MBA, Masters in Finance or Finance Ph.D

Econ graduate here that started in on a Ph.D in Econ, however due to a general decline in interest backed out prior to obtaining enough credits for a terminal MA in Econ. ever since i’ve started studying for my L1 test (DEC08) i’ve been getting that ‘itch.’ The ROI for a Econ Ph.D is iffy at best and now i’m in my early 30s so the opportunity costs are even higher. I’ve been reading along regarding thoughts on MBA’s merit (is it even worth it if it isn’t from top tier, etc). When I was in grad i had this one prof who oddly enough always tried to talk me in to getting in to a finance ph.d program b/c she wish she would have looking back at her life. She feels that its ROI is unparalled and had nothing but disparaging remarks about the ‘bleh-ness’ of MBAs. Any thoughts on these potential avenues…? I think it’s definitely time to retool and would like to do more than simply get my CFA cert. thoughts? mc

The answer greatly depends on what area of finance you plan on entering after you finish.

Average salaries for finance PhD’s in academia are significantly higher than for econ doctorates. In addition, the market is much better (even candidates from lower-tier programs make good $ in academia). Here’s a blog post that covers the topic: Here’s an updated salary survey: Based on this, the mean new hire salary for 2007-2008 for finance faculty is about $119K

The reason to get an mba (or masters in finance) instead of a phd is that an mba is much easier. Since you’ve already left one phd program, make sure you are confident of finishing the second time around before going back.

finish your PHD, get the charter, shut up, and apply to an econometrics rshch firm or HF in CT, dog.

daj…the depth of your advice has me really pondering said career path. I feel indebted to you. The force is strong w/you… … mc

While busprof thankfully posted the Finance PhD salary survey, I’m curious which would benefit you the most in the industry? I would guess that in the short-run it would be Math Finance, but in the long-run maybe the Finance PhD.

well here’s my deal…after college I went off to work for Fidelity (service/ trader in Cinti, Oh…at the end of the day just a telephone guy) then I started chasing the $$$s. Got completely off track and worked in the mortgage industry, made great great money and got out b/c i knew we were in the last days. From there, FA work for BoA in Atlanta & then some consulting work w/financial institution consulting firm (where i ended up basically just hawking a commodity product that helps manage surplus cash for banks for reinvestment.) Now i’m 100% burnt out on front end/ sale-ish work. My passion has always been in analytical work, but I like toys, girls and hanging out…so i worked gigs i knew i could easily do and make good money. I’m older now, more mature and looking to buckle down but now I need to make that connection back to my academic background so I can be taken serious as a job candidate w/in finance industry. obviously the CFA will help, but i’m also curious about other next steps. mc

marcuscan, man, where did you study for PhD? I’m thinking about applying to second tier US university…any suggestions ? can you please write me at Thanks any way.

Is a non-top tier MBA worth it? That’s a hard question to answer. For me, I decided that it wasn’t. I don’t think there is a universal right answer, however. I plan to apply to the big time programs in a few years. WIll they be worth it? I guess yes, but I can’t be 100% certain. I would like to think that ECon PhDs can at leat get a solid job.