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Ex-Meta engineer says "hordes" of Citadel recruiters chasing him

Writing on LinkedIn, Talha Baig, a former machine learning engineer at Meta, suggests he's being harassed by "hordes" of recruiters saying they represent the hedge fund Citadel. This is curious given that hedge funds are very fussy about who they hire into machine learning teams, and FAANG engineers aren't necessarily top of their shopping lists - but Baig may be in a sweet spot.

Peter Wagner, Managing Director of financial technology recruitment boutique Affinity North, said “machine learning is the worst thing to have on your hedge fund CV,” particularly if you have not demonstrated exceptional proficiency in it. Wagner tells us hedge funds only “want a few extremely good scientists (PhDs) who know how to use the technology properly, not an undergrad who has taken four courses on it.” Baig doesn't have a PhD, but he does have three years' experience at Meta and a stint teaching at Cornell, so he's clearly pretty proficient. 

Andy White, director of executive search firm Upward Trend, says hedge funds are definitely interested in FAANG engineers more broadly. Engineers with a FAANG background have experience working with “high-velocity, high-volume data,” says White.  

White shared the list below, showing that Amazon and Google are second and fifth for mid-level hiring channels at one New York multistrategy fund. Citadel themselves have made some high profile quant hires recently in Ziyuan Bai and Sen Huang, who worked at Google and Facebook respectively. Bai works in quantitative research whislt Huang works in quantitative development.

However, many Citadel staff are recruited from within financial services. Recent engineering hires Yordan Petrov and Andreas Petrides both spent several years at Goldman Sachs, for example. Petrov worked at Goldman for 7 years before joining in April 2021 whilst Petrides spent 4 years there in addition to obtaining a PhD in information engineering from Cambridge University and joined in August of this year.

While Baig (who didn't respond to a request to comment for this article) is clearly not keen on being rushed by recruiters representing Citadel, he may ultimately conclude that he was fortunate and is missing out. White notes that hedge funds have one important thing in their favor: they're some of the only employers that can compete with FAANG in terms of pay.

Source: Upward Trend

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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