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The Wall Street Analyst
Spotlight on Hidden Physicists
The Wall Street Analyst
Amy Rodgers, Sales and Trading Analyst, Citigroup Institutional Clients GroupBy:
Amy Rodgers, Sales and Trading Analyst, Citigroup, New York, Sigma Pi Sigma University of Virginia Chapter ‘13
I knew even before starting college that I wanted to study physics. What I didn’t know was just how much a degree in physics would open career doors for me.
Coming from a family of scientists, I became interested in physics at a very young age. Exploring the field was always something that was encouraged and supported in my family, especially by my grandfather. He had an amazing way of making anything from cosmology to electrodynamics part of our dinner conversations. So when I started at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 2010, studying physics seemed like a natural fit. I became very involved with the university’s SPS chapter and its weekly Friday speaker series, in which guest lecturers spoke about their work.
While I enjoyed learning about theory, it was the applications of physics that really captivated me. Whether it was hearing about medical physics, nuclear engineering, or even the physics of climate change, I was continually impressed and amazed at how widely physics could be applied.
The summer after my third year, I studied international economics at the University of Oxford. It was there that I discovered an interest in economics and financial markets. I realized that the skills I had learned in the physics department were applicable to financial analysis. Calculus is the second language of the physics major, and my understanding of underlying mathematical concepts made the finance learning curve quickly scalable.
When deciding on a career, I wanted to find something that utilized my technical and analytical abilities in a dynamic and fast-paced setting. So I moved to Wall Street. While this might not seem like a typical career choice coming from the sciences, I believe my physics background more than adequately prepared me. My training taught me to tackle complex projects in an unbiased and analytical manner, rather than be intimidated by them. It also taught me to solve seemingly complicated problems by breaking them down into their constituent variables. Thanks to these skills, I was able to quickly learn how to analyze equities, derivatives, rates, and fixed-income securities to become a licensed broker.
I joined the Citigroup Institutional Clients Group after graduation and currently work there as a sales and trading analyst. The hundreds of computers, phones, and televisions on Citi’s New York trading floor provide an extremely intense and energetic work environment. I handle the analytics for our team; it is my job to understand and create metrics around investment trends in the hedge fund industry.
In New York I have met many other professionals in finance who made a similar switch from physics. I didn’t realize just how many hidden physicists were hiding out on Wall Street!