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Thread: Super bad Finance PhD evaluation

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    Finance skidoo1066's Avatar
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    Super bad Finance PhD evaluation

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    I'm trying to figure out if I have a shot getting in anywhere, and if so where.
    Not to tell you my life story, but here's my life story:
    I started a rank 30-40ish Finance PhD, I chose this school over other similarly ranked schools I got into because they seemed to have some great characteristics, when to my dismay, during the first couple months there it turned out a lot of what they used to get me there wasn't what they claimed, and I hated the location. I just kept going for a couple years, but I became very depressed, and my wife had dealt with some depression before and it returned severely - probably due to my unhappiness. Oh, and we have 3 kids. With both of us on depression medication and going to counseling I kept my GPA barely above mandatory. Finally, when the department seemed almost unilaterally against my research interests (apparently too much "quantitative finance" and not enough "economics"), with the blessing of the department PhD coordinator, I decided I was going to do a PhD in a different discipline (I looked at applied math, operations, informatics, electrical engineering, etc.) in order to do the finance research I wanted. At this point it was too late to apply to programs, so I got into the mathematics master's program at the same university as an application/resume booster (top 40 math department). Because I was no longer planning to do the finance PhD I didn't study for comps, and I didn't pass the empirical corporate section (I did pass the others). I did the courses for the math master's, but between covid, depression, and PhD level math classes kind of being a bigger bite than I could chew, I'm going to squeak out this spring with barely over a 3.0 for the finance, econ, stats, CS, math courses combined. After a lot of thought and discussion with former professors, I've discovered that my interests can fit into "financial economics", and I'd REALLY rather be a finance professor, and honestly I feel like my research really contributes to finance and economics. So... it seems like I should really just get back into a finance PhD and eat whatever they feed me just to get through. But I'm unsure if I have any hope of getting in. I have a 168 gre quant, I think I could get it to 170. I have a working paper with a professor that hopefully will be submitted this summer. I have very developed research interests and a good handle on current research in related areas. I have master's degrees in econ, finance, and (soon) math. But my grad school grades are just terrible, AND I gave up on a program I was already in. Thoughts on being able to get in somewhere?
    Last edited by skidoo1066; 02-22-2021 at 07:00 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Super bad Finance PhD evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by skidoo1066 View Post
    I'm trying to figure out if I have a shot getting in anywhere, and if so where.
    Not to tell you my life story, but here's my life story:
    I started a rank 30-40ish Finance PhD, I chose this school over other similarly ranked schools I got into because they seemed to have some great characteristics, when to my dismay, during the first couple months there it turned out a lot of what they used to get me there wasn't what they claimed, and I hated the location. I just kept going for a couple years, but I became very depressed, and my wife had dealt with some depression before and it returned severely - probably due to my unhappiness. Oh, and we have 3 kids. With both of us on depression medication and going to counseling I kept my GPA barely above mandatory. Finally, when the department seemed almost unilaterally against my research interests (apparently too much "quantitative finance" and not enough "economics"), with the blessing of the department PhD coordinator, I decided I was going to do a PhD in a different discipline (I looked at applied math, operations, informatics, electrical engineering, etc.) in order to do the finance research I wanted. At this point it was too late to apply to programs, so I got into the mathematics master's program at the same university as an application/resume booster (top 40 math department). Because I was no longer planning to do the finance PhD I didn't study for comps, and I didn't pass the empirical corporate section (I did pass the others). I did the courses for the math master's, but between covid, depression, and PhD level math classes kind of being a bigger bite than I could chew, I'm going to squeak out this spring with barely over a 3.0 for the finance, econ, stats, CS, math courses combined. After a lot of thought and discussion with former professors, I've discovered that my interests can fit into "financial economics", and I'd REALLY rather be a finance professor, and honestly I feel like my research really contributes to finance and economics. So... it seems like I should really just get back into a finance PhD and eat whatever they feed me just to get through. But I'm unsure if I have any hope of getting in. I have a 168 gre quant, I think I could get it to 170. I have a working paper with a professor that hopefully will be submitted this summer. I have very developed research interests and a good handle on current research in related areas. I have master's degrees in econ, finance, and (soon) math. But my grad school grades are just terrible, AND I gave up on a program I was already in. Thoughts on being able to get in somewhere?
    damn dude I'm feeling this heaviness. You have some great strengths however, and I think all you need is the right environment for you to flourish. I have an alarming GPA as well, and what I've learned in this process is that in order to get anywhere, I've had to network my @$$ off. But in your case, if you really have well developed interests, then you know the people in your "academic conversation". Why not reach out to these different folks that you find you are citing multiple times in your working paper, who will be able to see and acknowledge your expertise in the domain, and just let them know what's up like you did here. Obviously you have to be tactful so as to not burn bridges and speak ill of your current program (although they did bend you over), but if you still have this coauthor in your corner who can let them know, yeah this student has real potential, this just wasn't the right situation for them, then maybe something will emerge. Why not at least try, because if you don't then you'll have to live with not trying for the rest of your life. I believe it was the German poet Rilke who said that the purpose of life was to continually be defeated by greater and greater battles.

    Struggle well, brother

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    Finance skidoo1066's Avatar
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    Re: Super bad Finance PhD evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by collegedropout View Post
    Struggle well, brother
    Thanks man

    Quote Originally Posted by collegedropout View Post
    Why not reach out to these different folks that you find you are citing multiple times in your working paper, who will be able to see and acknowledge your expertise in the domain, and just let them know what's up like you did here.
    That's a good idea, I had plans to reach out to some people in the research area about the paper anyway, just as well pitch myself while I'm at it

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