MIT Master of Finance MFin program

MIT Master of Finance MFin program

Established
2009
Type
Full-time
Tuition
Learn about tuition, fees and fellowships and financial aid information: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/mfin/apply/tuition-and-financial-aid/
Application deadline
January 3, 2019
Location
Cambridge, MA
For discerning students looking for a rewarding career in finance, the MIT Sloan Master of Finance Program carries with it a legendary reputation, world renowned faculty and innovative, hands-on learning experiences in a top-ranked, early-stage finance degree. An MFin degree is a smart investment in your future, generating returns throughout your lifetime.
Distinctive Value

Academic Excellence: MFin students are high achievers from around the world who selected our world-class STEM program — emphasizing a foundation in how markets work, and a rigorous curriculum engineered around the most advanced financial theories, quantitative models and industry practices — and are tailoring it to meet their specific career requirements.

World Renowned Faculty and Hands-on Action Learning: Students learn from recognized finance authorities who paved the way for modern finance and continue to influence global policies and practices — a hallmark of MIT — and collaborate with industry practitioners in high-impact action learning assignments.

Rewarding Careers and the MIT Experience: Students benefit from a program designed to prepare students to make a difference, with personalized guidance targeting premier careers among highly sought-after established financial firms, public institutions, and leading-edge organizations. Students access an ecosystem of finance resources and alumni, and join an inspiring community of innovators, carrying MIT’s reputation with them throughout their careers. Highlights of our graduates Employment and the latest Employment Report can be found here.

Meet Our Students: What is it like to be an MFin student here? Our students are unique, representing a diverse range of backgrounds. They experience MIT Sloan in their own way yet create a cohesive community. Here is a link to their profiles.

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Author
Diane Jordan
First release
Last update
Rating
4.78 star(s) 9 ratings

Latest reviews

As one of the current MFin students at MIT Sloan, I've had a fantastic experience at the school so far. There are so many great things to say about the program and the school, and I've listed a few important reasons below regarding why I chose MIT Sloan:

• MFin verus MFE (or other pure-quant programs): The MFin degree at MIT Sloan offers a lot of flexibility in the curriculum and is designed to help you tailor an academic training that best fits your career passion. It is a graduate finance degree that offers a solid foundation in modern finance theory, and besides the initial mandatory courses over the Summer Semester and Analytics of Finance/Action-Learning requirements, one is free to take other elective courses as you wish and customize the curriculum to meet your own career/academic objective. For example, I realized that I'm more interested in the Capital Market/Investment Management side of finance, so I specifically took courses that are more public market oriented such as Fixed Income, Options/Derivations, Investment Management etc. as opposed to some of my other friends who are pursuing a career in quant finance/trading, and therefore are taking more quant-heavy courses such as Dynamtic Programming, Stochastic Calculus, and other PhD level courses at both Sloan and the Engineering Department at MIT. Compared with other MFE programs, which have a stricter set of curriculum requirement and are more engineering/quantitative by design, I felt that the MFin degree offered me a greater Option Value because I could tailor my curriculum to be super quantitative and engineering focused by taking a lot of PhD level/quant classes offered at Sloan and Engineering department, but at the same time if ones decided that they turned out to be more interested in corporate finance or the capital market like I did, they would have the option to take more finance courses. So in a way, the MFin degree can be seen as a graduate finance degree or an engineering degree depending on how you take your classes, which to me at the time was a big advantage because I liked the option value whereas it might be more diffcult to do so at a MFE program.

• Top Business School + Top Engineering School: The MFin program is housed out of MIT's Sloan School of Management, which itself is a world-class business school that has an outstanding track record in management training and modern finance theory. What this means is that you would have access to some of the best professors in finance/business here at Sloan and would be able to network with MBA students and other senior corporate executives around the globe during and after your time at Sloan.This is a very valuable thing as you start your career and to me, having the opportunity to take classes with star professors such as Robert Merton and Andrew Lo etc. and join a very accomplished alumni network of MIT Sloan afterwards are life-time opportunities. Moreover, one would also be able to take courses at the Engineering School at MIT as mentioned earlier and have access to some of the best engineering minds in the world. Afterall, your Graduate Student experience at MIT can be very comprehensive and diverse, and being able to make friends from all over the schools at MIT are a great life-learning opportunity itself.

• Boston/Cambridge Is Just Awesome: Location is also another important factor to me and the fact that MIT is located in a major city on the East Coast and Boston/Cambridge are home to a number of other great college/universities would allow me the opportunity to make new friends and expand my network. Its faily close proximity and easy commute to NYC also allows students fast access to the capital center of the world! Boston/Cambridge are simply amazing places with lots of good restaurants/bars/social actilities, and I would say besides the weather in the winter (sometimes but not always that bad), your time here will be very fun.

• Amazing Students: Lastly I just want to mention how smart and friendly students at MIT and Sloan are. The caliber of the students I've interacted with are incredible and it's just really fun to be around smart/fun people who you can share an interesting and intelligient conversations with. To me that's very important and was also another factor that attracted me to MIT.
I don’t usually write reviews, but I read a lot of them before coming to the MFin program, and I know how important these reviews were on my decision process.

