• Sharebar

Is Philosphy look highly upon by recruiters in equity research and hedge funds?
Philosophy is no doubt the quintessential humanities major and it can really train one to think extremely critically. Thus it seems like an easily transferable skill to ER or HF. However what may seems to be true may not be.(IB not really doing investment)

Thanks!

Also, if i do a double major in economics, would it put me in a better position?

The WSO Advantage - Land Your Dream Job

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation. Learn More.

Wall St. Interview Secrets Revealed

30,000+ sold & REAL questions. Learn More.

Resume Help from Finance Pros

Land More Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Mentor

Realistic Mock Interviews. Learn More.

Comments (32)

  • WayToWealth's picture

    I don't think Economics would give you much of a boost. A math or finance degree would highlight the quant skills being sought. More important will be your extra-curriculars (clubs, internships). And please don't put the word "quintessential" on your resume ;)

  • streetwannabe's picture

    OP; I'm just saying this out of my own observations, but the classics such as philosophy, etc. seem to be more acceptable in places such as the UK and Europe. Not sure how they fair here, but I worked with a kid over the summer from Edinburgh U and he said most kids in finance industry started in classics (not sure how true that actually is)

    "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

  • In reply to streetwannabe
    brandon st randy's picture

    streetwannabe:
    OP; I'm just saying this out of my own observations, but the classics such as philosophy, etc. seem to be more acceptable in places such as the UK and Europe. Not sure how they fair here, but I worked with a kid over the summer from Edinburgh U and he said most kids in finance industry started in classics (not sure how true that actually is)

    A thorough study in classics gives one a solid foundation in both analytical and verbal skills. In particular, a course in Latin language is a very rigorous process, the study of which resembles more math and physics than modern languages. I remember when I took Latin in my freshman year of college (wish I studied it sooner!) the students pursuing in STEM on average performed better than the humanities students.
    A friend of mine who excelled in Latin was a physics student who went on to get his PhD in Astrophysics from Princeton. (He then switched course and joined a seminary to become Jesuit priest, odd change of course but maybe he found God while looking through telescopes?)

    Re OP's point, it depends which courses in philosophy. I doubt recruiters would be impressed by courses in Derrida or Foucault but if you took the more rigorous courses like analytical philosophy (Frege, Russel, Wittgenstein)formal logic, metalogic, set theory etc. then you can make a case that you have enough mental power to handle quantitative works in finance.

    The most rigorous, proof theoretic course I took back in college was actually a philosophy course. The proofs we were asked to do for that course were much longer than the ones I did in my math classes like real and complex analysis.

    Too late for second-guessing Too late to go back to sleep.

  • In reply to WayToWealth
    JasonLoh's picture

    imcguire:
    I don't think Economics would give you much of a boost. A math or finance degree would highlight the quant skills being sought. More important will be your extra-curriculars (clubs, internships). And please don't put the word "quintessential" on your resume ;)

    Yes but isnt it also true that quant skills can be acquired(e.g. cfa, msf), but that isnt totally case for critical thinking. Granted yes, critical thinking is a skill that can be acquired over time, but the key word is over time. Logic doesnt seems to be the norm these day in investing, but rather algorithms, That doesnt make sense.

  • In reply to JasonLoh
    streetwannabe's picture

    JasonLoh:
    imcguire:
    I don't think Economics would give you much of a boost. A math or finance degree would highlight the quant skills being sought. More important will be your extra-curriculars (clubs, internships). And please don't put the word "quintessential" on your resume ;)

    Yes but isnt it also true that quant skills can be acquired(e.g. cfa, msf), but that isnt totally case for critical thinking. Granted yes, critical thinking is a skill that can be acquired over time, but the key word is over time. Logic doesnt seems to be the norm these day in investing, but rather algorithms, That doesnt make sense.

    MSF takes awhile to get and I don't think CFA will really compel you to learn much in the way of real quant analytics. I am a finance major and let me say that the best course you can take in my opinion would be financial/industrial engineering (IE is usually 5 yr program) or pure mathematics. I am taking calc II next semester and wish I had time to take more because looking at half of the hedgefund jobs on boards require a lot of programming and stuff that I don't have.

