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Go to Grad School, or take Job Offer?

Hello everyone,

Here is my situation. Currently I have a pending offer to be a Quantitative Analyst for a major publicly traded commercial Bank, and an offer to attend one of the top MFE programs as ranked by Quantnet (Top 5). For the purposes of this discussion I will refer to the job offer simply as my "Quant Job" and the grad school offer as "Grad school". I am trying to deliberate which is better choice for me in the Long Run given my current situation. I would highly appreciate any feedback from Quants who have been in my situation, know someone in my situation, or are currently in my situation and are also fleshing out their thoughts.

Below I have come up with some Pro's and Con's based on my personal situation.

Pro's for Grad School:
  • Learn new things that may be difficult to learn without instructor feedback, and to be exposed to new knowledge that may be difficult to become exposed to on my own efforts.
  • Ability to seek a competitive Quant Job on the investments side of the industry (Hedge Funds, IB, etc)
  • Significantly better pay
  • By going right away, I will be more fresh. Academically speaking, it will be easier.
  • By going right away, I reduce the chance that life might "get in the way"
  • The grad program is located in NYC, this is a major plus for networking opportunities.

Pro's for taking the Quant Job:
  • I get to be a Quant already, I literally already have the job title this program educates you for, without a masters.
  • Ability to earn money and pay down student loan debt
  • Valuable work experience
  • The job is located outside of NYC, so I keep much more of my paycheck.
  • The company in question has very reasonable work hours, and very decent benefits

Cons' for Grad School:
  • Really F***ing expensive. Total cost of the program over 18 months is $120,000 between tuition and living expenses. I will have to use student loans to pay the full cost.
  • I am turning down an opportunity to gain work experience. Without full time work experience, the value of my masters will be deflated.
  • I have always been good at teaching myself new things. I learned all my Quant knowledge to date by myself, is grad school really necessary for learning the material?
  • I may not need the masters to become successful?

Con's for taking the Quant Job:
  • Its in commercial banking, not an industry I see myself in Long Term
  • The Salary is well below what is the fair market pay for a Quant Analyst starting out using Glassdoor as my reference.
  • The job is not in NYC. As someone who has called NY home for the last 4 years, this is very disappointing I couldn't get an offer here.
  • The job is also very far away from my family, I am a human too!
  • The Grad School in question may not accept me if I reapply in the future. Considering they are at the top, there is really no-one better I can apply to. Go backing in the future may mean attending a lesser ranked program.
  • Alot of the classifieds for Quants say they want at least a masters. I may end up limiting my future job prospects if I don't go to grad school right away, because going back later may not be possible.
For reference my background:
Math & CS from a non target school in New York
If you count Internships & Research as work experience, then I have about 2 years of experience related to Quant.

I am interested in hearing your thought's and inputs to my situation. If you were me, what would you do? Is there anything I am not considering, or factoring for?
 
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please go to work, and take the time to figure out what you think you don't know about the job. it will give you perspective, and you will know if you truly need a graduate degree to achieve your long term goals.
 
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