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Choosing a grad school

maxkimmaxkim Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
Hey everyone! So, here's my situation:

I have one semester left at a small college, majoring in mathematics and double minoring in finance and information technology. GPA is currently 3.96.

Just took the GRE's, and my unofficial score is a 166 on both Verbal and Quant.

I've been planning to pursue a career in Data Science for a while, with Columbia and NYU being my 2 top options in terms of schools. Recently, I've been second guessing this decision, since I'm the type that gets bored very easily if I'm doing the same thing for too long (possibly add related), and because of this I'm worried that Data Science might not be the right career for me. Along those lines, I'm very entrepreneurial, and currently have an eBay business that makes me a few thousand dollars a month. However, I've hesitated with going all in on businesses like this since they're much riskier than a job, by nature.

My plan had been to go to Grad School, do my business on the side, and see what happens. If I do decide to go to Grad School, should I stick with a Data Science program? If so, what are some other options I should be looking into besides the 2 mentioned above? Are there any other programs/career choices I should look into? I'm a highly analytical person, but I'm worried that I won't be able to remain focused for most math/analytics type jobs.

Replies to: Choosing a grad school

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,402 Senior Member
    Run, do not walk, to the career center on your campus. Meet with the counselors, consider your options, apply for some jobs. Take the one you like best (or at least seems the least awful). Work for a while. Maybe keep up the eBay side gig, maybe drop it.

    Then in a year or two think about grad school. Grad school is for people who are committed to the career pathway that the grad program is a required credential for. Don't head into anything (including Data Science) until you know for certain that is what you want to do.
  • maxkimmaxkim Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    To be honest, I go to a small college, and career services is pretty much non existent. I thought a grad degree in some type of quant field would raise my qualifications, even if I decide not to go for that specific field, and would allow me to work on some of my entrepreneurial ventures on the side. Also, since I go to a small college, I don't have too many networking opportunities at the moment, so I was hoping to go to a more well known grad program in order to make up for that.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    You're majoring in math with a minor in finance. Quantitative jobs are already open to you. There are many that don't require a master's degree. So if you're unsure of your career path, go work for a few years and figure out what you want to do and whether you need a master's to do it at all.

    It's common for people to change careers several times in their working life, so no bachelor's or master's degree is going to necessarily tie you to a specific career your entire life. That said, you still shouldn't get a master's in a specific field unless you're reasonably sure that's the direction you want to take your career in next, at least for the next several years. It's too expensive and time-consuming to pursue without that knowledge.

    Your college isn't the final determinant of where you end up. Your college may not provide ready-made networking opportunities - so don't rely on them. If you're in a big city - or in a college town with thriving industry (e.g. Corvallis, Ann Arbor), see if you can join a professional association in a field that's adjacent to what you'd want to pursue (like finance, or math, or whatever). The American Mathematical Society has lots of resources for student (many directed at doctoral students but some at college students). The Internet is your friend in this pursuit. Your college, though small, may have the resources to send you to a professional conference for a specific field where you can network with people. Your experience running your eBay business is your internship, basically, so use that when pitching yourself to employers. Heck, you can cold-message people on LinkedIn for informational interviewing opportunities. People I don't know reach out to me all the time to ask about my career and I grant those requests when I have time.

    The same hustle you put into running your business you should also inject into your search for networking opportunities!
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