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changing careers, going to graduate school when you are 33

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by miran, May 1, 2011.

  1. miran

    miran Senior member

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    I turn 33 in a few.


    I have not really worked hard since high school ended for me in 1997. I worked semi hard in undergrad and gradauted in 2001 with an eclectic mix that left me little in the way of skills.

    I wasted away 2002-3. I did nothing, spent all that I earned.

    2004-another waste, but i saved $4000.

    2005-8, I got a scientific masters degree. Again, nothing in the way of practical or applicable skills really as this was an academic subject.

    2008-10--i was unemployed and lived hand-to-mouth. needless to say adios to the $4000 i saved up.

    2010- present---i am working a dead-end job in my "scientific field", but I get paid jack shit. i am overqualified for the job nonetheless.

    Summer 2011--I am thinking of doing a professional masters degree which would lead to a definite job with a path to a lifelong career.

    Am I too old to be doing this? Should I just let life take care of itself? I am tired and not really interested in anything anymore, like I once was.
     
  2. willpower

    willpower Senior member

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    I turn 33 in a few.


    I have not really worked hard since high school ended for me in 1997. I worked semi hard in undergrad and gradauted in 2001 with an eclectic mix that left me little in the way of skills.

    I wasted away 2002-3. I did nothing, spent all that I earned.

    2004-another waste, but i saved $4000.

    2005-8, I got a scientific masters degree. Again, nothing in the way of practical or applicable skills really as this was an academic subject.

    2008-10--i was unemployed and lived hand-to-mouth. Adios to the $4000 i saved up.

    2010- present---i am working a dead-end job in my "scientific field", but I get paid jack shit. i am overqualified for the job nonetheless.

    Summer 2011--I am thinking of doing a professional masters degree which would lead to a definite job with a path to a lifelong career.

    Am I too old to be doing this? Should I just let life take care of itself? I am tired and not really interested in anything anymore, like I once was.


    Get the degree as long as you're certain it will translate into real $. And get some help for your depression. Seriously. Even some meds will benefit you enormously.
     
  3. level32

    level32 Senior member

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    What kind of positions would you be able to lateral into?
     
  4. miran

    miran Senior member

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    What kind of positions would you be able to lateral into?

    positions in quantitative finance
     
  5. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Summer 2011--I am thinking of doing a professional masters degree which would lead to a definite job with a path to a lifelong career. Am I too old to be doing this? Should I just let life take care of itself? I am tired and not really interested in anything anymore, like I once was.
    No, you're not too old. I am switching careers (a few years younger than you), and am in a four-year fulltime evening program with a number of people 10 and 20 years my senior (easily 10-15% of my graduating class). They are absolutely rocking it even though they, too, are often exceptionally tired. I have people in my class who just kind of did the laid-back quasi drifting stoner thing for a period and now want to do something different, and they are. Just because "most people" take a very set sort of career path need not prevent you from doing it differently -- and let me tell you, one of the biggest changes in college admissions these days are what they call "non-traditional" students -- people like my classmates who did other stuff for a while but now want to go get a different degree for whatever reason. Hell, I was a high school dropout who started undergrad when most people finish, and I just wrote a recommendation letter for a work colleague who will be starting undergrad at my Uni the same age *I* finished. "Normal" is changing. If you have a reasonable belief that this degree offers you a a career path that means something to you, I really encourage you to go for it. People are more vain of their luck than their merits, but the truth is that life doesn't often take care of itself. It just doesn't. You gotta take care of it yourself. Best, Huntsman
     
  6. King Francis

    King Francis Senior member

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    New York, NY
    [T]he truth is that life doesn't often take care of itself. It just doesn't. You gotta take care of it yourself.

    Boom.
     
  7. JoelF

    JoelF Senior member

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    MA & NYC
    positions in quantitative finance

    Is this a troll? Quant finance is an intensely competitive and demanding field. Frankly it doesn't sound like you're up to it. You need to get out of your rut, but choose something realistic.
     
  8. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Why not make better use of the professional science master's you have? By definition, the degree should have provided you with marketable skills currently in demand. If you do pursue another degree, be sure it will give you a skill set that is in demand, and that'll lead to jobs with pay that will make going back to school worthwhile.
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Senior member

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    Feb 5, 2008
    I turn 33 in a few....


    Am I too old to be doing this?



    I am only going to address this part of the question.

    You are not too old for anything. You don't realize it now, but you are just a pup. If you have a viable plan, go for it
     
  10. kungapa

    kungapa Senior member

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    Is this a troll? Quant finance is an intensely competitive and demanding field. Frankly it doesn't sound like you're up to it. You need to get out of your rut, but choose something realistic.

    Probably hard to get into the top shops around. But there are places that might be open to a non-traditional candidate.
     
