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Topic Title: Advice for a PhD Candidate in Economics, with MBA and CFA exams
Created On Fri Jun 12, 09 05:38 PM
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khanghi
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Fri Jun 12, 09 05:38 PM
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Hi,
I am looking for your advice.
I have background in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (MS). I am now an engineering manager at a large company with decent salary and a secured job. However, I am interested in finance and economics. So interested that I earned an MBA from one of the top business school, graduated top of class; the continued on a PhD program in economics, passed CFA level I and level II exams and just sit in the level III exam. Did that while still work full time to make a living for my two small children and very loving and supportive wife. I am pretty good at quantitative, stochastics, time series etc. I have passed all PhD qualification exams and have to decide the topic for dissertion. That dissertation will take 1-2 years and will decide the rest of my new career. I am asking you for advice.

1. Should I leave my current engineering manager now and look for new job in September after my CFA Level III exam is out? (not 100% but I am confident of passing chance). I would still work on my PhD thesis on the new job. The pros is shortening the experience years required for CFA designation. The cons is applying for a job with the rest of PhD. My decision on PhD topic would be influenced on the kind of job I would get.

2. If I stay on the same job and concentrate on dissertation, I need to decide on the topic. I have two possibilities. The first is renewable energy (wind/weather derivative pricing models etc.) and the second I would like to be in quantitative finance. I am not clear on the second, mostly because there not seems to be much left to do, but please let me know if I am wrong.

3. Another factor is age. I am 39 now and would prefer not to take too big of a pay hit from 150K where I am at. I don't mind to work hard, as you can see and my mind is still very clear, but not sure of the hiring firms' perspective.

I am at a crossroad and would really appreciate your advice.
 
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EscapeArtist999
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Fri Jun 12, 09 05:58 PM
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You are manager at a large company, with a stable position, and have an MBA from a top us bschool (not sure how many top programs have part-time options) and were top of your class? So you decide to do a PhD in Quantitative finance on the side while taking the CFA exams.... I am very sorry but this does not add up well. And moreso, you want to move to an entry level quant job in one of the most unstable industries around... Lastly a PhD dissertation would take 3-4 years FULL time to be done properly from scratch... you would be 42 when taking this position. Here is some better advice. Work on your English, use those networking and leadership skills that your top MBA conferred upon you and work your way further up the ladder in your current role... This whole thing with PhDs and entry level quant jobs is possible at this point - possible but suboptimal.
 
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J
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Fri Jun 12, 09 06:23 PM
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are you doing your part time PhD in economics in the States?
 
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khanghi
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Fri Jun 12, 09 07:30 PM
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Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I am in the US. I am doing PhD full time. I finished my third year, so it will take 1-2 years for the dissertation. Somehow I can do that with full time job. My grade is quite high. I also passed the Level I and II CFA exams on the first shot at the same time.

I have been doing engineering work for the past 15 years after my MS in Computer Science: C/C++ programming, creating simulation models, design and for the last 5 years - management.


 
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J
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Fri Jun 12, 09 10:20 PM
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Quote

Originally posted by: khanghi
Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I am in the US. I am doing PhD full time. I finished my third year, so it will take 1-2 years for the dissertation. Somehow I can do that with full time job. My grade is quite high. I also passed the Level I and II CFA exams on the first shot at the same time.

I have been doing engineering work for the past 15 years after my MS in Computer Science: C/C++ programming, creating simulation models, design and for the last 5 years - management.


CFA I and II cannot be written at the same time.
 
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Chaotic
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Fri Jun 12, 09 10:32 PM
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Quote

Originally posted by: khanghi
Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I am in the US. I am doing PhD full time. I finished my third year, so it will take 1-2 years for the dissertation. Somehow I can do that with full time job. My grade is quite high. I also passed the Level I and II CFA exams on the first shot at the same time.

I have been doing engineering work for the past 15 years after my MS in Computer Science: C/C++ programming, creating simulation models, design and for the last 5 years - management.


It is very hard to believe that you can do a full time PhD while doing a full time job. It sounds like a crappy PhD program, it should be challenging for the best students (full time).

Edited: Fri Jun 12, 09 at 10:36 PM by Chaotic
 
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cryptic26
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Fri Jun 12, 09 10:33 PM
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Quote

Originally posted by: J
Quote

Originally posted by: khanghi


CFA I and II cannot be written at the same time.


I was gonna say that. But I suppose khanghi meant that s/he cleared both exams in the first shot 'in the same year'. Well, not intending to further pull hair over this, I am wondering as to what khanghi wrote on the Statement of purpose when s/he applied for the Ph.D econ. Obviously there needs to be some connection between his future goals and the phd give that khanghi would have been 36 when going to school, which by no means is 'too young' to explore/experiment.

