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How to prepare for your upcoming quant interviews  

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David
(@david)
Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 27
06/09/2019 7:25 pm  

As placements season draws near, it’s always a scramble to figure out how exactly to prepare for your interviews. And when you are interviewing in a completely new field like Finance, it’s even harder.

Based on my experience working and interviewing with these firms, I made a list of resources and some interview tips to help students prepare for Quant and Finance interviews. Many prop trading (eg KCG, SIG), quant trading (Two Sigma, Jane Street, WorldQuant) and market-making focused firms (Optiver, IMC, Flow, Akuna) follow this pattern. Please note, the pattern of interviews may change with time, it’s recommended to do your due diligence about the companies you are interviewing with.

Math/Logic/Numerical tests:

Many companies like Optiver, IMC, WorldQuant like to do math or logic tests as their first step. The pattern varies by company, but the idea is to test your logical abilities.

  • Optiver: Their first step is 8 mins, 80 questions MCQ math test made of simple arithmetic questions designed to assess your mental math speed and accuracy.
  • IMC: 18 mins, 24 questions math/reasoning/pattern matching MCQ test to test your logical thinking
  • WorldQuant: Mostly Probability puzzles and Math (brush up on prob and stats for this)
  • Some tests might also include simple algorithm questions and questions based on linear algebra.

Here are some online resources to practice:

  • Trader Test - www.tradertest.org
  • Arithmetic Game -  arithmetic.zetamac.com
  • Mental Maths Test - rankyourbrain.com

HR Screens

These intend to test your motivation to join the firm and switch to finance. Most questions will be based on your resume, your projects (non-technical), what are your ambitions and life goals etc. Expect questions like why do you want to be a trader/quant/researcher? Why will you be a good trader? Why this company? and other similar questions to check for your motivation and if you are a good fit for the company.

Do your research on the company to understand their business and decide if there is a mutual fit. Make sure you go through company website and glassdoor to have a good understanding of the company and their culture for this round. Try to speak to a few employees/alumni of the company to understand their work environment.

Technical Rounds

These rounds test your math, analytical skills and logical reasoning abilities, interest in finance and maybe coding skills if relevant to the job. You are not expected to have a background in finance or any prior experience, however if you mention something of the sort on your resume, expect questions on it.

Questions will involve probability puzzles similar, stats/maths questions, logic puzzles, possible a simple trading exercise to check how quickly you learn new concepts. (Read about market-making games, how to make markets and trading games)

Also expect questions on current finance news, levels of major world indices, forex, major events that moved markets over the last year, what trade would you make in such and such situation etc.

Brush up on prob stats from college and practice! There are a lot of lot of online resources on this, attaching some below.

Books:

  1. Heard on the Street by Timothy Falcon Crack
  2. Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability With Solutions by Frederick Mosteller
  3. Entertaining Mathematical Puzzles by Martin Gardner
  4. Mathematical Puzzles: A Connoisseur’s Collection by Peter Winkler
  5. A Practical Guide To Quantitative Finance Interviews by Xinfeng Zhou

A few Blogs and websites to help

  1. Brainstellar - Puzzles from Quant Interviews - brainstellar.com
  2. Wall Street Oasis - www.wallstreetoasis.com
  3. A Collection of Quantitative Riddles With Answers - puzzles.nigelcoldwell.co.uk
  4. The Puzzle Toad - www.cs.cmu.edu
  5. Puzzles - gurmeet.net
  6. IBM Research | Haifa - www.research.ibm.com
  7. [ wu :: riddles(easy) ] - www.ocf.berkeley.edu
  8. People - Microsoft Research - www.microsoft.com
  9. CSE Blog - quant, math, computer science puzzles - www.cseblog.com
  10. Nick's Mathematical Puzzles - www.qbyte.org
  11. Tanya Khovanova's Math Blog - blog.tanyakhovanova.com
  12. Me, Myself and Mathematics - sbjoshi.wordpress.com
  13. The Math Less Traveled - mathlesstraveled.com

If you are interviewing with a company that looking for algorithmic traders, also expect interviews on algorithms and data structures (you will most likely be asked to write pseudo code).

Chat with Senior Executives

If you have made it this far, they already like you and are looking for final red flags. This is mostly a personal fit interview to see if you will fit well with company culture. They might also test how you deal with stress, react to high-pressure situations, collaborate within a team etc.

This topic was modified 5 months ago by David

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