    "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

  • In reply to brandon st randy
    JasonLoh's picture

    brandon st randy:
    streetwannabe:
    OP; I'm just saying this out of my own observations, but the classics such as philosophy, etc. seem to be more acceptable in places such as the UK and Europe. Not sure how they fair here, but I worked with a kid over the summer from Edinburgh U and he said most kids in finance industry started in classics (not sure how true that actually is)

    A thorough study in classics gives one a solid foundation in both analytical and verbal skills. In particular, a course in Latin language is a very rigorous process, the study of which resembles more math and physics than modern languages. I remember when I took Latin in my freshman year of college (wish I studied it sooner!) the students pursuing in STEM on average performed better than the humanities students.

    Re OP's point, it depends which courses in philosophy. I doubt recruiters would be impressed by courses in Derrida or Foucault but if you took the more rigorous courses like analytical philosophy (Frege, Russel, Wittgenstein)formal logic, metalogic, set theory etc. then you can make a case that you have enough mental power to handle quantitative works in finance.

    The most rigorous, proof theoretic course I took back in college was actually a philosophy course. The proofs we were asked to do for that course were much longer than the ones I did in my math classes like real and complex analysis.

    Ah that make sense! Thanks! So what you are basically say is that take up courses that will better bolster my the thinking function and use that as a case in point. Right?

    Also, would recruiters even call me up for an interview when it is seen that I am a philosophy major?

  • In reply to streetwannabe
    JasonLoh's picture

    streetwannabe:
    JasonLoh:
    imcguire:
    I don't think Economics would give you much of a boost. A math or finance degree would highlight the quant skills being sought. More important will be your extra-curriculars (clubs, internships). And please don't put the word "quintessential" on your resume ;)

    Yes but isnt it also true that quant skills can be acquired(e.g. cfa, msf), but that isnt totally case for critical thinking. Granted yes, critical thinking is a skill that can be acquired over time, but the key word is over time. Logic doesnt seems to be the norm these day in investing, but rather algorithms, That doesnt make sense.

    MSF takes awhile to get and I don't think CFA will really compel you to learn much in the way of real quant analytics. I am a finance major and let me say that the best course you can take in my opinion would be financial/industrial engineering (IE is usually 5 yr program) or pure mathematics. I am taking calc II next semester and wish I had time to take more because looking at half of the hedgefund jobs on boards require a lot of programming and stuff that I don't have.

    Wow, I didnt know that. But is that for USA or UK? Because living in the UK, masters programs are usually 1 year.

    Also. let me reiterate, I may have not phrase it correctly. What I am saying is that I don't understand how programming can be used in investing. Yes, I agree that there are certain patterns in the markets that rhymes, but that is it! it only rhymes! It will never be the same and that could have drastic effect on one's portfolio. Remember LTCM?

    Seems that it replaces common sense with numbers, and that can often lead to disasters. And even if the notion that programming can be profitable, I am noticing a huge jump in its usage. Could it be possible that it will fall into its own weight, the same way the turtles trader did?

  • In reply to JasonLoh
    streetwannabe's picture

    JasonLoh:
    streetwannabe:
    JasonLoh:
    imcguire:
    I don't think Economics would give you much of a boost. A math or finance degree would highlight the quant skills being sought. More important will be your extra-curriculars (clubs, internships). And please don't put the word "quintessential" on your resume ;)

    Yes but isnt it also true that quant skills can be acquired(e.g. cfa, msf), but that isnt totally case for critical thinking. Granted yes, critical thinking is a skill that can be acquired over time, but the key word is over time. Logic doesnt seems to be the norm these day in investing, but rather algorithms, That doesnt make sense.

    MSF takes awhile to get and I don't think CFA will really compel you to learn much in the way of real quant analytics. I am a finance major and let me say that the best course you can take in my opinion would be financial/industrial engineering (IE is usually 5 yr program) or pure mathematics. I am taking calc II next semester and wish I had time to take more because looking at half of the hedgefund jobs on boards require a lot of programming and stuff that I don't have.

