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Applying PhD

I have been thinking about applying for Ph.D. programs after MFE recently. The reason I wanted to do it was simply I want to learn more and enjoy a more peaceful time to pursue things I like. I do plan to return to quant research after Ph.D. Thus, I first want to ask recommended program. I am currently thinking about Columbia OR, Princeton OR, Stanford ICME, maybe MIT OR. I am not sure about Ph.D in computational math, stats, and econ/finance. If you guys know good programs, I would really appreciate any recommendations.

I also wish to get help on how to become competitive for top OR programs. Should I keep looking/asking professors for research? I know that for Ph.D in math or Econ, besides having good GPA and GRE, the best way to distinguish is having recommendations from top professors in the field. Is it true for the OR Ph.D program as well?

Any insights are appreciated,
 
Most programs would disqualify you on the basis of wanting to go to industry. Ph.D. programs are in the business of people who want a career in writing papers publishable in leading academic journals. Slots in programs are limited and tied to the number of TA -ship a program can offer. Most programs would reject you just on the basis that they can find a qualified candidate that at least at time of application is heavily considering an academic career. Even bottom tier ones for economics/finance. Yes some PhDs do go on to be quants, but these arent seen as successful graduates from perspective of departments.

Admissions in PhD for american students is 90 pecent based on having strong letters of recommendation from well respected researchers. Having good grades, taking the right subjects and good gre/gmat is expected, but that isnt the main criteria.

This may be a wake up call. I can't speak for CS, but for economics in finance, getting a TOP masters in quant finance is much easier than even mid ranked econ PhDs.
 
Most programs would disqualify you on the basis of wanting to go to industry. Ph.D. programs are in the business of people who want a career in writing papers publishable in leading academic journals. Slots in programs are limited and tied to the number of TA -ship a program can offer. Most programs would reject you just on the basis that they can find a qualified candidate that at least at time of application is heavily considering an academic career. Even bottom tier ones for economics/finance. Yes some PhDs do go on to be quants, but these arent seen as successful graduates from perspective of departments.

Admissions in PhD for american students is 90 pecent based on having strong letters of recommendation from well respected researchers. Having good grades, taking the right subjects and good gre/gmat is expected, but that isnt the main criteria.

This may be a wake up call. I can't speak for CS, but for economics and finance, getting a TOP masters in quant finance is much easier than even mid ranked econ PhDs.
 
Most programs would disqualify you on the basis of wanting to go to industry. Ph.D. programs are in the business of people who want a career in writing papers publishable in leading academic journals. Slots in programs are limited and tied to the number of TA -ship a program can offer. Most programs would reject you just on the basis that they can find a qualified candidate that at least at time of application is heavily considering an academic career. Even bottom tier ones for economics/finance. Yes some PhDs do go on to be quants, but these arent seen as successful graduates from perspective of departments.

Admissions in PhD for american students is 90 pecent based on having strong letters of recommendation from well respected researchers. Having good grades, taking the right subjects and good gre/gmat is expected, but that isnt the main criteria.

This may be a wake up call. I can't speak for CS, but for economics in finance, getting a TOP masters in quant finance is much easier than even mid ranked econ PhDs.
Thank you for sharing the insights on the admission perspective. I plan to enroll MFE program for this fall but thinking about a future Ph.D. down the line. I definitely agree that PhD is for academia, and that's why I lean more towards "application-based" programs such as operation research and computational math. But I am not sure if these "applied science" programs also view PhD as a more academia geared role. Aren't a lot of researches produced in the industry as well? I found it a little bit uneasy when departments kind of discourages student to join the industry

To be honest, I haven't ruled out academia but for now, I am more leaning toward the industry.
 
If you're aiming for one of these PhD programs you mentioned above, do try to get into a top MFE program and once you're there, try to aim for at least one publication--yes, simply having "research experience" doesn't mean much to these elite tier 1 PhD programs. I suggest a top MFE program because you'll be surrounded by top quality classmates, which will help better mimic the level of difficulty in those PhD programs (you'll likely encounter classmates who have numerous publications, IMOs and/or came from a well-known US/foreign university), since the MFE program can't be giving easy-peasy exams that you'd encounter at some low rank MFE programs.
 