Edited: Fri Jun 12, 09 at 10:34 PM by cryptic26
 
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MatthewM
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Sat Jun 13, 09 01:03 AM
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I find it hard to believe that total time to an econ PhD is 4-5 years part time.

In the physics department here the average time to graduation is over 6 years. Most people are done with their quals after their second year. This gives an average of 4 years devoted full-time to research.

The fastest graduation we've had in the last 5-6 years was ~4.5 years. This person was done with quals and classes after 1.5 years.

Is econ that much easier, or is your department so much more lax? Or perhaps you are simply underestimating the amount of time it will take. 1-2 years of active research seems very very low, especially considering that it is part time. Do you already have some publications in econ? If so, then I can see how it might not take that much longer.
 
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MartingaleBuster
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Sat Jun 13, 09 02:11 AM
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I think that we should summarise a few things:

Our candidate has 15 years experience both technical and managerial, and significant exposure to C++

Apparently passing levels of the CFA first time around is impressive (I have always thought of it like passing a driver's exam first time) especially after studying all of that stuff in an MBA. Which brings me on to the next topic, the MBA from a top tier school, top tier like Wharton, Columbia, Harvard, MIT... and has decided to use this to do a PhD... oh wait i am forgetting, here is a guy who completed his full time MBA while working full time to support his two small children... I suspect he neglected to mention his 800 GMAT and 1600 GRE, right? Then we move on to our punter having 'completed' the first three years of the program, and yet not have a clear idea part of his research area... The best part is that he believes that his dissertation will define his career in quantitative finance when he graduates and starts as an entry level strat at GS.... I am sorry I need to take a short break frm my hysterical laughing fit.

Okay, I am back... It seems clear that this person has learnt nothing valuable during his MBA because he would have monetized this... if you can't monetize an MBA from a top tier US school - you can't monetize anything. Maybe if he had spent his time networking rather than working full time he could have gotten further... THREE YEARS IN and NO idea what area to work in... you have to be joking... and then posting on a public forum looking for free VALUABLE advice... the stupidity of this is apparently without bounds... Perhaps TwoFish can weigh in here...

This poster can't be real, it must be KackToodles who has registered a fake account and is f--king with us. Kack, I am calling you OUT!!!
 
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cryptic26
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Sat Jun 13, 09 03:12 AM
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Quote

Originally posted by: MatthewM
I find it hard to believe that total time to an econ PhD is 4-5 years part time.

In the physics department here the average time to graduation is over 6 years. Most people are done with their quals after their second year. This gives an average of 4 years devoted full-time to research.

The fastest graduation we've had in the last 5-6 years was ~4.5 years. This person was done with quals and classes after 1.5 years.

Is econ that much easier, or is your department so much more lax? Or perhaps you are simply underestimating the amount of time it will take. 1-2 years of active research seems very very low, especially considering that it is part time. Do you already have some publications in econ? If so, then I can see how it might not take that much longer.


The original poster is doing phd full time and not part time. I must admit it is a bit confusing though. Average time to finish econ phd is around 5 years; in fact it is 1 year more than it takes to finish phd in finance from most of the top schools. However, the 4 year is also because univs start complaining if the person takes more time to complete. Essentially, it is hard to fund someone for 5 years.

Edited: Sat Jun 13, 09 at 03:13 AM by cryptic26
 
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MatthewM
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Sat Jun 13, 09 04:52 AM
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The original poster is doing phd full time and not part time


Not as I read it. He appears to be stuck between either working at his current job or finding a new job. Either way, he seems to claim he will be working as he does his PhD. Secondly, 3 years to finish quals seems high (as far as my experience in physics goes).
 
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cryptic26
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Sat Jun 13, 09 04:59 AM
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Quote

Originally posted by: MatthewM
Quote

The original poster is doing phd full time and not part time


Not as I read it. He appears to be stuck between either working at his current job or finding a new job. Either way, he seems to claim he will be working as he does his PhD. Secondly, 3 years to finish quals seems high (as far as my experience in physics goes).


I am not trying to defend the original poster's message but which part of the following phrase did you not read?
Quote


Originally posted by: khanghi
Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I am in the US. I am doing PhD full time.
I finished my third year, so it will take 1-2 years for the dissertation."


