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English student wants PHd in Finance

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English student wants PHd in Finance [#permalink] New post 15 Sep 2009, 22:21
Hello All... I am really hoping for some great advice from whomever I can get the information from.

I am a recent graduate (25 years old) with a degree in Literature and am interested in doing the PHd in either Economics or Finance (preferably finance). I have no business background whatsoever and a very low g.pa of a 2.75ish from a state school (it's a very poor reflection of my capabilities,honestly). While I made many mistakes in my academic career, I am extremely capable and hardworking. I am willing to do WHATEVER it takes to become successful in graduate school... I would really love to get into a top school, but am uncertain of my chances. I am planning to study very long and hard to get a high score (780-800ish) on the gmat to circumvent my less than stellar transcript. I really want to succeed!
Should I get a masters in business, is it necessary? Is it possible for me to skip the masters and enter directly into the PHd if I take some extra classes? What should I do? Please help and thanks in advance.
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Re: English student wants PHd in Finance [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2009, 00:56
I don't mean to discourage you, but you will not have a chance at a finance or an economics PhD as your profile currently stands. Both are highly quantitative subjects which at a minimum require sufficient knowledge of undergraduate economics, mathematics and statistics. Your GMAT score is an important element (although bear in mind that you will need a GRE score for an Econs PhD) of the application process, but it will not be enough to make up for the absence of those courses. You may wish to consider the possibility of a business PhD with a more qualitative/behavioural inclination assuming your undergraduate studies in literature included a significant sociology or psychology component.

If you are set on pursuing a PhD in economics or finance, you will need a Master's. Even for a qualitative subject, even if not essential, I would recommend an academically oriented Master's as well to showcase your academic potential given that your undergraduate studies have apparently not shown you in the best light.

Getting into a Master's program (for econs/finance) will be difficult as well but not impossible. One possible route, if you're willing to study overseas, would be University College London's Graduate Diploma in Statistics (though they favour applicants with some mathematical background), progressing to a Master's the following year. Bear in mind that this program is highly competitive.

Another option would be to undertake either the graduate diploma in Economics or Mathematics through the University of London's External System. I know 'distance learning' is thought to be a bit of a dirty word but you can be assured that (in the UK and most of the Commonwealth at least) the University enjoys a good reputation, though obviously not as strong as physically studying at one of its constituent colleges but enough to know that the qualification is worth something. At any rate, should you wish to pursue that path you should treat the diploma as a stepping stone to a Master's.

Again, I do not wish to discourage you. As things stand, you need to know that there is virtually no chance of you entering a PhD program of any worth in your chosen field/s. However, if you're certain that a PhD in finance or economics is for you, all building a competitive application requires is a bit more time, effort and money. :wink:

Good luck.
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Re: English student wants PHd in Finance [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2009, 03:05
Before any top school consider you seriously, you must show that you are capable doing some graduate level stuff. As mentioned above a masters degree seem to be essential for you. concentrating on the GMAT will not improve your chances at this stage - even if you get 800. You must show "academic endurance" - a successful stretch of academic studies - preferably in a quantitative field. You don't need to be in a top school for that, any reputable (say, top 50 or even top 100) will do to show your commitment, improvement from your undergrad studies and potential for future studies.

Also, keep in mind that you need good academic recommendation letters. You probably won't get such letters from your undergrad - so you must build it from scratch in your masters.
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Re: English student wants PHd in Finance [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2009, 16:04
A few questions -- Why do you want to make a lifelong commitment to finance if you have no experience in the field? Can you see yourself researching and writing articles about finance for academic journals quite frequently over the next few decades? Do you want to get a PhD because you want to be in academia or because you want to get a job in finance? If it's the former, I personally would get another undergrad degree in finance or accounting and then join a renown PhD program. If it's the latter, I'd hunt for internships, unpaid if necessary, to build up experience in the field (this is ridiculously hard because why would a firm employ someone with no quant background? but quite possible) and then get an MBA.

