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Programs PhD now, later, or not?

  1. Sep 27, 2007 #1
    I have been thinking a lot about this lately. I am a master student in maths. I will get my master hopefully in spring next year. After this degree I should be able to get a decent job in financial institution. As you might know, financial industry demands MS or PhD degree from their applicants. So I dont worry about getting a job after PhD.I also like doing maths very much. If I continue, I will study Variational Analysis, Stochastic Analysis, Ergodic Theory, etc. Something related to optimisation and probability.
    The following are my "options":
    1. Go on right after my master. I will try to get accepted by school in Northeast region because of their reputation in probability and applied maths field. This problem is that I have quite a bit of loan from my undergrad and this master degree. 4-5 years of PhD might cause some financial problem (I believe money should be spent at where is worth it.)
    2. Work in industry, pay for my load, and go back a few years later. But I am afriad that is too late when I lost my interest in academic.
    3. Not getting one at all. No actually cost but I might end up doing very routine work in the industry.

    Other options or detailed opinions are welcome.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 27, 2007 #2


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    a phd gave me a lot more options, especially since i wanted to do academic research.

    getting one did not get any easier as i git older. it requiures a huge outlay of time and energy. young people have an advantage. it is very hard to go back and get it later.

    it was perhaps the hardest thing i ever did.
  4. Sep 28, 2007 #3

    Chris Hillman

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    Ditto mathwonk. For one thing, even if your motivations are primarily financial, if you ask your mentor in the financial industries (do you have one, don't you?), I am fairly confident he/she will tell you that math Ph.D.s have a much greater earning potential in that industry. More generally, if you poke around the website of the AMS, somewhere I bet you can find a document which addresses the question in the title of this thread, and gives the answer: you shouldn't postpone it.
  5. Sep 28, 2007 #4

    Dr Transport

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    A PhD didn't open up too many more oportunities for me since I wasn't planning on an academic career. If I was going to do it again, I'd work on a degree part-time and let my let my employer foot part of the tab it that was available.
  6. Sep 28, 2007 #5


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    If you're settled into academia and accustomed to the grind, stick with it and get the doctorate. If you get out into the business world, and get a career (and/or a family) going, you may find it tough to rearrange your life and get the advanced degree later.
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