Sarah Butcher, writing at eFinancialCareers, notes that Ryan Buckingham, a particle physicist with a PhD from Oxford University and a recent stint at the Large Hadron Collider, recently joined Goldman Sachs. That happens a lot these days, you can thank the automated trading financial meltdown of 2010 on physicists and mathematicians. Regardless of some statistical bumps here and there, you have a better chance of getting a job on Wall Street with experience in particle physics than you do with a finance degree (who doesn't agree that should be the case in any job?).
The obvious question is why anyone from academia does that. Ordinarily, academics seem to like academia, it's why they spent all that time there. A newly-minted PhD that wants to work in the corporate world doesn't bother being a post-doc and getting a job at the LHC is a big step up in difficulty from a post-doc job. It may be that leaving is not a choice. An anonymous former CERN physicist turned banker told Butcher, "CERN can be a very interesting place to work with a lot of cultural diversity, but it’s also highly political and very bureaucratic." And anything other than a short-term job is difficult to get. “As far as I could see, only 10-20% of people got an indefinite contract at CERN and they were almost all French. I always received excellent appraisals and was suddenly told I wasn’t good enough.”
Hey, welcome to the real world of meritocracy, though "they were almost all French" sounds like business as usual in Europe.
“CERN is a bit of a weird place,” he said, “- it’s very insular and incredibly competitive.”
Yes, to physicists the cutthroat world of Wall Street investment banking is seen as a more relaxed atmosphere than the LHC.
Goldman Sachs hires particle physicist from the Large Hadron Collider by Sarah Butcher, eFinancialCareers
H/T Razib Khan