregates pure software people (not me) from the big paydays, but net net, they are still very much appreciated (paid better than other places). I guess it helps that the firm had a very strong year.