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Want a career involving investments, which Graduate Degree?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by kwright11, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. kwright11

    kwright11 Active Member

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    I'm not really sure what career I want to pursue at this point, but I would really like to do something involving investments as the title says. I am currently a Finance undergrad, set to graduate this coming May.

    I want to get a graduate degree but I cannot decide which one will suit me best. The three main ones I am looking at are a masters in Economics or Finance, or an MBA.

    Any thoughts/experiences would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. NameBack

    NameBack Senior member

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    +1 to this question, except as someone starting a finance undergrad, not completing one
     
  3. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    "Investments" is a pretty broad career choice, so I'll say you should go for the most broad grad degree: MBA.

    Grad degree in Econ is basically worthless for finance; masters in finance makes people wonder why you didn't do an MBA instead.

    If you were really serious about working in "investments" the best graduate degrees are probably:

    1. MBA
    2. Math
    3. Computer Science
    4. An engineering discipline
     
  4. phreak

    phreak Senior member

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    Uh dude your gonna have to be a bit more specific. "Investments" could mean a lot of things. My Master's of Financial Economics starts in 13 months so my knowledge about this is quite current.

    Getting an MBA is retarded straight out of undergrad and you have absolutely zero chance of getting into a respectable program without some work experience. If I were you I would take all the math you can stomach, get high grades, study (a lot) for the GRE/GMAT, and try to get into a school with a name that has clout where you want to work. Get a degree in either econ or finance that has a heavy quant application. Basically, I disagree completely with the advice from tj100. A MBA is good to have, but not for what it sounds like you want
     
  5. phreak

    phreak Senior member

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    Take as much math as possible, consider a double major. And keep your GPA above 3.5 if you want to get into a really good grad program. Get into honors classes and do everything you can to secure LoR from tenured profs
     
  6. kwright11

    kwright11 Active Member

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    If I were to decide on an MBA then I wouldn't apply until ive had at least a couple of years of work experience. Now, if I were to try to find a good Finance/Economics program out of college, What kind of math would you suggest me take?
    Please keep in mind that I only have two semesters left. Many courses that I'm sure would be beneficial require prerequisites that would be difficult to acquire while keeping up with my normal major courses.
     
  7. kwright11

    kwright11 Active Member

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    And i also realize that "investments" is a very broad category. So why not set the bar high and say an analyst at an IB or working for a Hedge Fund.
     
  8. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    If you want to be an IB analyst, you're better off not doing the masters degree. That's generally a pre-mba role. If you're talking buyside research analyst, I don't think it really matters what your degree is in. Could be English, for all they care. If that's your goal, do the CFA program and avoid the costs of grad school.

    Hedge fund, I'd argue you're going to be way better off with a Math degree than anything else.
     
  9. phreak

    phreak Senior member

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    Quit beating around the bush and tell us background info about yourself. What school did you go to (top10, topX), what was your ballpark gpa, how many maths have you taken? I could go on..

    If your coming from a top25 school and have a competitive gpa then you honestly don't need to worry about grad school. But you would need to start prepping your network asap.

    If you are at a decent state school that's not a target school then an advanced degree is a good idea. It does NOT have to be from a top15 school to get an IB offer. Schools with regional name recognition should provide you with sufficient networking opportities. If you are in this situation, see my above advice
     
  10. kwright11

    kwright11 Active Member

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    I will be coming from a state school that is not a target. I have above a 3.8 GPA and very good extracurriculars. Since I am not graduating from a highly ranked target school I always figured that earning a graduate degree from a more highly ranked school would set me off on a better path.
     
  11. phreak

    phreak Senior member

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    And you're right. Dominate your GRE/GMAT, get great LoR, and make an awesome application. Funding is kinda hard to come by with these programs so maybe your best bet is to have an employer foot the bill.

    Again, you're not looking at getting an MBA right out of undergrad; get that out of your head now. If you want to go the way of my recommendations, you should have at least a year of Calculus, a year of Statistics, some want Differential Equations, and probably some linear algebra depending on specific program requirements. I'm personally partial to the Master's of Financial Economics but I would group any heavy quant, applied finance or econ program with that in terms of highly sought after graduates; while still staying business-ey

    When selecting schools, do not under-estimate regional reputation. I mean, if you end up at Harvard that obviously has excellent brand recognition worldwide so you would impress basically anywhere. But if you wanted to work in Texas, for example, an advanced degree from Rice[kinda Houston specific honestly]/UT/A&M/SMU would give you a very good value relative to a similar school not in the area. If I were to live in Texas, I would personally choose A&M over Duke, all things considered. After the top 10, the weight of rankings seems to diminish drastically.
     
  12. austinite

    austinite Well-Known Member

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    I'm not in the field but I was under the impression that IB analysts are hired out of undergrad. If you can't get those internships/jobs, and want to work in IB, then you should plan to get an MBA after 2-5 years of working and come in at that level. (I believe most of the analysts will end up going the MBA route themselves.)

    From a financial perspective I think straight-out-of-school master's degrees are only going to be useful for a health profession or engineering (and in the latter case it's mostly just "more interesting" work that breaks even money-wise.)

    I'd consider the masters route if you have a specific academic interest that you want to fulfill, but if you are just looking for career prospects than pick the job that has the best combination of salary/prestige/experience/passion that you are offered and see where it goes from there.
     
  13. kwright11

    kwright11 Active Member

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    Great advice, I appreciate it. And coincidentally I am from Texas at was considering TAMU's Financial Economics masters degree. I guess my next question would be, timeframe aside, what careers would a financial economics degree lean toward that an MBA would not, and vice versa?
    I guess what i'm saying is are there industries, take IB for example, that would look favorably at an MBA while laughing (exaggeration) at a financial economics degree?
     
  14. Superfluous

    Superfluous Senior member

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    a job in investments is too stressful when the market is unpredictable and or crashing.
     
  15. kwright11

    kwright11 Active Member

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  16. austinite

    austinite Well-Known Member

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    I am almost certain that the answer to this is yes. As a generalist degree MBA pretty much destroys everything else, and it's also the standard path to several of the high demand careers like IB. To me, your interests don't appear focused enough to warrant a masters (nothing wrong with this), but I could be misreading it.
     
  17. swaggerisaliability

    swaggerisaliability Senior member

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    Like other posters have noted, "investments" is very broad. For the quant-heavy hedge funds that do algorithmic trading, a technical PhD in math/CS/physics would be best, and for the more value-oriented hedge funds, an MBA would suffice (and you don't even really need it).
     
  18. kwright11

    kwright11 Active Member

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    For discussion sake, let's narrow the goal down to Investment Banking in Houston for example. It sounds like getting an MBA would still be the best choice?
     
  19. HRoi

    HRoi Senior member

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    It still amazes me, 10 years out of b-school, how much attention I-banking still generates. The job (and more importantly, the lifestyle) isn't for everybody. In fact, I'll go on a limb and say it's not for most people.

    Get work experience and enroll in a top MBA program. And then make every effort to get an IB internship after first year. IIRC, more than 50% of my classmates with an I-banking internship chose to go into a different field full time.

    Ps - saying you want to do i-banking in Houston is seriously limiting yourself. Do some research on how many firms actually have a presence (and recruit) there
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  20. Pennglock

    Pennglock Senior member

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    If you're set on Houston as a location, look into trading jobs with the big energy firms.
     

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