SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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selimons
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 6:39 am

Hi guys,I am a grad student in one of the top US physics schools.I am about to get my PhD. I have already two post-doc positions lined up, and one of them is offering more than 80 k a year for several years, which is huge amount for academia. However, I am bored to death intellectually and tired up of bowing to hierarchy (both in my advisory committees and to-be grant committees).My question is should I try my chance at getting a quant job? If there is still drudgery and subjectivity of elders in this job, than it's not worth the extra buck. I want to get some opinion. I think I have a bright academic career in front of me, but it's dull. My question, especially to insiders, is: is it worth it? Thanks,--s
Last edited by selimons on December 15th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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selimons
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 7:10 am

I have to say that I am working in a very hot field, but unless I take some serious initiative like forming a start-up company, I will end up in dusty shelves of academics. Maybe I can rephrase my question as, should I apply for finance jobs while I am 30 or should I apply them while I am 33 and have some glorious failures under my belt?
 
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ThinkDifferent
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 8:09 am

Me confused. How can a well-paid, "bright academic career" in "a very hot field of physics" be dull?
Last edited by ThinkDifferent on December 15th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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EscapeArtist999
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 8:33 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: selimonsI have to say that I am working in a very hot field, but unless I take some serious initiative like forming a start-up company, I will end up in dusty shelves of academics. Maybe I can rephrase my question as, should I apply for finance jobs while I am 30 or should I apply them while I am 33 and have some glorious failures under my belt?Take the post-doc. It's a good deal. Nuff said.
 
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daveangel
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December 16th, 2010, 9:02 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: EscapeArtist999QuoteOriginally posted by: selimonsI have to say that I am working in a very hot field, but unless I take some serious initiative like forming a start-up company, I will end up in dusty shelves of academics. Maybe I can rephrase my question as, should I apply for finance jobs while I am 30 or should I apply them while I am 33 and have some glorious failures under my belt?Take the post-doc. It's a good deal. Nuff said.for once I agree with EA
knowledge comes, wisdom lingers
 
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selimons
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 10:14 am

ThinkDifferent, I totally understand the point you're rising... how can a well paid bright academic career may be dull? I am in nanotechnology and we're developing stuff that can be applied to real world problems.However, I still feel like I cannot use my full potential in what I am doing. My job depends a lot on trial and error, and little on pure mathematical/algorithmic skills in which I think I can make a difference. So although the funding and the expectations of other people are high, I don't find this area particularly exciting (though I have to say I find it more exciting than any branch of theoretical physics).So that's why I consider finance jobs mostly. In terms of money, I think having a finance job will ~double or triple my income. But EA and daveangel are telling me to take the post-doc. Somehow it feels like I would be settling for less than I want and deserve.
Last edited by selimons on December 15th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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EscapeArtist999
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December 16th, 2010, 12:07 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: selimonsThinkDifferent, I totally understand the point you're rising... how can a well paid bright academic career may be dull? I am in nanotechnology and we're developing stuff that can be applied to real world problems.However, I still feel like I cannot use my full potential in what I am doing. My job depends a lot on trial and error, and little on pure mathematical/algorithmic skills in which I think I can make a difference. So although the funding and the expectations of other people are high, I don't find this area particularly exciting (though I have to say I find it more exciting than any branch of theoretical physics).So that's why I consider finance jobs mostly. In terms of money, I think having a finance job will ~double or triple my income. But EA and daveangel are telling me to take the post-doc. Somehow it feels like I would be settling for less than I want and deserve.Dude, ask yourself this, what is your competitive edge in finance? The applications of nanotechnology are only now coming into the commercial arena. It sounds like you have a high profile postdoc, presumably experience that would give you some edge in Nano, and you could always to an executive MBA during your postdoc if you were really concerned about getting into industry - here I mean venture capital, not quant.I am just saying, yes you may be a great programmer, good at math, stat, whatever, that does not nec mean you'll strike it big in finance. You will probably get 2-2.5 times the money, but you will not have much influence on the direction of the work... and the upside is limited from there. Now, you're a PhD student presumably used to living on 30k (tops) pa - now yes rent will go up , but you will live very well (relative to what you are used to) on the money you mention. Very well. So here you want to throw away a good research postdoc in one of the up and coming fileds of technology so that you can get some more money now, though the work will bbe at least as boring... Are you f--king crazy? Full potential, smull potentail. Be a little savvy, please. Plus if you are a foreigner you will get the greencard quicker through academia.
Last edited by EscapeArtist999 on December 15th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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gc
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December 16th, 2010, 12:31 pm

