I am interested in behavioral finance, but could tackle it from various perspectives. I assume that it would be easier to enter through some departments than others, and shouldn’t matter much in the end.
Specifically I am interested in better understanding traders and their strategies. My background is a finance BBA and MBA, but I could research this area from various povs. The obvious path is to do a financial or management track at a business school; however I could approach it from other fields:
- Finance: behavioral finance obvious, (but most finance programs want a very quantitative approach)
- Management: usually less quant, the obvious choice for business school grads but i am not convinced it is the best field
- Psychology: or a sub-field like behavioral or cognitive psychology
- Sociology: mass-phenomena and herd behavior
- Ethnology: cultural differences in trade decisions, belief systems
- Economy: or behavioral economics but econometrics based, and most do not accept non-quant backgrounds and dislike challenges to the efficient market spurious supposition.
- Operation research or computer science, like developing non-linear algorithms, neural networks, or a computer “game theory” agent-based model to forecast investor decisions.
Those are just a few of the possible approaches. I can think of a lot others if I twist the subject a little. Furtherelore in behavioral finance i need a working knowlege of most of the surmentioned subjects anyways, whatever my department is.
My question is if it can be worth it to apply to different departments to maximize chances to get accepted? For instance, assuming that the ethnology department is less impacted at a top university than the business school; do you think it would be better to attend there rather than at a less prestigious school?
Is there a way to find which departmental programs are easier to get to?
Am I wrong in assuming that I may learn more, and generate more original papers, by applying research methods from an adjacent fields rather than stick to the behavioral finance field. Finally, am I correct to assume that the department of the PhD doesn’t mater and that as long as I publish and specialize in behavioral finance whether I hold a Statistics, Philosophy or Biology PhD doesn’t matter?