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COMPARE MFE/Mfin vs Phd in Finmath

Umnik

Member
Choosing between offers from PhD in FinMath from BU and from European two Master Programs. What would you advise? What are the pro's and con's of choosing PhD over Msc? Do people get Msc degree if they leave PhD after two years?
 

DMX

Member
do you want to work in the US or Europe?
if not sure, do the phd.

pros
- save money (assuming your phd is funded)
- opens more doors (academia, consulting)

cons
- 4~6 years instead of 1~2 years for MFE. but i think it will be well worth it
 

Umnik

Member
do you want to work in the US or Europe?
if not sure, do the phd.

pros
- save money (assuming your phd is funded)
- opens more doors (academia, consulting)

cons
- 4~6 years instead of 1~2 years for MFE. but i think it will be well worth it
Phd is funded, otherwise I wouldn't talk about it.

The capital choice is between PhD or getting a MSc and going back to my home country after that.

5 years is Ok, except for 2 points:
- I'll be 31 after that
- Several nice girls will be married and will have kids by that time
 

Katrina

Member
Several nice girls will be married and will have kids by that time
Not trying to be funny ! I wouldnt worry much about nice girls, if i was smart and make ton of money on wallstreet. It is possible you can steal some of the nice girls in future from men who are unemployed or rude. Also, you can pick some girls who have kids already after your Phd so you dont have to worry about babies aggravating you when they are 3 months. Some babies cry alot more than the others.
 

Umnik

Member
Hm... Let's return to the main points...
1) What's the Wall Street reputation of PhD program in Finmath from Boston University?
2) how bad is to withdraw from Msc program I signed an offer to (offer from BU came later than deadline in Barcelona)?
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
If your end goal is a job in finance industry, go where it will prepare you for the job you want in the location you want. I feel many people put too much weight on a PhD. Just having one does not guarantee an interview among the sea of applicants with similar qualification.
You are best served finding out your unique strength and niche and find the program that can utilize it.
 

wlfgngpck

New Member
Choosing between offers from PhD in FinMath from BU and from European two Master Programs. What would you advise? What are the pro's and con's of choosing PhD over Msc? Do people get Msc degree if they leave PhD after two years?
I have a PhD (or rather, I will have one....I'm defending in 2 weeks) in mathematics (not financial math, but whatever :) ). I think the best advice I can give anyone regarding a PhD is this: do it because YOU want to. Don't do it because of a job, or because you think it'll open job doors for you. Until you've done one, you really have no idea how hard a PhD program is. It's easy to say that 5 years is ok (by the way, lots of PhD programs in the hard sciences are turning into 6 years, not 5 years, so don't be surprised if you might even need a 6th year), but it might be harder for you to say to yourself when you're finishing up year #2 and realize you could've been done already. Also, I actually understand your point about girls being taken by the time you're done (you basically put your life on hold for the PhD and expect any man/woman that comes into your life to accept that you've made this giant commitment), but I wouldn't worry as much about that. More people are accepting of this than you might believe.

Anyways, in the end you need to be honest and ask yourself what your future plans are. I am not currently in finance, so if the "Andy Nguyen"s ( :) ) of the world disagree with me then maybe you should listen to them and not me, but I think that if you are dead set on working in finance (or hell even just in industry), you might want to explore other options than a PhD. But if you think a PhD is something you really want to have just for YOU, then by all means go for it, because it does get people to notice you (I can vouch for that one myself).

One parting comment: I've been in UCLA's math department for 6 years now, and I've known a lot of PhD students both pure and applied (which at UCLA includes financial math, btw). I do not know a single student who has come to the program looking to just get the PhD for job opportunities that has managed to stay beyond one year. (But to be fair most of the students who do finish their PhD and choose to work in industry go on to get some very good jobs).
 

kwlmy

Member
If you are thinking about what you want to do after a PhD before even starting a PhD, then don't do a PhD.
 