  11. miran

    miran Senior member

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    Is this a troll? Quant finance is an intensely competitive and demanding field. Frankly it doesn't sound like you're up to it. You need to get out of your rut, but choose something realistic.

    you makes some very good points.

    The top shops, which the poster below refers to, seem to think a lot of people are good and yes it is very very highly possible that these programs are cash cows for these top shops. If I was a betting man, 100:1 these programs are cash cows.

    i spoke to some practitioners who came to the same conclusions as you, so I think there is some truth. Insane bombast and near rabid enthusiasm is essential for this kind of job and I am not 23 to still be working 12 hour days thinking there is Utopia at the end of the tunnel, or to be swallowing bullshit and spewing it out on twitter like an automaton. I really do think I am too jaded for this. So although yes I am never too old, I am for my own sake too old, maybe.

    The other thing is laziness on my part. I really don't want to live like a student for another year, or move to New York City.
     
  12. miran

    miran Senior member

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    Probably hard to get into the top shops around. But there are places that might be open to a non-traditional candidate.
    Actually, you are completely wrong. And it is surprising you are wrong, which puts these top shops in a suspicious light. I went down to these top shops and talked to them. They get some like 25,000 applications from India alone, which at a $100 per application rate, well, you can see how much cash just from the application alone. Even among the American students they take seriously, they admit a lot. I am no genius, but the number of these types of jobs out there in the real world cannot keep up with this kind of supply flood.
     
  13. miran

    miran Senior member

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    Why not make better use of the professional science master's you have? By definition, the degree should have provided you with marketable skills currently in demand. If you do pursue another degree, be sure it will give you a skill set that is in demand, and that'll lead to jobs with pay that will make going back to school worthwhile.
    Thank you for paraphrasing my situation very clearly. [​IMG] Just add to it I am a little old and a little lazy and a little jaded. But no, the degree should provide be with no marketable skills at all, by definition or otherwise, because this is an academic degree that is part of a PhD program in an esoteric field that yields to academic jobs. In other words, I enrolled in a PhD program, decided to quit 3 years into it, and they gave me a mercy Masters for free. Totally useless in terms of marketable skills, unless you consider consulting for a PBS NOVA special that gets produced every 10 years a marketable skill. The masters degree I am considering consists of 8 months of classwork, 4 months of internship in the real world, and then back to school for another short while. I am told that if the 4 months go well and according to plan and you get a permanent job offer, most people say screw it to the going back to school part. What you suggest about making maximum use of my scientific masters is of course the logical thing to do. but i have been unable to do this. Now, in light of your experience, do you have suggestions or options for me? - Gratefully.
     
  14. Blackhood

    Blackhood Senior member

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    Just add to it I am a little old and a little lazy and a little jaded.

    This is your problem, not your career or your education. You want to move forwards, earn more money? Start thinking like a winner. Stuff that could earn you money:

    1. Tutor students in your specialist subject areas.
    2. Become a guest speaker at local schools/seminars.
    3. Put your name out there as a scientific consultant for TV and Film writers.
    4. Get a camera and start making 6 minute YouTube videos clearly explaining the complex parts of your subject.

    Ways to improve your life:

    1. Take a course in something thats not your career path. Rock climbing, foreign language, cooking. Something that will get you out of the house and meeting pro-active people.

    2. Put together proposals for your boss, with new projects or ideas that you could work on.

    3. Look for a new job. Hell, if you dont like what you have now, might as well change it.

    4. Network. Talk to as many people in your field as you can, make sure that next time a project comes up, your name is on the tip of their tongues.


    It sounds to me like your career failure so far hasn't been because you chose a bad subject, its because you have an attitude that allows you to wallow in mediocrity. This attitude will still be with you after you have a second degree. Change your lifestyle, then in 12 months if things haven't looked up, consider changing. otherwise you'll be moving sideways and still wont be happy.
     
  15. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Thank you for paraphrasing my situation very clearly. [​IMG] Just add to it I am a little old and a little lazy and a little jaded.

    But no, the degree should provide be with no marketable skills at all, by definition or otherwise, because this is an academic degree that is part of a PhD program in an esoteric field that yields to academic jobs. In other words, I enrolled in a PhD program, decided to quit 3 years into it, and they gave me a mercy Masters for free. Totally useless in terms of marketable skills, unless you consider consulting for a PBS NOVA special that gets produced every 10 years a marketable skill.

    The masters degree I am considering consists of 8 months of classwork, 4 months of internship in the real world, and then back to school for another short while. I am told that if the 4 months go well and according to plan and you get a permanent job offer, most people say screw it to the going back to school part.

    What you suggest about making maximum use of my scientific masters is of course the logical thing to do. but i have been unable to do this.

    Now, in light of your experience, do you have suggestions or options for me? - Gratefully.

    I misunderstood the type of master's degree you currently have. Thanks for clarifying.

