SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

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vincentsg
Topic Author
Posts: 9
Joined: September 25th, 2006, 1:38 am

Hi fellow quants: I am finishing my MFE from ( one of CMU NYU Chicago) . I noticed that many jobs requrie PHD and a PHD give one more options in career development/advancement and likely more $$. As far as I know , recently MS , GS ets require PHD for their junior quant positions. So this is my questions , should I go for PHD at all ? If so,PHD in quantitative finance or PHD in finance ?If not , why?What's the difference in the career path between a master quant and a PHD quant? Thanks, Last edited by vincentsg on December 11th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total. spv205 Posts: 478 Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am ### Should I go for PHD? vincentits best to post with a pseudonym! you have to explain a bit more about yourself. (What's your undergrad in?)What do you want to be ? trader/structurer or quant?Did you not apply for the graduate schemes?In general, the PhD is used as a filter (are you smart?)- if you look at the ads it can be in physics etc, rather than about "knowing" quant finance.So you should still be considered with an MFE from a top school even if the ad says PhD.Personally, I would not recommend a PhD in quant finance (and certainly not in finance) if you want a quant role.Just apply for a job...wherever you end up, 3/4 years there will be better than in academia. mrmister Posts: 225 Joined: August 15th, 2009, 4:33 pm ### Should I go for PHD? QuoteOriginally posted by: vincentsgHi fellow quants: I am finishing my MFE from ( one of CMU NYU Chicago) . I noticed that many jobs requrie PHD and a PHD give one more options in career development/advancement and likely more$$$. As far as I know , recently MS , GS ets require PHD for their junior quant positions. So this is my questions , should I go for PHD at all ? If so,PHD in quantitative finance or PHD in finance ?If not , why?What's the difference in the career path between a master quant and a PHD quant? Thanks,If you applied to GS/MS etc and did not get called for an interview, the mostly likely reason is your lack of relevant work experience and not the lack of a PhD. There are very few groups that impose hard constraints on a PhD and those groups typically hire PhDs who do not know much about finance but are stars in what field they were working in.Given your exposure to a good MFE program, you should try to work in the industry even if it is not a high profile company. traderjoe1976 Posts: 1544 Joined: May 19th, 2006, 9:50 am ### Should I go for PHD? Do you have work permit for USA or do you need visa sponsorship?You will be competitive for Finance PhD at the top schools. But it will take 6 years to get the PhD. VegaTerian Posts: 9 Joined: July 7th, 2010, 7:28 am ### Should I go for PHD? QuotePersonally, I would not recommend a PhD in quant finance (and certainly not in finance) if you want a quant role.Always fun to read. Like: Personally, I would not recommend a degree in math if you'd like to be a mathematician. While other degrees, like math and physics, are certainly degrees where one would be considered for a quant role, a quant finance degree is surely too?! From personal experience I can say that a PhD in quant finance raises enough interest in quant groups. You'll get invited for interviews and all of that. And you may even get a job, if you're good in interviewing! If you do not have any relevant work experience, I'd recommend a PhD for a quant role. Hard enough to get a job with a PhD competing against other PhD's. spv205 Posts: 478 Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am ### Should I go for PHD? VegaTerianHave you got a job? If so try and find out how many quants in your company have a Phd in Quant Finance. The question is not whether a PhD in quant finance is worth nothing, its whether its worth 4-6 years of study when someone has already got an MFE from a good school. twofish Posts: 4944 Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm ### Should I go for PHD? QuoteOriginally posted by: vincentsgI am finishing my MFE from ( one of CMU NYU Chicago) . I noticed that many jobs requrie PHD and a PHD give one more options in career development/advancement and likely more $$.Never do a Ph.D. for career advancement. There are much less painful ways of advancing your career. Also, if you have an MFE from a decent school, and you can't get a position, then I don't think that the Ph.D. is going to help you much.QuoteAs far as I know , recently MS , GS ets require PHD for their junior quant positions.That's not true. Last edited by twofish on December 12th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total. DevonFangs Posts: 3004 Joined: November 9th, 2009, 1:49 pm ### Should I go for PHD? QuoteOriginally posted by: twofishQuoteOriginally posted by: vincentsgI am finishing my MFE from ( one of CMU NYU Chicago) . I noticed that many jobs requrie PHD and a PHD give one more options in career development/advancement and likely more$$$.Never do a Ph.D. for career advancement. There are much less painful ways of advancing your career. Also, if you have an MFE from a decent school, and you can't get a position, then I don't think that the Ph.D. is going to help you much.QuoteAs far as I know , recently MS , GS ets require PHD for their junior quant positions.That's not true.I'm interested in this topic as well. Currently I don't have a PhD and recently (\sim 1 year) started as a quant (hard core), but not in a top place. Tryin to figure out if it's worth takin one.I definitely would like to, but I don't think it'd be wise to leave my job to take one. According to many (see our beloved Dominic), that's the only way to get to top places in top positions, but I'm not entirely convinced. What is evident is that this year I've learned so much (and I am talking about technical knowledge, but not only) that it seems unlikely to me that a PhD programme could stand comparison, and so I don't see the point in requiring a PhD for juniors.Part time seems to be the best option, having I enough time and will to sweat my ass off. But I'm not in the UK so this seems unfeasible (I don't think anyone's ever gonna accept my application for a distance programme).@twofish: are you sure that a PhD is not required in MS, GS etc? That's not my impression. Is the brand of the school so important, even if it's not a UK one?And back to the OT, QuoteOriginally posted by: twofish What's the difference in the career path between a master quant and a PHD quant?

