3 Reasons Why Quantitative Analysis Is A Good Fit For PhDs

I knew I needed to leave academia.

The situation in my lab was getting worse every day.

The lack of academic funding was taking its toll on everyone, and we were all stressed out.

My advisor was constantly telling me that I didn’t know anything.

I would get in trouble for using initiative, told only to do as I was instructed.

Original ideas were not encouraged.

Meanwhile, I was expected to complete extra work that wasn’t getting done by a student in our lab.

I didn’t get any appreciation or acknowledgement for the extra work I was doing.

I worked long hours and the negativity of the lab was making me depressed.

But mostly, I lacked the support and guidance that I needed.

There was no clear way to move forward in my career. I felt stuck, berated by my advisor, and overwhelmed by the extra work I completed without any extra compensation.

I was stressed and overworked.

I reached a breaking point and made the decision to transition into industry.

At first, the relief of knowing I was going to leave academia was wonderful.

But then, I got nervous.

What would I do outside academia?

Would I be able to get a job that wasn’t at a university?

I was worried that maybe I had made the wrong decision.

But, the more research I did, the more I realized that my PhD had given me invaluable skills.

As a PhD, I had many industry-desired skills that gave me an advantage over other job candidates.

I just had to figure out which industry position was the right one for me.

I realized that my knowledge of advanced statistics was a skill that set me apart from other candidates.

As I researched the alternative careers available to PhDs, I was drawn to the analyst positions.

Since I had experience working with large data sets, the analyst positions seemed perfect for me.

I knew I was on the right track to leave academia.

I worked on building up my professional network, and soon recruiters started contacting me.

I was finally getting noticed and the future looked great.

Why Quantitative Analysis Is A Great Option For PhDs

Since the global economic crisis, the need for financial security has increased, and with it the demand for quantitative analysts has increased, as reported in Forbes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the financial analysis field alone is expected to grow by 12% over 10 years.

This growth rate is larger than the average for all other occupations.

The collapse of the world banking system exposed the need to develop better risk management strategies.

It also highlighted the need to identify profitable investment opportunities, calculate investment risks, and reduce these risks.

These are the goals of a quantitative analyst.

Over the last few years, there has also been a rise in the number of hedge funds, one of the major employers of quantitative analysts.

Hedge funds’ profits depend largely on how successfully they can maintain consistently high returns on the assets under their management.

Companies have come to rely on excellent quantitative analysts.

In most cases, even entry-level positions require candidates to have a masters degree or PhD.

Because of this need, and the specific skill set and qualifications required, quantitative analyst positions also come with a high salary.

According to Payscale, at the entry level, quantitative analysts can expect to earn an average of $77,000 per year and up to approximately $114,000 for large cities.

And this is just for entry-level positions.

With experience, earning more than $500,000 per year is achievable.

While there is high demand for quantitative analysts, the skill level required for these positions is also high.

Having a PhD alone will not guarantee you a career as a quantitative analyst. You will need to know how to leverage your other skills as well.

In order to be fully competitive, you will need to demonstrate that you have additional, transferable skills.

You should demonstrate that you can think independently and outside the box.

Also, highlight your ability to learn new skills quickly and be able to adapt to complex and ever-changing market environments.

As a PhD, you have what it takes to get the industry position you want.

Now, you just have to decide what position is the right one for you.

3 Ways To Know If Quantitative Analyst Is The Right Industry Position For You

There are a lot of good career options for PhDs.

A lesser known, but excellent career choice for PhDs is quantitative analysis.

Quantitative analyst positions are in high-demand.

They are a great option to take the high level skills you gained as a PhD, and apply them in the business and financial realm.

Here are 3 ways to know if you should consider transitioning into a quantitative analyst position…

1. You are a dataset guru.

Data mining and database management skills are highly sought after for quantitative analyst positions.

Quantitative analysts predict financial behavior through researching and analysing market trends.

This involves the development and implementation of complex mathematical models from raw data.

Companies use quantitative analysis to reduce the risks that accompany their business decisions, especially in today’s extremely volatile market environment.

The main role of quantitative analysts is to take raw data, which can be sales revenues, derivative pricing models, or customer satisfaction, and transform it into minimum risk investment opportunities.

As a PhD, you have lots of experience transforming raw data into useful information.

Additionally, government-employed quantitative analysts are involved in the analysis that shapes monetary and economic policies.

They may be involved in developing and predicting changes in Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) figures, or other government statistics.

