I have a question, and I would appreciate it if I could get a frank answer (I will provide any clarification if asked). I'm in a MS Finance program right now, and I have the intention of going onto a Finance Ph.D. after I complete my MS. My background is in Economics with some basic math (statistics and calculus mostly), and I am catching up on my math in my MS. Now I'm not the type of person who has an amazing intuition when it comes to math, except for some odd reason I am great with Econometrics and statistics. Rather, I have a very good understanding of Economic theory (as I learned it in undergrad) and the role financial markets play in a well-oiled economy.
I admit that part of the reason I have been attracted to a Finance Ph.D. is because of the "sexiness" of what Quants do. But I look at the CVs of my professors, and pretty much all of them have undergraduate degrees in a hard science or some engineering field. And of course in reading My Life as a Quant, it seems like Finance is the one academic area Wall Street doesn't want to hire its quants from.
So is there a place in Finance Ph.D. programs or Wall Street who can do the empirical work and who knows the financial theory and applications, but who just doesn't know a lot of the exotic math?