Georgia Institute of Technology Quantitative and Computational Finance (QCF) program

Georgia Institute of Technology Quantitative and Computational Finance (QCF) program

It's been a year since I decided to join the QCF program and now I would like to say it was the best decision I ever made.

For students who want to get decent learning experiences in MFE and want to become a quant (in any aspect), QCF is definitely a great choice. The workload of QCF is extremely heavy (no matter what background you are from) and students with no or few coding experiences will barely survive. But after I survived and looked back on what I did this year, I have to say that thanks to the high-intensive environment (especially the first semester) that now makes me more comfortable on continuing my studies. Though I have to admit that some courses seem not worth the money, the whole design of the curriculum is professional and avant-garde. I couldn't sum up in one sentence of how much I learned during this year, but I could say that I probably learned more than my 4-year undergrad.

There are courses that highly involve programming(most of them requires lots of coding), others are more theoretic and at the same time, they don't make finance be your weakness. Students are also allowed to explore other courses to tailor their career goals. Since I am from an engineering background, the finance courses are just good enough for me to understand the general concepts (but my friends from finance background really hate those courses, they are easy but the professors make them hard to enjoy). Anyway, the curriculum really well-balanced students from different background. You can have a taste of both and then dive into the area you want to.

All my classmates are nice and willing to share. We are more like partners than competitors. You can learn so much from your classmates so I often talk with them. Georgia Tech, in general, is a warm, friendly and vibrant campus. At the same time, the overall technical environment deeply influences QCF. For me, the tech environment is more like an advantage than the other side, since right now more and more companies lean to technical people. This attracts more top hedge funds and trading firms to come to our career fair so we can have more opportunities. And I don't think the location (Atlanta) is the short-side (if you do not overemphasize the pursuit of living in big cities like New York) since there are many opportunities in the local financial services companies and Georgia Tech is definitely their target school. From here I have to thank our professional, conscientious and helpful career services team who keep a good relationship with all the corporates and continue to offer us more and more career opportunities. Kayln and Laura are more like our friends and are also love to communicate with us. They are reachable and often update with us frequently. Overall, everyone here is very close to each other.

Since many people asked me about the dual program with CSE degree, I think I'll make a brief clarification here. The CSE double degree indeed offers more opportunities and choices but as I learned from the program and school, it is NOT a guarantee that you will be approved to enter the dual program. Students have to submit an application after they have finished 5 core courses of CSE.

Other general information: as far as I know all 2019 grads get full-time jobs and most current students get interns. But due to COVID-19, the recruiting process freezes since the beginning of this year so there are still some students who cannot find interns.
Students backgrounds are diverse, among 50+ students, roughly 40% Asian, 40% Indian, and 20% Americans.
QCF is an overhyped program poorly managed by Sudheer Chava. Chava just uses this program to charge exorbitant fees relative to the other programs in Georgia Tech. Neither is the program structure good nor the quality of the program. No one gets any teaching assistantship unless you are in the good books of Chava and not by merit, which is very biased.
Master of Science Financial Engineering program with most focus on computational mathematics and options pricing.

What is unique about this program
It is very computationally intensive with niches in energy risk/quantitative analysis and machine learning applications. The coursework is very rigorous, and it focuses on more practical projects with an intense development of the foundations of underlying theory. Overall, the education is outstanding.

Worst things about the program
Career services for the students within the program. Although, the director helps out in this respect and does a good job with placements. They are just short staffed in this regard.

Career services
Career services is almost there for someone to recruit for the students. Students find internships and jobs either through the school's career services or on their own. For domestic candidates, there is 100% full-time placement for the 2011 class. Overall, out of 60 students, there was about 80% placement, although that number will be larger in a few months in general.

Most students obtain jobs in their home country. For the few that receive offers in the US, they get jobs as traders at prop shops, Quants at trading firms, market risk analysts at trading firms, private equity analysts, investment banking analysts and associates, consultants, trade platform application engineers, trade clearing quants at exchanges, financial analysts at banks (25/60 get placed in the US). Overall, a successful 2011 year.

Student body
75% Asian
10% Indian
10% American
5% Other

Lacks diversity in some sense. This most likely will change soon.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Bachelor in Construction Management and Economics from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
No prior work experience. Prior internship experience include securities company, real estate management company and oil company.
I studied full-time in the program from 08/2008-12/2009

Did you get admitted to other programs?
Columbia University and Illinois Institute of Technology
Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
The tuition and the time admit me.

