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About WhiteLion

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  • Application Season
    2015 Fall
  • Program
    Applied Math/Stat

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  1. What do you want to do in the financial sector? If you want to be a quant, then it makes sense to get a PhD in statistics or some other very mathematical field. However, there are lots of other jobs one can do, and for some of them you might be better off with a masters program in financial engineering/financial mathematics. It's hard for anyone to say what your chances might be without more information. Check out some of the profiles others have posted and consider doing one of those. People often use the US News and World Report rankings when comparing schools. You could look at those.
  2. Most universities prefer to take and fund students starting in the fall. Occasionally some schools might take people in the Spring if for some reason a spot opens up, but the top schools tend not to do this, and the only way to find out about spring admission is to contact someone at that school. PhDs are almost always funded, regardless of the school. Many good schools take funded masters students too. You can usually find information on the website of the department for that school. But as far as I know, there is no grand list of schools with funded masters programs.
  3. 1. Ohio State has some faculty who do research in spatial statistics and sends a lot of its students to industry compared to most PhD programs. I know of one recent graduate from there who worked on a spatial ocean surveying problem for his dissertation. 2. Yes, assuming you can get in somewhere you are happy with. If you think your math grades are too poor, it is possible to do a funded masters and rehabilitate your image by getting good grades in graduate math classes(this is what I had to do, but my undergrad grades were much worse than yours). But you save time by going directly into a PhD, and if you change your mind, you can always leave with a masters, assuming you pick a program that allows it an fulfill the requirements. Also, try really hard to get a good grade in real analysis. That would likely help mitigate your poor grade in discrete math.
  4. I think there are multiple options if you want to go into math finance and it really depends on the school. For example, CMU has a math finance specialization in their math phd program, while Purdue has a computational finance group in the statistics department. And then, for example, I happen to know that at Maryland, they have Dilip Madan in the business school finance department who does math finance. Finally, a few schools offer PhDs specifically on math finance, like I know Boston U has one, although I don't know much about it. I think mainly you have to make sure that wherever you look with offer you opportunities to get the background you need in math/stats, and to a less extent, econ/finance, and that there are faculty with whom you could work doing relevant research. Look at faculty publications/research and student placements and see what best matches your goals.
  5. UMD is a great place. I am from that area and took some classes there with faculty members who are part of the AMSC program. I really liked the faculty I interacted with, and I like the school a lot as a whole. It's true UMD is not an elite statistics department, but as you say they are elite in applied math and the AMSC program offers opportunities to explore a variety of different interests. UMD is also strong in computer science, physics, and economics, and many of these faculty participate in the AMSC program, so if you have any research interests that might involve those areas, you would be well positioned to pursue them. They also have people from the math department who work in probability and stochastic processes. As others have said, the work hours and certainty of funding are also big draws. It's also true UMD's program is longer on paper, but in actuality the extra time you would get there from the lighter workload might mitigate that difference. I think that unless you are dead set on some career path that you are confident is only possible with a biostats degree, UMD is a better choice.
  6. I was in a similar position to you. I had poor undergrad grades but did very well (4.0 GPA) in a master's program. In fact, my undergrad grades in math were quite bad(3.0 average), my master's institution is unranked, and I did not take the subject GRE. However, I do think my letters were strong and I am American rather than international, which I know is an advantage. I was accepted by Purdue and Ohio State(you can see my other results in my signature). Based on what you have posted, the fact that your master's will be from Michigan and the fact that you took and scored quite decently on the subject GRE clearly make your application look stronger than mine before letters and American/international are taken into account. I can't say I know exactly how much more competitive admissions are for international students, but I would be surprised if you didn't have good results applying at schools in the 25-50 ranking range. In fact, I know some international students whose resumes I think are probably less impressive than yours who go accepted to places like Purdue and UNC, so I would also not be surprised if you got offers from some top 25 schools as well. I think you should pick a range of schools throughout the top 50 to apply to, depending on how much money you can afford to spend on application fees. Pick a few schools in the 25-50 range that you are confident you will have a good chance at, pick some in the 10-25 range as reaches, or even pick a top school or two if you don't mind gambling and it's not a financial burden to apply. Even though application fees are expensive, I think the cost of applying is relatively small compared to the potential benefit of receiving an offer, even if one's chances aren't great at a particular school. Plus, as many people have previously commented, there are so many qualified applicants for top schools that sometimes admissions results can be a bit random. Since you are already at Michigan, you should ask faculty there about the possibility of PhD study at Michigan. Michigan is a great school, and if you can impress some people there during your master's studies, maybe they will lobby for Michigan to take you. Besides, you want to be impressing people and making connections anyway so you can get good letters for all your applications. You can also ask professors with whom you have developed a relationship for advice about where you might be competitive in PhD applications. Maybe I am underestimating how much harder it is for international students, but I still think it is worth being bit ambitious with a backup plan. After all, you won't get in anywhere you don't apply.
