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Experimental physicist and investment banking?

  1. Apr 23, 2015 #1
    Hi, I'm looking to do an experimental physics PhD (currently on an experimental Masters program), and I was wondering what my chances of getting into investment banking (quant) are.

    I am aware that theoretical physicists are primed for such a position, but what about an experimentalist? I can't change my degree now, and obviously can't do a theoretical PhD. I also know that experience with C++ is important and I have experience with Java and so I will learn C++ myself.

    The thing is that I don't have the same mathematical background, so what are my chances of getting into investment banking, and what can I do from now on to help myself to end up there?

    Thanks greatly for any responses!!

    P.s. I do love physics and I do want to do a PhD anyway, I just don't want to try for academia or to go straight into industry. I want to do a PhD! But then i want to make money (i admit it...), for which i have my reasons.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2015 #2
    Well, I'll say this: Quants are, with very few exceptions, programmers. They are other things too, but they are almost always also programmers, and can't function without it.

    So when you go apply, you're going to be discussing your programming experience a lot.

    Also, make sure you're familiar with trends in the work quants do since the financial collapse. The market for quants is very different today than it was in 2007.
  4. Apr 24, 2015 #3
    Thank you greatly for your reply! Can I please just ask what are those 'other things' that Quants are typically. And in what ways could I improve/add to my programming experience in a way that they would take notice of.

    Thanks again.
  5. Apr 24, 2015 #4
    My husband is not an investment banker, but he is a quant in risk analysis for a bank. He is primarily a programmer as was already mentioned, focusing on SAS and Visual Basic. He did his PhD in economics using R. He works with people of various backgrounds, especially mathematics-focused. Seems to be mostly statisticians with business training. With my physics PhD math training, I know what he's talking about when he mentions statistics, but I don't know all the various tests and uses that a statistician would know.

    I'm not sure if this is what Locrian meant about the market changing, but the market for quants is hotter than its ever been in the risk modeling and analysis field. My husband's department didn't exist 3 years ago; it was created after the Dodd Frank Act. Turn-over in his group is very high because his co-workers get job offers with higher incomes at other banks frequently. He has gotten a few unsolicited messages on LinkedIn himself. If you can add some kind of business, financial, or economics training to your physics curriculum, you'll do fine.
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