COMPARE CMU MSCF vs USC PhD of Finance and Business Economics

I have an interview with Carnegie Mellon for the MSCF coming up next week (I applied for the full time NY campus program).
I did some research and it seems that this is one of the best places to study in order to start a career as a quant. They have a great network and very interesting curriculum. It is a very expensive program(I would have to borrow money in order to study there) that lasts for three semesters.

On the other hand I already have an offer from the University of Southern California for the PhD of Finance and Business Economics. It is a five year program that prepares students for careers in academia. They offered me full tuition waiver, health insurance and a generous stipend.

Some of the questions that I have are the following:

- How demanding is a quant job? How many hours of work per day? Would I have to work weekends?

- How different is a career path in the private sector when you compare MSCF and PhD of Finance. Do you end up doing the same job with same pay and hours?

- Would graduating from CMU's MSCF and then working for a couple of years make me a better candidate for applying to PhD of Finance programs again?

- Does the PhD give me the options to follow a career in academia or in the industry, or is it fairly limiting?

If anyone has an opinion or suggestion, please share it with me. I have to make a decision by april 15th.

thank you
 

Joy Pathak

Swaptionz
- Does the PhD give me the options to follow a career in academia or in the industry, or is it fairly limiting?

What the hell... I feel like your trolling, but I will take bait and give my $0.02


First of all,

Wow. You applied to a PhD Finance, and a MSCF at the same time. I mean I have heard of hedging risks of admission, but this is crazy. These are two COMPLETELY different things.

You have to ask yourself:

Do I want to goto school for 5 years and live like shit and study 20 hours a day...yes 20, and do research in Finance and Economics. Do you have a particular research topic in mind ?...or even a general field.. ? Do you want to become a professor after graduation and work in academia trying to get grants ...slaving through the first 5-6 years to get tenure...etc...probably be bald by then.etc.

Or..

Do you want to do all that in 1.5 year or however long MSCF takes you and go work in the industry ? In terms of hours...for entry level I have been told 9am-9pm is almost standard. For a Morgan Stanley position I was told...8am-5-6pm is almost a given. At the same time an Exchange job interviewee told me 7.30am-5.30pm. It depends on the job, but I have heard of all kinds of crazy hours (100 hrs a week also). I am sure the veterans here can give you a better answer regarding it.

I personally, would choose PhD Finance at USC. USC is a very rich university and Marshall has a STRONG alumni network. The weather is amazing , the profs are well known, and it has a very strong name in the Finance Academia. Their placements have been good with recent placements at UM-Ann Arbor and so on.


It REALLY depends on what you want. I am just saying random facts about each and my opinion. This is almost a ridiculous comparison. Why did you not think before you applied if you want to become a professor or go work in a bank ?

Btw, you can go work in the industry with PhD Finance, but if your professors get whiff of it before qualifying, you will get treated horribly depending on your prof. Marshal has a very strong network in California especially LA area so you CAN work in industry if you want after 5 years.
 
Would graduating from CMU's MSCF and then working for a couple of years make me a better candidate for applying to PhD of Finance programs again?
As a general rule, applicants to professional master programs (MFE, MSCF, etc) who mention on their statement about going to PhD program at some point in the future run the risk of getting rejected at first sight.
These are two different beasts and it clearly shows a lack of understanding from the part of the applicant.
Just a heads up from the admission committee's point of view.
 

atreides

Graduate Student
Would graduating from CMU's MSCF and then working for a couple of years make me a better candidate for applying to PhD of Finance programs again?
As a general rule, applicants to professional master programs (MFE, MSCF, etc) who mention on their statement about going to PhD program at some point in the future run the risk of getting rejected at first sight.
These are two different beasts and it clearly shows a lack of understanding from the part of the applicant.
Just a heads up from the admission committee's point of view.

Very interesting POV, I guess the primary goal of these professional programs is to get folks ready for industry.
 

Joy Pathak

Swaptionz
Very interesting POV, I guess the primary goal of these professional programs is to get folks ready for industry.


That is true, but there are several students who go onto PhD after. A small percentage compared to the whole class but still quite a few. They usually get into many programs since they are so ideal as they have come out of such a rigorous masters program with exceptional mathematical skills and the basic finance knowledge for most general finance fields although concentrations in fin eng.
 
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Dear Joy:

For the last 2 years I have been preparing to enter a PhD of finance with the long term goal to work in the private sector. When I decided to make the list of my applications I wanted to diversify them. I ended up applying to three groups of PhD programs - Finance, Economics and Applied Mathematics. I realized how competitive this year's admission was going to be so I decided to also apply to very few master's programs for safety.

I am interested in conducting research in the field of Mathematical Finance (If I am not mistaken Dr. Zapatero at USC does some of that). I would really like to do something with direct application to the industry. Financial econometrics, forecasting and modeling sound good. I am leaning towards accepting the USC offer, but I want to have as much information as possible before I make my decision.

Dear Andy:

In my application to the MSCF i did not mention that I would like to go into a PhD program afterwards. I treated each application separately and wrote what was best to give me acceptance to that specific program.



I am going to visit both schools this week and hopefully this will help my decision process.

Thank you again for giving me your opinions. If something else comes to your mind please let me know.
 
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