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Thread: applying for finance PHD in 4-5 years, how to improve resume?

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    May 2017
    Tehran, Iran
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    applying for finance PHD in 4-5 years, how to improve resume?

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    Hi there everyone, happy to be here

    About me:
    1. I'm a 23 years old Iranian, in the last year of my industrial engineering bachelor. GPA 3.4 will probably be 3.5 by the end of my Bs.
    2. I've been working full time while studying for the past year (as an accountant) and I also have 2 year of military experience (mandatory military service).
    3. I'm studying for the CFA level 1 in this December. and have passed the three first levels of ACCA so far.
    4. I'm also fairly competent at VBA and I've been making financial models for fun for the past year. (
    Valuations, Stock Pitches, M&A, LBO, etc.)
    5. took a diagnostic GMAT test last week and got a 650 (Q50, V28) I have to work on my verbal.

    My goals:

    1. I'm going to apply for MSc. finance or economics in December 2018 (don't have the $ right now!)
    2. my first choice is Bocconi master of finance, I'm also going to apply to RSM, SSE, st.gallen, among others. I'm not going to apply to US or UK since in all honesty, I won't be able to afford the tuition and living expenses
    3. my long term goal is to finish my masters with a high GPA and one or two papers (hopefully I can get an RA position in the second year) and then apply to the top 10 (and probably get rejected and die a sad death!)

    A research opportunity:

    So there is this Professor I know in my country, kind of a big deal in here, which outside Iran means nothing. anyway, after a meeting, he found out about my intentions and told me that he's willing to mentor me until I leave Iran. he told me that I can start a project or try to write a paper and he is going to help me with it (show me how it's done, how to send it out to journals and what not) I have 2 years for this.
    but as you know since I'm an undergrad I have nothing to write a paper about. I was thinking about doing something that shows to my MSc. professors that I'm serious about research and Ph.D. and I have the skills needed to be an RA but I don't know what project can convey this message.

    My questions:
    1. what should I do in the 2 years prior to my masters?
    2. which programming language should I learn? I was thinking Matlab or python. I know that this is subjective but right now I don't know what field of research I'd be interested in (for now I enjoy reading up on asset pricing, risk management, and time series analysis. also enjoy statistics and econometrics)
    3.should I finish my CFA? I know it won't matter in an academic setting but would it help with the admission process?
    4. if I go to Bocconi with the aforementioned research and what not do you think there is any chance of me attending a top 10 program? I know every year 7-8 people go from Bocconi to top 10 but I don't know their backgrounds.

    5.Any other affordable master programs you'd recommend for someone interested in pursuing a Ph.D.?
    6. anything else I should consider?

    many thanks

  2. #2
    now it's Dr. TaxPhD
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Re: applying for finance PHD in 4-5 years, how to improve resume?

    1. Probably your biggest focus should be improving your GMAT score. Most schools use GMAT as a strict first round cut of applicants, and better programs are going to want 700+. Fairly or not, they'll generally want even higher scores from international applicants relative to domestic applicants. So I would focus on improving that verbal component and your English. If your goal is to stay in the United States after graduation, then developing strong writing and oral communications skills in English will be imperative to finding a good job after graduation.

    2. Between Matlab and Python, I would learn python. Familiarity with SAS, STATA, and R would also be helpful.

    3. On the margin, a CFA can help. Particularly since your academic background is in engineering, not finance.

    4. Bocconi is a pretty well respected program, I know several folks who did finance PhDs in the US that did the Bocconi program. You mention "top 10 program," be aware that admissions into these programs is extremely competitive. They will have a lot of applicants with excellent profiles. So don't get your heart on having to go top 10, in reality, no one has a 'good' chance at top 10 programs. There are just too many applicants for so few slots for anyone to feel comfortable focusing solely on that group of schools. Really, PhD admissions at even lower ranked programs is very competitive still.

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