Ph.D. in Finance Programs: If I have a Ph.D. will they waive the GRE/GMAT?

Interested in applying but the deadlines are approaching soon and I will not have enough time to take the tests.

I have a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from a first tier school and 5 years of postdoc experience. Still seems quite daunting to gain admission even with my previous experience.
 
It seems a little bit confusing to me. If you already have a PhD, why do you want to get a second one?
 
job prospects in academia are terrible for math/applied math in general. even some of the lower level schools like the cal states are extremely competitive and unreasonably so.

just weighing some options given this years tenure track search does not go well. I understand many MFE programs waive the requirement.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
To introduce myself, I'm a headhunter who specialises in people who do maths to banks...

I'm with Andy here, from the info you're sharing you will be late 30s /early 40s before starting work in a bank which is a definite possibliity but a more than slightly risky bet with your career.

Is it your aim to change tracks in academia or work in a bank ? (either can be goals, you don't need to choose yet)

I am sadly aware of the terrible career situation for math/science PhDs even if academic recruitment is something I rarely do, so this advice is aimed at banking careers.

Firstly, doing a PhD purely for career advancement is rarely optimal and is often quite damaging, some managers I know would think less of you for having 2 PhDs. Also the bank job market 3-5 years from now could be almost anything from wonderful to terrible. I'm actually currently being paid to model the future pay levels of PhD quants and one mainstream scenario is that in nominal terms it stays constant for the next decade. There was a time when that wasn't scary but inflation looks like rising.
Another risk is that this may not be what you're good at, it does happen and I will share that you will end up doing more programming, you OK about that ?

I believe your optimum is in one of the following:
1: Spending $1 K on a bunch of books, (Wilmott, Shreve, etc) working through them in your spare time. Asking questions on various fora when you get stuck. A bit of work on your stats and programming is also necessary.
Pros: Really cheap, doesn't risk your current track or earnings, some hiring managers see this as the gold standard for applicants.
Cons: You don't get a certificate saying you can do stuff, you need to manage your study plan and be really disciplined.

2: A part time MFE or the CQF
Pros: Relatively cheap, no loss of earnings
Cons: You have to be self disciplined and part time MFEs take twice as long as full time but cost just as much.

3: Full time MFE
Pros: Nice certificate to say you've done it, more support in studying.
Cons: Fees plus loss of earnings, also it is harder to move directly back into academia.

4: Squatting: auditing finance courses at your current university but taking no exams
Pros: Really cheap, no impact upon your current career.
Cons: No certificate and a rather random set of skills gained, best tried in conjunction with option (1)
 
thank you all for the information. I'd like to stay in the academic track with the fall back being employment as a quant at an investment bank or hedge fund (depending on the economy... sigh). I'm not overly concerned about the GRE, it's just the timing and prep. Most app's for the PhD programs are due in about 2 weeks time. If I had a full month, I'd be able to prepare and take the test.

As far as programming, I live for it. We do modeling and implementation so computing is at least 70-80% of the work.

OK, that being said, I just got a few emails back from the local schools here in LA: anderson and ross. Both require the GRE for admission. Claremont as well. Claremont actually requires one to be in the MFE program first to even be considered a candidate for the PhD program.

So, one more question: Would enrolling in an MFE program (anderson for example) help with admission into the PhD finance program? I'm pretty set on doing quant finance for the PhD as well so there will be some overlap.

Lastly, I'm getting into my late 30's so the light at the end of the tunnel is closing fast. Wish I had looked into this 5 or so years back. Just ridiculous what's happening in applied math/math right now regarding academic job prospects.

Thanks again for all of the info everyone!

Cheers.
 
To introduce myself, I'm a headhunter who specialises in people who do maths to banks...

I'm with Andy here, from the info you're sharing you will be late 30s /early 40s before starting work in a bank which is a definite possibliity but a more than slightly risky bet with your career.

Is it your aim to change tracks in academia or work in a bank ? (either can be goals, you don't need to choose yet)

I am sadly aware of the terrible career situation for math/science PhDs even if academic recruitment is something I rarely do, so this advice is aimed at banking careers.

Firstly, doing a PhD purely for career advancement is rarely optimal and is often quite damaging, some managers I know would think less of you for having 2 PhDs. Also the bank job market 3-5 years from now could be almost anything from wonderful to terrible. I'm actually currently being paid to model the future pay levels of PhD quants and one mainstream scenario is that in nominal terms it stays constant for the next decade. There was a time when that wasn't scary but inflation looks like rising.
Another risk is that this may not be what you're good at, it does happen and I will share that you will end up doing more programming, you OK about that ?

I believe your optimum is in one of the following:
1: Spending $1 K on a bunch of books, (Wilmott, Shreve, etc) working through them in your spare time. Asking questions on various fora when you get stuck. A bit of work on your stats and programming is also necessary.
Pros: Really cheap, doesn't risk your current track or earnings, some hiring managers see this as the gold standard for applicants.
Cons: You don't get a certificate saying you can do stuff, you need to manage your study plan and be really disciplined.

2: A part time MFE or the CQF
Pros: Relatively cheap, no loss of earnings
Cons: You have to be self disciplined and part time MFEs take twice as long as full time but cost just as much.

3: Full time MFE
Pros: Nice certificate to say you've done it, more support in studying.
Cons: Fees plus loss of earnings, also it is harder to move directly back into academia.