If you're aiming for one of these PhD programs you mentioned above, do try to get into a top MFE program and once you're there, try to aim for at least one publication--yes, simply having "research experience" doesn't mean much to these elite tier 1 PhD programs. I suggest a top MFE program because you'll be surrounded by top quality classmates, which will help better mimic the level of difficulty in those PhD programs (you'll likely encounter classmates who have numerous publications, IMOs and/or came from a well-known US/foreign university), since the MFE program can't be giving easy-peasy exams that you'd encounter at some low rank MFE programs.
Thank you for your advice. I definitely will aim to publish an article. I just feel it's kind of hard since a paper takes a long time to produce. My application for MFE is already finalized (It's not top 3 but top 8 if that matters) and so there is nothing much I can do on the application part but rather get the most out of the program by reaching out to professors and study hard.
 
Some guys seem to blame not being placed to buy-side QR on lacking a doctoral degree. But it actually doesn't. IF they are unqualified for this role, a doctoral degree or a school brand won't be discriminative factors helping them get a placement.
 
Some guys seem to blame not being placed to buy-side QR on lacking a doctoral degree. But it actually doesn't. IF they are unqualified for this role, a doctoral degree or a school brand won't be discriminative factors helping them get a placement.
Yeah, I definitely agree. Based on a lot of posts I saw and people I spoke to, buy-side QR does not require a Ph.D. at all. I just personally enjoy learning and want to take more time in school to improve myself.
 
Thank you for your advice. I definitely will aim to publish an article. I just feel it's kind of hard since a paper takes a long time to produce. My application for MFE is already finalized (It's not top 3 but top 8 if that matters) and so there is nothing much I can do on the application part but rather get the most out of the program by reaching out to professors and study hard.
Top 8 should be fine. Just start seeking a prof to do research with asap once you get in. Publishing will strengthen your application for a top tier PhD program.
 
Thank you. I am reaching out right now. It's kind of hard as I got a lot of no from professors
Can you possibly do a research project with a prof? I think as long as you can work on a research project with a well-known prof (or ones that are recognized by faculty at PhD programs you're interested in--you can figure this out by checking their papers and seeing who they've published with) and it becomes at least a submitted paper, then it should be fine.

Hmm (and this is taking a super random stab and could be completely off)...since you said previously that it's not top 3 but top 8, according to the current rankings, that leaves Columbia, UCB MFE, Cornell MFE, NYU Tandon, and UChicago MSFM (I'd honestly put MIT somewhere here too lol). UCB MFE is terminal, so it might be hard there. Not sure about NYU Tandon since I think there's more practitioners there--triple check on this if this is the program lol. For Columbia, Cornell, and UChicago, you could try taking PhD courses though I'm not sure how much flexibility you have there.
 
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Can you possibly do a research project with a prof? I think as long as you can work on a research project with a well-known prof (or ones that are recognized by faculty at PhD programs you're interested in--you can figure this out by checking their papers and seeing who they've published with) and it becomes at least a submitted paper, then it should be fine.
Good idea. I will ask more professors. Thank you very much for all the insights Andy
 
Good idea. I will ask more professors. Thank you very much for all the insights Andy
You could also try reaching out to professors from other departments--though at some schools, some profs only take students from their own department. Just do something that's related to operations research such as healthcare, queuing theory, supply chain, financial engineering, optimization, data/business analytics, etc. They all use methods that can be used in financial engineering, etc.
 
You could also try reaching out to professors from other departments--though at some schools, some profs only take students from their own department. Just do something that's related to operations research such as healthcare, queuing theory, supply chain, financial engineering, optimization, etc.
That makes sense. I was targeting financial engineering related operation research as I was more interested in that. But based on the response rate, I think I should expand my scope to other areas of operation research as well to increase my odds
 
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