QuoteHowever, I still feel like I cannot use my full potential in what I am doing. My job depends a lot on trial and error, and little on pure mathematical/algorithmic skills in which I think I can make a differenceThe problem is that it is all but certain that in Finance you will do anything more challenging. You could be lucky: I have a few colleagues who do very interesting stuff, but there are also quite a few with PhD and years of academic research before moving to a bank, whose job is now mostly become correcting bad data points a database.And with the way banks and laws are going, you may not even guaranteed to earn more in finance than in nanotechnology research...
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HyperGeometric
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December 16th, 2010, 3:32 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: daveangelQuoteOriginally posted by: EscapeArtist999QuoteOriginally posted by: selimonsI have to say that I am working in a very hot field, but unless I take some serious initiative like forming a start-up company, I will end up in dusty shelves of academics. Maybe I can rephrase my question as, should I apply for finance jobs while I am 30 or should I apply them while I am 33 and have some glorious failures under my belt?Take the post-doc. It's a good deal. Nuff said.for once I agree with EAI agree. We all have points in our career when we don't see making a difference in our current positions or otherwise think that grass is greener on the other side. If you take a month off what you're currently doing, you might be able to motivate yourself. You can always coordinate with researchers in finance during your post-doc to see if you even like it. From what you're describing, I wouldn't let go of the post-doc.
 
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DevonFangs
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 3:56 pm

Are you all sure? Is the job mkt in QuantFin so bad? I mean, the guy says he's bored to death and maybe I've an idea of what he's actually doing, and why he says that he feels he's not using his __full_potential__. I don't think that pushin the nanotech research further will help him in learning tools useful for a quant.IMHO, his top priority is to check if he might like the job. If it's the case, the post-doc could be just a waste of time.
 
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selimons
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 7:25 pm

I want to thank everyone for sharing their opinions.Maybe I am holding unrealistic views on the nature of finance jobs. One of my friends has been getting interviews for quant position, and the type of questions he is asked during the interviews are quite fun and challenging. But from what I gather from the posts, the day to day work cycle is not like that. I am also a little surprised by the response. I remember reading a post in this very forum the other day, and most of the people agreed that a quant job is a better use of skill, rather than getting several post-docs in mathematics and physics. But then again, maybe they had in mind different branches of physics. DevonFang, I think you have very good points. Is there a way to check if I would like quant job, without actually working in the job? For instance if I work through a mathematical/computation finance book, would it give me an idea?
Last edited by selimons on December 15th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DevonFangs
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 9:29 pm

I'm pretty sure everyone in here will agree if I say that the quant jobs panorama is indeed quite diverse. There are people working in risk management, pricing, high frequency etc. and the tasks/ tools are very different.A good starting point is to browse this forum, because you can get a picture about the maths, IT and financial contents of interest. You can also figure out what kind of morons quant-like people can be As for the pricing side, I could get you some hints about papers etc that I found particularly useful or inspiring.
 
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traderjoe1976
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bored to death in physics but have prospects...

December 16th, 2010, 9:36 pm

If you are reasonably certain that the post-doc will lead to a tenure-track position, then it is worthwhile to do it. The worst possible scenario is to complete six years post-doc, then no tenure-track position, and at age 37, too old to break into Finance world. You want to avoid that scenario which is unfortunately all too common.
 
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endian675
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December 17th, 2010, 9:37 am

Plenty of people "break in" to finance at 37 and above, stop scaremongering.
 
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traderjoe1976
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December 17th, 2010, 2:39 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: endian675Plenty of people "break in" to finance at 37 and above, stop scaremongering.So what you are saying is that instead of taking a Finance job at age 30 and building his career, he will be better off to spend another 6 years in post-doc and then at age 37, try to get a Finance job with no Finance experience, but with 12 years of Physics research under his belt. Which planet are you living on?
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