    Wow, I didnt know that. But is that for USA or UK? Because living in the UK, masters programs are usually 1 year.

    Also. let me reiterate, I may have not phrase it correctly. What I am saying is that I don't understand how programming can be used in investing. Yes, I agree that there are certain patterns in the markets that rhymes, but that is it! it only rhymes! It will never be the same and that could have drastic effect on one's portfolio. Remember LTCM?

    Seems that it replaces common sense with numbers, and that can often lead to disasters. And even if the notion that programming can be profitable, I am noticing a huge jump in its usage. Could it be possible that it will fall into its own weight, the same way the turtles trader did?

    Haha, well 1 year is a lot of time to me (compared to the opportunity cost of just getting a quant related degree in undergrad and actually working during that time).

    And in regards to programming, I'm not too sure either! Haven't ever done much, but from what I understand, it is used to sort and organize/identify trends or relations that are pertinent to the fund's overall strategy. Programming can also save you a lot of time doing redundant searches and organizing info.

    E.g. at my previous job we had to sort trade claims for a bankruptcy case which allowed us to identify and cross reference clients who had already traded their claims and thos that hadn't. I tried (unsuccessfully) to create a macro to sort the stuff (over 6000 people with contacts, claimer/claimee, legal mumbo jumbo). However, bottom line is that math, algos, and programming are very useful.

    "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

  • canas15's picture

    JasonLoh:
    Is Philosphy look highly upon by recruiters in equity research and hedge funds?
    Philosophy is no doubt the quintessential humanities major and it can really train one to think extremely critically. Thus it seems like an easily transferable skill to ER or HF. However what may seems to be true may not be.(IB not really doing investment)

    Thanks!

    Also, if i do a double major in economics, would it put me in a better position?

    Higher level math courses (especially anything pure) foster more critical thinking than what you'd consider "quant" skills. Additionally, why doesn't investment based on algorithms make sense? It's a way of implementing pattern recognition in a rather "nice" fashion.
    (For the sake of noting bias, I am a pure math + economics major).

  • In reply to brandon st randy
    canas15's picture

    brandon st randy][quote=streetwannabe:

    The most rigorous, proof theoretic course I took back in college was actually a philosophy course. The proofs we were asked to do for that course were much longer than the ones I did in my math classes like real and complex analysis.

    Wait, actually? That's rather interesting/something I wouldn't expect someone to hear. Well, complex is kinda pretty so maybe there, but real is just a gross mess...

  • In reply to canas15
    brandon st randy's picture

    canas15][quote=brandon st randy:
    streetwannabe:

    The most rigorous, proof theoretic course I took back in college was actually a philosophy course. The proofs we were asked to do for that course were much longer than the ones I did in my math classes like real and complex analysis.

    Wait, actually? That's rather interesting/something I wouldn't expect someone to hear. Well, complex is kinda pretty so maybe there, but real is just a gross mess...

    Well try proving the first portion of Godel's incompleteness theorem...it takes about 30 pages including development of primitive recursive functions...

    Real analysis is HARD. But the proofs we were asked to do were much shorter.

    Too late for second-guessing Too late to go back to sleep.

  • In reply to WayToWealth
    rogersterling59's picture

    imcguire:
    I don't think Economics would give you much of a boost. A math or finance degree would highlight the quant skills being sought. More important will be your extra-curriculars (clubs, internships). And please don't put the word "quintessential" on your resume ;)

    With regards to economics it depends on the school. If the OP goes to a lib arts school, then they probably don't offer finance, but the econ is probably heavily quantitative. I know my econ degree had more intensive math than most finance degrees. It was basically an applied math degree.

    I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  • In reply to brandon st randy
    canas15's picture

    brandon st randy][quote=canas15:
    brandon st randy:
    streetwannabe:

    The most rigorous, proof theoretic course I took back in college was actually a philosophy course. The proofs we were asked to do for that course were much longer than the ones I did in my math classes like real and complex analysis.

