Applying to PhD programs is a TON of work - especially when you're working on a thesis draft to use as a writing sample. Finance is an extremely competitive field for PhD students because programs accept so few students each year. This necessitates assembling an application as perfect as possible, not to mention applying to a number of programs which becomes VERY pricey. Luckily a number of schools offer application fee waivers for various reasons, but with GRE scores and an endeavor to attend the best school possible I'm still forking out a 4-figure amount.
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I'm the cofounder of a fintech startup