  7. I think the choice might depend on your background and the amount of flexibility the programs give you to customize your degree. Have your experiences so far better prepared you for industry or academia? What do you need to supplement to improve your chances for each route? For example, demonstrating strength in real analysis is valuable for PhD applications whereas an applied regression class probably won't mean much. But for the jobs that MS Stats students take after graduating, no one really cares whether or not you know real analysis. They want to see demonstrable data analysis and programming skills. You might want to map out the course of master's level study that you think best fits your goals and see which program better fits that. You can also ask people at the two programs what their master's students have gone on to do or whether the degree studies have some flexibility. In my experience, if you have a coherent goal and know what you are doing, your program will work with you to help you achieve that goal. Then you can judge which program better fits your needs. I wouldn't let the Bayesian offerings influence your decision very much. Every program is going to have some appropriate Bayesian course(s) at the master's level, and master's programs generally aren't intended to be very specialized anyway. It might be helpful to go to a more Bayesian school to confirm your interest in Bayesian research topics, but If you are interested in specializing in some aspect of Bayesian statistics, your PhD studies would be the time to really dig into that, and your decision of where to apply/attend for a PhD would be heavily influenced by each program's Bayesian faculty. Besides, students beginning their master's studies usually don't have a defined research interest beyond maybe some general ideas because there are many areas of statistics they have no exposure to, and even those who do have interests often see them change. Either way, I think that no matter which of those three programs you chose to attend, as long as you did well, took advantage of the opportunities present, made connections, etc, you could be competitive for both high quality PhD programs and good jobs.
  8. There is some discussion of Stony Brook in this thread, although I have no idea how accurate it is: Also, one of the professors at my institution claims that Stony Brook fosters a very competitive environment, although once again this is just what I heard from someone else.
  9. Thanks for your input everyone. I eventually decided to accept the offer from OSU. While I am interested in financial topics in theory, I have very little experience in this area and so I am reluctant to really view it as a well defined interest. After all, I would never have imagined even 3 years ago that I would be studying statistics at the graduate level. And I think that was the main draw of Purdue for me(or perhaps if I were dead set on an academic job, their better placement in that area), but most other factors pointed to OSU.
  10. Purdue offered me a TA position that goes for 12 months. I would have to pay some amount like 2k in fees, but from what I have seen this is common. Many school charge students fees to support athletics/facilities/etc and graduate financial support does not cover these fees. I pay about 1k in fees per year at my current school. For some reason, the people at my school think Purdue is a little better, but some of them went to Purdue so maybe they are biased. I would like to visit Purdue, but it is not possible to do so before I have to make the decision about OSU's fellowship. Purdue accepted me right before they went on break, so I haven't been able to set anything up yet. The computational finance strength of Purdue is the biggest draw there for me. They offer a lot of flexibility to students to pursue different interests so long as you pass the qualifiers, whereas OSU has more structured course requirements. That is my biggest interest right now, but it is possible that this will change. Most other stuff I like better about OSU.
  11. I would be inclined to agree with this. My master's institution is unranked, yet my officemate just graduated and got a job with great pay and 4 weeks off starting out. Although it might depend on your field of interest. I have heard that for finance jobs it is more important to have a degree from a prestigious school on your resume.
