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Ceres629
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Joined: July 28th, 2006, 11:18 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 1st, 2007, 2:44 pm

I'm currently near the end of my second year in a physics phd in the UK, and to be honest, it is not going very well at all. It has been a frustrating two years, in particular this last year where I became particularly interested in trading roles in finance and decided a career in science was not for me, I've lost all interest in continuing this phd and long to just get some work experience or an internship in a trading enviroment. I have several times considered quitting but decided against it each time and dedicated huge amounts of time to finish my phd and get it out of the way, but it is clear that a phd really is just an exercise in frustration if you no longer have any interest in what it is you are doing... I continued straight on to the phd after my undergrad, since i was not sure what i wanted to do at the time, and it seems that was a big mistake.I start working part time (will sign the contract next week) for quite a large well known ftse250 company (not banking job), and am currently at crossroads as to where i should go from here. I've considered doing a quantitative finance MSc degree, however my finances don't really make this an easy option and the decision would have to be made very soon.I'm currently hoping that getting a bit of breathing space from the phd and doing something different will bring about some changes in my mindset, but i feel like i'm just wasting time doing something that won't have much if any direct relevance to my future plans and as a result i find it hard to justify putting all this time into doing this when i could be doing things that would better prepare me for a trading job.I have a undergrad MPhys degree, a strong interest in finance and trading, and spend a lot of my free time going through many texts, following financial news, and trading spot fx, and am considering just applying for some junior trading roles or internships, and if things go well enough just leave the phd behind, or just take the MPhil route and refocus my efforts on getting a trading job. I'm sure many posters here are part of the hiring process for their respective employers, just how negative does it look for a candidate to quit a science phd to pursue a finance job?So should I:Finish phd, go the mphil route or just quit altogetherTake the part time job or not.Just go for a trading role with my undergrad physics degree.Get an MSc in a quant finance related disciplineSo many options, and i'm kind of overwhelmed as to the pros and cons of each one as it regards to a career in trading so I would be very grateful for any advise or suggestions you can offer.
Last edited by Ceres629 on August 31st, 2007, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DominicConnor
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Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 1st, 2007, 6:27 pm

I'm on the PM if you need personal advice, but this is slowly becoming a FAQ...First of course, you illustrate why I tell so many people who are choosing their PhD, not to worry about possible finance careers as much as topic they will get into well.Even then there is no guarantee.It's worth remembering that there are other stakeholders in this decision, like your supervisor who loses out if you quit. Rather than this blot on him, he may well let (and help) you vector your studies into stuff that will help you get a quant job.I am a little concerned about the p/t job, looks unfocused, but I have few facts about you.You saybut i feel like i'm just wasting time doing something that won't have much if any direct relevance to my future plans" I believe you're wrong, even though I don't know very much about your area of study.A PhD will typically earn considerably more than MSc or BSc, so if money motivates you, go that way.I cannot say whether a masters in finance or CQF is right for you, however a good first test for whether you are right for this line of work is to apply bog standard finance theory to your own life.The NPV of a masters/cqf if you have the other skills and attitude is highly positive.
 
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Ceres629
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Joined: July 28th, 2006, 11:18 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 1st, 2007, 8:32 pm

I sent you a PM DCFC, thanks for your reply and any future replies.If anyone else has any advice or just a comment to offer, please feel free to do so...
 
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samyonez
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Joined: October 7th, 2004, 10:01 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 1st, 2007, 9:50 pm

its an oft-quoted opinion on these forums that the reason a phd is a prerequisite for many jobs is not necessarily because of the implied level of knowledge & intelligence, but also because it shows you can complete a major undertaking under your own steam. harsh truth if you have genuine reasons for wanting out, but i think "quit phd" looks worse than "didn't do a phd", because it looks like you *can't* complete that undertaking.good luck, hope it works out whatever your choice.
Last edited by samyonez on September 1st, 2007, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Ceres629
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Joined: July 28th, 2006, 11:18 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 2nd, 2007, 11:37 am

I guess, the ability to push through and persevere even when things seemingly go against you is a relevant skill to most high stress jobs, where things can go from rosy to absolute shit in the blink of an eye and i guess its how you deal with these down times that count more than the ability to coast during the good times. I have decided to just battle it out, and not give in, and just push through to the end, i'm due a bit of good fortune so hopefully combined with some hard work I can turn things around.I will turn down the job offer and focus my energies almost entirely on completing my phd. hopefully a year or so from now I will look back and be glad i made this decision. Thanks for your comments.
Last edited by Ceres629 on September 1st, 2007, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Arbitrary
Posts: 139
Joined: March 30th, 2004, 7:14 pm

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 2nd, 2007, 1:49 pm

Sounds like a good decision.And given the current market condition, you might be better off holding till the end of your PhD to join the market.
 
