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Physical sciences PhD to consulting/venture capital?


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I am in my second year of graduate school and doing a research in theoretical physics. I initially thought I wanted to go into academia but now I have totally lost interest in it. The stipend for post docs are awful and even after that the job prospects are so bad. I know people who after finishing their PhDs are just earning about 50 K and I go to one of the top 5 physics program. I am beginning to feel that a PhD is a total waste of time if I don't want to go into academia. As a person doing theory the job prospects in industry is close to nil. I don't even think I want to continue with research after I graduate. So most people who leave research in my school either go to consulting or wall street. I am also interested in business so those seem like really good options for me. My dilemma is if I should continue with my PhD and then join consulting or hedge fund or should I just drop out of grad school and get a job in consulting/venture capital. If I don't want to be in research, I don't see how doing a PhD will be of any help to me. I talked with some people who work in consulting and heard that they hire PhDs at the same level as MBAs. Is that true? If it is I think I want to finish up my PhD because I don't have the money or the work experience to do a MBA. Anyway has anyone left research after your PhD and what are the most lucrative options in terms of both work load and money?

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I'm guessing people that left for Wall Street aren't on this forum any more. I've heard other people recommend that those not sure they want to finish take a semester leave of absense. Could you do that this spring semester, see what you can do, and then come back to the PhD program next Fall if it's not lucrative enough for you?

You might look into taking the exam for actuary science, too. If math majors qualify then you would, and I hear they make good money.

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