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Getting into financial industry from physics

  1. May 30, 2007 #1
    I hard that many financial companies hire physics students for quantitative jobs. how much is that true. and I also hard that they hire students from top 10 univs only. how much true is this? If I get some background in finance and develop skilll in c/c++ is there any chance to get into financial sector after Physics PhD from somewhere in 50 ranking university? I am an international student, so that is also to be considered.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2007 #2
    finance is easy. Id assume so. I think a physics student would on average be smarter than a finance student just the finance student might be more up to date in their knowledge. Maybe you could study part time in finance and look for work or do an overload of units in finance.

    Im not an employer though that is just my opinion of people who study physics.
  4. May 30, 2007 #3


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    No one cares if you're an international student. Just make sure you have a visa or something to work.

    To make it anywhere in the finance sector, I'd recommend getting a professional designation, and let the requirements of those designations dictate what you should take. I'm not from the US, but I don't think there are designations for just quantitative work. Even if there isn't, for competitive reasons, it would probably be good to get one if it's not too much work. Some places will hire you if you're in the process of getting one, so you don't have to wait until you're done.
  5. May 30, 2007 #4


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    PS. Finance is not easy.
  6. May 30, 2007 #5
    relative to physics imo
  7. May 30, 2007 #6


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    Depends on the level of finance. It can get very mathematical and complex.
  8. May 30, 2007 #7

    Look at the book "schochastic calculus of variation for mathematical finance" bu P. Malliavin. The mathematics in that book shall surely make you cry the first time.
  9. May 30, 2007 #8
    I saw few pages of a finance book. it is full of sooooooo much complecated math, it seemed very difficult. I don't want to compare with physics. real understanding of physics is also not easy.... anyway finance is never easy, thats for sure.
  10. May 31, 2007 #9
    The whole field of computational/quantitative finance may be mathematically elegant (i.e. put call parity, and Black-Scholes). But it really doesn't have any applications in the real world (all of the theories). They work only under special conditions.
  11. May 31, 2007 #10
    Finance isn't as intuitive as physics so in that way it may be harder. It also depends on the person's motivation. A higher motivation to do something can make something look easy.
  12. May 31, 2007 #11
  13. May 31, 2007 #12
    Someone in my classes has just been accepted by Barclays as a trainee securities analyst for £38k with little effort, so yes it can be done, they just want very bright people who work hard and catch on to concepts quickly.
  14. May 31, 2007 #13
    Consider http://www.poplarware.com/personal/lptodo.html [Broken] as an example. On the linked page she writes:

    She has more detail elsewhere if you are willing to dig for it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  15. May 31, 2007 #14
    From the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  16. May 31, 2007 #15

    That appears to be the information for a personal financial planner. This is not what most physicists who end up in the financial sector do - most of them work on mathematical models to improve yields in trading various commodities.
  17. May 31, 2007 #16
    Yes, well finance is a rather large and all encompassing field, so i just went with what the BLS had listed for financial analysts. If you're talking about mathematical modeling, they really like mathematicians (I was actively being recruited with only a BS in math/physics from UCLA for such positions, but that's not what I wanted to do).
  18. May 31, 2007 #17
    If Black-Scholes no longer has any applications in the real world, it is only because the state of the art has moved on from there. But when I did my brief stint on Wall Street around 1990, everyone and his uncle was busily working on refinements and applications of Black-Scholes pricing models.
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