What alternative sources of info you used to learn more about the program?
Online BBS in China

Tell us about the application process at this program
online submission of resume, cover letter, transcript and recommendation letters

Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? What do they offer and how much it costs?
Yes, I can't rememeber the cost

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
Derivative Securities, Stochastic Process, Practice of QCF

Tell us about the quality of teaching
Good.

Materials used in the program
Teacher's notes, most of time.

Programming component of the program
One course for programming, C and Java

Projects
Computational Finance and Mathematical Finance

Career service
Average

What do you like about the program?
Good

What DON’T you like about the program?
The career service is not good enough. Atlanta is not an excellent location for finance students already, so they should strengthen their career service to improve the placement of students.

Suggestions for the program to make it better
Career service and connection should get better.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for? What would you prefer to work in?
Prefer to work in statistical finance area.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Bachelors in Electrical Engg from IIT Kanpur India. GRE 800 Q, 640 Verbal. Prior work experience as software engineer/consultant.
I studied full-time in the program from 06/2006 - 12/2007

Did you get admitted to other programs?
MFE Michigan

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
Focus on Practical Learning and Concepts related to Financial Engineering and Low Cost of Tuition.

What alternative sources of info you used to learn more about the program?
Internet mainly.

Tell us about the application process at this program
The application was online and updated time-to-time. Dr Kertz (Program Director) was also very kind and helpful in answering questions related to admissions and course of study.

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
Stochastic Processes in Finance I & II, Practice of QCF, Fixed Income, Numerical Methods.

Tell us about the quality of teaching
Most Faculty members are established and high calibre academicians from Math, ISYE, MBA departments. In the final semester some courses are offered by industry practitioners and professionals from Investment Banking and Trading.

Materials used in the program
Teacher's Notes and Standard Texts. But Notes are more useful. Classroom discussions are also quite productive and useful for the student.

Programming component of the program
C++, SAS, Java, MATLAB, GAMS.

Projects
Mainly a mixture of Coding and Research projects are assigned at group and individual levels.

Career service
The Director submits the Resumes of the student batch to Industry connections.

What do you like about the program?
Emphasis on practical methods of solving real world problems in finance and also helping the students to develop hands-on skills on programming and financial research projects. The professors of ISYE/Math in particular are gifted scholars and invest a lot of time and energy on teaching the practical concepts and their application to real-world financial engineering problems like derivatives pricing, portfolio management, Time series analysis of stock prices etc.

What DON’T you like about the program?
The MBA finance department is relatively weak. The department needs to boost its b-school rankings and should make efforts to add strength to the finance courses being offered to QCF students. The future looks promising because the gap is slowly narrowing down as the B-school is making good progress.

Suggestions for the program to make it better
The QCF program office should work on improving the finance curriculum.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Financial Officer in Work Bank Group.

Other comments
Focus, Dedication and a strong penchant for finance and programming.
I studied full-time in the program from 8/2008-12/2009

Can you tell us a bit about your background?
B.E. Computer Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University;
Internship: Machine Learning Group in Microsoft Research Aisa; Derivatives Dpt. in Haitong Securities; AXA HK.

Did you get admitted to other programs?
Minnesota MFE

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
GaTech QCF is strong in its computational skills training and engineering math, due to the support form ISyE school, ranking #1 worldwide. They have a bunch of "real world" projects provided during the 1.5 years. Almost anyone interested in are able to contribute, which is very useful in job hunting. Furthermore, QCF has a large funding, so 1/3 students can get full scholarship during the 3 semesters.

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
1/3 courses are of selection from a pool

Tell us about the quality of teaching
Average

On a scale of 1-5, how would you grade the quality of teaching?
4

Materials used in the program
Generally texts are recommended reading. The professors prefer to use their own materials.

On a scale of 1-5, how would you grade the practicality of the curriculum?
4

Programming component of the program
C++, Matlab, SAS, R. Half of the homework are using simple programming.

Career service
The director will send the resume book to the industry connection.

On a scale of 1-5, how would you grade the career service for internship and full-time job?
3

What do you like about the program?
Real world projects

On a scale of 1-5, how would you grade the value of the program for the price tag?
4

What DON’T you like about the program?
Finance part is not strong

On a scale of 1-5, how would you grade your experience in the program?
4

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Joined RiskMetrics.
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