Financial Quantitative Analysts


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take as many math classes as are available. Accounting, business, economics, and computer classes will be helpful as well. Computer classes are recommended for future work in using databases and spreadsheet software to analyze financial information and create reports. Also be sure to focus on developing your research and writing skills, which will be useful for conducting investment research and writing and presenting investment recommendations.

Postsecondary Training

Most financial quantitative analysts have a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, economics, finance, or statistics. Other majors include communications, international business, and public administration. Some companies may hire analysts with degrees in other disciplines, providing they have mathematical ability. Relevant courses include business, mathematics, economics, statistics, computers, communications, and English. Some employers may prefer to hire quantitative analysts who hold a master's degree in finance or business administration.

A growing number of colleges and universities offer degrees in quantitative analysis. Based on a study of peer assessment survey of undergraduate business programs that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, U.S. News & World Report says that the following quantitative analysis programs are the best in the United States: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Texas-Austin, New York UniversityUniversity of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Purdue University-West Lafayette, Cornell University, Arizona State University-Tempe, Ohio State University-Columbus, and Indiana University-Bloomington.   

Other Education or Training

Education for financial quantitative analysts is ongoing as they must stay up to date on industry developments in such areas as international trade, state and federal laws and regulations, and computer technology. Associations such as the Association for Financial Professionals and the CFA Institute offer education and training for financial professionals.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing 

Financial quantitative analysts may receive certification as chartered financial analyst (CFA) from the CFA Institute. Many employers require analysts to hold this designation. The CFA examination consists of three levels covering topics such as corporate finance, economics, financial statement analysis, and portfolio management. Preparation for each level of the test may take six months, and it can take CFA candidates four or more years to achieve the CFA charter. Candidates for the CFA examination must have a bachelor's degree and meet work-experience requirements.

Other organizations that offer certification programs include the Association for Financial Professionals, Chartered Alternate Investment Analyst Association, Investment Adviser Association, Investments & Wealth Institute, and Global Academy of Finance and Management.

Some firms may require that senior-level analysts have a certified public accountant license. Analysts who work as financial services brokers must meet licensing requirements to practice in the field. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ( is the primary licensing organization for the securities industry.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Two to three years of experience as a junior financial quantitative analyst is required for quantitative analyst positions.

Strong research, organizational, and written and verbal communication skills are essential for this position. Analysts conduct in-depth research, gathering information from a wide variety of sources and then analyzing and organizing this information into charts, tables, reports, and presentations that clients and employers can understand. Analysts must be able to compare data, study numbers, and arrive at conclusions in order to make recommendations for investment options that are in the best interest of companies. They must be detail oriented, accurate, and able to share their findings and ideas effectively. Strong reading comprehension is needed as much of the work involves reading reports and data and retaining this information. The work can be stressful, with long work hours, massive amounts of information to wade through, and deadline pressure. A flexible approach to work is helpful. Analysts work independently as well as with teams of people, so good interpersonal skills are also important.