    A professional science master's (PSM) is designed for someone who plans to be a practicing professional rather than a researcher; thus, the degree is comprised of attaining science knowledge and business skills. However, you already have the science background, so I'd suggest getting an MBA to augment what you have. The MBA would give you the components of the PSM that you're currently lacking, i.e., business skills, internship, corporate networking.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Valor

    Valor Senior member

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    In light of this thread, I would suggest you not pursue any of the programs we discussed in PM. There are students similar to you with stronger credentials, and all of them are struggling for the jobs you're seeking.

    Also, you your citizenship is probably one of the biggest factors in hiring qualified candidates these days.
     
  17. miran

    miran Senior member

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    In light of this thread, I would suggest you not pursue any of the programs we discussed in PM. There are students similar to you with stronger credentials, and all of them are struggling for the jobs you're seeking.

    Also, you your citizenship is probably one of the biggest factors in hiring qualified candidates these days.


    OK, thanks.

    LOL though, you can judge credentials based on this thread? wow!
     
  18. miran

    miran Senior member

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    In light of this thread, I would suggest you not pursue any of the programs we discussed in PM. There are students similar to you with stronger credentials, and all of them are struggling for the jobs you're seeking. Also, you your citizenship is probably one of the biggest factors in hiring qualified candidates these days.
    Also, for JayJay and anyone else who is interested: This is the Programs we were discussing in PM http://www.ieor.columbia.edu/pages/g...eng/index.html http://www.math.columbia.edu/department/mafn/ You can check out the websites yourself, but the tuition per year is on the level of $37,000 per year to $50, 000 per year. Also, >95% of the students are international, at least for the MAFN program. By international, the overwhelming majority are from India or China. My citizenship is Canada, I live in Montreal, I am of Moroccan descent if that matters to you---it has been pointed out all of these may hinder my chances at a job. I am having a really tough time getting a straight answer out of the program admins as to what their placement rate is, that is what fraction of graduates find jobs when they graduate. Depending on who you talk to, it is as low as 30%! For what it's worth, I have been admitted to the MAFN, and as has been correctly pointed out, my credentials are not exactly stellar. Depending on who you talk to, obvious, each will claim one of these programs is better than the other. The programs are also fast become classic, textbook examples of "CASH COWS" for cash-strapped American universities. Now, JayJay, hopefully you can clearly see what I am referring to. [​IMG]
     
  19. Valor

    Valor Senior member

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    I said credentials, not abilities.

    There are a few PHDs, the problem is if you're mid 30s with a PHD and you want to transition into finance, only companies that want you are ones that want quants and if you're good enough at math/sci to be a quant, you can just learn some finance (how to price a bond wahoo!) on the side and get a job as a quant.

    I'm just telling you the facts, placement is definitely not 30% overall, it's lower. Most of the internationals end up going home because they can't find a job in New York and then they join the pool of students who found "placement." With Canadian citizenship you should have some leverage for finance in Canada if that's what you're looking for, but I know basically nothing about the Canadian finance market.

    I'm not saying the program can't help you, I'm saying the odds are stacked against you, you're 33 looking for a entry level job in finance that most companies want 23 year olds to fill. And you said in PM you don't want to code/quant. I don't know many non-quant trading firms who's ideal candidate for "trader" or "assistant trader" is a 33 year old with a science background.

    All this is moot, if you think you're a strong candidate and are willing to work really really hard, and by that I mean top 10% of a fairly mediocre class (just study hard duh), you are guaranteed a 100-300k job.
     
  20. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Also, for JayJay and anyone else who is interested:

    This is the Programs we were discussing in PM


    http://www.ieor.columbia.edu/pages/g...eng/index.html

    http://www.math.columbia.edu/department/mafn/



    You can check out the websites yourself, but the tuition per year is on the level of $37,000 per year to $50, 000 per year.


    Also, >95% of the students are international, at least for the MAFN program. By international, the overwhelming majority are from India or China.

    My citizenship is Canada, I live in Montreal, I am of Moroccan descent if that matters to you---it has been pointed out all of these may hinder my chances at a job.

    I am having a really tough time getting a straight answer out of the program admins as to what their placement rate is, that is what fraction of graduates find jobs when they graduate. Depending on who you talk to, it is as low as 30%!

    For what it's worth, I have been admitted to the MAFN, and as has been correctly pointed out, my credentials are not exactly stellar. Depending on who you talk to, obvious, each will claim one of these programs is better than the other.

    The programs are also fast become classic, textbook examples of "CASH COWS" for cash-strapped American universities.


    Now, JayJay, hopefully you can clearly see what I am referring to. [​IMG]

    Ok, now I get what you're seeking. I'd suggest talking to a few students currently in the program as well as alums, if possible.

    By the way, Valor makes some good points that shouldn't be taken lightly.
     

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