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skh
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 6th, 2009, 12:00 pm

i have been looking for a part time phd in math finance in london and have been in contact with people from all of the unis there that come to mind (lse, imperial, king's, birkbeck, ucl). in the case of birkbeck, i have formally applied incl. references and all, and never received feedback, not even a reject. i then started contacting profs from the other places by email and a typical response i would get would go along the lines of "... very impressive background ... let us get back ...". thing is, they never do even if i follow up. the line just goes dead after 2-3 emails. i have not gotten past the initial emailing phase with anybody.i would like to think my background is pretty decent (degree from what they call a top uni, working as a quant dev in tier 1 ib), but given this streak of failures i am starting to think there must be something more fundamentally wrong with the way i approach this. or is it that really nobody cares to take part time phds on board?any ideas, hints, suggestions?thanks.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 6th, 2009, 12:14 pm

Can you give an indication of being 1) able to work independently 2) taking a problem, making it your own and extending it in some non-trivial fashion. my 2 Euro cents.But I cannot understand why you got NO answer.
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skh
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 6th, 2009, 12:37 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnCan you give an indication of being 1) able to work independently 2) taking a problem, making it your own and extending it in some non-trivial fashion. my 2 Euro cents.But I cannot understand why you got NO answer.well, as far as someone with no phd could indicate i guess. my grades from uni are top. i have a 5 year maths degree from germany and a publication coming from my thesis then. plus i have an msc from the uk. what i could see counting against me is that i have been out of uni for a while (am in my early 30ies), other than that i guess my cv is pretty flawless.i can understand if people think for whatever reason i would not be a good fit. just really wondering about the process and why nobody then tells me so (ok, not true entirely, got feedback from lse telling me that they would only consider in exceptional cases, fair enough). also, i would expect this feedback after they have talked to me personally (at least if the initial feedback is they like my background).haven't been v long here in the city and maybe people just expect me to follow up 10 times before i meet them, but that does not seem plausible to me. i mean, why not just say "no" or "come over to my office for a chat next week"? of course, not replying is a way saying "no". just wondering whether i am approaching this thing in the wrong way somehow.
 
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DominicConnor
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 6th, 2009, 3:25 pm

Have you applied to specific academics, or to the university itself ?I feel that if you just apply to the place, then it is rather like a speculative application to a large bank, it may hit a target, but probably will be filed.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 6th, 2009, 3:27 pm

Maybe you ask the prof from where you did the MSc to give you an introduction?
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J
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 6th, 2009, 4:01 pm

DCFC & Cuchulaimn,From what you said, it sounds like it is worthwhile to do a part time PhD if there is a supervisor willing to take students. It looks like the name of school for doing a part time PhD is not essential right?
 
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skh
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 7th, 2009, 10:06 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: DominicConnorHave you applied to specific academics, or to the university itself ?yes, i contacted the profs directly. the good thing about this is that there are enough people left for me to contact in another round
 
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skh
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 7th, 2009, 10:08 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnMaybe you ask the prof from where you did the MSc to give you an introduction?that's a good idea. haven't thought about that.
 
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skh
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 7th, 2009, 10:11 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: JDCFC & Cuchulaimn,From what you said, it sounds like it is worthwhile to do a part time PhD if there is a supervisor willing to take students. It looks like the name of school for doing a part time PhD is not essential right?i guess a great supervisor trumps school brandname, e.g. having geman as a supervisor would be great while there are unis with a better reputation than bbk. i think the schools in london that do serious math finance stuff (i.e., not at a business school) are all pretty well regarded though. that schould not be an issue.
 
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Cuchulainn
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 7th, 2009, 10:42 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: JDCFC & Cuchulaimn,From what you said, it sounds like it is worthwhile to do a part time PhD if there is a supervisor willing to take students. It looks like the name of school for doing a part time PhD is not essential right?Don't know.I was just answersing skh's question without discussion if it useful or not to do part-time study. That's for skh to decide.
Last edited by Cuchulainn on June 6th, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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J
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 7th, 2009, 7:23 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnQuoteOriginally posted by: JDCFC & Cuchulaimn,From what you said, it sounds like it is worthwhile to do a part time PhD if there is a supervisor willing to take students. It looks like the name of school for doing a part time PhD is not essential right?Don't know.I was just answersing skh's question without discussion if it useful or not to do part-time study. That's for skh to decide.[/qIf you were skh, would you think it is useful to do part-time study?
 
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twofish
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 7th, 2009, 8:46 pm

skh: i then started contacting profs from the other places by email and a typical response i would get would go along the lines of "... very impressive background ... let us get back ...". thing is, they never do even if i follow up. the line just goes dead after 2-3 emails. i have not gotten past the initial emailing phase with anybody.Welcome to the world of sales and marketing. What you are experiencing is pretty typical for salesman, and it's why salesmen exist. Getting to a NO, is as difficult and as important as getting to a YES. There are lots of things that you can try. First you must be proactive, and keep following the lead until you get to a YES or NO. This means a polite phone conversation, or even going to the university and meeting the professor face to face. It's important in these sorts of conversations to set deadlines (Sounds great!!!! When should I expect to hear from you?) If someone says they are going to e-mail back in two or three weeks, they don't respond, and they aren't returning your calls, that's a NO. Also, you have to approach things from "what can I do for them? How do we solve a problem?" Also getting a NO, isn't a bad thing, if you can get information or other sales leads. Always leave a good impression since people that can't to anything for you now, might be able to in the future.One thing that helps is if you understand the constraints and politics that the professor has to undergo. What exactly those the professor have to do in order to get you signed up? Finally, sales is something that you can't just do by e-mail, it works better if you meeting the professor at a conference. The other thing that you need to find are people that are doing part-time Ph.D's, contacts with peers are as important or more important than contacts with professors. One trick with academics is that they love talking about their research, so the more you know about the professor's research, the more you can come up with an e-mail that they will respond to, and the more useful they will be, even if they can't give you an immediate position.
 
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skh
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 9th, 2009, 10:57 pm

thanks for your thoughts everyone.
 
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jomni
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 10th, 2009, 12:59 am

Maybe the key word here is "part-time". Most would prefer full timers right?
 
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deepvalue
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Part time PhD in London: Impossible?

June 10th, 2009, 8:03 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: skhtypical response i would get would go along the lines of "... very impressive background ... let us get back ...". thing is, they never do even if i follow up. the line just goes dead after 2-3 emails. you might be saying something wrong in your "2 or 3" emails. maybe you confessed murdering your former professor with an axe? Or that you have a full time job and, sadly, cannot become their programming green card slave? Quotenobody cares to take part time phds on board?. this is the other possibility. part-time phds who work in tier one banks make poor research assistants, and profs are looking for dedicated 100 hour/week programming slaves and secretaries.
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