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FightingIrish1
02-06-2008, 09:01 PM
I am looking to obtain a business econ or finance phd to do a lot of empirical research on the equity market and things such as M&A, LBO, Asset Pricing, etc. I plan to spend 2-3 years beefing up my math and taking courses I would need to help my chances.

Should I retake my GRE?
What math should I take for a business school PhD?
Should I take more econ than intermediate and econometrics?
Should I take more finance?
Is a LOR from a non-business professor worth it? Even if he has a PhD from a top 5 school and thinks the absolute world of you?
What kind of job should I get to help me in my pursuit, and will allow me to take a lot of classes?

Any other help is greatly appreciated.

Gre: 770 Q, 650 V, 6.0 A
Type of Undergrad: a liberal arts college; good but not elite
GPA: Overall: 3.75, Finance: 3.8
Classes:
Math: Calc I through II (A-'s), Probability & Statistics I (A)
Finance:Corporate Finance (B), Advanced Corporate Finance (A), Investments (A-), Money and Banking (A-), Seminar (B+)
**Not that it matters but the B and B+ was the same prof. who hated me**
Econ: Intro (A)
Research Experience: Full year research project my junior year
Teaching Experience: Lots of tutoring in finance and 1 semester of TA
LORs: One from a finance prof (Ph.D. from Mich) one from another finance(Ph.D. Toronto) one from either a grad teacher or a undergrad teacher. All of them are very high on me and know me well, but they are not well-known or well-published.

Other: American citizen, 6 months out of college

fp3690
02-06-2008, 09:48 PM
Can't say much about finance, but if you plan on spending two to 3 YEARS before applying, you might as well study some more and retake the GRE. Makes no sense not to.

macroeconomicus
02-06-2008, 11:05 PM
Some big research universities and some of better liberal arts colleges offer, at least optionally, fairly advanced economic theory courses to undergraduates. E.g., my school had two more advanced courses with the goal of teaching them at the level comparable to first year PhD courses, but not necessarily covering as much material. They also offered an optional matrix-based econometrics course. So, if you can, definitely take such courses. Regarding math, you need at least multivariable calculus, calculus-based probability, and linear algebra. Courses in real analysis and mathematical statistics would be also highly desirable (and basically almost a must for many programs). More advanced courses in analysis, differential equations, or statistics would be nice, but the marginal benefit from taking them is probably lower as far as admissions board is concerned (of course, the intellectual marginal benefit will depend on what you will do later on). Advanced undergraduate seminar in economics or finance could be helpful to get to know your faculty, write papers semi-independently, etc. If you're interested in studying macroeconomics or asset pricing, taking a course in stochastic processes could be helpful.

FightingIrish1
02-07-2008, 12:08 AM
Well I am graduated so I will be taking classes at a school that offers PhD courses.

I know I have to beef up my math but my only worry is that I never felt as if I have been taught math well, therefore, I felt unprepared for Calc and felt that I had to struggle through it, though I did well. Also, I had a very "know it now forget it later" attitude. Now that I want to go dive back into math, being 4 years out of my last class I want to learn all the math I need to take calc and then reread my book and notes for a refresh (all in the next 8 months) so I can then take a Math stats and Mult Vari class. Anyone have suggestions how to build up this knowledge: books, websites, guides, etc. I do not want to overstudy old things that I will not use or everyone forgets by the time calc comes along, just what I need to know because sometimes even basic principles escape me like factoring.

asquare
02-07-2008, 12:23 AM
FightingIrish1, please don't take this the wrong way. However, last year you made some posts asking for advice and profile evaluation, and then claimed that your father was on the adcom at a top school and said that you'd only made those posts to see how bad the advice given would be (http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/65792-adcom-advice-versus-common-board-advice-3.html#post433708).

So, before I or anyone else invests in giving you thoughtful advice, can you reassure us that you are posting in sincerity now, not trying to "trap" people into giving advice you think is bad so that you can come back and tell us how off-track we are later?

Thanks and sorry for the detour. If this post is in earnest, then I'm sure you'll continue to get useful feedback.

FightingIrish1
02-07-2008, 12:42 AM
It is I was being a jerk back then when I thought I knew all the roads to rome and now I know that I am simply a passenger, therefore, if anyone could help my last thoughts I would be very happy. I do apologize.

FightingIrish1
02-07-2008, 01:15 AM
This is the question I was eluding to, since i know math is important:

Well I am graduated so I will be taking classes at a school that offers PhD courses.

I know I have to beef up my math but my only worry is that I never felt as if I have been taught math well, therefore, I felt unprepared for Calc and felt that I had to struggle through it, though I did well. Also, I had a very "know it now forget it later" attitude. Now that I want to go dive back into math, being 4 years out of my last class I want to learn all the math I need to take calc and then reread my book and notes for a refresh (all in the next 8 months) so I can then take a Math stats and Mult Vari class. Anyone have suggestions how to build up this knowledge: books, websites, guides, etc. I do not want to overstudy old things that I will not use or everyone forgets by the time calc comes along, just what I need to know because sometimes even basic principles escape me like factoring.