Umnik

Member
If your end goal is a job in finance industry, go where it will prepare you for the job you want in the location you want. I feel many people put too much weight on a PhD. Just having one does not guarantee an interview among the sea of applicants with similar qualification.
You are best served finding out your unique strength and niche and find the program that can utilize it.
And concerning the attrition rates... How badly does an unfinished PhD (different things can happen in 5-6 years) spoil the CV and does completed coursework guarantee "masters en route"?
 

wlfgngpck

New Member
And concerning the attrition rates... How badly does an unfinished PhD (different things can happen in 5-6 years) spoil the CV and does completed coursework guarantee "masters en route"?
An unfinished PhD would just not go on the CV as far as I'm aware, but I'm not certain so maybe someone else knows? But this second question I definitely know the answer to. It's a definite "no" at least insofar as "guarantee." But to be more specific it depends on the school and the department. If your department allows people to earn a masters as a terminal degree, then you could earn the masters on the way and if you leave the PhD program later they will still let you keep the masters. However, if the department does not allow you to have a masters as a terminal degree, they may award you a masters on the way to a PhD, but if you fail to finish the PhD they will rescind the masters degree.

This is why I advised against trying to be job-focused while earning a PhD. If you think a masters might be all you ever want/need, then just aim to do a masters program and don't worry about the PhD. The reason kwlmy told you what he did was that a PhD program is such a huge commitment that you really can't afford to look beyond that commitment. Most PhD programs usually have course requirements, qualifying exam requirements, language requirements....not to mention the dissertation requirement (which is a beast in and of itself). If you can't focus on the here-and-now then finishing a PhD program will be way too hard. This is really why people who start a PhD program for the wrong reason usually drop out very quickly. Mentally it's just too hard to handle if you aren't in it for the right reasons.
 

Umnik

Member
The situation has slightly changed - I have received an offer from MAFN Columbia, so it is a choice between PhD in FinMath at BU and MAFN Columbia
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
Try to find out how career services at PhD BU is. My understanding is that the MS FinMath at BU has gone through some big changes in last few years and they are now under the business school so there is some push for marketing the program better than when it was still under the Math dept.
Find out how that has translated into better career services and internship/opportunities to the students (both master and PhD).
I do not believe the Columbia MAFN program has a dedicated career services.

When you enter this field, it's all about the jobs and the opportunities it provides you. So go where your options and opportunities are optimal for you.
 

Umnik

Member
Try to find out how career services at PhD BU is. My understanding is that the MS FinMath at BU has gone through some big changes in last few years and they are now under the business school so there is some push for marketing the program better than when it was still under the Math dept.
Find out how that has translated into better career services and internship/opportunities to the students (both master and PhD).
I do not believe the Columbia MAFN program has a dedicated career services.

When you enter this field, it's all about the jobs and the opportunities it provides you. So go where your options and opportunities are optimal for you.
An important question is: will salary of three years of work after MAFN outbeat MAFN price + four years of BU stipend?
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
You are making a decision based on a lot of missing information. What accurate and comprehensive salary/placement data you have from the MAFN program?
Also, potential big buck earning in mind is not going to make your PhD years any more productive or enjoyable.

Point is, study something that will benefit you long in the future and you will enjoy the process. Money is something that comes with being very good at what you do.
 

Umnik

Member
You are making a decision based on a lot of missing information. What accurate and comprehensive salary/placement data you have from the MAFN program?
Also, potential big buck earning in mind is not going to make your PhD years any more productive or enjoyable.

Point is, study something that will benefit you long in the future and you will enjoy the process. Money is something that comes with being very good at what you do.
Well, I don't have potential big buck earning that much in mind - I wonder, how to explain the financial part of any decision like choosing expensive MSc program over PhD with scholarship to my Dad :)

Also would like to know, what choice is more productive for the scenario of securing a job in the US? a MSc would better for my home country because of an Ivy brand, but I am not sure about WS perspective - I have heard both opinions.

Concerning BU career services and PhD placement I'm waiting for their statistics.

At least, as I understand I should round out other options - am I right that PhD at BU beats PhD at Bocconi and MAFN beats EPFL and GSE Barcelona?
 
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