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Math Can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics?

  1. Dec 10, 2011 #1
    can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Im currently a first year student in BSc maths & Physics and i would like to know if i would be able to work in the financial sector after i graduate? Or do you have to have a degree in finance, or in statistics?

    Also, i would like to know why mathematicians are used in the financial sector? Are they important? Do they earn a decent amount of money?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2011 #2
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    You can do - I know several who have done so. I beleinve mathematicians and Physicist are valued by the finacial sector for thier ability to formulate problems and then derive methods to solve them.
     
  4. Dec 11, 2011 #3
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Finance covers a lot.....

    I do know of many people that have gotten management consulting positions with firms like McKinsey after getting a bachelors.

    There are many physics Ph.D.'s that work in investment banking, but you need a Ph.D. or a masters + work experience to get those jobs.

    It turns out that the world financial system depends on some rather complicated equations to function.

    Starting comp for a Ph.D. quantitative analyst is $120-150K. I know some astrophysics Ph.D.'s that likely make close a $1M/year. However, the bad economy is pushing comp and the number of jobs down.
     
  5. Dec 13, 2011 #4
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Ye but the thing is, i live in Malta and there arent many job opportunities for physicists, even more so for astrophysicists! This is why im a bit worried about my future. I also think that if im this sure that I'm going to work in the financial sector, that im wasting my time studying a bachelors in Physics, that i should just stick to maths, and take another bachelors...like statistics or Banking and Finance
     
  6. Dec 13, 2011 #5
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Why stay in Malta?
     
  7. Dec 13, 2011 #6
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Well, im 18 right now, and i cant imagine myself moving to a different country with no friends or family and starting afresh. Even the thought of it frightens me. Maybe when im older, ill realise that its not such a bad thing. But until then, i'd prefer working in Malta
     
  8. Dec 13, 2011 #7
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    One thing that is true about the economy is a lack of certainty. In my case, the job that I'm doing now just didn't exist when I was an undergraduate, and it may not exist in five years.

    I do know that I love astrophysics, and I ended up where I am because that's the closest thing to astrophysics that I could find. If the world changes so that is no longer true, I'll find something different to do. Also one thing that I like about finance is that you get to think very deeply about things.

    For example, suppose you decide to go into finance because that's where all of the jobs are. That's fine. Now suppose that *everyone* does that. You'll find a massive glut of finance majors chasing after a few jobs. Now because I like to think about things, I start writing some equations, and figure out what I need to do in order to avoid getting caught in the glut, and one thing that I've figured out is that sometimes its best to do something random.
     
  9. Dec 14, 2011 #8
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Intereseting. So I guess what I should do at this point is just focus on what I like, and then deal with finding a job after I graduate, who knows what would happen until then. I'm sure that I won't be unemployed with a bachelors in maths and physics. If need be, next year I'll repeat first year and go into Mechanical engineering or architecture.
     
  10. Dec 14, 2011 #9
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    One other note. The movie "Margin Call" gives a very good view into what investment banking looks like from the inside. The events of that movie, didn't happen to me, but I could imagine it happening.
     
  11. Dec 14, 2011 #10
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Just watched the trailer, very good, ill look out for it in theaters. Should give me a good idea about what I might be doing later on, unless i find Physics very appealing. In fact this winter ill be going to CERN as an educational trip, and ill see how that goes too.
     
  12. Dec 14, 2011 #11
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    I've witnessed this happening. I was an intern for a bulge bracket(thankfully I was with a different department) and I was sent to help the IB team because my department didn't require my help that day.

    It was like they were holding public executions. Everyone watches as one after another gets let go...
     
  13. Dec 16, 2011 #12
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Twofish, I don't know where you work, but for me these figures seem pretty high. In London, a starting salary for a quant in a good bank would be £50-60k, which is below $100k.

    I don't think you'll ever go back to $1m salaries for quants (did quants every got paid this much, anyway? maybe your lucky PhD friends are traders), this sector of the economy is winding down. It still pays well, but the golden days are over.
     
  14. Dec 17, 2011 #13
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Oh the layoffs part was something I've seen before. It doesn't happen just in finance.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  15. Dec 17, 2011 #14
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Yes, but there is bonus which in the past as come up to 50% of salary. It's going to be less this year, but I don't think it's going to be zero.

    Not for people in the trenches, but managing directors do make that much money. One good thing about finance is that there are more astrophysics Ph.D.'s as senior managers, which doesn't happen in most other industries.

    They aren't my friends but rather my boss's, boss's, boss's, boss who has an astrophysics Ph.D.

    Also, a lot depends on time scale. No one knows what things will look like in a year or two, so it's possible that things will totally fall apart, so it's a bad idea to get a Ph.D. in order to get a job that may not exist when you get out. What concerns me is not that the financial sector will fall apart, because if finance stops hiring and there is something else, then I'll be in line with everyone else to whatever that new thing is. What worries me a lot is that finance will collapse and take everything else down with it.

    But one good thing about finance is that you have to think a lot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  16. Dec 17, 2011 #15
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    One thing that worries me more is the "internization" of finance. Lots of people are being hired as interns, and I'm worried that it's going to lead to the same situation as post-docs in which "temporary interns" really aren't that temporary.

    Something else that's true about job hunting is that you can't do cookbook. What worked for me just will not work for you. Times change. That's why I think a good liberal arts education is useful because that helps you figure out what to do with times change.
     
  17. Dec 17, 2011 #16
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Also I don't personally know of any physics Ph.D.'s that have become traders. The skills are too different. Also traders can make a done of money (assuming they don't lose their jobs), but it takes several years of experience before they'll let you be a full trader, so you'll start out as a trading assistant, and those salaries are high rather than insane.

    Curiously, the "hot" field right now is risk management. Risk managers are in the drivers seat because they talk to "God" (i.e. the regulators). A lot of what Ph.d.'s are doing is to figure out how to get the numbers that the government wants.
     
  18. Dec 17, 2011 #17
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    @Twofish-quant

    Also I don't personally know of any physics Ph.D.'s that have become traders.

    I know a few (maths or physics), mostly in more exotic and structured stuff.

    One thing that worries me more is the "internization" of finance. Lots of people are being hired as interns

    Interns or contractors. Finance is going through the process through which other industries went a bit earlier -- a full time job is not standard, but a privilege.

    One good thing about finance is that there are more astrophysics Ph.D.'s as senior managers

    Why is that a good thing?

    Oh the layoffs part was something I've seen before. It doesn't happen just in finance.

    Moreover, in finance layoffs still look much better than in, say, meat processing plants, where line workers don't get any severance payments (unless the shop is unionized) and losing a job can mean being homeless in a few weeks. Being laid off in finance is mostly a blow to your self-esteem.

    I've talked to a guy who worked in Lehmans in 2008, when they collapsed. He said it looked much more nasty from the outside than from the inside.
     
  19. Dec 21, 2011 #18
    Re: can i work in the financial sector after Bsc maths and physics??

    Which is troubling.

    It's good for me because I hate glass ceilings and seeing someone that looks like a slightly older version of me in senior management means that I can imagine myself in that situation.

    Curiously I've found that it's *better* when there are mass layoffs, because you start networking with all of your friends, and you have a support group. You also get into some interesting conversations when you no longer have to play the roles that you play in the office.
     
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