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albertmills
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Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 13th, 2015, 11:40 pm

It seems like a lot of supervisors have funding for certain projects and are looking for students to work on those project only. In other words you don't go to a grad supervisor, and find something you'd like to write a thesis on. You go to a grad supervisor, and work on whatever niche topic they have funding for. So limited freedom to select what you're going to be spending 4-6 years of your life researching. At least in the bio-sciences.Is that the way it is these days?
 
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katastrofa
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Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 14th, 2015, 12:46 am

Not necessarily. There are different kinds of grants/funding schemes and some of them allow a lot of scientific freedom. Usually, good and established researchers or groups get them. You can also prepare your own research project and ask some uni or a group/researcher working in the related area if they are interested in applying for funding together with you or could recommend you for individual project funding. I transferred between fields (from what was my best option at the time I started my studies to what I've been really interested in) and the intermediate step was "bio"-science. IMHO it looks pretty much the same everywhere, but finance may be different (probably more about money than genuine research work) - ?
 
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bearish
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Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 14th, 2015, 2:00 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: katastrofaNot necessarily. There are different kinds of grants/funding schemes and some of them allow a lot of scientific freedom. Usually, good and established researchers or groups get them. You can also prepare your own research project and ask some uni or a group/researcher working in the related area if they are interested in applying for funding together with you or could recommend you for individual project funding. I transferred between fields (from what was my best option at the time I started my studies to what I've been really interested in) and the intermediate step was "bio"-science. IMHO it looks pretty much the same everywhere, but finance may be different (probably more about money than genuine research work) - ?I think you are wrong when it comes to finance, although I am probably guilty of extrapolating from a small sample. Because most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring labs, monkeys, human subjects, etc., and is almost never conducted in large teams, I think it tends to be relatively free from the pressure to focus on whatever can be funded this year. That is of course not to say that it is free from fashions, fads, and other temporal and/or locational peculiarities in taste, but the money argument is at least once removed. In my particular neck of the woods (Berkeley) it was highly unusual for a PhD thesis to be directly related to the research of the supervisor, let alone result in articles co-authored with him/her. Incidentally, I am not saying that this is/was a good thing; it was merely the way the world worked. Perhaps as a result, many of us ended up doing better once we left academia...
 
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ppauper
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Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 14th, 2015, 7:22 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishBecause most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring .... monkeys...speak for yourselfIf anyone needs a fun thesis topic, I'm interested in finding out how many monkeys it takes to beat the market. As not all schools have adequate research facilities, when you go for grad school interviews, be sure to check whether the school will be able to provide the monkeys
Last edited by ppauper on July 13th, 2015, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Anthis
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Joined: October 22nd, 2001, 10:06 am

Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 14th, 2015, 11:45 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishQuoteOriginally posted by: katastrofaNot necessarily. There are different kinds of grants/funding schemes and some of them allow a lot of scientific freedom. Usually, good and established researchers or groups get them. You can also prepare your own research project and ask some uni or a group/researcher working in the related area if they are interested in applying for funding together with you or could recommend you for individual project funding. I transferred between fields (from what was my best option at the time I started my studies to what I've been really interested in) and the intermediate step was "bio"-science. IMHO it looks pretty much the same everywhere, but finance may be different (probably more about money than genuine research work) - ?I think you are wrong when it comes to finance, although I am probably guilty of extrapolating from a small sample. Because most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring labs, monkeys, human subjects, etc., and is almost never conducted in large teams, I think it tends to be relatively free from the pressure to focus on whatever can be funded this year. That is of course not to say that it is free from fashions, fads, and other temporal and/or locational peculiarities in taste, but the money argument is at least once removed. In my particular neck of the woods (Berkeley) it was highly unusual for a PhD thesis to be directly related to the research of the supervisor, let alone result in articles co-authored with him/her. Incidentally, I am not saying that this is/was a good thing; it was merely the way the world worked. Perhaps as a result, many of us ended up doing better once we left academia...I can't agree more.
 
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bearish
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Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 2:19 pm

Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 14th, 2015, 12:17 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishBecause most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring .... monkeys...speak for yourselfIf anyone needs a fun thesis topic, I'm interested in finding out how many monkeys it takes to beat the market. As not all schools have adequate research facilities, when you go for grad school interviews, be sure to check whether the school will be able to provide the monkeysIndeed - I didn't rule out monkeys, just pointing out their relative infrequent involvement in finance research. But the hypothesis that monkeys flinging darts at the stock pages can result in security selection of similar quality to that performed by professional investors is well worth empirical testing. Just note that it involves monkeys flinging darts... It would also beat trying to test the infinite monkey theorem, since interesting results should be forthcoming in finite time with at most a handful of monkeys.
 
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Traden4Alpha
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Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 14th, 2015, 1:15 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishQuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishBecause most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring .... monkeys...speak for yourselfIf anyone needs a fun thesis topic, I'm interested in finding out how many monkeys it takes to beat the market. As not all schools have adequate research facilities, when you go for grad school interviews, be sure to check whether the school will be able to provide the monkeysIndeed - I didn't rule out monkeys, just pointing out their relative infrequent involvement in finance research. But the hypothesis that monkeys flinging darts at the stock pages can result in security selection of similar quality to that performed by professional investors is well worth empirical testing. Just note that it involves monkeys flinging darts... It would also beat trying to test the infinite monkey theorem, since interesting results should be forthcoming in finite time with at most a handful of monkeys.Will the monkeys' darts spell out Shakespearian texts written in stock symbols? (And would trading stocks that spell out Shakespeare lead to market-beating performance?)
 