FightingIrish1
02-07-2008, 03:00 AM
anyone? Also, someone recommended Stewart's text but I see for Calculus he has a Calculus book and Calculus: Early Transcendentals (what is the difference)

macroeconomicus
02-07-2008, 03:16 AM
I think they're the same editions of the same book. By the way, don't buy the latest edition, or even the previous one. The only reason they keep publishing some many editions is to continue skinning US students. Get a used copy of fifth edition or similar. Those should be relatively cheap now. I have been out of school once as well and forgot all the math. I think 2 months were enough to reread Stewart mostly cover to cover before returning.

FightingIrish1
02-07-2008, 03:34 AM
so what can I read to prepare for calculus? Like from Arithmetic to Precalc. What books or books can I read to be ready, I just am someone who needs to know the ins and out of everything. I know that is hard with math but I want to have a good grasp of everything I need. Advice please.

Also, is Larson's Calc better than Stewart? I know Apostol is great and I have seen it but it seems to dry for me.

constrainedoptimizer
02-07-2008, 06:14 AM
If you just want a re-fresher on college algebra/analytic geometry (precalc), there are some damn good online notes in pdf you can down-load right onto your machine.

I will recommend you Lecture Notes on Algebra and Trigonometry, by Jerry Alan Veeh of Auburn University (Dec 5, 2000).

They can be found here (http://www.urch.com/forums/javeeh.net/lecnotes/algtrg.pdf).

GymShorts
02-07-2008, 05:06 PM
Most calculus textbooks come with an preliminary chapter that will cover the necessary algebra and pre calculus that you will need. I imagine if you have already taken some calculus, then rereading through such a chapter should be enough to get you back on track.

FightingIrish1
02-08-2008, 12:14 AM
will I need any other pre-calculus material (geometry, alg, trig, etc) that calc wont give me to move forward to linear alg, diff eq, pde, analysis, etc

asquare
02-08-2008, 12:21 AM
You won't need trig or geometry. (The logic of basic proofs from high school geometry is useful, but reviewing the content of the material is not.) You do need to be accurate with your algebra, but that just comes with practice!

pdesmmhh
02-08-2008, 01:32 AM
If you want to do Finance, then you will need to take Partial Differential Equations. You may also want examine the possibility of taking a Stochastic Differential Equations course as well, if you can't find one, most schools offer a Stochastic Modelling course, which, should introduce you to Brownian Motion. Also, Measure Theoretic Probability is a very impoartant in Finance. And of course as much Analysis as you can get, take Analysis every semester if you can. Numerical Methods and Functional Analysis is a big one too.

FightingIrish1
02-08-2008, 01:43 AM
Is it possible to have a 40-50HR job AND take enough classes (if I just have Calc I & II) in 2 years to apply for the Fall of 2010? If so what is the most important classes I need to take to ensure I am competitive.

FightingIrish1
02-08-2008, 03:09 AM
bump...and...the notes didnt work

Profgif
02-08-2008, 03:16 AM
Hi,

Top 15 PhD admission rate in finance: probably 1-3%.
Top 15 PhD admission rate in economics: sometimes over 20%.
Math common in top 15 PhD applicants in finance : stochastic calculus, partial differential equations, etc. (subjects which are really advanced if you are still struggling with basic math). Some applicants have attended national math olympiads.

If you really want to get into a top PhD in finance you should probably need at least one of these two requirements, (in my humble and probably wrong opinion, my information is limited to what I could find in the internet and I don't have any insider information, but I am just sharing what I think I know):
-You need to do something impressive (the "wow factor"). Examples: to have won a prize for a paper, to have worked at a big bank for a short time doing advanced calculations, etc.
-You need a LOR which says that you are as good or better than someone who has already attended the program.

I don't have much time now to explain further, but probably this gives you a better idea of what you would be getting into. Of course, you can achieve it if you truly want it, but you also need to seriously know the risks and the enormous amounts of efforts that would be required. (For example, having to work full time seriously poses a problem for you, unless your job is the wow factor.)

Bye...
PG

apropos
02-08-2008, 03:32 AM
Profgif,

While this might be true for the very top programs, the math requirements for lower ranked Finance PhD programs are probably much softer. What you mention are probably the requirements to work in mathematical finance or asset pricing theory. A lot of lower ranked Finance PhD programs focus more on subjects like corporate finance or market microstructure, which are subjects that have a lot more in common with applied microeconomics than with stochastic processes or PDEs. Of course, I suppose PhD programs outside the best 20 are also very competitive to get into since they tend to take 2-3 students per year. Still, many probably won't ax applicants simply for the lack of a national mathematical competition trophy on the resume.

FightingIrish1
02-08-2008, 05:07 AM
I am interested to get into finance research with M&A, equity offerings, the markets, etc. (More empirical than theoretical) My job now is working doing M&A transactions and Equity Offerings, so it is not a WOW but it works. I need the math I know, and I have never won a math Olympiad, nor am I that type of person. I am a hard worker who tries to be very thorough. I am trying to whatever it takes in the next 2-3 years to be able to do a Finance PhD in 4-5 years then teach and/or work in the field. For someone who will spend the next 6 months masterings Calc I-II what else can I do with my time to get into a top 30.

doubtful
02-08-2008, 07:09 AM
fightingirish... my ideas for getting almost surely into a strong corporate finance program:

1) find summer internships at investment banks in the relevant divisions;

2) get an MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance;

3) produce research papers/reports where you show to master applied econometrics, maybe presented at some conference in the poster session.

4) visit places, universities, programs, before applying in order to talk to professors of Corporate Finance.

5) background of course in math econ and finance... which comes with all the ideas above.