So I go to a small private school in the Northwest, well off the radar of anything other than the Lutheran Ministries... but I have always wanted to work on Wall Street. I consider myself somewhat intelligent, I got into some Ivy Leagues but I couldn't afford it, so I took my full ride from my little school on the westernmost coast. Well since I know no self respecting investment bank is recruiting (let alone knows my school exists) I have tried to do as much as I can to give myself half a chance. I am getting four undergrad degrees (Math, Finance, Econ, Financial Engineering), run my school's investment club, take 24+ credits a semester while doing 2 part time internships, and play college sports. My GPA is decent, I have 4.00 in 2 of my majors and over 3.7 in the other two, but I am worried that my resume will just get thrown out since I am coming from a school so far off the map. My question is, I have always wanted a PhD in Math, but would it help me get an interview at investment banks? I am worried that investment banks will pass me over if I am doing a PhD in Math instead of getting an MBA from a top B-School. So should I continue with my plans and snag an advanced degree in math or will I not have a chance of getting a decent job on Wall Street? Sorry for the life story, but thank you for the help! :-)

Comments (5)


I think you're all over the map here, my friend (and fittingly, maybe your account name is telling me this is a joke, but briefly...). So, you're goals are:

-get a job on Wall Street
-get an advanced degree in math

The first goal: do you know where on Wall Street? Saying you want to be on Wall Street can mean a million different things. You don't come off as sure with what you want unless you know. Are you referring to IBD? S&T? Research? PWM? Anything on the Street? If you know what you want, it would help to know more about your background. We know you've worked hard. That's always great man. But no one can help you unless you give us a better idea of your background. If you've always wanted to work on Wall St., what internships have you had? Surely they are finance related if you've known for so long that you wanted to do banking/something on Wall St.

You don't need an advanced math degree for Wall Street. Even at the starting positions that are more quantitatively intensive (trading, etc.). That said, if you don't know what you want, but you know you enjoy studying math, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to pursue it. Let us know what you're goals are...more specifically, and then someone could probably help you.

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You should think about what it is you truly want the most. You said you have always wanted to work on wallstreet at an investment bank, and that you have always wanted to get a PhD in math - but these paths seem to be quite different.

A PhD could potentially help you get certain gigs within an investment bank, but its obvious not the typical path to a career in front office. Also, you should expect to get the question of why someone who wanted the intellectual exercise of pursuing a PhD would find gratification in ibanking. Your situation, to me, seems similar to that of those who have a curiosity about law school but wish to pursue a career in banking. Ultimately you just need to weigh your ambitions - both of which are admirable and should lead to interesting careers. Also, you could look into Princeton's masters of finance - it is supposed to be much more math based than an MBA and will open many of the same doors.


go for the PhD, but make sure its done at a top university, and you will be able to work as a quant for ibanks or hedge funds.


I guess I should tell a little bit more about me. So I guess I am not completely sure where I want to work on Wall Street since I have yet to work there and am not sure which aspect would best fit me until I try. I have had an internship at a place called Bank of New York (ironically not in New York) where I just gathered data for the analysts to use, I liken the internship to watch grass grow, both are equally stimulating. I have worked for a small regional bank in the Pacific Northwest doing small projects for the CEO and CFO. I also have an internship at a land development firm doing who knows what (it hasn't started yet). I guess working for a private equity firm would be at the top of my list, but I heard it is near impossible to get a job there without a stint in investment banking, then again, I feel I would be completely content working at an investment bank. I guess I would initially rather have a job at an investment bank over a PhD (I can always go back and get one later), but I don't see how I can get that job without going to a great school, and the only way for me to go to a great school is for one of those doctorate degrees. Without a PhD will any investment banks take a look at me?


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