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ppauper
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Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 14th, 2015, 1:50 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: Traden4AlphaQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishQuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishBecause most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring .... monkeys...speak for yourselfIf anyone needs a fun thesis topic, I'm interested in finding out how many monkeys it takes to beat the market. As not all schools have adequate research facilities, when you go for grad school interviews, be sure to check whether the school will be able to provide the monkeysIndeed - I didn't rule out monkeys, just pointing out their relative infrequent involvement in finance research. But the hypothesis that monkeys flinging darts at the stock pages can result in security selection of similar quality to that performed by professional investors is well worth empirical testing. Just note that it involves monkeys flinging darts... It would also beat trying to test the infinite monkey theorem, since interesting results should be forthcoming in finite time with at most a handful of monkeys.Will the monkeys' darts spell out Shakespearian texts written in stock symbols? (And would trading stocks that spell out Shakespeare lead to market-beating performance?)Infinite monkey theorem
 
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Alan
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Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 14th, 2015, 4:16 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperQuoteOriginally posted by: Traden4AlphaQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishQuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishBecause most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring .... monkeys...speak for yourselfIf anyone needs a fun thesis topic, I'm interested in finding out how many monkeys it takes to beat the market. As not all schools have adequate research facilities, when you go for grad school interviews, be sure to check whether the school will be able to provide the monkeysIndeed - I didn't rule out monkeys, just pointing out their relative infrequent involvement in finance research. But the hypothesis that monkeys flinging darts at the stock pages can result in security selection of similar quality to that performed by professional investors is well worth empirical testing. Just note that it involves monkeys flinging darts... It would also beat trying to test the infinite monkey theorem, since interesting results should be forthcoming in finite time with at most a handful of monkeys.Will the monkeys' darts spell out Shakespearian texts written in stock symbols? (And would trading stocks that spell out Shakespeare lead to market-beating performance?)Infinite monkey theoremQuoteGiven an infinite length of time, a chimp punching at random on a typewriter would almost surely type out all of Shakespeare's playsHence, with some non-zero probability, Shakespeare was a monkey.
 
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katastrofa
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Are thesis topics pre-selected these days?

July 15th, 2015, 6:50 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: AlanQuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperQuoteOriginally posted by: Traden4AlphaQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishQuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperQuoteOriginally posted by: bearishBecause most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring .... monkeys...speak for yourselfIf anyone needs a fun thesis topic, I'm interested in finding out how many monkeys it takes to beat the market.As not all schools have adequate research facilities, when you go for grad school interviews, be sure to check whether the school will be able to provide the monkeysIndeed - I didn't rule out monkeys, just pointing out their relative infrequent involvement in finance research. But the hypothesis that monkeys flinging darts at the stock pages can result in security selection of similar quality to that performed by professional investors is well worth empirical testing. Just note that it involves monkeys flinging darts... It would also beat trying to test the infinite monkey theorem, since interesting results should be forthcoming in finite time with at most a handful of monkeys.Will the monkeys' darts spell out Shakespearian texts written in stock symbols? (And would trading stocks that spell out Shakespeare lead to market-beating performance?)Infinite monkey theoremQuoteGiven an infinite length of time, a chimp punching at random on a typewriter would almost surely type out all of Shakespeare's playsHence, with some non-zero probability, Shakespeare was a monkey.They don't mention the problem whether the person's typing is a stationary process, which is necessary for the theory to work, I think...QuoteOriginally posted by: bearishQuoteOriginally posted by: katastrofaNot necessarily. There are different kinds of grants/funding schemes and some of them allow a lot of scientific freedom. Usually, good and established researchers or groups get them. You can also prepare your own research project and ask some uni or a group/researcher working in the related area if they are interested in applying for funding together with you or could recommend you for individual project funding. I transferred between fields (from what was my best option at the time I started my studies to what I've been really interested in) and the intermediate step was "bio"-science. IMHO it looks pretty much the same everywhere, but finance may be different (probably more about money than genuine research work) - ?I think you are wrong when it comes to finance, although I am probably guilty of extrapolating from a small sample. Because most finance research is relatively "cheap", as in not requiring labs, monkeys, human subjects, etc., and is almost never conducted in large teams, I think it tends to be relatively free from the pressure to focus on whatever can be funded this year. That is of course not to say that it is free from fashions, fads, and other temporal and/or locational peculiarities in taste, but the money argument is at least once removed. In my particular neck of the woods (Berkeley) it was highly unusual for a PhD thesis to be directly related to the research of the supervisor, let alone result in articles co-authored with him/her. Incidentally, I am not saying that this is/was a good thing; it was merely the way the world worked. Perhaps as a result, many of us ended up doing better once we left academia...That's what it looked like in my grandparents' times. AFAIK, the system is still sometimes promoted in mathematics, where they work independently and publish 1-2 papers a year.I was referring to theoretical research too, where one can spend significant money on computational units or enormous money on the whole computer centre (it can be even a D-Wave if it suits one's purpose), work-related travel, etc. Basically, the bigger the money, the bigger projects one can realise, both in theory or experiment. All they need is ideas and skills. I suppose the problem with math-fin is that it's conceptually a small field; its theoretical models are simple and thus not much interesting research can be done around them. At the same time, if one tries to dig deeper, they immediately enter the domain of complexity and intensive computations, which require solid researchers and funding, let alone is there any realistic incentive to pursue it? Everybody can see that there is a need for good new models, but financial businesses don't create such pressure. They seem to be where they want to be -- hire a lot of monkeys clicking in terminals and make decent money. I suspect that the whole yapping about research comes from an ego, which always grows proportionally to the length of the purse (human nature) or serves the recruitment purposes (they need ambitious good, but not too good, people). Just my guess, I hope nobody here will take it personally.
Last edited by katastrofa on July 14th, 2015, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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