Edited: Sat Jun 13, 09 at 05:00 AM by cryptic26
 
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HyperGeometric
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Sat Jun 13, 09 05:06 AM
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Quote

Originally posted by: khanghi
Hi,
I am looking for your advice.
I have background in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (MS). I am now an engineering manager at a large company with decent salary and a secured job. However, I am interested in finance and economics. So interested that I earned an MBA from one of the top business school, graduated top of class; the continued on a PhD program in economics, passed CFA level I and level II exams and just sit in the level III exam. Did that while still work full time to make a living for my two small children and very loving and supportive wife. I am pretty good at quantitative, stochastics, time series etc. I have passed all PhD qualification exams and have to decide the topic for dissertion. That dissertation will take 1-2 years and will decide the rest of my new career. I am asking you for advice.

1. Should I leave my current engineering manager now and look for new job in September after my CFA Level III exam is out? (not 100% but I am confident of passing chance). I would still work on my PhD thesis on the new job. The pros is shortening the experience years required for CFA designation. The cons is applying for a job with the rest of PhD. My decision on PhD topic would be influenced on the kind of job I would get.

2. If I stay on the same job and concentrate on dissertation, I need to decide on the topic. I have two possibilities. The first is renewable energy (wind/weather derivative pricing models etc.) and the second I would like to be in quantitative finance. I am not clear on the second, mostly because there not seems to be much left to do, but please let me know if I am wrong.

3. Another factor is age. I am 39 now and would prefer not to take too big of a pay hit from 150K where I am at. I don't mind to work hard, as you can see and my mind is still very clear, but not sure of the hiring firms' perspective.

I am at a crossroad and would really appreciate your advice.




If you're that smart and hard working, why don't you figure it out yourself.
 
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MatthewM
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Sat Jun 13, 09 05:11 AM
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cryptic: He claims to be doing his PhD "full time" but also says that he is working and will continue working.

I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned there's no such thing as a job + full time phd. Unless he's discovered a drug which allows him to completely avoid sleeping.

 
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khanghi
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Sat Jun 13, 09 05:18 AM
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If I was younger then I maybe upset with some of the posts, but I am past that. Maybe some of you can be more open minded. Maybe you did not do all that? What I described is true and frankly was expecting a more civil discussion. Here it is:

- Yes, I started working at my last year MS CS year. First as intern in speech recognition, then graduated and worked as software engineer. It has been 15 years. Also wrote a couple of parsers using Lex/Yacc.
- I did monetize my MBA. First, my employer PAID for the program. Second, I was then promoted. Monetizing does not necessarily involve changing job. The MBA also helps me managing my own money.
- Yes, the MBA is from a top school. it is not top 5, but top 15.
- No my GMAT is not 800. It was 700. I am not native English speaker and got penalized on that part.
- My PhD quals was not done after 1.5 year. It was 2 years. It was a year ago.
- If you read my post, I do have area of interest. In fact, if you are familiar with good PhD programs, they require TWO areas of research, a major and a minor. My struggle is to decide which one to be which. I have 2 years for it.
- I passed CFA I on the December exam, CFA II on the following June last year. I just sit on CFA III level last week, June 6.
- The MBA really helps me with managing my team, that is why I have more time to do full time PhD.
- I am working on my first paper.
- Few courses in the school (it's not a crappy one, according to ranking): Micron 1-2, Macro 1-2, Econometrics 1-2, Game Theory, Industrial Org, Asset Pricing, Investment/Portfolio Management, Math Finance, Behav. Fin, PhD Seminars etc.

Someone says something about CFA exams are just what taught at MBA. That is not true. CFA is much more demanding. You would know if you took them.
 
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AbhiJ
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Sat Jun 13, 09 10:48 AM
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Originally posted by: khanghi
Hi,
I am looking for your advice.
I have background in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (MS). I am now an engineering manager at a large company with decent salary and a secured job. However, I am interested in finance and economics. So interested that I earned an MBA from one of the top business school, graduated top of class; the continued on a PhD program in economics, passed CFA level I and level II exams and just sit in the level III exam. Did that while still work full time to make a living for my two small children and very loving and supportive wife. I am pretty good at quantitative, stochastics, time series etc. I have passed all PhD qualification exams and have to decide the topic for dissertion. That dissertation will take 1-2 years and will decide the rest of my new career. I am asking you for advice.

1. Should I leave my current engineering manager now and look for new job in September after my CFA Level III exam is out? (not 100% but I am confident of passing chance). I would still work on my PhD thesis on the new job. The pros is shortening the experience years required for CFA designation. The cons is applying for a job with the rest of PhD. My decision on PhD topic would be influenced on the kind of job I would get.

2. If I stay on the same job and concentrate on dissertation, I need to decide on the topic. I have two possibilities. The first is renewable energy (wind/weather derivative pricing models etc.) and the second I would like to be in quantitative finance. I am not clear on the second, mostly because there not seems to be much left to do, but please let me know if I am wrong.

