SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

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HyperGeometric
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Posts: 314
Joined: March 27th, 2004, 4:13 am

Don't do MFE/MSc Math fin

September 19th, 2008, 8:26 pm

I might be a couple of weeks late (well at least for US programs) in posting this but it could still be useful. Undoubetly, this is the worst crisis since the Great Depression and marks the end of an era of "credit expansion based on the dollar as the international reserve currency". This is probably the worst time anyone could go for an MFE (or equivalent). Students might be hoping that by the time they finish the program, markets would have changed. Well, they sure would be different from what they are now but the returns might not justify the cost of these programs. For those who haven't paid their tuition as yet can still drop out and take up any decent job in cosulting or even finance for that matter. What you don't want is to graduate after making a significant investment with slim possibility of breaking even. I would be surprised if banks hire more than a person or two from each (top) school through their full time program (if at all). Internships are a common way to get into these banks but in perhaps the most competitive job market in decades, tons of MFEs and MBAs will be trying for the same few spots (again, if at all). This might be debatable but I don't think financial industry will continue to pay the way it has been, particularly because there will be much fewer opportunities to exploit. Owners of this forum may not agree but I think quants will be in a terrible position and will have to settle for nonquant jobs: profitability of top stat arb groups was already declining before the crisis began and the crisis has killed the great 'value premium'; with structured products.... well, we all know what future regulations will do to them. All in all, for those who haven't started their programs should think about deferring for a couple of years and see how the industry changes and if it will continue to pay the way it has been. Those who have started but haven't paid their tution should do the same. Those who have paid shouldn't think much but convince themselves that they can still do well despite the current (and expected future) conditions.
Last edited by HyperGeometric on September 18th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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ChicagoGuy
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September 19th, 2008, 9:31 pm

Good observation HG:And you have to remember that there are all of those Lehman and Bear people that are still looking for jobs. Thats why you should either stick with the job you have now or go for a PhD if you can.
 
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TraderJoe
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September 19th, 2008, 9:57 pm

I'd just add that the vast majority of people who apply for the MFE programmes aren't PhD material. That's why they're doing a Masters (and not a PhD) in the first place. Edit: I'm not saying this is a good or a bad thing (hell, most of the super rich don't have PhD's), it's just a fact.
Last edited by TraderJoe on September 18th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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JamesHH
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September 19th, 2008, 10:15 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: ChicagoGuyGood observation HG:And you have to remember that there are all of those Lehman and Bear people that are still looking for jobs. Thats why you should either stick with the job you have now or go for a PhD if you can.And if you already have a PhD ... ?
 
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TraderJoe
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September 19th, 2008, 10:20 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: JamesHHQuoteOriginally posted by: ChicagoGuyGood observation HG:And you have to remember that there are all of those Lehman and Bear people that are still looking for jobs. Thats why you should either stick with the job you have now or go for a PhD if you can.And if you already have a PhD ... ?Stay in academia.
 
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albertmills
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September 19th, 2008, 10:26 pm

I agree with both HyperGeometrics analysis and TradJoe's. A MFE probably isn't worth doing right now, and people who want to do PhD's are definitely 'special', but then again there are all kinds of 'special' people, like the kind who want to do 4-5 years of research, all the time realizing that they aren't actually up to snuff enough to do it competitively on a professional level...most PhD students. So what's the point of getting a PhD if you know you're not good enough to compete for one of those rare research jobs anyway, and will have to do something else, like say financial engineering! Oh wait, well then maybe you're better off short cutting the PhD altogether and getting degree that's actually applied to the field you'll be working in. On the other hand UCB did have those Math and Comp Sci. PhD's from Harvard and Princeton in its program, but then again those are weak programs at no-name school's, so these aren't real PhD's anyway.
 
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StatGuy
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September 19th, 2008, 11:29 pm

If you have a PhD or coming to the end of one and can't find a quant job, you are better off doing a post-doc/teaching to pay the bills and then move if the right kind of quant role comes along. Failing that you may have to face the reality that this line of work is not for you. Albert makes a good point in that a lot of PhD arnt up to doing their work on a professional level, so if you in this group you really have to question if this line of work is for you.
Last edited by StatGuy on September 19th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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KackToodles
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September 20th, 2008, 6:36 am

simple... do a second phd in finance. i heard france unis offer part-time executive phds for those who are working.
 
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StatGuy
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September 20th, 2008, 9:38 am

By the time someone finishes a part-time PhD they will come into the market at the next downturn Post doc with self learning finance is a better option and dosn't require you to commit up to 10 years of your life conditional on having a PhD already. If you leave a PhD program it looks worse than if you left a post-doc since the latter is a job rather than a qualification. Doing a post doc after a PhD is progression, but if you end up doing another PhD after a 1st PhD at best you will still be at same level you started with. SG
Last edited by StatGuy on September 19th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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AbhiJ
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September 20th, 2008, 10:01 am

Watching from sidelines while having something to support yourself seems to be the right thing to do.In a year time the picture would be clear as to what are the changes in regulations going to be.For those who see MFE as a way to earn bucks waiting is important as in 1 year they may begin to feel that they are better of pursuing a different degree.
Last edited by AbhiJ on September 19th, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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elviszhang
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Don't do MFE/MSc Math fin

September 20th, 2008, 12:16 pm

Is there any suggestion for those who are currently doing a PhD in Quantitative Finance in the early state?
 
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ronwise
Posts: 177
Joined: January 5th, 2005, 1:54 am

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September 20th, 2008, 12:29 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: elviszhangIs there any suggestion for those who are currently doing a PhD in Quantitative Finance in the early state?Have you decided to do PhD in QF because you liked the field or you simply wanted to get a job later? If it is the first reason than you should not worry since you like it. In the second case you should not get into PhD at all. It is a bad reason to do PhD in order to secure a job after.
 
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ppauper
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September 20th, 2008, 1:07 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: TraderJoeI'd just add that the vast majority of people who apply for the MFE programmes aren't PhD material. That's why they're doing a Masters (and not a PhD) in the first place. Edit: I'm not saying this is a good or a bad thing (hell, most of the super rich don't have PhD's), it's just a fact.It's not a fact at all:take a look at the berkeley (haas) mfe:most of the people taking it have already done a PhD (in a different field obviously) and are taking an mfe to switch to quanting
 
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StatGuy
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Joined: November 20th, 2007, 9:03 am

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September 20th, 2008, 1:47 pm

It would be interesting to know the statistics on what % of those who are successful in *genuine* quant roles have:1. PhD hard science 2. MFE alone 3. PhD hard science + MFE 4. PhD hard science + post doc 5. PhD hard science + MFE + MBA 6. PhD hard science + PhD MF7. PhD hard science + PhD MF + MFE + MBAI suspect 5-7 are quite rare SG
 
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twofish
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Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

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September 20th, 2008, 2:43 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperIt's not a fact at all:take a look at the berkeley (haas) mfe:most of the people taking it have already done a PhD (in a different field obviously) and are taking an mfe to switch to quantingTwo things that always concerned me:1) I never understood completely who was hiring MFE's even in the good times. 2) In every single case that I've seen where a Ph.D.+MFE came in for an interview and was hired, they were hired for the Ph.D. and the MFE added nothing to the resume. They could have applied a year early and $40K+ richer and still gotten the job.This isn't to say that someone wasn't doing those things. It's to say that this wasn't happening in our neck of the woods.
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