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Valyooo (34.43)

MS in physics?



September 07, 2011 – Comments (7)

This is pretty random.  For some reason, I have always been interested in physics....just seems like a fascinating subject and relevant in most aspects of life.  Unfortunately every physics teacher I ever had did not speak English well, so I never got a good education in it.  I was thinking of getting my MS in physics, but here are my obstacles:

1) I know nothing about it so I dont know how I would get accepted

2) I generally think education is a terrible waste of money unless it directly gets you into a field you need a degree for

3) I want to do does physics help you at all?

Is there anybody on this site that has a career in finance (particularly investing) that studied physics?  I know some quant funds have physics PhD's, but that is about all.


I am 95% sure I am better off just reading some physics books, but I would appreciate some feedback.

7 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On September 07, 2011 at 12:55 AM, BlackSwanCapital (59.12) wrote:

I remember when I was interviewing in Houston most of the positions that seemed most in demand were related to quantitiatve aspects of finance - they were looking for physics, math, stats, and compsci candidates with graduate level degrees.  but they emphasized the importance of being able to program.

I think you could try asking Portefeuille, who speaks great english.

^He fits most of the criteria you provided, and then some.  He mentioned he worked at a startup as a financial controller (off memory - don't quote me).


One of my friends at a prop shop says they also are very receptive to people with strong quantitative skills - he works at Jane Street - which is a pretty big deal if you're interested in that kind of career risk/reward.

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#2) On September 07, 2011 at 12:57 AM, BlackSwanCapital (59.12) wrote:

If you just want the knowledge, read the books, engage in the material, but if you want the credentials, you need the rubber stamp that a degree provides.

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#3) On September 07, 2011 at 12:58 AM, BlackSwanCapital (59.12) wrote:

also, just for kicks, this is what I envision Portefeuille being like in real life:

From big bang theory :)

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#4) On September 07, 2011 at 1:04 AM, VExplorer (29.09) wrote:

I have a lot of freinds graduated from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (may be best school in world if you are looking in theoretical/applied physics). Few strong teams formed where 25 years ago. Leaders of these teams became Russian oligarchs (Konstantin Grigorishin just one example). But to do business in emerging countries it is totally another way. I've not rememberd anyone who employed in western financial industry. But I a lot of my colleagues after MS/PhD in Math or Applied Math transferred to finance. But to do transfer, most of them completed another MS/PhD in Finance or Finance Math in a prestige western (US/GB) school. So, to go this way doesn't look like short track too. Just couple of comments from my experience: who is a good in science never will go to finance (just not interested in); finance will a terrible job market with very high competition (not always fair) in next decade.

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#5) On September 07, 2011 at 2:09 AM, SockMarket (34.24) wrote:

lol at blackswan's porte pic.


as for the MS I think it will require alot more work than you may want to put in. I have a friend who was doing theoretical math research by the end of her Sophomore year; she is trying to take a 2000 level modern physics class this semester (having never done any college physic before) and, even though she has read books on it, is having a pretty hard time with the class. 

I suspect you could do it, but you would need a very solid foundation in physics first, which would probably be the equivalent work of a minor or maybe even a major. 

Im not saying you can't do it, but I think its something to keep in mind.

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#6) On September 07, 2011 at 4:03 AM, mhy729 (30.24) wrote:

Not sure if it's all that relevant to everyday life, but I too find physics to be very interesting.  I don't think it would be a good use of your time, if your goal is to advance a career in finance (the quant guys you speak of I believe have PhDs, and doctorates are a heck of a lot more investment than a "mere" MS).  You probably want to pursue it as a hobby, and as BSC puts it reading books and engaging the material is good enough if you have the interest.

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#7) On September 07, 2011 at 2:07 PM, rofgile (99.57) wrote:

Mandelbrot did a lot of physics, biology, and financial theory.  Maybe you could get into a topic such as statistics or FPGA chips and have some good "technical" information you could like to financial stuff.


 Financial careers are like parasites on the productivity of the whole of mankind right now.  I don't see investment managers doing anything productive or helpful overall, just extracting rent out of already productive endeavors.  

 Become a physicist or an engineer, and actually contribute to making it a productive economy. 


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