Quants

Best Quantitative Finance courses (2020) ranked by Bankers

In Finance Courses & Certifications by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:

Quants

Quantitative Finance/ Financial Engineering has a reputation for being a hard-to-get-into field, but it still attracts thousands of very bright young minds each year. The role of a quant or a quantitative trader has been romanticised by the media and several books over the last two decades.

What makes it hard is the inter-disciplinary knowledge that is required. You need to understand not only finance but also mathematics, calculus, algebra, optimization (operational research), engineering elements, probability theory etc.

A quant/ financial engineering career is not for everyone. But if you are a math-geek type who doesn’t mind sitting in front of a computer doing advanced math-stuff each day, then this is definitely a career for you. I have covered this career in more detail here.

It is this complexity which requires a specialised understanding and which is why universities and training providers have created such great courses for quantitative finance. Here are my top picks.


1. Quantitative Methods for Finance Professional Certificate from NYIF

Why you need this certification?

  1. This is the most comprehensive course on Quantitative Finance outside of an MFA (Masters in Financial Engineering) degree from a top university. And even then, it provides desk-ready skills that formal university programs lack. Which is why I would recommend it even to Finance post-grads interested in becoming a quant or trader.
  2. Topic coverage includes algebra & calculus as it used for finance, probability theory, stochastic processes, statistics, regression analysis, VBA programming, Monte Carlo and Lattice techniques including some real-world applications. All of this is topped of with a section on giving you desk-ready skills.
  3. It’s pretty much everything you need to hit the ground running in quantitative finance role. Note that this is an advanced course, so you need to possess a basic prior understanding of mathematical concepts like calculus and probability.
  4. The course quality itself is top-notch. NYIF is a well-known brand providing financial education to bankers, traders and other finance professionals for over 90 years now. This 5-day crash course can be really helpful if you need to prepare for an interview and the formal certification will most definitely give your CV a boost.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: 5 days.
  • Available fully online in a virtual classroom or on-site.
  • The best overall course for Quantitative Finance.

Check Course Details


2. Financial Engineering and Risk Management from Columbia

Why take this course?

  1. Another quality course from Columbia University designed to be used by quants and traders. The course is very high-quality covering concepts from finance, economics, mathematics, statistics, engineering and computer science. It’s pretty much a quant’s wet dream.
  2. The material is presented in a highly digestive format which makes it palatable for even beginners. Quantitative Finance can be a tricky subject for many, but this course makes it seem easy.
  3. There are actually two courses with Part 1 focusing on the use of stochastic modelling to price equity, fixed income, credit and MBS derivatives. Part 2 dives deeper into portfolio optimization, and the use of financial engineering for real option pricing and algorithmic trading. I highly recommend you complete both.
  4. Columbia is an exceptional brand to have on your CV. On successful completion, you get a shareable certificate that you can use to boost your CV or add to your LinkedIn Profile.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: 30 hours for both Parts 1 and 2.
  • Available fully online and on-demand. Complete it at your own pace.

Check Course Details –  Part 1

Check Course Details –  Part 2


3. Master of Financial Engineering

Why you need an MFE/ MSFE?

  1. An MFE is undoubtedly the best option for a career in quantitative finance or financial engineering. However, it is a big commitment (financially and you will need to take a sabbatical) and usually undertaken by professionals who already have some experience under their belts and want to further their careers.
  2. If you fit into that profile and know that you want to be a quant for life, then you should definitely consider an MFE program. The top MFE programs are offered by:
  3. Given the high opportunity cost of such programs, I only recommend them if you can get into one of the top schools.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: More than a year.
  • Not available online and significant time/ monetary investment.

About the Author

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav started his career as a Corporate and Investment Banking intern at Citi in 2009 and eventually ended up as an Associate Director at Standard Chartered Bank’s Wholesale Banking division a few years later. By 2016, Gaurav was consulting FinTech start-ups in London with product development in the institutional banking space. He also advises mid-market Private Equity/ Asset Management firms and Banks in North America and Europe with investments in the financial services and FinTech sector. Gaurav writes on topics ranging from European Union banking regulations and FinTech to Blockchain startups and the inevitable rise of our AI overlords! He has an Engineering degree in Computer Science and an MBA with a double major in Finance and Marketing. He is also a Certified Financial Risk Manager.