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Pure math major + music minor = no merit?

  1. Oct 9, 2011 #1

    Do I really need to take economics/statistics/finance course in my undergraduate years if I am considering the possibility of landing on a finance job? I really do not want to worry about getting job in my undergraduate years but would like to put some serious thoughts after my graduate degree. I am quite certain that I will continue to get phd. I know that during my undergraduate, I might change my mind (and lots of people actually do that too). But if I somehow decide to maintain my originial plan, that is, get phd in number theory, try for faculty position, but still will be content if I land on finance job, do I really have to take finance related courses?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2011 #2
    So what does the music minor have to with this?
  4. Oct 9, 2011 #3
    Opportunity cost. Either mental satisfaction or guarantee for future job. But if I don't need economic course credit, I would definitely minor music. If vast amount of knowledge in economics/statistics/finance is required to get a finance job, I don't know.

    I thought it is obvious that if I want a job in finance, that I have to take economics courses. But after exploring this forum, it seems like, if I have some basic computer programing skills and have a phd in quantitative field (math, physics, or engineering), I wouldnot have much trouble in getting a finance job, particularly quantitative finance.

    I just wanted to know if economics credit or substantial knowledge in relevant field is necessary to get a quantitative finance job.

    Help me twofish-quant!
  5. Oct 9, 2011 #4


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    Huh. I double-majored in math and music as an undergrad. That certainly didn't hurt me, as I've been teaching both subjects at the high school level for a number of years.

    (I know the above isn't relevant to the topic at hand, but it was the title of the thread that forced me to post. :biggrin:)
  6. Oct 9, 2011 #5
    Hi eumyang

    wow double major in math and music, that is attractive! Can I ask you what particular instrument do you play (or theorr & composition)?
  7. Oct 9, 2011 #6
    I don't have much experience in the finance field, but I would just like to point out that nothing guarantees you a job.

    I would think that taking a few finance courses would be good, if for no other reason than it will give you an idea of whether or not you like it. When I was an undergraduate, I found out if I really was interested in something by taking courses in it.

    Couldn't you take math, music, and finance courses?
  8. Oct 9, 2011 #7
    I was not 100% comfortable with using the word "guarantee" either.

    http://ugradcalendar.uwaterloo.ca/page/MATH-Actuarial-Science-Mathematical-Finance Here is the requirement to qualify a degree in BMath Mathematical Finance. Now this is about 24 courses. I am planning to take (or the degree requirement for pure mathematics is) 12 math courses. Note that three math courses overlap. To qualify a minor in music, I need to take 10 music courses. Now that is 43 courses in total in my undergraduate year. Will I be suffering from course-work-load?
  9. Oct 9, 2011 #8


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    Piano was my main instrument. Our school's music program was small, so there was no band or orchestra -- just a "Chamber Ensemble". So me playing more than one instrument was helpful to our director went it came to assigning pieces. :biggrin:
  10. Oct 9, 2011 #9
    I wish I could play the piano well, but blimey, my hands are to small. I barely reach an octave. Any tips for playing Chopin's etudes?
  11. Oct 9, 2011 #10
    Wow! Ten music courses is a lot more than I would have figured for a minor. As far a course load goes, that really boils down to how long you want to spend in your undergraduate years and how much social/free time you want. I think it is manageable.

    Just curiously, why bother with the full minor in music? Why not just take some music classes when they fit in your schedule? A minor is only a line on a piece of paper; this is helpful when applying for jobs (or maybe graduate school), but has little bearing on self-satisfaction and learning. If you want to take music classes because you love music, who cares if you have a minor in it, or not?

    Either way, I wouldn't look so far ahead. Like you said in your OP, you may change your mind. What year are you now? Focus on getting the basics out of the way in all three areas: math, finance, and music. By then, I think you will have a better idea of what you really want to do.

    I have reasonably small hands, too. I can reach nine keys easily, but I can't reach ten with any kind of agility. If there is a piece that requires a large reach, I usually drop it down to something I can reach comfortably and quickly, but still sounds good.
  12. Oct 9, 2011 #11
    It doesn't seem like every university is allowing to minor in music
    For example, university of Toronto only lets you minor in music history
    and to major in music, you need to audition

    ode to joy, which uni are you talking about?
  13. Oct 10, 2011 #12
    Right, I don't need to qualify for a minor credit, I just need to take as many as I can. I am not considering quantitative finance as my first option. Apparently, some people dissuade people from majoring mathematical finance, since it will narrow down their job opportunity.
  14. Oct 10, 2011 #13
    University of Waterloo. Thus, University of Toronto or Mcgill University have a seperate school of music (Faculty of Music and Schulich School of Musics respectively) and they both require an audition. But in case of Waterloo, the department of music belongs to the faculty of arts. SO they don't require an audition, unless you want to perform in publuic performances. And Waterloo is the only (or at least among UofT, McGill, and UW) that offer conducting courses in undergraduate level!
  15. Oct 11, 2011 #14
    Music and math? Go for it. I majored in Physics and Music (cello), and work in industry. My former roommate majored in Math and Music and works for google in software development.

    That all said you'll be working your tail off; if I wasn't in the lab I was in a practice room if not in a practice room in the lab, and a couple of times practiced in the lab (what can I say, so experiments take hours to run and Bach makes them better).
  16. Oct 12, 2011 #15
    Music is a great minor option - financial employers tend to live in big cities (New York, London...) and attend the opera and major concert halls. So they would probably like to chat to someone who has academic knowledge of music. Seriously - wouldn't worry about this - a numerate degree is all that is required.
  17. Oct 12, 2011 #16
    Yeah I am gonna fill my undergraduate courses with mathematics+philosophy+and+music. Except I am still in RCM level 2!
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