I am currently a PhD student in Finance, I specialise in time-series modelling, enjoy learning about stocks and shares and my research is going well, but for some (perhaps strange) reason, I do not want to immediately proceed with an academic career. My challenge is an academic career may be easier for me to go with.

I have two previous degrees, a bachelors and masters both in Financial Economics and in both I received the highest possible grades.

Now here the perhaps expected part, I have no work experience, during my PhD I have been a teacher in statistics classes and also a research assistant.

Apart from this, during my degrees, I had part-time jobs that do not even warrant a mention on my CV.

What would be the best approach to try and secure a position in industry. I would be interested in asset allocation, data scientist roles (with at least a hint of finance) or something similar.

The other big issue is salary, how could I command a salary comparable to what academia could off (around £40,000 outside London).

Additions from the comments:

The reason I would like to leave academia is that one day I would like to grow to a salary that pays better than a Professor.

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    I suppose the biggest question (my wife faced this) is why would you want to leave Academia without any type of experience? What do you hope to gain and what to do you aspire to contribute to your future team? I didn't write this as an answer as a) because it's not an answer and b) it is intended for you do some introspection (which will be useful) in writing your CV and in your future interviews. Jul 30, 2019 at 14:38
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    "I specialise in time-series modelling, enjoy learning about stocks and shares and my research is going" sounds like the OP could walk into a job in the CIty at £70k+
    – Mawg
    Jul 31, 2019 at 8:46
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    "The reason I would like to leave academia is that one day I would like to grow to a salary that pays better than a Professor." - Then take the salary hit now, knowing you'll grow into the higher salary and make it up over the years
    – Gamora
    Jul 31, 2019 at 11:30
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    @Mawg, I suppose the answer is subjective, it depends how well I can perform, what my knowledge is in the asset allocation area etc...
    – user107395
    Jul 31, 2019 at 12:35
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    @Mawg the best advice I have received and I would accept it as an answer
    – user107395
    Jul 31, 2019 at 13:01

4 Answers 4


You could ask us, a bunch of random strangers on the internet; But unless we have been in your position or recruiting for industries where you might apply, you will get better advice by asking a professional recruiter or two.

Send your CV and schedule a call. It will cost you nothing and you will gain valuable insights.

Good luck, and please come back and let us know how it turns out.

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    I appreciate it!
    – user107395
    Jul 31, 2019 at 13:14
  • Typically, one has to sacrifice some salary at one's first job (I did, and this continued for several years, really). A recruiter can also help you pick a correct salary range, sometimes they asked for more for me than I would've myself. For what it's worth, I'm in USA. Mar 29, 2023 at 12:13

"Apart from this, during my degrees, I had part-time jobs that do not even warrant a mention on my CV."

What makes you think that these aren't relevant?

Three things you should consider:

1) It is impressive to be able to combine work and study, especially while achieving top grades.

2) One of the big question marks in your current CV is your ability to function in a workplace environment. e.g. can you accept orders, do mindless tasks, keep a schedule, respond to emails, and generally work with others. Heck, can you even be trusted to turn up every day? Having some credible work experience, however small, will go a long way towards convincing employers that you will fit into their organisation.

3) Similar to point 2, having previous jobs shows that another employer has, at some stage, considered you suitable for employment. Just the fact that someone else even thought you were employable will make an interviewer see you more favourably, even without the job itself.

Unless your work was truly trivial (less than a week) or negative for some reason (you were fired after two weeks) you should list it on your CV if it is the only work experience you have.

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    I agree with this answer. Any experience of a workplace, given your current resume, is relevant. It reflects well that you've kept jobs and means you have a referee outside of academia that can attest to your had work
    – Gamora
    Jul 31, 2019 at 11:46

Short answer: you won't get that salary! You are unexperienced, so you are (likely) not yet prepared to generate worth in a corporate environment. No company will give you 40k/year unless you can provide them way more than that (hiring someone has more additional costs than just salary). It's not about "commanding" a salary, but about showing them the investment is worth it. Also keep in mind that, unless you've published some paper that made a significant breakthrough in a relevant field, most companies won't care about what you've researched because, among other reasons, they won't even know what you're talking about most of the time.

So I would suggest you to gather experience as soon as possible, learning the techincal competences that are required in the "real world" (which may or may not be the same as in academia). This could mean accepting some jobs for less than what you expect to earn later on. In any case, you should be able to give your potential employers good reasons for hiring you.

Finally, if you cannot find your dream job, you will always be able to create it! If you think you have the skills to deliver value to your clients, take those 40k you are earning each year and invest them in creating your own business.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Neo
    Jul 31, 2019 at 12:02

Same as any other job: apply and find out.

The only issue you might run into would be you probably won't get a senior role fitting of your education straight away. But odds are you will get there much faster than someone with a bog-standard bachelors degree.

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