    Wait, actually? That's rather interesting/something I wouldn't expect someone to hear. Well, complex is kinda pretty so maybe there, but real is just a gross mess...

    Well try proving the first portion of Godel's incompleteness theorem...it takes about 30 pages including development of primitive recursive functions...

    Real analysis is HARD. But the proofs we were asked to do were much shorter.

    Oh geez. You meant THAT level of sadness. I guess my question was really less of a "does philosophy gets hard at some level" and more of a "is that level actually seen by undergrad students?". I guess that's a major yes, cool to know!

  • In reply to canas15
    brandon st randy's picture

    canas15][quote=brandon st randy:
    canas15:
    brandon st randy:
    streetwannabe:

    The most rigorous, proof theoretic course I took back in college was actually a philosophy course. The proofs we were asked to do for that course were much longer than the ones I did in my math classes like real and complex analysis.

    Wait, actually? That's rather interesting/something I wouldn't expect someone to hear. Well, complex is kinda pretty so maybe there, but real is just a gross mess...

    Well try proving the first portion of Godel's incompleteness theorem...it takes about 30 pages including development of primitive recursive functions...

    Real analysis is HARD. But the proofs we were asked to do were much shorter.

    Oh geez. You meant THAT level of sadness. I guess my question was really less of a "does philosophy gets hard at some level" and more of a "is that level actually seen by undergrad students?". I guess that's a major yes, cool to know!

    It was a graduate level class, cross-listed for undergrads.

    Too late for second-guessing Too late to go back to sleep.

  • In reply to brandon st randy
    canas15's picture

    brandon st randy][quote=canas15:
    brandon st randy:
    canas15:
    brandon st randy:
    streetwannabe:

    The most rigorous, proof theoretic course I took back in college was actually a philosophy course. The proofs we were asked to do for that course were much longer than the ones I did in my math classes like real and complex analysis.

    Wait, actually? That's rather interesting/something I wouldn't expect someone to hear. Well, complex is kinda pretty so maybe there, but real is just a gross mess...

    Well try proving the first portion of Godel's incompleteness theorem...it takes about 30 pages including development of primitive recursive functions...

    Real analysis is HARD. But the proofs we were asked to do were much shorter.

    Oh geez. You meant THAT level of sadness. I guess my question was really less of a "does philosophy gets hard at some level" and more of a "is that level actually seen by undergrad students?". I guess that's a major yes, cool to know!

    It was a graduate level class, cross-listed for undergrads.

    Gotcha, and that's pretty equivalent with complex and real, so it seems a fair comparison. Interesting to see someone in finance with that kinda background; if you don't mind my asking, what do you do?

The WSO Advantage - Land Your Dream Job

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation. Learn More.

Wall St. Interview Secrets Revealed

30,000+ sold & REAL questions. Learn More.

Resume Help from Finance Pros

Land More Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Mentor

Realistic Mock Interviews. Learn More.

  • couchy's picture

    canas15 i love you for asking the same questions I wanted to ask...

  • JasonLoh's picture

    Yea same..wow that is quite sick..always knew philosophy requires a ton of writing, but didnt realized THAT much

  • Senvik's picture

    I think you should double up with economics. I'm doubling in Econ and psych and have so far received positive reviews of my choice. You want to make sure you show you have both sides. Quantitative skills can be taught but hopefully Econ will help you understand the economy as a whole and give you a good base of knowledge to operate from. Besides, double majoring is easy so you should be able to maintain a high gpa. If you feel you can do both, why not?

    "You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." - IlliniProgrammer

  • In reply to streetwannabe
    ArJayBee's picture

    streetwannabe:
    OP; I'm just saying this out of my own observations, but the classics such as philosophy, etc. seem to be more acceptable in places such as the UK and Europe. Not sure how they fair here, but I worked with a kid over the summer from Edinburgh U and he said most kids in finance industry started in classics (not sure how true that actually is)

    I work in the UK; I did Philosophy & Economics. There's a course at Oxford called PPE which is basically the undergrad UK equivalent of MBA@HBS. It's how you spin the philosophy that does it.

