Help me learn math!
June 4, 2008 7:01 PM Subscribe
What are some good sources to teach myself advanced math in preparation for an econ/finance phd?
posted by btkuhn to Education (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I graduated last year from a well-regarded university and was lucky enough to get a great job in investment banking. I am genuinely interested in finance and really enjoy what I do. However, the hours are pretty crappy and I have too many other interests to spend my entire life at work.
I'm seriously considering going for a Phd in Business or Economics and pursuing a career in academia. I had a very high undergrad GPA, was Phi Beta Kappa, etc. and I do very well on standardized tests. However, my degree was in Biology/History so I don't have anywhere near the math required to get admitted to a good business school (I don't think - acceptance rates to business programs are very low). I haven't taken any math courses since senior year in high school (Calculus BC).
I'm really not sure what is the best way to proceed to improve my profile for admissions - I could get a master's in finance or math, then apply, but I really don't want to go into debt to fund a master's program and I don't know if most master's programs in finance/math are funded (I doubt it). An alternative would be to take math classes at a community college, and hope that that is sufficient.
At this point, though, I simply want to make sure that I "have what it takes" to do an econ/finance PhD. I've always been good at math and did well in calculus, but I know that finance is very math-intensive and I don't know much about how difficult higher-level math is as compared to calculus. Also, I want to see if I "enjoy" higher-level math, or can at least tolerate it. I don't want to enroll in a PhD program if I end up hating the math. I don't remember particularly liking or disliking calculus; I was kind of indifferent to it.
So after all that buildup, here's my question. Please recommend good sources to teach myself math, so that I can see whether I can do it and like it. With most subjects I would just buy a textbook or something and self-teach, but math seems to be the one subject where it really helps to have things spelled out by someone (or something) who knows what they're talking about, since math has it's own language that isn't always easy to pick up. Free online sources preferred, but book recs are appreciated also.