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

  • Hale Koc
  • 10 november 2017
Hale

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.

  • Financial Risk
  • Consultancy
Delen

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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