Phd from Mid range school vs Masters from Ivy

Jace Pack

New Member
Hey thanks for reading. I am an undergraduate math/stat student with some time to ponder graduate school applications.

My question: As far as job prospects go how does a phd in statistics from say 20-40 ranked (usnews) program compare to a masters in statistics or FE from a top 10 program such as Columbia, CMU, Princeton, ect?

I have a good grasp on the pros and cons of PHD vs MS but I am specifically wondering about mid ranged school PHD vs MS/MFE from top school.

Thank you!

Gavin L

Active Member
C++ Student
You have a few things to consider:

1. Career services
MFEs will generally have better career services, especially for the top ones. This means your path in may be easier. A mid-range school won't have this and moreover, the focus of a PhD student would be to go into academia, anyway. Having said that, I would say if you find a supervisor who is well-published in their area of expertise, and you seek out internships / part-time work at funds/banks/other experience, the end result may be a stronger application than an MFE with maybe one summer internship.

2. Time
PhDs take longer, and the assumption is that you will gain deeper expertise in your subject and be able to come up with new ideas to add value. There is no further 'study' after a PhD - after that you are a 'researcher', not a 'student'. This means you will be better placed at places, especially on the buy side, who thrive on idea generation. A Masters is quicker, and you may get into a bank as an analyst or S&T (or quant) role, but getting a quant role as a PhD student is more likely, even at a 'mid tier' PhD programme.

Side note - have you considered getting some full-time experience before going back to uni? These days work experience trumps an MFE, and might even trump a PhD if the PhD student lacks practical application or experience.

Just my 2c. Good luck.