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Sorry for the lengthy thread! Please persevere

I have seen that there are many of these threads - so apologies for the bits that overlap. I have tried to keep this as 'original' as possible - but with all of the help I have had so far from browsing this forum I couldn't resist getting some feedback on my own situation.

I am a physics graduate who is now mid-way through a PhD. I am studying applications of graph theory in biology. I'm hoping that the graph theory part of my PhD will be of interest to finance, and I think when the time comes to apply, I am interested in becoming a Quant - something analytical in finance in any case. I have experience with both R and MATLAB and I plan on self-learning some C++ before application time.

Part of the reason I have started this thread is to ask anyone that works in finance or recruitment - I am seeing lots of jobs advertised in the UK that state that a "PhD in science/mathematics"...yada yada, is required, which is fine. But some also mention that a 'first class undergraduate degree' is also required - how strict is this?

I ask because, obviously, I do not have a first class undergraduate degree. My degree was in physics and mathematics (combined - this is the UK system, remember) and I achieved a 2:1. However, my degree is an Msci - an undergraduate masters, which was 5 years and contains what are considered a bunch of 'grad level' courses. Any insight into whether or not this will cause me a hinderance?

Also, I go to a good university, and my undergraduate degree was at a good university. Not a 'great' university, however. That is, I graduated in the UK but didn't go to Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial or Durham.

Lastly, there is obviously a great difference between the timescale of a PhD in the US than the UK - will this have an effect on whether or not I can hope of an entry job in the US?

I am willing to move just about anywhere in the world for an opportunity like this: I have had a bit of experience with mathematical finance since one of my collaborators carries that as a second interest - and I loved it. Are there enough of these jobs going around for someone like me to have a chance? I know I will find out in time, and that I can't get a definitive answer from randoms on the internet - but I would like to know if I'm being over-optimistic and should start looking at alternatives.

Kind Regards,

Neil