Spotlight on careers in finance for researchers – 23rd November 2016

Our speakers were:

Andy Round

PhD (Title) – Biochemistry ‘Yeast as a Delivery Vehicle for labile actives’ – University of Leeds

Use of yeast as a microbial delivery vehicle. Using and engineering different yeast types via process and growth control factors to change the physical and biochemical properties to enhance its ability to deliver a range of different chemistries / molecules in different environments (example small molecules delivered to the GI tract, flavour molecules delivered to the tongue etc). Andy is now investment director at Spark Impact, where he invests in new businesses.

Suren Sorathia

Suren has a PhD in Quantum Physics and is now a manager at d-fine.

Ryan Warnes

In 2010, Ryan obtained a PhD in Astrophysics from Princeton University, USA and the University of Natal, SA. During his PhD he worked on an international project to detect galaxy clusters using the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect. From there he moved into the world of consulting with d-fine. Working for such a company and within the consulting space, allowed Ryan to combine his passion for travel along with his love of analytical thinking, in collaboration with like-minded individuals to solve challenging real-world problems. During his 6 years at d-fine, Ryan has worked with a number of financial institutions ranging from small hedge funds and retail banks through to large international investment banks and national regulators.

Ryan – chose a career outside academia because, although he enjoyed research, he was looking for something with more stability that allowed time for family life and avoided some of the downsides of working in Higher Education. He wanted to continue using his analytical and problem solving skills while working with likeminded people. He was very interested in risk as a concept and finding novel solutions to address it. He’s now worked successfully in finance for six years and has progressed into management. He says his current job is a constant balancing act between perfectionism and cost/effectiveness.

Suren – initially chose his PhD partly because of his desire to travel. He located a Professor who was willing to supervise him at a University in Mexico, where he had to learn Spanish from scratch. He took a post-doctoral job in the USA but wanted to move on from academia for the same reasons at Ryan, although he has always considered he could return to academic research if he chose to. He has also been promoted and now leads a team. Suren found the problem solving and analytic aspects of his role the most interesting and is very happy to be working alongside many scientists who have made similar career moves to his.

Andy Round – began his academic life with a sponsored PhD during which he started a business and has worked continuously since then helping business be more innovative both in large and small businesses. This led him to many different roles including working in North Eastern England on regeneration schemes and working for and with venture capitalists. Andy has always been willing to move to find new opportunities and says, for him, five years in one role is enough to complete its natural cycle. He has recently become owner of his own business raising money for small businesses. He says the skills and qualities gained during his PhD in analysis, flexibility, resilience, enthusiasm, independence and responsibility have been called on throughout his career so far.  Andy identified the ability to work well with a range of different people as critical to success as an entrepreneur.