PhD in Mathematics vs. MFE for quant research career

Math PhD (RPI) vs. MSFE (Columbia)


  • Total voters
    12
Hello QuantNet community! I recently got into Columbia MS in Financial Engineering. I also got into RPI for Math PhD with full funding. I am interested in ultimately breaking into buy-side quantitative research. (1) Would the PhD give me an advantage, or would it be better for me to get MFE and then work in sell-side before breaking into buy-side? (2) Is the Columbia brand name important, or will it be more helpful to have a math PhD from RPI? Thanks!
 
I am of the though that you should get a PhD because you want one. It will be some rough years doing research if thats not what you like. Many of people in financial industry who have a PhD did not get one to land a job in finance but transition later in life. Companies like PhDs because the degree suggests that you can do research, think on your own, and are decently smart.

So I guess my point is that they are not apples to apples. Does Columbia places any alumni on buy-side quantitative research? If they do that means people will at least interview you, which is the same thing a PhD will do for you, get you an interview. Good luck!
 
Last edited:
I am of the though that you should get a PhD because you want one. It will be some rough years doing research if thats not what you like. The people in financial industry who have a PhD did not get one to land a job in finance but transition later in life. Companies like PhDs because the degree suggests that you can do research, think on your own, and are decently smart.

So I guess my point is that they are not apples to apples. Does Columbia places any alumni on buy-side quantitative research? If they do that means people will at least interview you, which is the same thing a PhD will do for you, get you an interview. Good luck!
Great answer!
 
Great answer!

I also agree with the answer. Even a math PhD dropout has learned to struggle with hard problems, persisting through failure, and breaking down hard problems into smaller easier pieces. Often, they can learn the finance and develop the programming skills on the fly, so some financial and tech firms are willing to hire them and assign them to the most challenging projects.

On the other hand, you should enter a math PhD program if you will enjoy the struggle. Otherwise, it's just pain and stress.
 
Top