View Full Version : MA in financial math helpful?

basir

02-11-2014, 03:42 PM

Attempting to address a general lack of math in my profile by enrolling in a 1y math MA. My question is, would an MA in financial economics be less helpful/impressive in addressing this gap than an MA in applied math? It seems the financial math MA programs are addressed toward people trying to break into finance (whereas I'm trying to break out). Or would an MA in econ with several math electives be even more helpful the former two?

I'm asking with regard to both econ phd programs as well as finance-econ (busines school) doctoral programs.

Many thanks!

Team3

02-11-2014, 05:56 PM

Note: I'm not familiar with financial math degrees. That said, this will entirely depend on who reads your application and where you apply. Committee members at departments that are geared more towards placing students at research institutions will probably want to see lots of analysis-level courses. If there's an application section that lists the highest level math and economics courses and their textbooks, most people will look there. Otherwise, they'll probably dive into the transcript if the degree name doesn't convey much information.

moneyandcredit

02-11-2014, 07:54 PM

How interested are you in pursuing Financial Economics for your PhD? If the answer isn't "I love Financial Economics and I want to study it full time for 5 years", then the Financial Economics MA may not be the right choice and you should consider a pure math degree with some applied math electives. Be careful choosing an applied math MA program -- it seems that most of those emphasize various branches of hard sciences and engineering, and not all of the mathematical methods in those fields are obviously applicable in economics.

Econ2014Phd

02-11-2014, 08:43 PM

the math from mathematical finance is irrelevant to econ phd. You will learn a lot of stochastic calculus and PDE and SDE, which you do not need in economics. The only thing you would learn might be helpful is the time series of volatility, if you are interested in econometrics

AlSharpton

02-11-2014, 11:32 PM

This depends on the lack of math in your profile. If you are lacking the basics like linear algebra or multivariate calculus, then an MA in financial econ or applied math is not going to help you. If you are lacking things like real analysis or differential equations, then financial econ/math is not a bad way to go so long as you have the chance to take those types of courses and you are genuinely interested in finance. Otherwise i say do an MA in econ while taking the math classes you need.

basir

02-12-2014, 12:12 PM

My weakness is that I've only taken Calc 2/3 and Linear.

Is an ideal alternative simply to take the following over the summer?

- ODE

- Real Analysis I

- Optimization

I'm aware other applicants may have more math, but would taking more than this be overkill? Ideally looking to apply this coming December, so would only really like to spend another year doing an MA if the above would leave adcoms wanting more (for top 10 really - I know this math may probably cut it for top 50?) thanks much -

moneyandcredit

02-12-2014, 12:17 PM

I think that much over the summer would be overkill. I honestly don't think that Real Analysis, even by itself, is a good over a summer if that's your first course in proof-based pure mathematics. ODE and Optimization will be useful in the long run, though, and should be doable over a summer.

basir

02-12-2014, 12:37 PM

Thanks moneyandcredit - I guess my overkill concern is moreso regarding overkill in the sense of signalling math proficiency to adcoms; i.e., would taking more math beyond this be useful? I suppose more math is always useful, but would it be worth spending a year doing an MA to do math beyond ODE, optimization, and analysis for admissions/signalling purposes?

(bear in mind, i'll be quitting my full-time job to focus on those three courses for the summer) thanks much

Team3

02-12-2014, 01:43 PM

If it's helpful, our entering cohort for the economics program (including the joint economics/finance program) was ~70% international. The vast majority of those students had masters degrees (almost all in economics or econometrics, with the others in math/statistics). For the non-international students (the remaining 30%), about 40% had a masters (all economics, except one). I don't think anyone had a degree in financial math.

Catrina

02-12-2014, 02:04 PM

How would you expect to pass a MA in applied math, much less get As, with only having taken linear algebra and calc 2 and 3? My school has a low-ranked math MA with an applied focus, as well as an applied math PhD program, it would be impossible to pass either without a strong undergraduate math background. Having taken undergraduate RA and differential equations would be an absolute minimum, and having just that would put you at a disadvantage.

basir

02-12-2014, 03:18 PM

All great points, Catrina and Team3. Going back to my original question - would LA, ODE, RA and Optimization cut it as far as math is concerned for top-ranked econ program?

Team3

02-12-2014, 10:33 PM

All great points, Catrina and Team3. Going back to my original question - would LA, ODE, RA and Optimization cut it as far as math is concerned for top-ranked econ program?

