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Thread: Background for Finance PhD

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Background for Finance PhD

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    In short, I would like to know what kind of mathematical background is required for a PhD in Finance. I have seen various programs state linear and/or matrix algebra, Integral and Differential Calculus, Stats and Probability.

    My undergraduate degree is in History and I have an MBA (AACSB accredited). My math was through Calculus, but it was quite sometime ago. Both my Calc and Stats requirements for undergrad were completed via AP courses in high school. Although I majored in History, it was because I loved the subject at the time and not because I was ‘escaping’ quantitative work.

    I realize that I will need to increase my quantitative skills before applying to a competitive program. My employer will pay for university courses at $8,000 per year (no clawback clause for leaving employment). I have three options I am considering:

    1. Go for a MSF or MS in Econ online. My current life situation does not permit to move out of state or pay for an expensive program. My state is fairly rural, but I live in a metro of 1 million. The local universities do not have competitive programs. I have eyed the MSFE (Finance and Economics, not Financial Economics) at West Texas A&M (AACSB). The program alluded to focusing on certain courses for PhD admissions. Also, there is a Masters in Economics at Missouri which has the same content as the on campus option. The department has a listing of master’s graduates who have gone on to PhD program (almost all in economics). Both have econometrics intro courses and the main core of economics. However, there appears to be no room for additional work in higher math courses. There is an MS in Applied Stats at Kansas, but it appears to be very new, based out of the medical school and somewhere between an applied stats and data science program.

    2. Go for an online second bachelor’s in mathematics. The two programs I think would be the most competitive are at Indiana University and Thomas Edison State University. TESU has an elective in Matrix algebra. Would a second bachelor’s in math be overkill? Additionally, my local universities are mostly geared towards secondary school math education or are completely in-person daytime classes.

    3. Just do self study on EdX and Coursera. Possibly pay for the EdX certificates for some social ‘proof’. Self explanatory. I have not read anything contradictory, but I sense that this would not be what PhD admissions would be looking for.

    What are your opinions?

  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Background for Finance PhD

    You probably need to take Calc 1-3, linear algebra, mathematical statistics, and probability theory before entering any of the programs you mention. I would try to take those through any local program at night, online, or daytime if you can swing it.

    The master's degrees you mentioned would be fine, but wouldn't be extremely impressive to me. If paired with a good test score and something that shows understanding of what you are getting into, then they would be a positive. The biggest thing you are missing from an online masters is the opportunity to interact with academics and get letters of recommendation. Think about ways to do that.

  3. #3
    Within my grasp!
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    Re: Background for Finance PhD


  4. #4
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    Re: Background for Finance PhD

    As mentioned, interacting with academics and getting letters of recommendation about your research potential is most important for admissions!

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