A Career in Finance – Panel Discussion for PhDs and Research Staff 22.11.17

Top tips from our discussion on the evening:

Is a PhD useful in finance?

Yes – your creative and research skills are valuable and the qualification often means people will take you seriously. You’ll know how to research robustly and make good arguments.The panel advised that you should continue to focus on your own personal development and find your own unique way of looking at things.

 Do you need knowledge of finance?

No, not necessarily. As someone with a PhD you will have the skill of gaining new knowledge and applying it quickly.  This is much more valuable than extensive knowledge of a particular sector. The panel pointed out that finance is an enormous industry and no one person can know everything about it.  Be prepared to demonstrate an interest in and awareness of finance, perhaps by reading the Financial Times regularly.

 What are the differences between academic and commercial life?

In academia you have much more flexibility and freedom to plan your own work and there can be culture shock in making the change.  The corporate world is profit driven and rewards hard work more generously than academia. You may need to be prepared to take jobs you wouldn’t normally take in order to gain experience. You can learn from any role, so this is recommended.

 Is it worth trying to get internships in finance?

No. These are usually designed for undergraduates and as a PhD your skills, maturity and experience are way in advance of anything you will learn from an internship.

 How would you prepare for an interview?

Research the organisation thoroughly – make sure you understand the job on offer. Remember that one of your key skills (problem solving under pressure) is one of the most critical for a career in finance.  Be friendly and positive in interviews and remember that people hire people they like to work with.

Our speakers were:

Raffaello Morales – JP Morgan

Raffaello works at JPMorgan Chase in Risk Management where he has covered a variety of businesses within the macro environment. He holds a MSc in theoretical physics from Imperial College and a PhD in applied mathematics from King’s College London. He’s a fellow of PlusValue, a social impact consultancy, and strategist and event manager for FinanceMatters, a network of financial professionals interested to use finance for food causes.

Sophie Jiabao Sun – Global Equity Analyst at Financial Orbit

Sophie is a trader at a proprietary trading firm and a global equity analyst at Financial Orbit, an investment management service company. She trades equities, derivatives, currencies and cryptocurrencies with a technical approach. In the analyst role, she focuses on global equities with a fundamental approach. Prior to graduation, Sophie worked as a graduate teaching assistant at King’s college London and gained experience at United Capital, a private equity firm, in Beijing.

Sophie graduated from King’s College London in 2017 with a PhD degree in Chinese Studies Research, passed viva with only very minor corrections in February. In 2012, Sophie completed her MSc from King’s College London.

Adrian JS Carr – Impact Investor ADCA INVESTMENTS LIMITED

Adrian has over 25 years of experience at top investment houses, including JP Morgan, Paribas and Credit Suisse.  Adrian currently runs his own investment business, ADCA investments, combining his scientific background with a career in finance.  ADCA invests in a range of assets, monitoring their impact in addition to their risk/return profile. ADCA primarily focuses on early stage science based businesses.  The current portfolio includes positions in food production, alternative energy providers and healthcare.

Adrian has a Ph.D. in Genetics & Biotechnology from Kings College, London.  Adrian is married with three grown up children and is a keen cyclist and triathlete.

A career in medical consultancy with a PhD – Costello Medical

Costello Medical is a medical consultancy providing scientific support to the healthcare industry in the analysis, interpretation and communication of clinical and health economic data. It offers a wide range of roles, covering activities such as health economics, publishing, visual communication, statistics, HTA submissions and evidence development.

The company welcomes applications from PhDs and, due to continued growth, recruits on a rolling basis for its analyst and medical writing roles.  These positions offer the opportunity to use your scientific skills away from the lab bench.

Above all the company values the high level skills in written communication and experience of preparing publications that PhDs have.  They also look for advanced interpersonal skills as managing relationships and collaborating with clients is a key part of their roles – account management is not handled by a separate team as it is in other medical consultancies allowing analysts and medical writers to work closely alongside the clients and health care professionals they support.

Applications are by CV and cover letter initially and your letter should show why you are interested in working for the company as well as clearly evidencing both your soft and scientific skills. The company particularly values attention to detail so this should be mentioned and your CV and letter should be well laid out with correct spelling and grammar to demonstrate your ability in this area. Your letter shouldn’t be longer than one side of A4.

The company has an excellent and informative careers section on its website which includes details of current vacancies, employee case studies and lots of information about the company. It’s highly recommended that you read this carefully before applying.

