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rakesh5883
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Joined: April 10th, 2011, 5:14 pm

Ph.D topic help

October 15th, 2011, 3:01 pm

I am working on FO risk management system support role, and i badly want to do a Ph.D and iam reading papers on various topics like Kalman Filters, Implied Volatilities, Pricing, Volatility modeling papers.But i seriously need some guidance in choosing a topic and how to go about it, as most of the colleges as for a research proposal for application, and because of this iam not able to discuss this with any professors also, as they dont encourage without a proposal. I really need some help from you people to help myself out ...? Thanks a lotFYI, Iam an Engineer in Electrical and Electronics(india) and a Masters in Financial Economics(india )
 
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rakesh5883
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Ph.D topic help

October 15th, 2011, 3:02 pm

And i want to work on quants, and most of them as for a Ph.D which i dont have....and thats why i need your help on this.
 
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CactusMan
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Ph.D topic help

October 15th, 2011, 6:33 pm

I think you should do your PhD thesis on the tequila business.
 
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bearish
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Ph.D topic help

October 15th, 2011, 7:37 pm

If you are thinking of applying to US PhD programs, you do not need to have a dissertation topic ahead of time. You are expected to take 2-3 years of course work before developing a thesis, although it clearly helps to have some research ideas, if only to demonstrate interest and intellectual curiosity. But part of the purpose of the program is to give you a sufficient background in the field to recognize promising areas of investigation and potentially solvable open questions. The other purpose is to develop your problem solving skills. The structure may be very different in India, of course.
 
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rakesh5883
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Ph.D topic help

October 15th, 2011, 9:30 pm

thanks for your reply, iam currently working for an Ibank in London...
 
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bearish
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Ph.D topic help

October 16th, 2011, 12:46 am

OK - so I guess I will parse that to mean that you are looking to do a PhD in London, or thereabouts. Which means that there is less coursework involved in the PhD program (programme) itself, and thus hurrying you in terms of getting to the research bit. The spirit of this is probably well summarized in this blurb from the web site of Imperial's math finance web site: "We do not expect you to arrive with a fully formulated research programme in hand, but you should put some thought into the kind of topic you might be interested in pursuing, for example by checking the current research of the faculty members in the section, as presented on their home pages. Members of the section are very happy to have informal discussions with you about current research opportunities." If you are not ready for those kind of discussions, you are most likely not ready for the UK style of PhD program. It is exceedingly unlikely that random strangers on an internet forum, friendly as we may be, will provide you that magical spark of inspiration. On the other hand, the cost of trying is very low, so it may be a rational strategy...
 
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rakesh5883
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Joined: April 10th, 2011, 5:14 pm

Ph.D topic help

October 16th, 2011, 7:39 am

Thanks bearish.... I think i am going to continue to read papers and keep checking this forums for 2-3 more months, by then i believe i will have something to think about and write....Thanks a lot folks for your help
 
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Edgey
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Ph.D topic help

October 17th, 2011, 8:42 am

Find a subject that will interest you for 2 years (the 3rd year involves no research, just writing). You'll have to decide what is interesting and what isn't. Actually, half way through you may find yourself branching to a different area anyway. PhD titles can (and do) change.
 
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rakesh5883
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Ph.D topic help

October 18th, 2011, 8:12 am

Edgey,The problems i face is fnding something interesting, I have been reading papers for the past 5-8 days on various topics, from creating vol surfaces, various financial econometrics methods, Filters and everything that iam able to relate. I have a problem in getting to a point to say, this could be my topic. my thesis topic in Masters was plotting the stiks agains various implied vols and showing the skew and Ivols. So, thats something can textend also. Thats why iam so confused and frustrated !!!
 
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Edgey
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Ph.D topic help

October 18th, 2011, 9:27 am

So what makes you badly want to do the PhD? PhD gives you cutting edge knowledge in a very small area (rarely valuable) and the ability and confidence to research on your own (invaluable). You want to work with quants, fine, but you don't need a PhD for that, just textbooks and papers. If you don't have interest in the topic then you are more likely give up before completion, then that is a few years wasted. If you are just doing a PhD for career progression then the process will be much harder.
 
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CrashedMint
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Ph.D topic help

October 30th, 2011, 9:33 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: EdgeySo what makes you badly want to do the PhD? PhD gives you cutting edge knowledge in a very small area (rarely valuable) and the ability and confidence to research on your own (invaluable). You want to work with quants, fine, but you don't need a PhD for that, just textbooks and papers. If you don't have interest in the topic then you are more likely give up before completion, then that is a few years wasted. If you are just doing a PhD for career progression then the process will be much harder.I think reasons for wanting a doctor are very different from person to person, but are mostly one thesescholarly interest: the chance to do actual research without a deadline, meaning that you can really think through a problem in great detail to arrive at a good solution. that sounds real nice but quite often people realize that in reality is just sucks to write 300 pages on a very specific issue, because really who cares?fear and laziness: being afraid of the real world or feeling that university was so nice that doing it a couple more years could be much better than getting a "real job". that too sounds nice but often these people are slackers, and while 23 years old slackers are probably fun, being a 32 year old slacker is really sad and the longer you stay in university the smaller get your chances to ever get a real job.strategic decisions (incl. vanity): e.g. when the finance job market dried up a lot of people decided that doing a PhD was a smarter activity then being unemployed or working without a bonus. these people tend to be the quickest, but also the most depressed phd students cause they are not really interested into the research. if it's hard to write 300 pages about a topic that you mildy care about, just imagine how much harder it is to do this with a topic you only picked for strategic reasons. vanity: like it or not a dr. pretty much is the only title that carries weight and people automatically give you some kind of anticipatory confidence and it's much harder to call bullshit on somebody whose a doctor.I think people that do PhDs for reasons of vanity and strategy tend to complete unless they are idiots. Normally they will bitch about how horrific a time they had constantly. Lazy people who escape the real life with a PhD almost always fail. I just though about guys like that from my universities and I literally cannot think of a single lazy person that ever graduated. so i would strongly recommend against doing a PhD for this reason.
Last edited by CrashedMint on October 29th, 2011, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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McWulf
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Ph.D topic help

October 31st, 2011, 8:10 am

I have seen quants PhDs from a few people over the years and am always amazed how naive they are. Tends to involve one central theory/equation and lots of ways of using a small number of data sets. This may have been enough to get someone letters after their name and perhaps a junior quant job in the City. But the harsh realities of real markets only start after that.Anyway to answer your question, it pays to hunt out what's topical. A few years ago this might have been equity style investing, credit default swaps and securitisation. Now I guess the hot topics are things like algorothmic trading, climate change (yes, there could be a quant input here too), ETFs and anything to do with commodities.You will see in another thread that my interest just now is in the asset/liability world, particularly involving a rigorous quant approach to saving for retirement (aka a DC scheme). I agree with other contributors, though, that you need to find something that engages your passion. Because a PhD is a lot of work and you need to maintain enthusiasm throughout. You say you're in risk management. Is that what you like? How about comparing different approaches to managing risk? Does modern portfolio theory have anything to offer here or can you show that past correlations etc are no use whatsoever in managing future risk?I would be amazed if you can show any way Kalman Filters could be of use. Lovely theory - I've used it myself in a different world - but it depends on a good model of the "signal" and the "noise". In financial markets it's all too random. Don't chase fool's gold!!!!!
 
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exCBOE
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Ph.D topic help

November 3rd, 2011, 12:40 am

The only really worthwhile research has to do with predicting something about the future, even a probability distribution which fits future observations. Sounds hard doesn't it? But any little advance can really make money; everything else is luck.
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