GUEST COMMENT: A call for City professionals to move into academia with Exeter Business School

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The attractions and buzz of corporate life can fade for all kinds of reasons – politics, pressures, work-life balance, narrow focus.

If you’ve spent your career climbing the corporate hierarchy in the City, the exit routes may not be obvious.  If you’re not ready to play golf or take up gardening, where do you go next?

The University of Exeter Business School has launched a scheme to encourage successful business practitioners from the City to obtain a Doctorate within four years, allowing them to teach the next generation of City high-flyers.

Switching mid-career into university teaching and a PhD qualification can re-ignite an individual’s enthusiasm for the fundamentals of financial markets. Academia is as demanding and satisfying as a City role, but with less politics and more intellectual rigour.

A career in financial services-related academia will offer the chance to dive deeper into a subject. Both the teaching and the research aspects of the job should appeal to those who’ve had a successful career in the City.  The opportunity to pass on your experiences to a new generation of bright and enthusiastic young minds is combined with the chance to understand the theory behind the practice.

Historically, it’s been challenging to make the switch from financial services to academia. It’s difficult to obtain a first academic role without a PhD.  At Exeter, therefore, we’ve tried to design a creative solution to this dilemma. The scheme is designed to improve the value of our teaching and research, renewing and refreshing our academic community with people coming directly from the world of business and commerce. There are excellent prospects of achieving the post of Professor for the best candidates joining the scheme.

We have already had former analysts and bankers join our staff, attracted by the safe and healthy environment, reasonable house prices and the outstanding natural beauty of the sea and the moors. This scheme is simply designed to reduce the hurdles of making the switch even further.

The Practitioner Research Fellow Scheme will offer successful people who want to leave their City careers a package of £40k per year over six years, in the form of salary, waived PhD fees and, uniquely, a cash bonus of £5,000 for obtaining their Doctorate within four years. Needless to say, this isn't intended to replace a City pay packet, but to facilitate a lifestyle change - and is heavily subsidised by the university.

The initial intake will be in October 2012. The candidates will initially be appointed Research Fellow for two years before becoming Lecturers. The aim is for candidates to take up the post of Senior Lecturer within six years.

To find out more contact Vicki Farish at v.farish@exeter.ac.uk

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