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Economics PhD says hedge fund life is easier than academia

If you've completed a PhD at a top university, you might be inclined to become an academic. After all, what could be better for someone seeking a sinecure that allows you to live in a beautiful university city without undue commercial exertion? 

Unfortunately, contemporary academic jobs don't work like this. Much has been written about the descent of the academic job market into a marathon for poorly paid precarious positions based on short term contracts which can involve moving large distances at short notice. In the circumstances, commercial jobs with employers like hedge funds suddenly look more appealing. 

Dr. Sam Wills, a former PhD student at Oxford University has spoken out on the website research careers about why moving to a hedge fund proved such a great option. 

Wills, who studied a DPhil in economics at Oxford, has worked for Rokos Capital Management since 2017. As part of a team of 10 PhD level economists, Wills works on macro forecasting and says his role is "pretty scholarly." He also suggests it's pretty leisurely.

While Wills isn't exactly working the 32 hour week advocated within a decade by the UK Labour Party's John McDonnell (who himself works from 7am to 11pm), but he does seem to have a fairly nice life. "I tend to leave the office at a civilized time (~6:30pm) and my weekends are typically free (which wasn’t always the case during the PhD)," he says. 

This schedule runs contrary to Wills' preconceptions; before joining Rokos he says he thought he'd have to work much harder. The only downside is the Asian market: "I do sometimes need to be up in the middle of the night to watch events taking place in Asia," he confesses. 

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Photo by Daniel Mingook Kim on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ja
    24 September 2019

    There are 2 typos in the first paragraph. Competed->Completed and sinecure->secure

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