Choosing my PhD Program

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Choosing my PhD Program

Postby tedthetool » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:48 am

So I've been accepted to PhD programs in applied math at UCLA and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (AIM program).

My goal is to work on Wall Street and basically make lots of money (such lofty ideals, I know). How should I design my academic program such I maximize my desirability?

That is,

How do I find out which thesis areas are hot on wall street? Does thesis area really matter? Should a topic in mathematical finance be preferred over some other numerical modeling topic?

What should be my criteria in choosing my advisor, is placement of past students the main thing?

What are the most competitive Summer internships? I've been working at Microsoft as a software person in past Summers, which is nice for learning to code, but I suppose I should be interning in finance positions for Summers during graduate program. Is it realistic to start finance internships after first year in grad school? How much do the good ones pay?

-ted
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Re: Choosing my PhD Program

Postby mj » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:52 am

well the biggest thing that helps is the size of the name of the institution. On that score, UCLA wins.

As long as you develop plenty of transferable skills, the actual topic is not that important. If you can find a supervisor that actually does useful financial maths that would be good. It's not clear that doing theoretical financial maths helps.
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Re: Choosing my PhD Program

Postby wlfgngpck » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:58 am

I'm a math grad student at UCLA, and I don't know if you've made your decision yet, but the applied math program at UCLA is one of the best in the world, and there are faculty members on the applied side that do financial math and take students.

Unfortunately, I'm pure math so I don't know who they are off the top of my head. :-P But you should email Andrea Bertozzi at UCLA; she can definitely direct you to those faculty members so you can get an idea of what areas within finance they offer.
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Re: Choosing my PhD Program

Postby tedthetool » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:50 pm

Thanks for reply. I visited UCLA last week and the department seems top-notch so I will be attending. I'll def. email Bertozzi and ask, because I thought Calfisch was only one in applied math who did finance.
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Re: Choosing my PhD Program

Postby wlfgngpck » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:31 am

Good, glad to hear you are attending (I'm leaving so we'll never meet, but hope you enjoy it :) ). It may be the case that Calfisch is the only one that does finance (I honestly didn't know that he did, btw), but then again really anyone on the applied side can probably help if sufficiently motivated. And really, the only person on the applied side that ever seems to be in high demand is Bertozzi so if you aren't looking to work with her you'll probably not have too terrible a time finding the adviser you want.

Good luck, and hope you enjoy UCLA!
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Re: Choosing my PhD Program

Postby Garret2 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:56 am

A good Ph.D. program in mathematics is an extremely rigorous and challenging experience. You will have to take two years of difficult graduate courses and at the same time pass one or more special examinations (written or oral, depending on the school) that test your mathematical knowledge and skills. After that, you will work for 2-4 years under the supervision of a Ph.D. advisor on a thesis (also known as a dissertation), in which you are expected to develop new mathematical ideas and prove new and previously unknown mathematical theorems.
http://www.duplichecker.com/blog/resources-for-documenting-sources-in-the-disciplines.php
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