Quants have been called everything from nerds to the rocket scientists of Wall Street. In truth, a quant is neither but simply a person who is good at quantitative work.
That often comes down to being intrigued by data and analysis, leveraging math and computer skills to glean insights from mountains of numbers and information.
Quant thinking is in much demand from organizations that need talented people to smqrtly interpret the overwhelming amount of data they routinely collect. But if you are keen to realize your quant potential or to sharper your skills in analysis, business schools from NYU Stern to Duke Fuqua are offering an array of degree programs to help you land lucrative quant jobs by graduation.
MANY QUANT DEGREE TO CHOOSE FROM AS DEMAND FOR ANALYTICALLY TRAINED PROFESSIONALS REMAINS HIGH
Quant degrees come in all sizes and shapes. Carnegie Mellon has an MS in Computational Finance. UC-Berkeley boasts a well-regarded master’s of financial engineering Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has not one but three twists on degrees for quants: An MS in Quant Management, with an emphasis on business analytics, an MS in Quant Management, with a focus on health analytics, and an accelerated MS in Quant Management for those with an MBA degree on their resume.
At Duke, all three of the degrees are delivered online. For the two mainstream programs, classes occur over a 19-month timeframe, starting with a weekend residency on the school’s campus in Durham, N.C., live Internet classes, team-based assignments, and even a voluntary leadership immersion. For students with MBAs, the shorter program is just 11 months long. The programs enroll small classes of fewer than 40 students who are able to customize the learning for their own needs.
“The best way to think about it is to take the foundational, leadership and communication piece of an MBA, mix that up with significantly more modern analytical techniques that have transformed industry over the past 10 to 20 years, put it in a bag, shake for 19 months over five terms, and you pretty much have what we are aiming for and how we designed the program,” explains Jeremy Petranka, associate dean of the MSQM programs, in a recent sponsored webinar.
AN MBA OR AN MS IN QUANTITATIVE MANAGEMENT
For many, these specialized degrees are often in consideration with a broader graduate degree like the MBA. That was in the decision set for Dr. Mital Patel, a physician in the medical device industry when he decided to enroll in the maste’rs in a quantitative management program with a health concentration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 2020. He had been working at Boston Scientific and as he progressed Patel felt the need for business skills he didn’t really have.
“As I was going into this, the clinical skillset I had was there, but then there was a whole other realm of business acumen that I really wanted to tap into,” recalls Patel during a CentreCourt appearance. “And so that’s where my search began for business schools and also MBA programs as well.”
His search led him to Duke’s Fuqua School, in part because of its strong position in the healthcare sector. The school had recently launched a healthcare analytics program so Mital ended up deciding between applying for an MBA or that more quanty program which he ultimately opted for.
SEEKING A GRADUATE DEGREE TO GAIN FUNDAMENTAL BUSINESS SKILLS
“I’m not a data analyst,” he makes clear. “I’m not a programmer by any means. I did get my biomedical engineering degree as my undergrad. And so I always wanted to integrate that into whatever I did after medical school. This kind of helped me accelerate the path into that.”
The degree opened up a new pathway in his career, allowing him to pivot from a clinically heavy role in cardiac rhythm management at Boston Scientific to his current role as a senior manager in global value and outcomes. That new job includes a lot of data analytics but does not require heavy coding. “I am able to have more conversations with our data analyst team to see what we’re looking for and strategize on our upstream and downstream products, all with the value-based focus of healthcare,” he says.
Besides the new skillset he acquired with his degree in 2021, Mital also immediately experienced the power of the school’s alumni network. Much to his surprise, he found quite a few Fuqua alums at his own company that helped him identify his new job at the firm. “That’s how I was able to get an interview for an opening position that I didn’t even know existed,” he says. “So my foot was already in the door with the company, but it just tells you the networking power, because you can also still get lost in a large company. Alumni were helping me bridge connections with the company I already worked for.”
DESIGNED FOR STUDENTS TO SPEND 10 TO 20 HOURS A WEEK ON THEIR STUDIES WHILE WORKING
His new role brings with it an international focus s well. “It’s fortunate to be in a global role,” he says. “I’ve never dealt with healthcare systems outside the U.S., so now I work with different counterparts across the globe in our different marketing teams to discuss different nuances. The global approach of Fuqua, again really helped prepare me for that role as well. That’s something that you don’t get with a lot of business degrees.”
Working toward the degree is hardly a layup. But Mital and his classmates found they could easily accommodate online learning with their professional and personal lives. “We will never claim that a professional degree is easy,” concedes Petranka. “But it is designed for students to spend ten to 20 hours a week on it. Classes are staggered, every other week, with the recognition that we have decades of experience teaching students in the professional world. It definitely requires focus and communication at home but it ends up being quite manageable.”
DON’T MISS: LEVEL UP YOUR CAREER WHILE CONTINUING TO WORK or VIDEO: A SCHOOL’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE MASTER’S IN QUANTITATIVE MANAGEMENT
Comments or questions about this article? Email us.