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Btewwn academia and finance careers

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:25 am
by Ros
Dear all,
I apologize in advance for the long post.

I am in my 2nd year postdoc and considering leaving academia for investment. I re-read a great March 2005 thread on VC and banking careers and I dont' know if I have what it takes for this, so here is my situation.

I have both a DVM (never practiced, research only) and a PhD, and I work in the stem cell /cloning area. I have a very analytical approach to things, and for most standards I think to be good at what I do. However, I am growing more and more dissatisfied with bench work because I realized that I love to put things in perspective, find out where things (experiments, a political debate, a merger between companies... pretty much everything I stumble upon) are going and what they really mean, and I don't seem to have the patience to work out the little details of things. On top of that, I LOVE to communicate, to speak in public, and my worst days are those spent in silence in a room with other 5 postdocs each of us hammering at our own projects. I love going to meetings, listening to lectures, interacting with both scientists and people outside of academia, I love it when I am a good mentor, when I am effective and give good suggestions to the PhD students that I follow.
I have lately "taken advantage" of my husband (business-finance) and gone as guest to a couple of alumni events of his BS. It was great, I met lots of interesting people that seem to have a mindset that matches mine, and a career that puts it to work. I asked about their career choices and got the impression that I could be, with proper training an and experience of course, something like a business analyst for biotech/medical/pharma field. I am considering taking the CFA exam and although I just started reading some of my husband books, I find topics like financial statement analysis to be really interesting.
On the other hand, I am aware that my next career move will influence the next 10-15 years of working life (or more), and I want to be as sure as I can be before leaving academia, expecially now when it's really time to push for a tt position. I am in my early 30ies, speak fuently 2 languages and can converse in 2 other, I am willing to relocate pretty much everywhere in the world.

Do you think that I would stand a good chance in the banking/consulting business (with level I CFA done)? I don't come from any "pedigree" universities, just solid accomplishments (10 papers between graduate and postdoc), will this hurt my chances? Would my lack of experience in private companies be a problem? Can you think of any alternate careers that involve science, analysis and communication?

I really appreciate your thoughts,
Ros