While quantitative analyst positions come with some pressure, as you are responsible for financial risk calculations etc., it offers the opportunity to influence key decisions.

Plus, as PhDs, we like tough problems, and quantitative analyst positions provide the personal satisfaction that comes with solving complex problems.

2. You have strong math and statistics skill sets.

Being able to think scientifically is an essential requirement to work as a quantitative analyst.

Quantitative analyst, Micah Spruill reports that the best analysts usually have a background in math, computer science, engineering, or a related natural science field.

In other words, STEM PhDs are uniquely suited for quantitative analyst positions.

PhDs in the STEM subjects often have a sound knowledge of statistics and excellent mathematical abilities.

As a quantitative analyst, you would need to take your stats and maths skills and apply them to financial risk management.

Thus, if you have a good understanding of econometrics and financial analysis, this will help you get a role as a quantitative analyst.

It is essential for you to demonstrate your business acumen and knowledge of industry trends when applying for analyst positions.

Specific skills employers are looking for are: a knowledge of finance and statistics, calculus and game theory, financial modeling, and strong analytical skills.

Programming skills using Python, C + +, MatLab, and Excel will also help you get hired.

With regards to transferable skills, you will need to have excellent communication skills and the ability to work under pressure.

Quantitative analyst positions require a very high-level skill set.

If you feel you are lacking in some areas, additional training could be a good option.

But remember, you can get a job without meeting all the requirements.

The best way to get the industry position you want is to network.

Networking and getting job referrals will allow you to get the industry position you want, even if you are missing a few of the job requirements.

Plus, PhDs are masters of learning. You are capable of learning any new skills you need once you are on the job.

3. You are excited to transfer your PhD skills into a finance setting.

Qualitative analysts are in high demand and, according to Investopedia, these positions span the fields of economics, business, and finance.

As such, there are no shortages of companies looking to hire quantitative analysts.

If you want to become a quantitative analyst, you should start networking with relevant companies.

Companies that often hire quantitative analysts are hedge funds, investment banks, commercial banks, and private equity firms.

Large banks such as Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse are major employers of quantitative analysts.

Accounting and insurance companies are also great places to look for quantitative analysis roles.

There is no shortage of insurance and accounting companies, which can range from small to large companies.

You can also target consulting firms and government organizations.

Quantitative analyst roles in consulting firms and government are still likely to centre around some form of economic or financial department, so look for positions in the departments of economics or statistics.

Overall, it is the financial industry that hires quantitative analysts, so you need to have a passion for this area if you are going to pursue an analyst role.

There is a wide range of industry positions that are great options for PhDs. One lesser known, but quite lucrative, position is that of a quantitative analyst. These positions are in high demand and PhDs have many of the skills needed for this role. PhDs who are experts with data sets and data mining, who have strong mathematical and statistical backgrounds, and who have an interest in finance, are well-suited for a role as a quantitative analyst. PhDs who can work under pressure and who have excellent communication skills will be able to succeed in quantitative analysis roles. With a wide range of potential employers and an increasing demand, quantitative analysis roles are an excellent career choice for PhDs.

To learn more about 3 Reasons Why Quantitative Analysis Is A Good Fit For PhDs, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.

Join Cheeky Scientist Association
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly
Aditya Sharma, PhD
Aditya Sharma, PhD

Aditya Sharma, PhD, earned his advanced degree at the University of Toronto, Canada. Now, he combines his passion for all things STEM with keen business acumen, and he works as a scientific consultant at a top Canadian consulting firm.

Similar Articles

5 Lucrative Career Options for Any PhD (Even Without A STEM background)

5 Lucrative Career Options for Any PhD (Even Without A STEM background)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Contributing Author: Maxwell Caughron A year before I got hired, I didn’t even know the career I currently worked in existed. My path to industry success has not been a straight line, so let’s start from the beginning… My PhD is in Asia Pacific Studies, and after about 6 years in academia, I needed a change of pace. I can’t put into words how anxious I was about finding a job but I started looking at various career tracks. I had absolutely no idea what valuable skills I had or where to look for relevant positions.  It was then that…

A PhD In Leadership: 9 Academic Skills That Turn You Into A Boss

A PhD In Leadership: 9 Academic Skills That Turn You Into A Boss

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

How many PhDs miss their calling as leaders because of academic failure?  I remember my own academic education well. Like other PhDs, no one taught me how to develop my leadership skills. Leadership is a core part of real life, of industry. But it’s not a focal point for academia, which is why so many students get their PhDs only to face a harsh reality… Instead of success and recognition, PhDs feel used. They’ve been used by a university system that chewed them up and spit them out. There is no clear path to success or fulfillment, only unanswered questions.…

