SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

SanFranCA2002
Posts: 649
Joined: October 3rd, 2002, 5:05 pm

Sorry, I'm not going to bite. But yes, I am rather familiar with economics concepts.

twofish
Posts: 4944
Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

propertyrights: I'm arguing that the "job hunting system" is irrational, even though the behavior of the actors inside the system may be (and is) perfectly rational. Actually the consequence of thinking about the dynamics the job hunting system is one of the reasons why I'm posting in the forum. One of my "mutant characteristics" is that I like doing math. Another one of my mutant characteristics is that I have less fear of looking like an idiot in public than most people. Being a loud mouth crank dramatically increases my chances that someone filing through a bunch of resumes will recognize the name and not toss it. While at the same time, there's very little down side since anyone that tosses my resume because of something I say in a forum is likely to have tossed it anyhow. One of the main characteristics for job suitability is social skill, and any potential employer who wanted to know how well I handle social situations can just browse my postings and very quickly figure whether I fit into their organization or not.One of the reasons I really enjoyed my Ph.D. experience (and the experience of scientific research in general) is that this is probably the first level at the educational system in which you get points for being a non-conformist. Up until the Ph.D., you get points for learning what the powers that be say about a situation and regurgitating it. The Ph.D. is probably the first level at which you lose points for doing that, and you get points by arguing that what everyone thinks about a situation is wrong.

propertyrights
Posts: 94
Joined: September 18th, 2005, 10:01 pm

I'll make another attempt to make this clearer:Let's say that you are admitted to a Ph.D. program in Literature with a scholarship that covers your tuition plus a stipend of $20,000 per year. However, the Literature job market is not so good, so you only expect to earn$40,000 per year after you graduate.Your friend tells you should do it because "it doesn't cost anything." In a certain sense, this is true. All of the cash flows are positive. You won't be paying for tuition, plus the school will even pay you (though you may have some TA responsibilities). But there is sense in which it does cost something - the opportunity cost. Perhaps your best alternative would be to find a job that pays $45,000 per year as a management trainee. This$45,000 per year job is the opportunity cost of the Ph.D. program - it is the opportunity that you forgo by choosing the Ph.D. program instead of the job. In this case, the "cost" is actually larger than the "benefit" of the Ph.D. (in a purely financial sense - of course, Literature majors are likely to say something about enriching the mind, etc.).Let's say that you are ABD in a Ph.D. program and are studying financial mathematics but estimate that it will take you three years to finish. You expect to get $20,000 per year for the next three years, and then an average of$200,000 per year for the following 40 years. Your friend tells you, "yeah, go for it, the Ph.D. program doesn't cost you anything." Your best alternative would be to work for a hedge fund as a junior quant. Here, you expect to earn an average of $100,000 per year for the next three years, followed by an average of$200,000 per year fo the following 40 years. The opportunity cost of finishing the Ph.D. program is the junior-level quant job. In this example, I made the cost larger than the benefit - my guess is that this is not realistic, but I really don't know for sure what the numbers should be.

Posts: 11048
Joined: February 1st, 2005, 11:21 pm

Bottom line: If you can do it now without the PhD then do it.

ckelvin
Posts: 226
Joined: May 31st, 2005, 2:08 pm

I think ideally is to secure a job as a quant. However, we have to be realistic sometimes. Dont forget thatyou may be have to answer to your BIG BOSS who is not a quant or just a Top MBA.Being a quant is very exotic but it may not be your forte sometimes though you have a strong math background.Math is a wide area, I reckon we just learn what it needs to be a "quant" or your preferred field.Being a Phd is good but it doesnt mean everything. Be realistic is my point here.