  12. Several other people have put up posts like this and received some good advice, so I thought I might do the same. My decision will probably come down to these two. I don't think I will get offers from the few other programs I rate higher than these that I have yet to hear back from based on my results at similarly ranked schools. Both programs are quite large and thus see a wide variety of research topics represented, and both have pretty similar rankings as far as I can tell. I made a list of the draws for each one for me. Ohio State -Fellowship offer(though I have to accept soon if I want this), pays slightly more -Balanced placement of grads to academia and industry with strong industry placement -Better location(Columbus) both in terms of internships/jobs and having a social life -Visited and liked it a lot -OSU has put effort into recruiting me and it seems like they really want me, while Purdue thus far hasn't been very responsive to my inquiries and attempts to get more information -They said that since I will enter with a masters, I can get 30 credits waived from my PhD requirements and start as a second year student. I have to pass their first year exams, but the material lines up well with what I have already taken, even down to using the same texts. -Gave me a free T-shirt when I visited........ Purdue -Seems to be a little bit higher ranked/more prestigious -Mostly academic placements; stronger record in this area -Strong computation finance presence(this is one of my interests) -Lower cost of living area -I talked to a student there, and he said his experiences there have been very positive with regard to some of the typical large school concerns -unsure about how entering with a masters works; asked but haven't heard back yet I am still undecided on the industry vs. academia career choice. I enjoy theoretical work, which is more suited to academia, but I find the current structure and culture of academia somewhat unappealing as a career path. I don't mind teaching though. If anyone has thoughts on these schools or advice for me, I'd appreciate hearing it.
  13. I think my decision is choices are likely going to come down to Purdue, Ohio State, and maybe UC Davis, who told me they would give me a decision very soon(and I figure if Purdue and Ohio State took me, it isn't inconceivable that UC Davis might too). So I have been thinking about Purdue as well, although in my case, both Ohio State and Purdue are very large. There is a student at Purdue who was previously a student at my current school, so I contacted him and asked him some questions about the program. I'll share the general ideas of what he told me in case you might find it useful. -He mentioned that in his opinion Purdue is currently strong in bioinformatics and is putting resources into strengthening their computational stuff, but that they have had some of their top Bayesians leave recently and thus are not as strong there as they were 5-10 years ago. He also mentioned that have some people doing financial topics. Of course he did say that, being large, they have offerings in a wide variety of research areas, but those are the ones he mentioned specifically to me. -I asked if students have to compete for advisers, and he said that he didn't personally see many students not be able to get a particular person as an adviser for that reason, but that some professors are popular and you do need to do well if you want to impress them. -I asked how engaged he thought the senior faculty were in terms of active research and mentoring(since I have encountered some people before who are senior and seemed have little interest in these things), and he said that he thought the senior faculty were very active in both areas. -I asked if the atmosphere was competitive and he said it didn't feel that way to him. Rather he felt that the students developed camaraderie working through the challenges of the program alongside one another. I am hoping to visit Purdue as well. I visited Ohio State, and my visit dispelled a lot of those large school fears for me. Although there were some superficial large program things, like large cube-farm style offices for grad students, the student-faculty and student-student relationships seemed quite healthy and supportive and I didn't at all get the feeling that if I studied there I would be invisible unless I was consistently at the top of my classes/exams. Ohio State also has brought/is bringing in a number of new, younger faculty, and from talking to a few of them, I really felt they add a level of energy to the program. They seem eager to engage with students, and I was able to have some interesting conversations about both hot research topics and classical ideas.
  14. Maryland was my top choice heading into the application season, so I am fairly certain yes. However, based on my results at similarly ranked schools, my guess is that I ultimately won't make the cut, but then again you never know. How about you? How does Maryland fit into your school choice?
  15. I contacted them too(I have one offer that downgrades from a fellowship to a TAship if I don't take it soon), and they said that they have sent out their first round acceptances, that essentially I am waitlisted, and that I would likely need to wait until close to April 15 if I decided to wait it out.
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