When, if ever, is a PhD worth it?

Harmless_Venom
Harmless_Venom

When, if ever, is a PhD worth it?

I want to get a PhD in Statistics and sit 4-6 actuary exams by the time I complete it.

Good idea or bad idea?

viagrandad
viagrandad

@Harmless_Venom
A PhD is worth it if it pays out more then it costs (preferably substantially) over the long haul. I understand the argument that some people arent going to college to get a good job, but if you want to just learn stuff, buying cheap books and going to a library is a much less expensive way to educate yourself.

5mileys
5mileys

@Harmless_Venom
What's your plan with the actuary exams?

One of my math professors sat for all of the exams in the 80s-90s, never worked for a company. He simply got his phd and worked as a professor teaching statistics.

I'm sitting for FM2 tomorrow. I've got a company lined up as well. Can shoot you some advice

massdebater
massdebater

The PhD won't help you as an actuary, because the exams are all they care about. The work itself doesn't even use much stats; the exams are artificially difficult to keep barriers to entry high. Lower supply of actuaries means they get higher salaries than what their productivity is actually worth. Their legally enforced signing power keeps the scam alive.
Source:I've written 3 actuarial exams and now doing my MSc in math for finance.

SniperGod
SniperGod

@Harmless_Venom
Do you understand what a PhD represents?

SniperWish
SniperWish

Do you pretty much have to be a genius to be an actuary?

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

@massdebater
exams are artificially difficult to keep barriers to entry high
I'm guessing this only applies to the 2nd and 3rd sets of exams? I've been reading over past core-technical exams (Probability, models, financial mathematics etc) and they're easy as hell. Like I'd finish them in an hour with 100%.

Raving_Cute
Raving_Cute

@Ignoramus
They're meant to be hard for business majors.

TreeEater
TreeEater

@Raving_Cute
Oh, right. I was confused because everyone always says how difficult they are. It really just seems like basic knowledge someone working with money should know though.

I do imagine the more advanced exams will be difficult though.

Question since I have you here, how many exams should I have to get hired as a junior actuary? And which exams should I prioritise? I was planning on doing Financial Math and Probability next year during my Masters Part 2.

Sharpcharm
Sharpcharm

@TreeEater
Do P and FM first, and then the others in any order. How many exams you need before getting hired depends on your local job market, but generally you need at least 2. Here in Canada where the market is more saturated, 3-5 can be normal. However, do not do more than 5 or you will be overqualified.

Evilember
Evilember

@Sharpcharm
Alright thanks a lot for the advice mate. Do you have any advice about what I should expect salary wise?

I know juniour actuaries normally get paid study leave, but just base salary what should I expect with 2-5 exams done?

I know it will be slightly lower in NZ, but what would you expect in Canada?

SniperWish
SniperWish

@Evilember
Here the pay starts at 50-60k CAD and generally increases based on how many exams are written, and a fellow starts at 100k+

RavySnake
RavySnake

@Harmless_Venom
According to the BLS, you only need to have e bachelors degree. I'm interested in this field and a counselor stated that you actually don't even need a degree. It only matters if you pass the exams. The exams require insane hours for studying though, GL

TurtleCat
TurtleCat

PhD is pretty much always worth it unless you're doing the equivalent of getting a degree to work at McDonalds, in which case what the fuck are you doing?

BlogWobbles
BlogWobbles

@massdebater
What do you plan on doing with the MSc in the finance field?

DeathDog
DeathDog

@BlogWobbles
My MSc thesis is using stochastic control to find optimal algorithmic trading strategies. I hope to get a job working at a bank doing quantitative analysis, and if that doesn't work out then I can always become a data scientist

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

@DeathDog
That's interesting. Is that similar to a MFE? Also, is a data scientist another title for statistician? Correct me if I'm wrong.

WebTool
WebTool

@DeathDog
Interesting, my research interest is also in Stochastic Processes. My PhD would likely be very similar to your area of research.

RumChicken
RumChicken

OP dont be dumb. A phd makes you do specialised research. If you actually enjoy it or want to go in to acadmeia then fine but it is 0 % necessary for any job.

Shitloads of people become actuaries without even maths degrees. Just do the basic fucking research ffs.

I could barely bother posting this because I see it on Veeky Forums so much. This blind belief that phds lead to huge money. Newsflash m80s, whether youre at an investment bank or actuaries, the highest paid people will be using soft skills. Technical skills are just a threshhold you pass to get your foot in the door. Bullshit is at the centre of literally everything.

haveahappyday
haveahappyday

@Crazy_Nice
An MFE is usually a one year program, with no research component, that's meant to get you a job as a quant analyst. I'm doing a Thesis-based Masters of math that takes 2 years like most traditional Masters programs do.

A data scientist is a marketing term for an statistician who works in the private sector.

cum2soon
cum2soon

@haveahappyday
Wow, you must really love math lol. Thanks for clearing that up user. I'm just lost in life as to what I should do. I was thinking of actuarial/statistics, but I'm not sure. Actuaries are paid very well here.

Stupidasole
Stupidasole

@Harmless_Venom
I'm gonna pursue a PhD in Particle Physics
How fucked am I?

likme
likme

@viagrandad

Pro tip: you get paid to do a PhD. I make 35k/yr doing mine.

Illusionz
Illusionz

@Stupidasole
Implying you can make it.

King_Martha
King_Martha

A PhD is most useful is you want to go into Academia. If you want to spend your life making videogames in your basement, it wouldn't be the best idea to get a PhD.

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