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Joined: October 7th, 2017, 6:55 pm

PhD for quant roles

October 7th, 2017, 7:15 pm

I am currently in the process of completing a second masters in theoretical physics at Imperial (having already done a degree in physics) and have recently had a change of career plans from academia to working more in finance. I am relatively new to this and don't know enough about this sector but I have hear that having a mathematical/physics background is "good" for working towards becoming a quant but whether this would be enough or whether it would be more worthwhile becoming an investment analyst? Also whether it would be useful and versatile doing a CFA or PhD?

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Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 2:19 pm

Re: PhD for quant roles

October 8th, 2017, 2:11 pm

It does indeed sound like you are at a very early stage in your exploration of a finance career. The notion of "doing a CFA or PhD" is akin to trying to choose between having a slice of chocolate cake or seafood. Nothing wrong with either, but they also don't have much in common, and one is a whole lot more specific than the other. PhD in what field of study? The "accidental quant" from 20-30 years ago, e.g. as portrayed in "How I became a quant" is probably not a very useful role model for the current era, where a large fraction of people with quantish roles hold specialized master's degrees in some flavor of math finance. They also tend to be focused on risk management functions whose primary motivation is regulatory. Plenty of decent jobs in the grand scheme of things, but with a lot less sex appeal and upside potential than in the good old days. A math/physics background (certainly from a school of Imperial's caliber) is helpful in terms of understanding financial models, and often comes bundled with some useable programming skills, but is ultimately neither necessary nor sufficient for a successful career in finance.

PW by JB has been "Serving the Quantitative Finance Community" since 2001. Continued...



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