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Wilfrid
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Joined: July 19th, 2007, 11:52 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 2nd, 2007, 2:50 pm

How about leaving your PhD, and trying for drama school? The hours are good, you get to meet lots of nice people, and the opportunities for riches are boundless.
I learned two things at drama school. First, that I couldn't act; second, that it didn't matter.
 
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MattF
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Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 3rd, 2007, 8:21 am

It's pretty normal to feel depressed at this point of a PhD (I speak from experience). Having invested so much time obviously it makes more sense to try to complete it but if that's not going to happen then it's pointless to keep flogging a dead horse.If you really want to abandon it then I'd at least investigate whether you can submit what you have for a M.Phil. These are usually quietly granted on the nod, you get something to show for the time, the university awards a research degree to keep the metrics looking healthy.I'd only quit if you have a concrete better opportunity though.
 
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player
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Joined: August 5th, 2002, 10:00 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 3rd, 2007, 9:36 am

Finish the PhDFor most people doing a PhD is 95% fustration 5% inspiration. As i said before to complete a PhD you go through hell before gonig to heaven. Put your head down and get it done.
 
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Polysena
Posts: 230
Joined: January 25th, 2007, 10:06 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 3rd, 2007, 10:21 am

I disagree with the gentlemenwhile i agree that showing that you can pursue "research" to the end, i do not believe that someone who has lost the faith or interest in a matter can indeed come up with a quality phd without lossing a few feathers. Phd is about research-- when you have no ideas no results what is research?-- if you really believe that things aren't going well, if you really feel that physics is not your world.. IMMO you shouldn't pursue on that path...Perhaps follow advice of mattF and also perhaps enroll in a quantitative finance phd... you would show you can terminate some research on your own and with pleasure since you ARE interested in Finance.. I do not see why you should necessarily pursue in the field you might have chosen not with full knowledge of your interests... somehow it also speak or maturity and responsability being able to say.. well physics is not my cup of tea, I acknowledge that and go for something I am really interested in. This position can very well be defended in an interview and shows flexibility and adaptability versus "consequentialism"..
Last edited by Polysena on September 2nd, 2007, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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blondie
Posts: 66
Joined: June 11th, 2007, 1:34 pm

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 3rd, 2007, 11:13 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: Ceres629I'm currently near the end of my second year in a physics phd in the UK, and to be honest, it is not going very well at all... Being depressed during second year summertime is a constant. But if it has been like that for two years, there must be something wrong, from the beginning. What's your research field? nuclear, cond-mat, soft,...? Is it experimental of theoretical? Is there any chance you could take another direction in your phd to learn and apply methods usable in QF? Are you 100% sure that finance is so different from physics that even if you don't like one, you may like the other?PS : I am in physics, not finance (yet).
 
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DominicConnor
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Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 3rd, 2007, 1:31 pm

Yes, I see it as a matter of degree.Most people seem to go through a wobble part way through PhDs which is to be expected since it's the largest self-managed piece of work they've ever done.Blondie makes an excellent point that just because QF is a bit different, does not mean it is better...
 
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miretta
Posts: 53
Joined: May 31st, 2007, 2:46 pm

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 3rd, 2007, 1:43 pm

My thought (as a phd student myself, though in QF not physics):Maybe Ceres629 you should have a chat with your supervisor and try to figure out what is putting you in such a bad mood... supervisors are there also to motivate us, aren't they?
 
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player
Posts: 2290
Joined: August 5th, 2002, 10:00 am

Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 3rd, 2007, 1:52 pm

Quotesupervisors are there also to motivate usFunniest thing I've heard for a long time!!!
 
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Cuchulainn
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Should I quit my Phd? Advise needed...

September 3rd, 2007, 2:28 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: playerFinish the PhDFor most people doing a PhD is 95% fustration 5% inspiration. As i said before to complete a PhD you go through hell before gonig to heaven. Put your head down and get it done.tough
Last edited by Cuchulainn on September 2nd, 2007, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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