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Informational Interview with Quantitative Analyst

INTERVIEWEE BACKGROUND

Job Title: Quantitative Analyst
Company: Bank of Montreal
Department: Risk Management
Division: Credit Risk Stress Testing Methodology
Team: 10+ 
Recent Immigrant
Experience: 1.5 yr
Highest level of Education: PhD
INTERVIEW:

1. Which division do you work in?
Risk management. Division: Credit Risk Stress Testing Methodology.
(Please click on the links for more information about risk management and credit risk stress testing)

2. Describe the type of work that you do.
Financial risk modeling. A wide range of modelings includes regressions, logistic regression, montecarlo, bootstrap, etc.

3. Are you aware of any educational institutes in Toronto offering courses in financial risk management? 
Don't know any as this is very industry specific.

4. What software do you use?
  • SAS and Matlab
  • SAS & macro are used mainly for data manipulation
  • Matlab is used for statistical modeling
  • Excel occasional
  • No R. Open source is rarely used in banks

5. How are the job prospects for job seekers without (Canadian) experience?
I am someone without any Canadian work experience prior to working for BMO. However, management highly prefers someone with experience, as training new staffs is a significant investment.

6. What education is required?
  • Minimum Master. Ph.D. is preferred. Entire team consists of master and Ph.D. No exception.
  • Statistics graduates are preferred, followed by Physics and Math.

7. What advice do you have for those without experience (student, immigrant, career-changer)?
  • No experience is a disadvantage
  • Destination is important: SAS Certificate, CFA, FRM (SAS Certificate is highly sought after followed by CFA and FRM)

8. What recruitment agency do you recommend?
ACCES. They specialize in financial industries. Great agency for immigrants with international experience and fresh graduates.

9. What course(s) do you recommend taking to prepare? 
Can't think of any. Maybe statistical modeling.

10. Is an MBA preferred?
No. What's important is what courses were taken during the program, whether it is master, PhD or MBA

11. Any additional comments?
The last one is very important. Hard skill only contributes to 50 percent of your job search success. It gets you the interview. Soft skill is what gets you the job (50 percent).
Applicants with a more charming personality will be preferred even with fewer hard skills. 
 

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