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Financial Events To Know For Quant Interviews

March 21, 2020 5-minute read

This post serves a couple different purposes. For those of you currently preparing for quant interviews, knowing recent and historical events is useful to have in the back of you mind. It is fairly common to get questions like "what is your take on the market right now?" or "what are your thoughts on --insert current event here--?". Thus, this is a good starting point to knowing the current broad themes and top of mind issues in the financial markets, and then doing further research on your own.

For those of you coming from a non-finance related technical background, this is a good place to start researching various real world topics in finance. A lot of jobs will advertise that "finance knowledge is not required". Well it certainly can't hurt in 99% of the cases, unless they really explicitly want NO finance knowledge. Furthermore, any particular topic may peak your interest for further research. This can help you answer questions like "why are you interested in finance". To which you can reply "I first became interested in finance after hearing how George Soros broke the Bank of England back in '92. After that I was hooked, and given my quantitative nature, I knew finance was the place for me" or something of that nature. I find this to be a better response than say the old boring "I'm doing my masters in financial mathematics because I want to apply quantitative models to the world of finance."

It is actually amazing how quickly we forget about important events. Seems like not long ago, every article in the FT or WSJ was about the Uber IPO, Theranos, then WeWork. This all feels like a distant past given the pandemic we are now in. I've tried to keep this quite high level generally. As a final thought, I think in general knowing about these events and how other events were triggered from them is generally important but also can be useful discussion points with the interviewer in particular cases. In theory, any quant can code and do some math. But knowing how it all ties together in the markets elevates you and communicates to the interviewer that you understand why you are doing what you are doing.