Careers in Policy for Post-PhDs: 5 things you need to know

On the 25th of October, 2017, King’s College London played host to a panel of top policy experts, each of whom holds a doctorate. Hailing from a range of institutions and disciplinary backgrounds, the panelists discussed and took questions on moving into a career in policy after the PhD.

Wishing you could have attended? No fear; we have summarised the 5 things you need to know for policy careers and applications.

1. Need for policy experience:

Some experience in policy can be valuable but it’s just as important to have a breadth of experiences beyond research and teaching. All experience is valuable.

2. The value of a PhD:

The value of your PhD for a role in policy depends on the organisation you are applying for. Do your research before applying. Your PhD will be particularly useful in any role that involves interacting with academics.

3. Selection processes for policy jobs: 

Selection processes for policy roles can vary hugely. Everything from a CV and cover letter to a full multi-stage process. Prepare plenty of strong STAR examples for interview and try to speak to someone in a similar role or organisation.

4. Benefits of leaving academic research for a policy role: 

Leaving academia can bring more security and better rewards, with more regular hours. Promotion can also be easier and you can avoid the ‘echo chamber’ of academia and broaden your horizons and perspectives.

5. Disagreeing with your employers polices or decisions: 

This can happen, especially in civil service jobs. It is possible to make your arguments for a particular policy and their is a great deal of professional pride to be taken in presenting well constructed policy papers, even if your recommendations aren’t adopted.

6. A day in the life:  

There is a great deal of variety in the typical day of somebody working in policy, but there will be many meetings and individual discussions and you will need to be great at reviewing and writing documents as well as presenting. You may find yourself dealing with new tasks, such as finance or operational management, and learning about new systems within your organisation.

If you would like to attend a similar event, with industry experts on post-PhD career options, check out the full schedule of our “Beyond Academia” careers events.

Full details of our panelists: 

Ben Taylor – House of Lords

Ben Taylor currently works as Policy Analyst to the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, and previously worked on the Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003. Before joining the House of Lords in September 2016, he completed a PhD at King’s College London. His research focused on the history of scientific research and development at the Home Office, and its role in promoting new surveillance and intelligence-gathering techniques in British policing. He has previously worked as an AHRC research fellow at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, in a role that saw him investigate the impact of big data in the age of social media.

Jennifer Stuart – Global Health Security Programme

Jennifer completed a PhD in Immunology and Infection at the University of Cambridge in 2015, where her research focused on mechanisms used by poxviruses to evade the immune system of their hosts. Following her PhD, Jennifer joined the Civil Service Science and Engineering Fast Stream, a cross-government graduate programme to ensure those with scientific skills and experience can support government policy and decision-making. On the Fast Stream she undertook a number of civil service roles, including at the Government Office for Science, and undertook a secondment at The Alan Turing Institute. Jennifer now works at the Department of Health as the Head of Vaccines and Biopreparedness for the Global Health Security Programme.

Mark Ewbank – Department of Communities and Local Government

Mark Ewbank is currently a Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Communities and Local Government. Mark was previously Senior Clerk of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, Policy & Scrutiny Manager at the City of Westminster and a Research Fellow at the University of Southampton.  Mark read for his doctorate in Public Policy between October 2007 and March 2011 at the School of Government & Society at the University of Birmingham.

Adrian Baker – British Heart Foundation

Adrian is Policy Manager at the British Heart Foundation and former Head of Health and Social Care at techUK.  With more than ten years’ experience straddling policy, research, and strategy, Adrian worked at the Royal College of Nursing on a range of high profile issues and as a policy advisor for the London Health Board, chaired by previous Mayor of London Boris Johnson.  Adrian holds degrees from the London School of Economics, and was awarded the Colt Doctoral Fellowship for his PhD research at University College London into the diffusion of innovations in NHS Trusts.

Tim Marsh – Director at Food Matters (previous Head of Policy at the Women’s Institute).

Tim Marsh, is a Public Health Policy consultant, whose main interests are Obesity, Food Poverty, Agricultural policy and Public Health. His career has included policy roles at the UK Health Forum, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, UK Public Health Association and Child Poverty Action Group, acted as a technical advisor to the World Health Organisation, World Bank and the European Commission. He has been a Trustee of Sustain and the European Public Health and Agriculture Consortium.   He is co-author on over 30 peer reviewed publications.

