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How I Became a Quant: Insights from 25 of Wall Street's Elite Paperback – August 3, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
The "quants"Wall Street's disciples of quantitative analysishave become the mar-ket's new superstars. Their mathematical models are now the basis for such financial market innovations as exotic derivatives, structured investment products, quantitative trading strategies, and portfolio selection.
What brought about this path-breaking investment revolution? Some cite the beginning of trading in exchange-listed equity options in 1973, while others credit the arrival of desktop computing around 1980. But perhaps the most important factor was the dramatic increase in the volatility of prices. It was this aversion to increasing uncertainty experienced by financial market participantsreal, living, breathing peoplethat led to the quant revolution. So who are these people who develop the mathematical models that create new ways to allow people to modify their exposure to risk? How do they do what they do? Where did they come from? In How I Became a Quant, you will find firsthand accounts direct from the people who were swept into, and then helped fashion, today's "quant-driven," dynamic world of finance.
More than two dozen quants tell their stories here and detail the varying paths they have followedoften from university graduate departments of physics, math-ematics, and engineeringto Wall Street. Peter Carr, head of Quantitative Financial Research at Bloomberg, tells of his progression from cornering the local paper delivery market as a boy in Toronto to teaching at Cornell to ultimately helping Bloomberg start up its quant group. Leslie Rahl, President of Capital Market Risk Advisors, describes how she excelled in math and science as a girl, went on to MITso as not to be seen as "weird," as she thought might happen at other schoolsand joined Citibank at a time when they had only two women VPs in the entire worldwide organization. Andrew Weisman, Managing Director of Merrill Lynch, reveals an academic background that began with study of the classicsPlato to Popper, Beowulf to Virginia Woolf, and oddly enough, swimming lessons.
These unlikely superstars of Wall Street now provide the intellectual horsepower to fulfill the dream of unlimited ability to manage risks through trading financial instruments. These are the stories behind their careers.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
Praise for How I Became a Quant
"Led by two top-notch quants, Richard R. Lindsey and Barry Schachter, How I Became a Quant details the quirky world of quantitative analysis through stories told by some of today's most successful quants. For anyone who might have thought otherwise, there are engaging personalities behind all that number crunching!"
—Ira Kawaller, Kawaller & Co. and the Kawaller Fund
"A fun and fascinating read. This book tells the story of how academics, physicists, mathematicians, and other scientists became professional investors managing billions."
—David A. Krell, President and CEO, International Securities Exchange
"How I Became a Quant should be must reading for all students with a quantitative aptitude. It provides fascinating examples of the dynamic career opportunities potentially open to anyone with the skills and passion for quantitative analysis."
—Roy D. Henriksson, Chief Investment Officer, Advanced Portfolio Management
"Quants"—those who design and implement mathematical models for the pricing of derivatives, assessment of risk, or prediction of market movements—face the unprec-edented challenge of navigating some of the most volatile markets we have ever seen.
How I Became a Quant reveals the individuals behind this revolution, offering you the chance to learn firsthand what it's like to be a quant today. In this fascinating collection of Wall Street war stories, more than two dozen quants detail their roots, roles, and contributions, explaining what they do and how they do it, as well as outlining the sometimes unexpected paths they have followed from the halls of academia to the front lines of an investment revolution.
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Top customer reviews
The quality of writing varies substantially from one essay to another. On the one side of the spectrum are terse biographical sketches of how some became successful quants, merely listing their past projects. On the other side are rather philosophical proses of how "failed" PhDs in other quantitative disciples found themselves home in finance. That makes the book overall appearance of being incoherent, but it is still useful since we can read about a couple dozen different experiences.
Editing clearly lacks rigor as there are numerous typos and uncorrected grammatical mistakes - a minutia that gives rise to an impression that the book could have been much better given a proper attention and direction. However, for someone like myself in a situation similar to some authors who chose to jump ships, being able to read on their experiences is very valuable, since there is so much uncertainty. You could also form a vague picture of what a quant might do on the day-to-day basis, as well as what skills and activities in academic settings may be similar and transferable in corporate finance. Overall, this is a useful read but could have been a more pleasurable experience for myself.