AuthorTopic: PhD student dillema
@2016-01-13 06:02:47
Hi all,

I am a PhD student (nuclear physics) who is seriously thinking about career in finance. My dillema is - should I complete this PhD adventure (I am halfway through, and I can count on PhD degree in second half of 2017), or should I quit this and find job in finance right now?

Honestly, this work experience as research assistant has been great, but somehow I feel I won't learn much more. So, spending next two years in science would be for a degree only. I could find time to pass CFA level 1 and maybe 2 before PhD.

On the other hand, I am not getting any younger, and those two years might be better used. I know that academic degree like PhD doesn't matter much in finance, but it's not worthless either.

What should I do? Any advice would be helpful.
@2016-03-18 17:07:29
First, I can't see how you could walk away from a PhD program when you're already halfway through. Second, there's actually quite a large demand for PhD's in Finance. Check out some of the quantitative analysis positions available online and you will see that many require a PhD in math or a similar field. So I wouldn't assume that your nuclear physics PhD would be of no value in Finance.
@2016-04-20 16:33:15
I would very much agree with arice.

Just to clarify what you mean by half way through (seems a stupid question). Are you, halfway through the time frame? The research? Almost completed the research and have the thesis to write? Are there any underlying reasons why you are thinking of giving up 'halfway' through?

My opinion would be complete the PhD. In my opinion you only really get a chance to complete one at the start of your career or at the end. Also, have you seen the state of the job market.

I started a PhD in Medical Physics, due to a family tragedy i had to take some time off (over a year), when I returned to complete the PhD, literally 3 days after returning the supervisor said that the participants had not been turning up (there was a radiologist completing her PhD on the same data. Not sure why she did not notice the lack of data sooner) and that the project will not be likely to proceed. Why am I saying this? I could of started another project and spent 2.5 years completing it. I chose not too, knowing that i would not want to continue to work in the field. So, i am annoyed that i started something and did not get to complete it, and that is due to others. So if you leave a project, that has a good chance of completion, under your own choice, make sure it is for the correct reasons. I may sound a little bitter, that is because I am.

Just to reiterate. My advice, finish the PhD (try explaining a failed PhD in interviews and why you dont finish things through) but study the CFA. Just find a way to get some experience in the industry.
@2016-05-21 17:09:02
Thanks for input and sorry for not responding earlier.

First, here are few more things about my background. I live in a small eastern European country which I don't want to leave (and yes, I can leave PhD study). Our stock market is undeveloped, ie. there are no options at all, and market is shallow - it moves when big players want it to move.

On the other hand, education system is quite good, and there is undergraduate study in financial mathematics and graduate course for actuars. Anyway, working for insurance company doesn't attract me, but there are some jobs available as risk analysis/managment in fund industry. That looks like a good spot for me and FRM exam looks interesting.

I see that PhD and/or MA are prequisite for quants, but I see it only as a filter for prospecting candidates (am I wrong?). But as I said earlier, there is no need for quants where I live, and CFA is held in high regard.

I am a bit worried about gap in CV, but it might show determination of some kind?

In any case, I have decided to delay decision for now, maybe in few months I'll be smarter :-)

Cheers, M.
@2016-06-29 11:04:47
i first of all congratulate you that you are a Phd student & that you are going to complete it by mid 2017

i really respect ppl from science and engineering background they are the real drivers of human evolution.

never in history we hear a story about an accountant or a finance guy.

because these profession never contribute anything, these professions are for lessor mortals , who lack creativity and intelligence.

good brains like of yours are few, whereas lessor brains like one capable of doing CFA are lot (there are only few (2-3) thousand of phd's in neuclear physicst, whereas there are over 70000 CFA's)
why do u want to join the group of lessor brainy ppls.

have patience you will be rewarded

god bless you!

CFA Discussion Topic: PhD student dillema

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