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Other Math vs Statistics Degree/Major For Investment Banking

  1. Sep 28, 2017 #1
    Hello, I am just posting a quick question asking what is better if I want to get into investment banking. If I was too go for statistics, I would most likely get a PhD. If I went for mathematics I would want to double major in Econ and Math and get an undergraduate degree in both. Which is a better career path for investment banking? I have always been interested in finance and have recently been reading financial news and enjoying it, while making my own predictions and such.

    Personally, I think I would enjoy getting a degree in stats more but math is just as fun.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor


    The PhD is better than any undergraduate degree. Statistics is far closer to the matter. From the standpoint of a banker, mathematics and statistics are the same mystery anyway. All who will judge you while applying for a job know what statistics is and why it is helpful in investment banking. This cannot be said about mathematics in general. You automatically get mathematical knowledge in statistics as well, at least to the extend needed. Latest if people start to talk about an M-chart or a W-chart as an argument against something that you say, you will run in despair anyway.
  4. Sep 29, 2017 #3
    The ability to program will also be critically important for the kind of job it sounds like you're interested in, so get plenty of that as well.
  5. Sep 29, 2017 #4


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    I agree 100% with this statement.

    More generally, I would agree with @fresh_42 that getting a degree in statistics or operations research up to the Masters level (and certainly at a PhD level) would be a good place as a means of getting into investment banking, while in addition giving you a broad set of skills that could enable you to find employment in many other areas as well.
  6. Sep 29, 2017 #5
    Thanks for your reply, I don't understand the last sentence of your post. Why would I run in despair? Are you saying I would be running in despair if I had a math undergraduate degree?
  7. Sep 29, 2017 #6
    I know it is dependent on the program type, but wouldn't a PhD in Stats have a major overlap with an undergraduate degree in math in terms of courses?
  8. Sep 29, 2017 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    This was a remark about the good old chart analysis techniques, which as far as I know are still in use. People are still talking about sideways movements and similar observations based on experience and chart flows. I wonder if there were serious studies to which extend those explanations are of mathematical, resp. statistical value. In any case, they are a bit disturbing if you have completely different methods in mind learnt in college.
    This can be the case but doesn't necessarily has to be. It depends on so much factors, that I doubt that anyone can tell for sure. Of course one needs basic skills which are the same in both fields but the point of view can be quite different.
  9. Sep 29, 2017 #8
    One thing I LOVE about physics and math is that I could spend my whole life dedicated to the subject, but not know everything about it. Is stats the same? After a PhD would there be an even harder level? Also, what would a PhD thesis for a stats student look like?
  10. Sep 29, 2017 #9


    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know. You brought up the PhD as final exam. Here you can't get a PhD in statistics without graduating in math first.
  11. Sep 29, 2017 #10
    What does "Here" mean to you? Most schools in the United States offer an undergraduate degree in statistics directly. I never referenced the PhD as a final exam, but all PhD s are accompanied by a thesis required to graduate.
  12. Sep 29, 2017 #11


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    It depends on what part of investment banking you want to go into. Many students from elite schools go work for investment banks right out of undergrad. A lot of them studied Econ, some in business (at places like MIT or Wharton), some of them may even have studied subjects in the humanities. The caveat is that the banks only recruit from a few schools. If you want to do more quantitative things you would need a PhD in a quantitative field like math/stats/physics/engineering etc.
  13. Sep 29, 2017 #12
    So from the other responses, I can tell that a stats degree is the best for investment banking, but I am not sure that degree would fulfill me, it's too "uncertain", I also don't know after I get my degree if there is that "next step" to where I can take my learning above my PhD like I can in physics and mathematics were changes are happening every day.
  14. Sep 29, 2017 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    You will be approximately tice your present age hen you finish a PhD. It is difficult to predict now what will be the best path then. Banking will change. Course and degree requirements will change.
  15. Sep 29, 2017 #14
    Stats is a really rich field, and modern statistical learning is growing very rapidly. There's no shortage of interesting things to explore, or places to work.

    But honestly, if uncertainty isn't your thing, shooting for an investment banking job seems pretty weird.
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