eh
Posts: 494
Joined: March 2nd, 2010, 9:26 am

### Should I go for PHD?

A PhD is years of banging your head against a desk and rare, short, intense flashes of euphoria. If you don't want to do PhD for the sake of the research, the head banging is likely to be too painful to bear.

DevonFangs
Posts: 3004
Joined: November 9th, 2009, 1:49 pm

### Should I go for PHD?

OK eh, don't know about vincent but I'm aware of that. Indeed I did some research (1 year full-time, having finished my exams in advance) and I think I know a little of what you are talking about. And I would like to take a PhD the same.The problem remains.

spv205
Posts: 478
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

### Should I go for PHD?

Devon FangsImagine you had 1000 cvs on your desk and you had to choose 10 to interview - what would you do?The academic qualification is to prove that you are clever not that you know about quant finance. That's why all the job postings don't require PhDs in quant finance, but only in a numerate discipline maths / physics ...As you said you have learnt a lot about quant finance in your work. That is the general rule- you learn what is relevant on the job. A PhD is about researching a single topic to death- you are unlikely to use your research in your future work. The PhD demonstrates that you are able to work on a long term project effectively.Once you have a quant job, that academic qualification becomes less and less relevant. The questions become a) have you worked at a major bank ( if so - you must be good!)b) how experienced are you? c) how large/difficult a model you have worked ond) do you have an understanding of how the models are used?So if you are in a bank doing interesting work stay there and develop your knowledge there (if its not look for a different job). Try and make contact with the traders and understand how they use the models. Use your spare time to develop new models for the bank - this will make people pay attention -not doing a PhD.I wouldn't say there is a MSC path and a PhD path, its rather a door - ie it affects your starting salary/position. A MSc Quant with 1-2 years experience will be of more interest than a PhD quant with no experience.So do a PhD because you are interested in the subject, not to improve your career prospects.

vincentsg
Topic Author
Posts: 9
Joined: September 25th, 2006, 1:38 am

### Should I go for PHD?

Thank all for the response.I don't need sponsorship for employment in US.I don't have any relevant quant experience.I've applied for some interships/junior positions in US, unfortunately....Life is hard, PHd might not be a bad choice. After all I can go to teach with a PHD when quant business fades away.
Last edited by vincentsg on December 13th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DevonFangs
Posts: 3004
Joined: November 9th, 2009, 1:49 pm

### Should I go for PHD?

Thanks spv205 for your very polite and well formed reply.You absolutely made your point clear and I'll surely think about that.

Grim
Posts: 23
Joined: February 23rd, 2004, 5:40 am

### Should I go for PHD?

I've got to advise against a PhD for any industry oriented purposes: Suppose you go that route - do you want a PhD in finance from a top program or a mediocre program? Top Program if you are going to do it, right? Cool. A PhD is brutal, and you will not have have the mojo to do it if your end-goal is industry. In order to successfully complete the degree and get your dissertation signed off on, you will need a lot of support from faculty at this institution. What are their interests? They are interested in producing scholars for academic posts, not industry people. Once they smell your intentions, good luck getting face time with them. So, you'll have to pretend you are in it for the academic path to get that face time and support -- that will imply your research is unlikely to be related to most practical industry issues. Check the CV's/publications of faculty and students at top schools for an idea of the types of questions you'll spend your time on. They are definitely interesting questions, but you will spend 6 years on them, and in the end you'll have a degree and a skill set that is a mediocre match for industry type problems -- especially given the skills you could have been developing outside of PhD.You are also thinking of it as a nice backup: "I can teach when the quant business fades away". Not really. Once you leave academia, it is very hard to get back in. There are some super star academics who have done it, but only after they've established themselves in academia first.By their nature, top PhD programs in finance are setup to weed out those who are not interested in devoting their souls to the grueling academic career path (it only gets harder once you get your first tenure track job). As you said, "life is hard". It is also short - enjoy it.Sincerely,Top 20 Finance PhD student

vincentsg
Topic Author
Posts: 9
Joined: September 25th, 2006, 1:38 am

### Should I go for PHD?

Last edited by vincentsg on December 17th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.