3. Another factor is age. I am 39 now and would prefer not to take too big of a pay hit from 150K where I am at. I don't mind to work hard, as you can see and my mind is still very clear, but not sure of the hiring firms' perspective.

I am at a crossroad and would really appreciate your advice.



Hi I have read your posts.A few suggestions for you

1.) First about making a move right now after L3 results.You are already making a 150k in a place I guess is less expensive than NY.I am not sure you make an equivalent amount in NY as an entry level analyst in the present market.
What I am saying is don't count your chickens before they hatch.First clear CFA L3 and get a 200k job in NY, they only the problem arises.

2.) Don't mean to attack you or anything but your english doesn't seem to me like someone who has spent 15 year in States.You need to ask yourself why your english is not upto the mark even after working for so long and getting such advanced degrees.There is some inherent weakness that you need to figure out.

3.)Get a PhD in Quant Finance at least you will have the option of academics open.More QF has several areas of research.


Edited: Sat Jun 13, 09 at 10:50 AM by AbhiJ
 
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MartingaleBuster
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Sat Jun 13, 09 12:00 PM
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Khanghi,

I passed levels 1 and 2 of the CFA with about 90 hrs of studying for both combined, it isn't that hard. In fact if I remember correctly in the ethics one thing that is mentioned is that you are not supposed to imply passing all the tests first time has any bering on the quality of your investment analysis - you have not done that here, but the way you talk about it, it is getting dangerously close to that.

I have a real PhD from a real math department in the US. From the people I know at various schools in econ, quant finance only the lousy theses had more than a single topic... most of the good ones had a single concentrated theme, with a few bells and whistles around it. A part time MBA program ranked 11-15 is not great, and if you don't have much savvy who cares if you have the capability to work super hard. The point is: In this economic environment (read the next 3 years) it will be super hard for you to get a job as a quant analyst, and virtually impossible as a fundamental analyst. This is forum is not about getting academic jobs, s your questions, and decisions show questionable judgement. If you had BOTHERED to read this forum before throwing your inane questions out here you should have had an inkling of what the responses would be like.

Your English skills are so poor after 15 years (at least) in the US that I am not surprised by the level of your questions.

By the way as a "full time" phd aren't you supposed to be teaching classes,grading exams or giving supervisions - or did they waive all that because of your obvious brilliance.

By the way, I still believe that this Kack having us on.

Edited: Sat Jun 13, 09 at 12:01 PM by MartingaleBuster
 
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prasenjit0211
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Sat Jun 13, 09 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by: MartingaleBuster


I passed levels 1 and 2 of the CFA with about 90 hrs of studying for both combined, it isn't that hard.






CFA Curriculum book over 3500 pages in small font in a large sized book for each level.

CFA Notes - Scheweser 1200 pages.Lets say you studied for from scheweser.

90 hours for both combined, 45 hours for each level.

45*60/1200 = 2.25 min/page.

Either you have a 4 year degree in finance/else you are an Oracle/ all those who studied 350 hours are mentally retarded fools.
 
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cryptic26
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Sat Jun 13, 09 08:35 PM
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Quote

Originally posted by: MartingaleBuster


I have a real PhD from a real math department in the US. From the people I know at various schools in econ, quant finance only the lousy theses had more than a single topic... most of the good ones had a single concentrated theme, with a few bells and whistles around it.
By the way, I still believe that this Kack having us on.


I don't think this is Kack in some other form.

As far as thesis being on multiple topics, it is not necessarily lousy. Dissertation in US is equivalent to 3 papers (as you might know because you have a PhD).
True that you loose some depth for breadth, but you end up working same number of hours. The literature review is usually a good portion of your research and choosing 3 topics would imply 3 times the work in this area. If someone is interested in taking job outside of academia, it would be better to diversify your dissertation topics.
 
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MartingaleBuster
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Sat Jun 13, 09 11:47 PM
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Prasenjit, I'll admit it - I only botherered studying FSA, CorpFin, Ethics, and Equity Analysis - the only worthwhile parts I might add - in my opinion.

It is very interesting Cryptic because this dude is precisely the sort of guy that Kack would tear into like a lion into a gazelle, and yet there is no sign of him... Coincidence? Maybe... Furthermore where is TwoFish? This is even more so the type of post that I would expect him to weigh in on and yet nothing... I think that TwoFish and Kack are actually the same twisted person and this is yet a different manifestation... Any opinions guys?

Edited: Sat Jun 13, 09 at 11:48 PM by MartingaleBuster
 
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