4: Squatting: auditing finance courses at your current university but taking no exams
Pros: Really cheap, no impact upon your current career.
Cons: No certificate and a rather random set of skills gained, best tried in conjunction with option (1)


Hi DominiConnor,

thank you for the detailed advice. I completely agree on option #1 and 4. I can easily learn all the MFE requirements in 3-4 months I feel given my background. An MFE program would likely help the most in placement. Being in the latter part of my 30's, the job prospects are looking tighter and the options being more limited. I would like to stay in academia hence the desire to pursue a finance PhD. Unlike math for example, it is far more difficult to get into a finance program but the job prospects after are exponentially higher.

Cheers
 
Okay, here are the answers to your queries.
They will not waive the GRE / GMAT requirement if you want to apply for Finance PhD. They will treat you just like any other applicant.
It is quite common for Math / Physics PhDs to do a second PhD in Finance. They normally get the Math PhD around age 26-27, so there is plenty of time for a second PhD.
You have very good chance at admission in the quant finance oriented schools like Chicago, Wharton, Berkeley. Even in the other schools there will be a group of Finance faculty (at least one or two) who specializes in quant finance research.
There are some schools like Stanford where they have shifted focus heavily toward Behavioral Finance research.
In most of the schools, the largest group of faculty will be working in Empirical Finance research, but there will always be one or two quant people.
Your starting salary in 2011 terms will be around $250 K.
Since you already have a PhD, you will probably get admission in a good school and you already know what it takes to get a PhD.
Getting tenure. That will be a big problem. From the first day of your PhD program you should start doing research as if you are on a 11-year tenure-track position (5 years of PhD + 6 years tenure-track).
 
Okay, here are the answers to your queries.

From the first day of your PhD program you should start doing research as if you are on a 11-year tenure-track position (5 years of PhD + 6 years tenure-track).

Just curious:
I guess there's no such thing as a part-time PhD in Finance?
 
Okay, here are the answers to your queries.
They will not waive the GRE / GMAT requirement if you want to apply for Finance PhD. They will treat you just like any other applicant.
It is quite common for Math / Physics PhDs to do a second PhD in Finance. They normally get the Math PhD around age 26-27, so there is plenty of time for a second PhD.
You have very good chance at admission in the quant finance oriented schools like Chicago, Wharton, Berkeley. Even in the other schools there will be a group of Finance faculty (at least one or two) who specializes in quant finance research.
There are some schools like Stanford where they have shifted focus heavily toward Behavioral Finance research.
In most of the schools, the largest group of faculty will be working in Empirical Finance research, but there will always be one or two quant people.
Your starting salary in 2011 terms will be around $250 K.
Since you already have a PhD, you will probably get admission in a good school and you already know what it takes to get a PhD.
Getting tenure. That will be a big problem. From the first day of your PhD program you should start doing research as if you are on a 11-year tenure-track position (5 years of PhD + 6 years tenure-track).


thanks trader joe, you hit the nail on the head. at least 11 years from start date of phd to tenure. can get snagged along the way but the backup is quant work in finance which is why there are a lot of options.

looked at the gre again and the quant part is quite straightforward. just the hassle of going in and taking the test and submitting scores. maybe a 1 week process at most, not a big issue.

I will say a few things, the research in computer science and many parts of applied math is quite a bit more interesting than the work as a researcher in finance, but the financial applications are more applicable in many ways.

guess I have some soul searching to do in the next few weeks. tough economy, even graduating from a top 5 applied program and doing 3 postdocs at big name schools can't even land a cal state tenure track job for example despite superlative teaching and excellent research. pretty random process this tenure track thing.

thanks again. i will at least apply to a few mfe programs as a backup and time permitting, some phd programs in finance although at my age in my mid 30's I'm hesitant to go through the process all over again.

Cheers.

ps. to answer the last question, the phd program is very demanding, it is unlikely there are any part time opp's there. maybe with some TA support, otherwise a full time affair.
 
Just curious:
I guess there's no such thing as a part-time PhD in Finance?
In think that EDHEC is the only recongnized part-time PhD. I don't think that you will learn to do research. The good thing is that all your classmates will be MDs, Country Heads, or CEO level people.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
"recognized" is a tricky term and about as subjective as it gets.
I "recognize" part time finance PhDs from Birkbeck but not Imperial even though on most rankings Imperial is rather higher.

Also there is a grey area where some people switch from full to part time PhDs, so I "recognize" a couple of people who are doing part time maths PhDs at Imperial.
EDHEC has the networking qualities that TJ cites and in I am all for that as part of your career management, but never lose sight of the fact that there has to be meat in the burger else you just expose your failings to a wider and more powerful audience.

But my perspective is that of a banking headhunter, I know that academia has a very different evaluation process (though they don't recognise part time Imperial finance PhDs either).

I'm vaguely concerned at the idea of finance academia as a safe option that pays adequately well.
Certainly it has grown and some have managed to acquire positions that enjoy a sweet spot of earning bank-like money but academic lifestyles but that is a result of growth in banking driving the demand for financial education driving the demand for academics.
That's quite a heavy gearing, hence the growth and therefore it could go down as hard as it grew.

I guess that part of my general view of labour markets is that of mean reversion and the mean in academia has been mean to many.
 
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