Answer: it depends on the rest of your application.

There are plenty of candidates without those things at top econ programs...it's just that they're typically from top undergrad programs with great GPAs and LoRs.

If you're not from a top undergrad program, your application has to stand out somehow. Since the undergrad experience isn't really that heterogeneous, people get additional qualifications: there's a huge supply of math/econ double majors with MAs in econ. Top programs will take some of those folks, some from top undergrad programs, and a few risks they think might have the potential to succeed.

Python7768

02-13-2014, 04:05 AM

the math from mathematical finance is irrelevant to econ phd. You will learn a lot of stochastic calculus and PDE and SDE, which you do not need in economics. The only thing you would learn might be helpful is the time series of volatility, if you are interested in econometrics

Don't want to step on anyone's toes, but I just want to go say that I don't agree with this... Stochastic Calculus, PDE, and SDE are all at least pretty useful (I don't know much about the setting of a mathematical finance MA, but the classes themselves are IMO gold). Especially for Macro. I'm a first year and today our professor said that if we took 1 class outside of the economics department that it should be stochastic calculus, he is extremely well-known within economics and I am planning on taking his advice.

I agree with everyone else in general though. You'll want more math if you want to do grad school. Not even just for signaling purposes, just to survive. It is a rough 9 months.

basir

02-13-2014, 01:14 PM

Don't want to step on anyone's toes, but I just want to go say that I don't agree with this... Stochastic Calculus, PDE, and SDE are all at least pretty useful (I don't know much about the setting of a mathematical finance MA, but the classes themselves are IMO gold). Especially for Macro. I'm a first year and today our professor said that if we took 1 class outside of the economics department that it should be stochastic calculus, he is extremely well-known within economics and I am planning on taking his advice.

I agree with everyone else in general though. You'll want more math if you want to do grad school. Not even just for signaling purposes, just to survive. It is a rough 9 months.

Python, are you currently attending NYU's MBA program or their Finance PhD program? the advice is incredib helpful/appreciated. thanks

Linethan

02-16-2014, 12:33 AM

Attempting to address a general lack of math in my profile by enrolling in a 1y math MA. My question is, would an MA in financial economics be less helpful/impressive in addressing this gap than an MA in applied math? It seems the financial math MA programs are addressed toward people trying to break into finance (whereas I'm trying to break out). Or would an MA in econ with several math electives be even more helpful the former two?

I'm asking with regard to both econ phd programs as well as finance-econ (busines school) doctoral programs.

Many thanks!

I studied financial math for my master degree and now I am studying econ phd (in econ department, not business school). I just want to say, "finance is also a field of economics". In my department, some professors' research involve lots of financial math tools, like stochastic process, stochastic differential equations, etc.

Econ2014Phd

02-16-2014, 12:43 AM

Don't want to step on anyone's toes, but I just want to go say that I don't agree with this... Stochastic Calculus, PDE, and SDE are all at least pretty useful (I don't know much about the setting of a mathematical finance MA, but the classes themselves are IMO gold). Especially for Macro. I'm a first year and today our professor said that if we took 1 class outside of the economics department that it should be stochastic calculus, he is extremely well-known within economics and I am planning on taking his advice.

I agree with everyone else in general though. You'll want more math if you want to do grad school. Not even just for signaling purposes, just to survive. It is a rough 9 months.

You and Python are probably right. I only mean in the sense of most economics fields (micro macro metrics). Apparently financial market is a field in economics, so the random process will be essential. Anyway, you can also say History is useful if you are interested in the field of economic history.

Linethan

02-16-2014, 03:14 AM

You and Python are probably right. I only mean in the sense of most economics fields (micro macro metrics). Apparently financial market is a field in economics, so the random process will be essential. Anyway, you can also say History is useful if you are interested in the field of economic history.

Financial math is useful not only in finance. For example, the journal of economic dynamics and control, has many papers using stochastic process and calculus, covering micro and macro problems. You can easily find a macro growth model having Brownian motion.

chrishacker

02-16-2014, 03:52 AM

In an academic perspective, a math/stat master with grad coursework in economics dominates financial math MA for sure.

And please notice that the quality of a financial math MA is not so strongly correlated with the reputation of the math (or wherever it belongs to) department. Definitely check the websites, find the curriculum, and find the course materials if possible. If it is rigorous enough, it might be for those people who is hesitating between finance jobs and econ PhDs.