SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

Freakminer64
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: February 12th, 2011, 8:09 pm

### Feeling Lost

I recently completed MSci Maths at Imperial College and managed to get a 1st, I also won several awards for my masters project which is in the area of structural mechanics. More specifically I would model lattice vibrations using several techniques and compare the results; a perturbation method employed would generate PDEs and ODEs which could be solved and compared with newly developed numerical methods which primarily used Fourier transforms, anyway that's the jist of it.Consequently I've been offered a fully paid PhD place at Imperial with specialization in a similar area to my masters project. I never really hesitated in accepting this offer (verbally) but recently with some upheaval in family life I feel like I am at a cross road. Hence (without going into too much detail) I feel somewhat obligated to start a career asap and earn some decent money for my families sake. I am interested in the PhD area and do enjoy the math/computing, however I have also thought of the PhD as a means to an end in getting a decent job as a quant or trader etc... So it's more a shade of grey when it comes to my motivations as opposed to doing it purely for future gains. However as has been said repeatedly it's difficult to know what the job market would be like in 3/4 years.I know this sounds like I'm a bit all over the place but any advice would be much appreciated.

mrmister
Posts: 225
Joined: August 15th, 2009, 4:33 pm

### Feeling Lost

If you already know that you want to work in quant finance even before enrolling in a Phd program, you should just try to get a job in the finance arena now.

phil451
Posts: 83
Joined: December 7th, 2007, 8:21 am

### Feeling Lost

I've been working in the city for 25 years and it is IMPOSSIBLE to know what the job market will be like in 3/4 years. However, i have changed job a number of times in good periods and bad periods and have been made redundant once and was out of work for 2 months. Although i found a job within the first month of my unemployed period. If you want to do the PhD, do it now, because you won't get an opportunity again and don't worry what the job market will be like in 3/4 years as lot of things can change in that time But the desire to borrow and learn money will persit until the end of humanity

nyasha
Posts: 32
Joined: November 29th, 2005, 10:49 pm

### Feeling Lost

FYI there's a part-time UCL/LSE/LBS joint PhD programme in financial computing which could work well for you if you were to take the career path.

Alan
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Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
Location: California
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The PhD may make a significant difference to your lifetime earnings. For the sake of argument, lets say you will earn $3 million more over your first 20 years of working with the PhD.You need to sit down with your family and discuss the implications of that. quantmeh Posts: 5974 Joined: April 6th, 2007, 1:39 pm ### Feeling Lost QuoteOriginally posted by: AlanFor the sake of argument, lets say you will earn$3 million more over your first 20 years of working with the PhD.i'd say it's a good investment, better than a house or munis

Etuka
Posts: 319
Joined: January 1st, 2002, 7:40 pm

### Feeling Lost

That's strange. I have the distinct impression that I have read the opposite: PhD does not add to lifetime earnings over the MSc qualification. I think it is a great investment, but not in financial terms.

Alan
Posts: 10029
Joined: December 19th, 2001, 4:01 am
Location: California
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### Feeling Lost

Well, there are two issues. First, Dominic should be able to tell us something about the cross-sectional issue of what that degree is worth for quants, holding other factors constant.One potential problem with the cross-sectional approach is that PhD holders may be, as a group, less money-oriented,so it doesn't surprise me what you read somewhere. It may be quite sensitive to the group polled.So, more directly it comes down to: is any _given_ person likely to earn more with orwithout the PhD. This is impossible to answer cross-sectionally, as it requires having each personlive two different lives. Perhaps, one could do a different kind of poll: each person with a PhD could estimate how their personal lifetime earnings would have changed without that degree. Even without a poll, it seems obvious to me that the answer is _usually_ PhD => higher earnings, because it opensup more opportunities, for one thing. But I admit that quantifying the effect may be tricky. Also, certainly for some people, say Bill Gates, who famously saw an immediate business opportunity that must be seizedand dropped out of Harvard, then the calculation will be the exact opposite. But, the OP didn't frame his situation in that way.
Last edited by Alan on July 22nd, 2011, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

quantmeh
Posts: 5974
Joined: April 6th, 2007, 1:39 pm

### Feeling Lost

QuoteOriginally posted by: AlanEven without a poll, it seems obvious to me that the answer is _usually_ PhD => higher earnings, because it opensup more opportunities, for one thing. But I admit that quantifying the effect may be tricky. i think that you have to account for constraints. let's say one wants to be a scientist. that's the constraint. you don't consider every other career path in this case.in this case it is pretty much clear that you can't be a scientist without PhD. so there could be other trades where having PhD helps a lot. or maybe you're not that good in people skills area. of course, you can try to improve it, but it's probably harder than getting PhD, and maybe somewhat compensating other weaknesses.

Freakminer64
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: February 12th, 2011, 8:09 pm

### Feeling Lost

Well I've opted to do the PhD, more specifically it's in the area of "Acoustic Cloaking" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13905573). The clincher was seeing friends and relatives coming home from a day or work and their dread of Monday mornings (I know that this isn't always the case). I know that even though a PhD isn't a real wage, I'd much prefer to be doing that with my chosen supervisor in this particular area as opposed to any job at this present time. I know that I have the motivation to be reading research papers/coding stuff up, related to the project area, till 2 or 3 in the morning having already done that for the past year. So hopefully I have the sticktoitiveness to finish the PhD. I'll probably practice some C++ and read some finance stuff along the way and keep the possibility of becoming some form of a quant in the back of my head, but a lot can happen in 3 years.... Thanks for the replies

Freakminer64
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: February 12th, 2011, 8:09 pm

### Feeling Lost

My sentiments right now

daveangel
Posts: 17031
Joined: October 20th, 2003, 4:05 pm

### Feeling Lost

QuoteOriginally posted by: Freakminer64My sentiments right noware you a small fella with big hairy feet ? Is that your secret ?
knowledge comes, wisdom lingers