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Finding Alphas: A Quantitative Approach to Building Trading Strategies by Igor Tulchinsky

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34 The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Quants

By Richard Hu

A quant is also referred to as the “Rocket Scientist on Wall Street,” and that phrase conjures up an image of someone who is smart, well-educated, and very highly paid – perhaps millions of dollars a year. In typical buy-side quantitative investment firms, the work environment is collegial and professional; and it is a place where you will have plenty of opportunities to gain new knowledge. Therefore, it's not hard to understand why many top engineering and science graduates from the best universities in the world want to become quants.

Over the last 10 years, I have managed hundreds of quants, and I have also talked to thousands of aspiring quants during many recruiting events in over 10 countries. A frequent question that comes up is: What does it take to become a successful quant?

In order to answer this question, we surveyed and interviewed many top-tier quants. We identified the following seven habits as the most important reasons for their success.

  1. Willing to put in the extra effort

    Highly successful quants are willing to put in the necessary extra efforts to reach their success. If failure is the mother of success, then extra effort is the father.

    I had once hired an extremely smart young man from a top-tier university. In the interviews, he was able to solve our very difficult analytical questions at such a fast speed that we suspected he had seen those questions before. Since he did so well in all our interviews, ...

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