My Transition from a PhD Student into a Consultant in Financial Risk

  • Hale Koc
  • 10 november 2017

Handing in my PhD thesis in September 2016 left me with a big question: What‘s next?

What comes after a PhD?

After spending 4 years as a PhD student in economics trying to understand human behavior by using quantitative methods, the question I asked myself was: Do I want to stay in my comfort zone and pursue a career in academia or am I up for a new challenge?

Answering this question has not been easy. On the one hand I liked solving problems, learning new things and teaching. On the other hand I was feeling the urge to try something new, something that I hadn’t done before, with an immediate impact. Moreover I am always up for a new challenge. After countless coffee breaks with colleagues who stayed in academia, with colleagues who left for a different direction, and careful deliberation I decided to leave. I chose to continue my career in the private sector. But I wasn’t ready to give up on the things that I like. I wanted a job which has a quantitative nature, preferably involving econometrics and statistics. I wanted a job where I can apply the skills that I acquired during my PhD like problem solving, explaining ideas and results in a convincing manner, and learning fast.

Life at a bank

My job search efforts made it clear that Financial Risk Management is the ideal field for me. It is a field inherently quantitative where a position in model development or model validation would present enough opportunities for me to use my analytical skills. In January 2016, I started my new life as a model validator of credit risk models at a bank. It was exciting. I quickly familiarized myself with capital requirements and related regulation and the latest developments on the regulatory agenda. I reviewed and challenged the statistical soundness and predictive power of credit risk models for different portfolios through quantitative analysis. I had the possibility to use many of the econometric techniques that I learned during my PhD, but in a totally different context which made it interesting for me. Moreover, the regulatory dimension was completely new. It is not enough for a model to be statistically solid but it also needs to be regulatory compliant.

The new job was interesting, however it did not take long before I got curious about life beyond model validation. How would it be like to be a model developer? How would model development and validation work in a different financial institution like an insurance firm or pension fund? What would market risk models look like?

Since I was at the beginning of my career in financial risk management, I wanted to explore.

Life at Deloitte

In April 2017, I started working at the Financial Risk Service Area of Deloitte as a Senior Consultant in the Market, Credit & Actuarial Risk team. I am currently involved in a large project for a big Dutch bank where people from different service areas (like Consulting and Audit) and backgrounds work together. I apply my problem solving skills every day at both quantitative and qualitative problems. I got the possibility to invest in skills that I have always wanted to develop such as project management and leadership. For my next project, Deloitte has a large pool of projects on different topics from different industries giving me the opportunity to explore. I am also helping with proposition development where I can put my creativity and ability to convince at work.

All in all the amount of progress I have made since April is unprecedented. I believe I made the right choice by not only leaving the academic world but also by joining Deloitte.

Interested in knowing more about working at Deloitte?

Would you like to know more how it is like to work at Deloitte? Feel free to contact our recruiter Elise Guit via to arrange an introductory talk or read other blogs.

Hale Koc

Senior Consultant Financial Risk Management

I joined the Credit, Market & Actuarial Risk team in April 2017 as Senior Consultant. I hold a PhD degree in Economics from Erasmus University Rotterdam. My hobbies are cooking and travelling.

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  • Mark Molenhuis
  • 30 oktober 2017
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