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Thread: Finance PhD Profile Evaluation

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Finance PhD Profile Evaluation

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    Profile Evaluation (Finance PhD)

    Hi, I plan to apply for finance phd this year. I would appreciate a lot if anyone can give advice on my profile and potential school ranges. Thanks very much in advance! Below are my profile:


    - Undergraduate: US top 10 (US News); marjor: Finance, double major: Economics; GPA:3.8, Magna Cum Laude; Honor Thesis
    - Graduate study: US top 5; major: mathematics of finance: GPA:3.7
    - Econ class (advanced): advanced macro, advanced micro, advanced econometric, time series
    - Math: calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics, ODE, math for economist (undergrad),
    stochastic calculus, stochastic process for finance (basically is all about asset pricing), mathematics for finance (graduate)

    Test score:

    - GRE: 160 (verb) + 170 (quant) + 4.0 (writing)

    Research experience:

    - Undergraduate paper, co-author with a b-school senior professor, published (very low rank journal) (letter)
    - Undergraduate honor thesis
    - Undergraduate research assistant (one year)
    - Research assistant for a senior professor during graduate study (more than one year by now, potential co-authorship) (letter)
    - One year full time research assistant at a b-school (top 5) (letter)

    Work experience:

    - part time research analyst at a start-up
    - two short undergraduate industry internships


    All three writers are senior full professor at b-school, the letters should be strong.

    - professor co-authored undergraduate paper
    - professor from graduate RA work
    - professor from full time RA work


    nationality: International

    Questions or concerns you have about your profile?

    - How lacking of real analysis and other more advanced pure math classes will affect my application.
    - For now I only plan to apply for all top 15 b-school. Is that too risky?

    Any advice are much appreciated, thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Within my grasp!
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    Re: Finance PhD Profile Evaluation

    In your case not having real analysis will not prevent you from getting into top schools, though having it helps. While the some of the topics covered in a typical baby rudin level real analysis class are used in micro theory (which most finance PhD programs require) and in the core finance theory classes, most schools will have some sort of math camp or mathematical methods class or will integrate the material into the micro theory sequence. In the application process it is mostly used for signaling that you have the ability to handle higher level proof based math. In your case, the masters level stochastic calculus class, especially if it was taught at something like the level of Karatzas and Shreve and some of your other masters level classes would probably send a similar signal. That being said, I would still advise you to take it (possibly online) before starting the PhD program just to familiarize yourself with the material even if you don't have it at the time of application.

    Conditional on having the necessary math, LOR's are by far the most important component, and yours appear to be very good.

    Your profile, while good is not good enough for me to consider you a "lock" for a top 15 admit. Finance PhD programs typically matriculate only 2-4 students per year, with a few top 10's matriculating 6-8, so there are probably less than 80 total slots available at top 15's and the competition is tough. Apply to a few top 30 schools as well. If you look at job market outcomes in finance, the difference between top 30's and top 15's is not that big (top 5 is another story)

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Finance PhD Profile Evaluation

    Thank you! It is very helpful.

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