    In my BB, I know of not one person in my class that did Classics, so really not sure that's true at all.

  • In reply to ArJayBee
    JasonLoh's picture

    ArJayBee:
    streetwannabe:
    OP; I'm just saying this out of my own observations, but the classics such as philosophy, etc. seem to be more acceptable in places such as the UK and Europe. Not sure how they fair here, but I worked with a kid over the summer from Edinburgh U and he said most kids in finance industry started in classics (not sure how true that actually is)

    I work in the UK; I did Philosophy & Economics. There's a course at Oxford called PPE which is basically the undergrad UK equivalent of MBA@HBS. It's how you spin the philosophy that does it.

    In my BB, I know of not one person in my class that did Classics, so really not sure that's true at all.

    Yea. The UK education system is much much more intensive than the US system. Compare the A levels with the AP exams. So UK UG = US MBA isnt really that much of a surprise.

    Also! I am considering taking PPE! But however, I dont really have that much of an interest in politics..

  • Swede's picture

    To be fair.. PPE isnt really Oxford exclusive, its more the case of Oxford and Said being quite intense.

    Did you go there, and if so, was it recently? Is the Bridge still in? I have a reunion comming up so Im curious.

    CRE NERD

  • JasonLoh's picture

    Don't know who you are referring to but I am a prospective student for oxford. Don't think I will get in though. Probably Exeter

  • In reply to JasonLoh
    clungeandman's picture

    JasonLoh:
    ArJayBee:
    streetwannabe:
    OP; I'm just saying this out of my own observations, but the classics such as philosophy, etc. seem to be more acceptable in places such as the UK and Europe. Not sure how they fair here, but I worked with a kid over the summer from Edinburgh U and he said most kids in finance industry started in classics (not sure how true that actually is)

    I work in the UK; I did Philosophy & Economics. There's a course at Oxford called PPE which is basically the undergrad UK equivalent of MBA@HBS. It's how you spin the philosophy that does it.

    In my BB, I know of not one person in my class that did Classics, so really not sure that's true at all.

    Yea. The UK education system is much much more intensive than the US system. Compare the A levels with the AP exams. So UK UG = US MBA isnt really that much of a surprise.

    Also! I am considering taking PPE! But however, I dont really have that much of an interest in politics..

    I disagree with this one. UK undergrad does not equal US MBA. MBAs in the US can be specialised (if that's what you want), you could major in finance and study proper asset pricing. The kind of asset pricing done at Chicago. In the UK, you can get away with not doing proper asset pricing at all, even if you study MSc in Finance (well, this is a generalist programme for fresh non-econ/fin grads anyway). Being able to do CAPMs, portfolio optimisation, VaR, significance testing using EViews, does not make you a quant, although it probably gives you analytical skills. The skills you can learn on the Master's programmes in the UK are basic numerical skills, not Ito's calculus.

    Quantitative skills (not numerical) mean you can do these in your sleep, the birthday problem (20 people in the room, what are the chances of 2 people having the birthdays on the same day), evaluating integrals (Gaussian), writing a depth search for a binary tree, etc.

    PPE is a joint degree, one of the best of the kind. In the 1st year, you study all 3 subjects. From the 2nd year onwards, you pick 2 out of 3 to study.

  • FeelingMean's picture

    Man, college in the UK and Europe sounds so cool...

    "That dude is so haole, he don't even have any breath left."

  • sandsurfngbomber's picture

    I met a kid in a logic class who was double majoring in Math and Philosophy..while he didn't seem to have any interest in finance (perhaps he wasn't aware of the paychecks) I'm sure he would have dominated any quantitative problem. I think that skill is much harder to acquire than "Can you even Cash Flow, bro?"

  • AQM's picture

    To unlock this content for free, please login / register below.

    Sign In with Facebook Sign In with Google

    Connecting helps us build a vibrant community. We'll never share your info without your permission. Sign up with email or if you are already a member, login here Bonus: Also get 6 free financial modeling lessons for free ($200+ value) when you register!
  • In reply to clungeandman
    AQM's picture
  • BeerSaturns's picture