Will senior bankers leave Deutsche Bank after this year’s miserable bonuses, or won’t they? And if they don’t, will banks anywhere ever need to pay “acceptable” bonuses again? It’s a question that at least one senior Deutsche Bank employee in New York City isn’t waiting to find the answer to.
Satish Ramakrishna has left Deutsche’s U.S. risk advisory business after twenty years. He’s off to Rutgers University, where he’ll be a visiting scientist in the physics department. In a 2014 interview, he described his job at at Deutsche Bank as trying to, “understand the liquidity and market risks in the portfolios that funds borrow against to figure out what could happen in market meltdowns (which happen rather more often than they used to) and minimize our chances of loss, while staying commercially relevant.”
Ramakrishna gained a PhD in theoretical physics from Cornell University but has been steeped in finance since joining Citi in 1994. While finance paid the bills, physics always appears to have been his passion: as an electronics student in India, Ramakrishna took extra physics classes even though they weren’t mandatory. With Deutsche’s bonuses down around 80%, it seems Ramakrishna decided that the opportunity of cost of leaving banking is low enough to walk away and commit to physics instead.
Before quitting, Ramakrishna had some advice for quants who want to work in finance. He told students at his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, that students who want a quantitative job on Wall Street now need to know about finance too. “I got a job with almost no knowledge – just two months of reading a book on finance – that would be almost impossible now.”
Ramakrishna also said that quants on Wall Street can differentiate themselves with good communication: “You need to be able to say what you have to say without making it too complicated.”
Ultimately though, he said life is about doing what you’re interested in: “Find something that fascinates you. When you do, even if you don’t succeed as much as you possibly can, at least you’ll enjoy your life.”