 

 

‘Raw Intellectual Horsepower’ – Five lessons for PhDs on Management Consultancy careers

The King’s Careers “Beyond Academia” panels bring together PhD graduates who have ‘Raw Intellectual Horsepower’transitioned out of academia into a range of different industries, to give expert insight into life beyond the academy and the skills and strategy required to make the move. 

The first event of King’s Careers “Beyond Academia” panel season kicked off by looking at the perennially-popular field of management consulting. We were joined by four PhD graduates from a wide range of research disciplines, working in top consultancy firms, who touched on a range of subjects, from applications and adapting to a new work culture, to imposter syndrome and moving past perfectionism. 

Here are the 5 things we learned from the event:

1) Research skills = consulting skills  

Consulting uses many of the skills inherent in working on a PhD: Elinor talked about the analytical skills PhDs and other researchers use to answer complex questions; the resilience required to keep going through a difficult project; and the communication skills needed to be able to talk through tricky solutions. Like academia, consulting is full of cosmopolitan people who are all seeking innovative solutions.

2) Time is of the essence

On the other hand, the pace and variety of consultancy is probably the major difference from working on an academic research project. Chris described the need to not get a 90-95% perfect solution, but having to be content with an 80% correct solution; Nick said that one of the main shifts he got used to at the start was not having a week to work on something, but being expected to have an answer by the afternoon.  The transition from one to the other is hard: it is a very structured profession with people often checking your work

3)  Imposter syndrome cuts both ways

Dealing with the imposter syndrome inherent in coming in to advise long-established business professionals can be challenging; Elinor talked about the internal feedback often being more searching than from the clients. Firms won’t let their consultants go out unless they are very well prepared. See here for an article about how management consultancy started. Nick talked about the advantage of arriving at a client company, as an outsider, and being able to draw together the right people to have the difficult conversations; often these conversations are enough to help the company move on.

4) Know your numbers

Firms like the ‘raw intellectual horsepower’ that PhDs bring, but don’t be surprised if you are hired on a graduate scheme along with undergraduates. While humanities and social science researchers are valued for their ability to be generalists rather than the specialists needed for, for example, healthcare consultancy (Georgie), you have to be aware that it is a numerate discipline (Elinor): practice your mental arithmetic before all interviews!

5) Try, try, and try again

Applications will be unlikely to be successful first time around. One of our panel applied to 30 firms and had one interview. Find a list of firms, come to events to meet with them, tailor your applications and get help from Careers & Employability.

If you would like to attend one of King’s Careers “Beyond Academia” panels, check out the list of future panels here.

The next event looks at moving beyond academia into Pharma Research and takes place on the 8th of November. To book this, or any other panel, click here. Continue reading

Post-PhD Careers Case Study: Dr Enrico Fantoni

King’s PhD graduate, Dr Enrico Fantoni

Enrico was a PhD research at King’s 2013-16, working on nuclear brain imaging of inflammation. While at King’s, he undertook several different projects to help him find out more about possible career directions, including time spent in the King’s IP and Licensing team as well as a project with student-led Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable.

Enrico networked his way to a new role within GE Healthcare and was kind enough to tell us more about his role and his career journey below.

  1. Tell us about your new role and the company you are working for?

I work as a Medical Affairs Associate at GE Healthcare. I directly report to the medical director and am responsible for supporting the company marketing strategy with key clinical studies. One study I am working on is a meta-analysis; another a small observational clinical study; and a third is a large international multicentre clinical trial of which I am the lead project manager after only one year at the company.

  1. What do you do day to day?

Of course each day is fairly varied. I write publications and analyse data; I attend conferences where I liaise with ‘Key Opinion Leaders’ and advocacy. There is project management, and interdepartmental liaison. I support the commercial and health economics departments with medical and scientific queries.

  1.  What’s different or similar to your PhD?

Mainly it’s pretty similar. In addition to all the science I learned during my PhD, there’s data analysis, interdisciplinarity, personal management, independence, presentations, and perseverance.  I use my scientific acumen all the time.

  1. Do you have any tips for any other PhDs?

Use LinkedIn! Don’t be shy, keep contacting people whose roles you’re interested in. Exploit your network. Read emails from groups such as Cheeky Scientist. Join LinkedIn groups. Attend webinars. Understand the role you’re interested in well before going to interviews.

Find out more here about different career directions, and support available at King’s.