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Re: English student wants PHd in Finance [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2009, 16:40
[quote="sharshar84"]A few questions -- Why do you want to make a lifelong commitment to finance if you have no experience in the field? Can you see yourself researching and writing articles about finance for academic journals quite frequently over the next few decades? Do you want to get a PhD because you want to be in academia or because you want to get a job in finance?

SharShar84,
I would like to get a PHd because I have always enjoyed teaching and working with intellectuals. I didn't major in a business field,but believe that pursing a more practical degree is necessary.I have an academic degree with little demand and application in the real world. I've considered graduate work in Literature, but would much rather devote my time and studies to something that will reap better financial benefits (and be in demand). As a single woman, I would like to be able to support myself. I want to study finance because it is the most lucrative of the fields and teaching is something that I would thoroughly enjoy (and No, I certainly don't want to teach high-schoolers).
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Re: English student wants PHd in Finance [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2009, 16:46
ButterMaker,

Thank you for your helpful response. I certainly do not feel discouraged,but respect your honesty.

Question:
I am unable to leave the country due to limited financial resources. Do you think attending an instate school for a second undergrad degree in finance would be a wise decision and then applying to the Phd program? I think that if I perform well in this program that may increase my chances at getting into a rather decent program, maybe not top 10? I really plan to be a rockstar this time around :)
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Re: English student wants PHd in Finance [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2009, 16:49
Thank you all so very much for your helpful responses! I really appreciate hearing all of your opinions and advice. :) --Mariposa
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Re: English student wants PHd in Finance [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2009, 17:00
mariposa wrote:
sharshar84 wrote:
A few questions -- Why do you want to make a lifelong commitment to finance if you have no experience in the field? Can you see yourself researching and writing articles about finance for academic journals quite frequently over the next few decades? Do you want to get a PhD because you want to be in academia or because you want to get a job in finance?

SharShar84,
I would like to get a PHd because I have always enjoyed teaching and working with intellectuals. I didn't major in a business field,but believe that pursing a more practical degree is necessary.I have an academic degree with little demand and application in the real world. I've considered graduate work in Literature, but would much rather devote my time and studies to something that will reap better financial benefits (and be in demand). As a single woman, I would like to be able to support myself. I want to study finance because it is the most lucrative of the fields and teaching is something that I would thoroughly enjoy (and No, I certainly don't want to teach high-schoolers).


Then you should consider getting another undergrad degree in econ/fin and graduate with a stellar GPA. It will give you all the background knowledge you need for graduate work and you'll also be able to decide if you want to make an academic career out of it (although you can also figure this out by talking to finance/econ professors). You mentioned you enjoy teaching and working with intellectuals...there's a huge, huge, huge difference between the "intellectuals" you'll meet in quant-related fields, and the "intellectuals" you've met throughout your time studying literature. Finding a well paying academic position after you obtain your PhD in Econ 6-8 years from now would also be a challenge. If/when you do get a position at a university, you'll have to spend your life publishing or perishing to maintain that position and get tenure. You'll also be competing against younger, better-published PhD's who've been focused on their quant-related fields since high school. Honestly, if you want to support yourself, getting a job (and building up experience for an MBA) seems more practical than investing so much money and time (we're taking 5+ years here) in a subject you'll most likely hate.

If you want an intellectually challenging workplace, you could also look into consulting. Where do you live? If you live in a developing country, you could look for consultancy jobs in NGO's that would value the skills you earned while studying literature (i.e. research skills, thinking out of the box, etc).

If you truly enjoy literature though, you should stick to it. You'll get to work with intellectuals, research topics you actually enjoy, publish stuff you're actually passionate about, and make money while doing it. If you're passionate about something, you'll obviously do well in it. If you do well in something, you'll obviously make the money you deserve.

ps-- PhD's usually don't teach high schoolers :P

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Life with the GMAT:

Jerome: Ben, c'est 20 secondes de plus qu'hier sur le meme parcours! C'etait bien le meme parcours la, non?!
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Jerome: *$&#(*%&(*#%&

Re: English student wants PHd in Finance   [#permalink] 17 Sep 2009, 17:00
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