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PhD is a waste of time

Not much I don't already know but some nice things to copy and paste:

Dr Freeman estimates that in 1966 only 23% of science and engineering PhDs in America were awarded to students born outside the country. By 2006 that proportion had increased to 48%. Foreign students tend to tolerate poorer working conditions, and the supply of cheap, brilliant, foreign labour also keeps wages down.

About one-third of Austria’s PhD graduates take jobs unrelated to their degrees. In Germany 13% of all PhD graduates end up in lowly occupations. In the Netherlands the proportion is 21%.

PhDs in maths and computing, social sciences and languages earn no more than those with master’s degrees. The premium for a PhD is actually smaller than for a master’s degree in engineering and technology, architecture and education. Only in medicine, other sciences, and business and financial studies is it high enough to be worthwhile. Over all subjects, a PhD commands only a 3% premium over a master’s degree.

Dr Schwartz, the New York physicist, says the skills learned in the course of a PhD can be readily acquired through much shorter courses. Thirty years ago, he says, Wall Street firms realised that some physicists could work out differential equations and recruited them to become “quants”, analysts and traders. Today several short courses offer the advanced maths useful for finance. “A PhD physicist with one course on differential equations is not competitive,” says Dr Schwartz.

The organisations that pay for research have realised that many PhDs find it tough to transfer their skills into the job market. Writing lab reports, giving academic presentations and conducting six-month literature reviews can be surprisingly unhelpful in a world where technical knowledge has to be assimilated quickly and presented simply to a wide audience.

The dubious advantages of a PhD are pimped by an educrat mafia.
 
This only applies to engineering or other fields other than quantitative finance! The article mentions that a quant phd could earn sustainably more than without it.
 
The profiles of the Business PhDs at one unversity which I can see are almost all at partner / senior partner level positions. The typical position for the Finance PhDs is something like Head of Fundamental Research Group at Citadel or Head of Equity Research at Barclays. The rest are all professors in business school and are probably earning over $300 K (including Executive MBA teaching and consulting work). I don't think that they are so poor and that you need to feel sorry for them.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Alain says it will burst people's bubbles, and I see this as a good thing...

As I say so very often, a PhD is a foolish move in terms of pure career progression.

A PhD is like sex.
Some people make very good money from sex, but spending 5 years learning how to do one specific sex act very well is very unlikely to have a good return on the invested time.
You do sex because you want to do sex. Science or maths are like sex in that passion helps you do it better, and 5 years doing it all day in a way that you don't enjoy is a horrible way to spend 10-15% of your working life.

To be sure, you can optimize with respect to getting money and better sex, and some whores and film stars really enjoy their work, but that's luck not planning.
 
I doubt this is for business PhD's. There is a big shortage of business PhD's especially Accounting and finance. The graduates of top school business PhD's make ridiculous salaries. If they go into industry, twice, thrice of their 150-200K salary. A friend of mine graduated from Texas A&M, and had two publications in JOF, and was made an assistant prof at Kellogs. 250K 9 month salary.

For technical PhD's (engineering,math,etc) I can understand the motif of the article.
 
I doubt this is for business PhD's. There is a big shortage of business PhD's especially Accounting and finance. The graduates of top school business PhD's make ridiculous salaries. If they go into industry, twice, thrice of their 150-200K salary. A friend of mine graduated from Texas A&M, and had two publications in JOF, and was made an assistant prof at Kellogs. 250K 9 month salary.

For technical PhD's (engineering,math,etc) I can understand the motif of the article.

$250K for nine months seems to be about right. Plus $40 K for summer support. Plus, after they get tenure, they get a lot of additional compensation from Executive MBA teaching and consulting work. Very few people outside of the Business Schools believe that these salaries are accurate. Also, a lot of them turn down these huge salaries and take positions in unversities in Romania, Turkey, Hungary, Chile, Portugal, Canada, France, UK, Singapore, Hongkong, and China. They are not really motivated by $. The people who are motivated by $ are working at Hedge Funds like Citadel or IBs like Barclays. Their salaries are truly ridiculously high even though the government takes 50% of their salary.
 
$250K for nine months seems to be about right. Plus $40 K for summer support. Plus, after they get tenure, they get a lot of additional compensation from Executive MBA teaching and consulting work. Very few people outside of the Business Schools believe that these salaries are accurate. Also, a lot of them turn down these huge salaries and take positions in unversities in Romania, Turkey, Hungary, Chile, Portugal, Canada, France, UK, Singapore, Hongkong, and China. They are not really motivated by $. The people who are motivated by $ are working at Hedge Funds like Citadel or IBs like Barclays. Their salaries are truly ridiculously high even though the government takes 50% of their salary.

Yes. Even Canada pays heavy salaries to Accounting and Finance PhD's. 150K is almost standard for tenure track. Rotman paid fresh accounting tenure track Asst. Prof 180K.

Most of the professors don't like teaching EMBA or general MBA students. They are mostly focused on research at top schools. Their salary usually stays close to the salary they start off at with regular increments. They care about research, and almost always loathe teaching.

The issue isn't the high salaries. If you can get INTO a top PhD business program, you're set for life. The acceptance rate is close to 1.5-2% at majority of the schools. U Chicago last year picked 8 students from 700 applicants.
 
I think the article is a bit pessimistic and certinaly don't reflect the finance field. Phd student, don't worry! I don't think my quant phd graduates had any time in finding a good (and very good) job.
 
I think part of the usefulness of a PhD degree is what school you get it from, and what field is your PhD in.... A PhD from a no-name school in a less popular field certainly isn't worth much.

I don't know why people are so shy about saying where they get their degrees from.....
 
A "named" school is highly ranked and prestigious,... a no-name school is a school that you probably have never heard of.... (such as Azusa Pacific University)....
 

alain

Older and Wiser
A "named" school is highly ranked and prestigious

again, "highly ranked and prestigious" is as good as "mystic and aura"... and those are names of ... well, you can imagine.

Basically, you are prejudiced against any PhD from a school you have never heard of. That is probably not a good thing.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
"named school" is indeed highly subjective, which expresses itself as risk.

A big problem with the Economist article is that it doesn't really cover risk in this investment, which frankly is so naive as to render it worthless.

As it says in my Quant careers guide, I advise more people on their choice of anyone else anywhere, probably more than the next dozen put together, and my modelling of optimality is vastly more sophisticated than this arts graduate drivel, and wholly unworthy of a newspaper that calls itself the economist.

It's moronically stupid to say "do a PhD at a more branded school", when that is rarely the decision facing you.

Decisions are more like "I can get a fully funded PhD at X, studying Y, but Z is more branded, but it's a subject I feel has less value".

or...
"Can I hack a nanotech PhD so it sets me up for finance" ?

or...
"is focusing on a specific subset of econometrics more useful than market microstructure" ?

None of those have simple answers because it depends upon what you personally are good at, and your appetite for risk might be. This afternoon I advised someone that quite probably their best option wasn't to take finance, but the Cambridge option which didn't mention finance at all.

But that was him and you are you.
 
PhD is useless. Most people do it because they don't know what else to do. They are treated very badly and are slave laborers. This is esp. true for science and engineering.
 
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