I Learned These 3 Things, And Then I Got Hired As A Data Scientist

I Learned These 3 Things, And Then I Got Hired As A Data Scientist

By: Shobeir Mazinani, PhD

Data science has changed my life. That’s not an exaggeration. Since becoming a data scientist, recruiters have invited me to apply for positions in their own organization. It wasn’t always like this though… It used to be the academic life for me – lengthy hours, little pay, and even less appreciation. But I made a decision to join Cheeky Scientist and take my career into my own hands. Now, it’s normal to receive multiple job offers, which I negotiate for higher salary and improved signing bonuses. Does this sound like a luxury? Like a distant achievement that you could never…

7 Ways To Keep Your Job Search Alive In A Recession

7 Ways To Keep Your Job Search Alive In A Recession

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

I’ve lost a job. I was offered a contract, and they pulled it back. Everybody is ignoring me on LinkedIn now.  I was communicating with somebody about an upcoming interview, and now they’re not replying to my emails. My postdoc is not going to be renewed.  This is the kind of message I’ve been getting from countless PhDs all over the world. The recession has made things challenging for everyone. A lot of PhDs thought academia was going to take care of them, but they’ve found out the hard way that it isn’t true. For weeks now, I’ve been warning…

How These 3 Leadership Skills Can Protect Your Career During A Recession

How These 3 Leadership Skills Can Protect Your Career During A Recession

By: Sarah Smith, PhD

The current crisis reminds me of something that happened to me years ago. I had an interview with a big company, and it was scheduled to take place on an upper floor of a tall building. I took the elevator, which turned out to be the wrong choice. Normally, I’d have chosen the stairs, but I was feeling nervous and didn’t want to make my heart rate increase – it was already beating fast. The elevator got about halfway up to my floor and abruptly stopped. The doors didn’t open. There were several other people in there with me, and…

5 Ways To Limit PhD Anxiety And Protect Your Career

5 Ways To Limit PhD Anxiety And Protect Your Career

By: Elliott Brecht, PhD

You should have seen my academic CV. It was a total disaster. By academia’s standards, it was fine. But I had a real monster of a CV, over 5 pages long and full of academic jargon. And there was no cover letter either. Can you guess what industry employers did after taking a glimpse at my CV? They probably threw it away – that’s assuming it even reached employers. More likely, it was filtered out of candidacy by application tracking software. You might think that, given the current situation, you should be focusing your time on other things, not career…

Secure PhD Jobs With The 15-Point Coronavirus Career Plan

Secure PhD Jobs With The 15-Point Coronavirus Career Plan

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Isaiah Hankel has your guide to navigating the world of PhD jobs during the coronavirus crisis and using this temporary downtime to your advantage. The financial markets have crashed worldwide.  I can tell you from experience what’s going to happen next. I was a PhD student in 2008 during the financial crisis, and history tells us the hiring market is next to crash. After 2008, I felt like there were no jobs, and I had no industry network to connect with. My PI couldn’t help me – he didn’t know anybody either.  He was in the academic bubble with me. …

5 Ways PhDs Find Successful Careers As Medical Writers

5 Ways PhDs Find Successful Careers As Medical Writers

By: Alejandra Viviescas, PhD

As a PhD, you already have the strong communication skills you need to succeed as a medical writer. You just need to focus them on other audiences besides academics, like doctors, patients, regulatory bodies, and the general public.

3 Huge Benefits Of Being An Industry Research Scientist

3 Huge Benefits Of Being An Industry Research Scientist

By: Aditya Sharma, PhD

The main reason you should be looking for an industry job instead of staying in academia is simple: There are too many academic research scientists. Nature reported that in recent years, the number of academic research scientists jumped by 150% in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, the number of tenured and other full-time faculty positions has plateaued and, in many places, even declined. Around 10% of all postdocs had been going on for more than 6 years. Imagine doing a postdoc for 6 or more years. A lot of PhDs don’t have to imagine that scenario – they are living it.…

Top Industry Career eBooks

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel

The LinkedIn tips & strategies within have helped PhDs from every background get hired into top industry careers.

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD & Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Learn about the top 20 industry careers for PhDs (regardless of your academic background). In this eBook, you will gain insight into the most popular, highest-paying jobs for PhDs – all of which will allow you to do meaningful work AND get paid well for it.

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.