I work in business and mainly deal with quant finance and statistics + do a lot of programming to implement ideas from quant finance and statistics. I have a master of science in economics.

My problem is: whenever I am trying to dig deeper (by reading articles from scientific journals) to understand some theoretical foundations of a certain idea from statistics and quant finance (ranging from pricing of exotic options to kriging based methods) to modify and customize this idea for my situation, I discover that my knowledge of math is not enough to penetrate deeper in a subject.

Is it a sign that I need to get a PhD in quant finance/ statistics/ math or it would be an overkill and I better go for a less time consuming (bloody) option (if there is any)?

  • 1
    PhDs generally take 4+ years of full-time work, even longer if you are working for a company, so that might influence your decision. Feb 26, 2015 at 22:29
  • 1
    @AustinHenley yes, I realize that, to decide whether it is an overkill or not I would need to understand whether there are other way to get what I want.
    – zesy
    Feb 26, 2015 at 22:32
  • I implied that it might require leaving your job, which removes the need for the knowledge, unless you planned to go back, in which case the job or need may not exist after X years. Definitely sounds like overkill to me! Feb 26, 2015 at 22:34
  • 3
    It seems like this is the same as your previous question? Feb 26, 2015 at 23:07
  • 1
    Yes, a PhD will be overkill. You can learn all the things you have mentioned by reading good books and papers. That is what I did during my PhD. As far as math goes, you can never learn enough of it.
    – stali
    Feb 27, 2015 at 3:18

1 Answer 1


No, this is not a sign that you need a PhD. A PhD is to prove to other people that you can do novel research to a significant depth, with significant rigour.

What you want is to learn some mathematical techniques. Now, the only way to do that, is to practice using those techniques. You need some exercises that will take you from where you are now, to where you want to be. You need to do those exercises, and find out which ones you got wrong, and why you got them wrong; and then do them correctly.

A PhD isn't an efficient or cost-effective way to do that. But a taught Masters degree (e.g. in Quant finance) might be. A free online course might be. A study-buddy who understands this stuff might be. A private tutor might be. Finding out which textbooks an appropriate Masters course uses, and working your own way through them, doing the exercises in each chapter, might be. The exact recipe will be whatever works for you. But what you need is to build up your toolkit of maths knowledge and skills, and you can only learn that by using those tools.

  • 2
    +1 A PhD is not, as many people think, taking the time to learn especially advanced material. It is more like an apprenticeship towards becoming a professional researcher. If you don't want a research career, obtaining a PhD will not help you.
    – Kevin
    Feb 27, 2015 at 1:44
  • +1, Broadly agree, but the mathematics knowledge of the OP as stated suggests that a taught Masters in maths would itself be at too high a level; the alternatives suggested are good.
    – Keith
    Feb 27, 2015 at 2:55

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .