Here’s What Happens to Data Scientists at Hedge Funds

Like most hedge funds, Point72 is actively recruiting data scientists as it seeks to build out its quantitative business while also providing big data and other research to its discretionary traders. However, the firm offers one big benefit that its rivals likely can’t match.

Speaking at the AI and Data Science and Trading Conference in New York, Matthew Granade, Point72’s chief market intelligence officer, said the firm’s goal is to eventually transition its data scientists toward the front-office, where there’s more potential to pick up larger compensation packages. “Over time, we look to move them to revenue-generating roles,” he said. “We find that’s a really important part of the pitch [to candidates] as well.” While other funds have surely made similar ad hoc moves, none that we know of implicitly offer a clear track toward a role as a revenue-generator.

Moreover, Granade said that Point72 has built a separate tech team just for its group of data scientists, siloing them from the firm’s general technology division, a move that likely cuts down on the bureaucracy that can accompany larger organizational structures.

As for getting the job, Granade looks mostly for one attribute: grit. Fortunately, he expounded a bit on this fairly nebulous term, suggesting that the job may be frustrating for some, and that he wants people who are motivated by overcoming problems rather than seeing them as a turnoff. “A lot of work is trial and error, pushing down a path and then being forced to go back to the very beginning,” he said. If consistent failure is something you can’t come back from, the job likely isn’t for you.

Granade added that he wants data scientists who are “aspirational and career-focused.” So it’s likely that the firm is looking particularly for people whose goal it is to eventually become a revenue-generator, rather than those who are comfortable in the back-office doing only the job for which they were first hired.

It’s also worth noting that Granade isn’t a big believer in traditional interviews; he likes putting candidates through tests and other projects to prove their worth, so you may need to prove your “grit” before ever getting the job.

This article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers