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Need your opinion

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Need your opinion [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2008, 06:29
Hi guys!

I am a 31-year old from a country in South West Asia. I am interested to do a PhD in Finance. I did both my BBA and MBA from the top ranked university of my country. My CGPA in my MBA program was 3.58 - good enough to land me a place in the top 5%. I took my GMAT in early 2005 - 690 with V36(81%) Q48(86%). I have an unusual work history - a blend of both academic and professional experience. I have been involved with my family business - a stock brokerage firm. Simultaneously, I have worked as an instructor in one of major universities in my country. I am confident I will get excellent recommendations from my professors and even leading industry professionals, if need be.

Teaching has been a great passion for me. I also consider it a privilege, and I can't imagine leaving academia for good. Although I have not been involved in what you call pure academic research but I am familiar to most recent researches in financial markets and corporate finance.

I would really appreciate if you could evaluate whether my credentials are good enough for top US universities and how could improve my chances.

Thanking you in advance.

njr
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Re: Need your opinion [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2008, 13:42
I think your profile is pretty decent. However, considering that finance is supposedly the most competitive specialization, you do have some "disadvantages":

1. Doesn't seem like you have enough quant background - unless you have taken them during your MBA.
2. Age could be a slight issue (but there are success stories of mature applicants, so don't be discouraged).
3. GMAT - you need to get it higher.

Your work exp sounds interesting, but I'm not sure how much leverage it gives you for a Finance PhD. If you are going into, say, OB or strategy, it may be quite useful.

So the question is: How "top" are you aiming for?
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Re: Need your opinion [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2008, 17:48
Thanks Tkkoh for your valuable advice! Actually I'm planning to retake GMAT. But I was thinking that my quant score is 48 ... so there is very little scope for improvement ... I've always felt that GRE would be much easier for me ... What's your opinion about taking GRE rather than retaking GMAT?

Courses in my MBA program did include courses on Financial Derivatives and Finance Theory - which were quite quantitative in nature ... plus in most of the quantitative courses I did get "A" grades ... Any advice on how could I improve my quantitative background now?

You mentioned that my work experience would be much useful if I apply for OB or Strategic Management ... Is it possible to switch major now? Because I've done both of my undergrad and grad in finance. (To tell you frankly, I do find Strategic Management very intriguing subject)

As for "top", I mean the top 20 in US ... and also schools like INSEAD, LBS, even Rotman ...
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Re: Need your opinion [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2008, 19:22
1. GRE vs GMAT - I'm not sure which is better. You may want to check the schools' requirements. Most schools accept both, while a few prefer one to the other. Regardless of which test you are taking, you should be in the top 5 percentile if you are aiming for the top schools.

2. I'm not in finance, so I'm not sure whether those MBA courses are quant enough for PhD. My impression is that MBA classes in general are not technical or demanding enough for PhD purposes (of course there are exceptions). Some of the foundation courses that I have heard for finance/economics include real analysis, computation methods, etc. I may be wrong, so you may want to check out other sources. E.g. contact the profs from your MBA courses - they should give you good insights.

3. It is never too late to switch. In fact, it is good to have some cross-disciplinary experience. For areas like strategy, I think some work experience is very useful.

4. Regarding your "chances", I suggest you check out gradjournal to see the profiles of applicants who have applied to the schools that you mentioned.
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Re: Need your opinion [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2008, 13:13
Age is not really an issue. Don't worry about it. If you were in your 40's, maybe. But 31? C'mon, it isn't that old.

Also, as has been mentioned many times, find schools that have similar research interests. But keep in mind that finance phd's start with excellent salaries, so don't worry too much about it.
Re: Need your opinion   [#permalink] 28 Jan 2008, 13:13
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