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Stats Phd or MS in Stats + MBA?


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Hey guys, this is my first time posting here, so please bear with me:

My background: I have an undergrad in Math from a fairly good state school, and a Masters in Statistics from a top program. Decent GPA at both institutions ~ 3.5.

I worked for a year. It was in a job that I hated, but I rushed into it because I was scared of the job market at the time. After a year of working, I went back for a PhD in Stats. This is a top 50 school, but not a top 20 school... Anyway, it's a few weeks into the semester and I don't think the PhD is for me. I wanted to pursue the degree initially because I thought I wanted to teach and do research, but I'm quickly realizing both of those things are not for me.

Over the past few months I've become interested in business/finance, so my question is:

Do I stick out the PhD for 4, maybe 5 years and wind up somewhere as a quant / hedgefund financial modeler?

Or do I cut my losses quickly, and drop out. I can work for a few years, go for an MBA (I think I'd be able to pull off a top 15 program) and then pursue the same path? This path would save me time and energy that I'd waste pursuing a PhD.

Any advice or feedback is appreciated! Thanks!

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I don't know too much about the financial field, but if hedge-fund modeling is something you want to do, that in itself is very research-based and not necessary management-based where work experience is the big factor. Again I'm no authority, but I would assume you'll have a much better opportunity in that quant of a field with a PhD and a few relevant publications under your belt rather than a freshly-minted MBA, especially if it isn't from a top 7 program. Given the financial crisis, it seems that more advanced math/stats PhDs are becoming more marketable than an MBA. Is there anyone in your department doing work in this particular field? Or perhaps something cross-disciplinary with the finance department? Ultimately, the big thing is to make sure pursuing a PhD is something you want to do. I'd say finish this semester and reassess. In whatever way, you're lucky you are in a field that is in demand and highly versatile depending on which sector you go into with the education you currently have now. Good luck and welcome! :D

Edited by BrokenRecord
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Thanks for the quick reply. I guess I should just wait until the end of the semester and re-assess...

I think when I wrote my initial post, I wasn't thinking completely clear. What I was trying to convey is that I've recently become more interested in the 'business' aspect of finance, with less emphasis on math and modeling. Yes, I like using my math skills to solve problems, but not at the indepth and specialized level that a PhD in Stats would require of me.

I'd much prefer the sort of thing where a company would come to me and say, "Hey, help us solve our manufacturing/debt/profit issues". I believe this still requires creative thinking and quantitative thinking, but nothing quite theoretical. These type of issues would seem better geared towards an MBA, rather than a PhD. I do believe I can get an MBA from a top ten program - my Masters is from a top ten program and I have a decent GPA in it.

I'm beginning to realize that the whole point of this post is simply to help validate my thoughts. Ever since high school, I always saw myself getting a PhD and becoming a professor, so coming to the realization that it may not happen is difficult. I tend to idealize things, and in the process, I forgot how much work and isolation is going to come along the PhD path. I appreciate anyone's feedback!!! Thanks!

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