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I am finishing my PhD in a Statistics department, but my thesis is basically Math. I want to spend a year or two in the industry and then apply for a postdoc in Stats. However,..

  1. It will be hard, so I wanted to collect some information on how it can be done, e.g., what steps can one take in advance to prepare the ground for returning. I was trying to Google stories of this kind, but usually people transition back to academia when they want to go to a grad school. They rarely go back to academia after a post-PhD industry job. Do you have any stories/thoughts/experience to share?

  2. My past academic record is all over the place. However, I have co-written and published a few papers on the topics I've worked on, which hopefully proves that I have a strong interest in academic research in general. To show my dedication to statistics, I have looked up some topics that I find interesting and that I have some ideas on, but I would need some guidance to work on those. (As a matter of fact, if someone wants to work with me on their idea, that's fine too, for now.) Networking with faculty hasn't proved fruitful, because they are mostly looking for 1st/2nd/3rd year PhD students that will commit fully, and not 5th years who are saying directly that they are leaving for the next year or two to make money. Any tips on how to incentivize a faculty member/postdoc to work together in this weird "I'm working a real job but also doing academic research when time allows" setting?

  3. How hard is it these days to land a postdoc in stats? I know that the humanities are having it really tough, but considering that many stats/math/CS PhDs go to industry without looking back, surely there must be some space left? (I can say that the guys from previous years at my department did pretty good landing those, but they were laser-focused on statistics from the beginning.)

  • It is possible if you can get a position, but fairly unlikely. There are probably a lot of competitors who are better positioned for any post doc job. If you had some specialized knowledge it might work out. – Buffy Dec 1 at 23:12
  • Also consider, you get the postdoc, then what? That doesn't mean automatic TT job, especially because there is still the teaching part of it, unless you are aiming at industry research. Be cautious with 'jack of all trades', because the rest of the saying goes 'and master of none'... – Fábio Dias Dec 1 at 23:31
  • Meta comment: you will get more attention and better answers for your question here if you cut out some of the narrative and make it a bit more specific in scope. – artificial_moonlet Dec 2 at 14:08
  • @FábioDias "...though oftentimes better than master of one." – artificial_moonlet Dec 2 at 14:10
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    If you want to do academia in the end, what is the point of being a quant for a year or two? – Noah Snyder Dec 3 at 15:20

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