Should I do a PhD?

Hi all, and thank you in advance to anyone that will spend a few words to help me.
Lemme first say a couple of things about myself: I am italian and I am turning 24 in May. I am currently enrolled in a Master's Degree of Quantitative Finance in the top Business School in Italy. Unfortunately, having made some wrong choices in the past (read: Bachelor of Engineering), I wasn't admitted at the most popular course that my university offers, namely the Master of Science in Finance, which is more renown internationally. 
Now, let's get to the point. My dream is to work in New York. And by that I don't mean "work in GS/JPM/MS in New York", but simply make it to the US, also in a smaller firm.
Right now, I have no chance of being considered by any AM/IB/HF in the US (or in the UK). The best I can achieve with my CV is a decent job in Italy, maybe thanks to the good connections the university has here. But I totally hate Italy, salaries are ridiculously low and the carrier progression is as slow as a drunk tortoise. Nevertheless, I am commited to gaining experience in the Financial Sector which I think is something I really lack. Recently though, I started thinking about doing a PhD in Finance in the US. I definitely have more chances to be admitted in a PhD program than passing the screening at a US firm. Why a PhD and not, say, another Master? Well, to be honest, I would prefer it over the longer PhD, but I cannot afford a Master's degree in the US (or the UK, for that matters). The advantage of doing a PhD is that you receive full fellowship and a stipend, which is the key discriminant to me.

So the question is: Do you guys think that, to eventually make it to NYC, it would be better
1) to start working in Italy, gaining experience, possibly making it to the UK, and after some years try to play my cards to reach the US, or
2) to work for a year in Italy, start a PhD in Fall 2022 and try to conclude in the shortest possible time to get back on the job market?

Let me just clarify my point a little more: I think that both paths would eventually lead to the same outcome, but I am asking you which of them is the fastest. Time is crucial to me, because I know that at some point in my life I'll have to get back to Europe due to personal reasons. Therefore, I want to make this dream come true as soon as possible. Studying for another 3-4 years doesn't scare me at all and I do like empirical financial research, but I am more a practical person and I would definitely like to avoid academia unless it was strictly necessary. 

Thank you to anyone who made it till here. You don't know how much I will appreciate your help.

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Comments (6)

Mar 6, 2021 - 10:31pm

Why don't you join a global company and then transfer to the NY office? Don't need a PhD to do that.

At least for consulting, I know plenty of firms (incl. mine) that are supportive of such transfers and know one person who did just what I described: Italy >> NY

Mar 6, 2021 - 11:42pm

Work. I think relevant work experience is more valuable than a PhD, at least in finance, short of you wanting to become a professor. Know multiple PhDs that spent years getting the degree and was essentially unemployed afterwards so had to keep getting Post Docs until they could get a job (and the jobs often did not require PhDs). Would not recommend unless you like research/ want to work in academia.

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Mar 7, 2021 - 2:50am

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