Economics for graduate school- NO Economics background?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by AndrewSears, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. I'm going to hopefully graduate next Fall with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics, and I'm really interested in going to graduate school for economics- specifically financial engineering. I want to be a quantitative analyst or someone that can use simulated models to predict markets to the best of their ability, curve fitting, etc.

    I have no economics background, but I've taken a lot of rigorous applied mathematics courses. In my partial differential equations class, we've done some black-scholes, but that's about it in terms of how much economics I know.

    I know a lot of programming languages as well, C++, Java, Visual Basic, Ada, Python, and Fortran.

    I'm going to have a lot of free time from here until next December, so I could read a lot, I guess? All I have left to take are:

    -Non-Euclidean Geometry
    -Analysis II
    -Stochastic Modeling & Statistics
    -Two Spoken languages (Probably will do Latin or Greek, really interested)
    -Numerical Analysis II
    -Algorithm Theory
    -Technical Writing

    So just four next semester and four during my last semester.

    I was thinking of applying to MIT Sloan or Stanford. Any advice or recommendations?

    If this doesn't work out, I'm probably going to graduate school for Physics or the US Navy as a Mathematician.
  2. piezoe


    There are virtually no jobs for Ph.D. economists right now. Something to think about. Perhaps Finance is a little better as far as opportunities. If you are going to graduate school you have to be thinking 4 to 5 years ahead. Excellent background by the way (foreign language in your curricula tells me you are in a first rate program). The opportunities will be there for you, but probably not in economics.

    Best of luck to you in your studies.

    P.S. Since you will have some reading time, assuming you have not read it yet, get a copy of Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" and read it in preparation for your technical writing course-- easy and enjoyable read. Also, get a copy of the Soros lectures at the Central European University and read that.
  3. 2rosy


    apply and find out. you dont need economics background to do fe. at u of chicago finmath is part of the math dept
  4. heech


    Financial engineering is much more about applied math than economics, so your background is excellent. MIT has a great program, but so do most top engineering / business programs... Many now have a path specifically for quants outside of the MBA program. Stanford, Berkeley, University of Washington, Carnegie Mellon are the ones Im more familiar with... And probably all the other usual suspects as well (Chicago / Penn / Princeton).
  5. CT10Gov


    M in FE is VERY different from a PhD in econ; Different coursework, different focus, and different career paths. OP, just make sure you know what you want to do and don't end up accidentally in the other camp.

  6. Was going to post the same thing. From the way he wrote the original post it sounds like FE is what he wants. It also sounds to me like his undergraduate work is already 50% or more of the typical FE syllabus.

    If an FE job is what he wants I'd suggest he at least try to skip the grad school debt and get a job/experience based on his undergrad degree before going to grad school. But it kind of sounds like the career isn't what interests you as much as the schooling.

    Be careful about going to school because you love school and assuming you'll be able to get some great job afterward that will make the debt inconsequential. These schools are a business and are selling you something very expensive. Be skeptical about what they tell you will happen to you after you buy their product.
  7. CT10Gov


    Dirty secret of grad school: if you can get into a really good phd program (MIT, harvard, whatever), then go to that on stipend and pay no tuition. Then leave when you get your masters. Same result as getting a FE, better branding, and you got paid to do it....

    And you might discover you would prefer to stay until the end and earn the letters.

  8. heech


    Or the other alternative...enroll in a phd program (which pays tuition + stipend) and do MFE-type studies on the side. That's essentially what I did.

    EDIT: lol. Late by one minute.