Friday, August 04, 2006

Contemplating a Masters in Finance

So much for forgetting about grad programs and concentrating on work.

If anyone ever reads this blog, this is a topic I would especially love comments on. Over the past couple of years as I've considered the MBA, I've also considered the Masters in Finance option. The primary (and significant) hurdle for me in that regard is that I don't have a sufficient math background. My biggest regret in life is not taking more advance mathematics in college (or attending a half-decent high school! bah on bad public schools) but I'm not sure how worthwhile it is to try to remake my undergraduate degree now, especially when it's more for pride than necessity. I actually have put this question to a few people in the business (a math major alum, for example, w/an MBA from Chicago and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness, who actually emailed me back!) and they have said not to bother, just get an MBA. That's fine. But I keep coming back to wishing I was a high powered quant queen. Oh well, guess I'll have to stash that with my fantasy of being reborn as a Russian ballerina. (I'm actually not joking about that one.)

It seems that at a school like Chicago (and others) I can get some pretty quantitative classes. Chicago is my top pick at this point I think because I love that they have only one required class and that the rest are electives, more or less. That is absolutely my style. Pre-req's make me crazy - I understand the value of building a solid core but if schools are actually building this 'diverse' class that they're always yabbering about, I will be going to school with folks who are marketing gurus (I'm not) and folks who can't read a balance sheet (I can). A little segregation might be helpful for all of us. I am leery of being forced to take financial accounting 101 in my first term when my time and precious dollars would be better spent on something more I know less about. I am also not all that keen on focusing too much time on leadership or ethics or marketing or what I perceive to be the more touchy feely aspects of business. While I want some 'touchy feely', I don't want it to take up most of my first year. Maybe all this just proves I am a terrible b-school candidate! :) We shall see. I have much to learn. Maybe I'll learn to love the 'touchy feely' and maybe it's really not that at all.

Oh, and while I'm at it (stepping on toes), is anyone else totally perplexed and sick to death of all these articles (WSJ, U.S. News or just google 'women math mba') about how women avoid MBA programs because they're scared of math?!! What is up with that?. Either this is a case of a few anecdotes being extrapolated too far or something is really wrong with American women. (Ahem, almost all of the current MFE Haas women students are from Asia ...) We're a country of women pioneers and cowgirls and suffragists and lady Olympians. What was all that hard work for on the equal rights front if basic math sends the estrogen endowed running? It's business school ladies! Not a PhD in Physics. Sheesh. How embarrassing. My job doesn't entail anything more than simple arithmetic and 'story problems' and it's actually on the quantitative end of things. I don't get it. Let me know if you do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More women should look into the MBA and not be intimidated by the math. I'm male and got completely overwhelmed by the GMAT. Even after a prep course and several months of study, I still scored a 460! Many men, like myself, just don't have strong enough logical thinking skills to get admitted into an MBA program. Data Sufficiency befuddled me. In the middle of the GMAT, I tried, but could not, clear out the cobwebs. Things did not improve during the verbal section, because my brain was just worn out and I could not wait for it to be over. I had a headache! Women are dominating law schools because they are highly logical, don't get confused as easily as men, and have great mental stamina. These are intellectual abilities that make women great B-school students and business managers. I have learned to accept my abilities and just enjoy life. I have dated a few women who have MBAs and one who was attending an executive MBA program. I will probably marry a woman who will be the breadwinner, while I'll be a stay at home dad. A low GMAT score does not, however, disqualify me from changing poopy diapers! Congratulations on being a new mom. I can tell you are very bright and will do well in your chosen specialty, which sounds technical. I couldn't handle it. It would give me a headache, as the GMAT sure did! Sincerely, Jeff