Therefore and for all of you reading this, I gave the five stars because:
There is something unusual about this university. Once you come to MIT and you’re surrounded with extraordinary people and an extraordinary campus, something will happen to you. It will not be up to you anymore to decide whether you want to push yourself to become a better person, it will happen automatically.

To be more concrete, I will share some examples about my MFin experience at MIT Sloan.

1- Flexibility: As much as the coursework is rigorous, the program is designed in a way to give students flexibility. I was able to tailor my program effortlessly and according to my initial plan.

2- Clubs: I was enrolled in many clubs such as Finance, Investment Management, Management Consulting, Sales, Public Speaking, Entrepreneurship, African, European, Asian, Middle East, and more! Did I have time to attend all of these club meetings? Definitely not! However, I was very selective and attended every event that was appealing to me. It is important to note that I learned from the sales club and public speaking club as much as I learned from the finance club and investment management club.

3- Unlimited Network: There are numerous talks happening around the MIT Sloan and MIT community. Also, MIT and Harvard club members organize conferences together, so there is no limit to the network you can gain while you’re here. Personally, I was not 100% sure prior coming to MIT about what is it that I really wanted to do with my life, and I found the answer in one of these finance conferences.

Since other reviews have discussed in details about the finance courses and curriculum, I hope that I have left you today with a new viewpoint about this unique education.
Best of luck to all of you.
I had an amazing experience over the past 11 months at MFin program. Looking back, I have learned a lot academically, and solidified my finance foundation. Even though I had a finance related background prior to coming to MIT, MIT classes have given me a different (practical) perspective and an innovative view on finance. I have learned not only the theory, but more importantly how to apply the theories to the real world through classes (Finance Research Practicum and Proseminar) and projects. Analytics of Finance is a rather quantitative course, but it taught me more of how to learn things fast and under pressure than the stochastic calculus itself. I have also learned how to get out of my comfort zone, expand my comfort zone and push myself further. I developed close relationships with my classmates/faculty members and made life-long friends, who are more of family members than friends! Overall, I absolutely loved the master of finance experience at MIT Sloan and I would highly recommend this program to everyone!

I was frequently asked the following questions, and here is what I think:

Why did you choose to come to MIT Sloan?
I chose Sloan because of its international reputation, world-class professors (Andrew Lo, Bob Merton, Stewart Myers, Eric Rosenfeld, to name just a few), the action learning programs (Proseminar, Finance Research Practicum, and many practical class projects), and most importantly, the opportunity to learn from the best of the very best! I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience over the past year. Coming to Sloan is probably the best decision I have ever made and I am really glad that I am here.


How accessible are the professors here?
Extremely so. The hardest class I took was Analytics of Finance. Professor Kogan was really wonderful about rescheduling individual office hours for me when I couldn’t make it to the regular ones. And I heard that he tutored one of my classmates to bring him up-to-speed on the material.


What was your favorite class or professor?
Andrew Lo is the best. He told us that his goal is not to teach us finance but to change the way we think about finance and he really succeeds in this. He really builds a wide foundation (e.g. with the connection to neuroscience). Before I wasn’t interested in biology, but now I eagerly read papers on the subject. Professor Lo is so stimulating that the three-hour class goes by very quickly.

How would you sum up your experience in the MFin Program?
It was unforgettable and the people I met were just incredible. I was nervous before I arrived, but it’s actually a very happy, supportive, and honest environment. It broadened my horizons and I made lifelong friends.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
BA in Finance in Germany and 1 year work experience in financial services in Hong Kong

Did you get admitted to other programs?
Didn’t apply to any other in the US.
LSE MSc Finance

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
Brand Name
Quality of Professors
Flexibility
Location

Tell us about the application process at this program
Essays, Recommendation, Interview – the usual

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
The MFin program is probably the most flexible finance program you’ll find. Depending on you preferences you can tailor the program to a quant finance program (include math and programming courses from main campus), general finance (sticking to MFin courses) ,or a business program (taking MBA classes at Sloan as well as HBS, HKS, Harvard Law, etc.)

My favorite course was probably ‘Valuation’ with Stewart Myers where we had to value all sorts of real project in a team (ex. an oil field in Siberia, wind turbines at Cape Cod, Liquid Gas in Alaska). After each project Prof. Myers met each team individually and talked through the valuation process.

Tell us about the quality of teaching:
Definitely the best quality of professors you’ll find in the area of finance. I took courses with Robert Merton, Stewart Myers, Andrew Lo and Stephen Ross. All of whom made significant contributions in the area of finance and who are great professors. Professors and TAs are approachable at all times.

Programming component of the program
I used Matlab and VBA
depending on your course selection you might use C++, Python, etc.

Career service
Students can use the career services of MIT as well as MIT Sloan, which gives us a really wide range (anything from prop shop to MBB) of access to career opportunities. MIT’s alumni network is huge – I contacted a bunch of alumni to get more information about specific companies and positions and almost everybody responded and was more than helpful.

Can you comment on the social interaction between students of different ethnics, nationalities in the program?
The program is very diversified from students all over the world - anything from Iceland to China.

What do you like about the program?
Flexibility, Professors, MIT Culture

What DON’T you like about the program?
Program hasn't been around for a long time and sometimes doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Suggestions for the program to make it better:
Raise awareness of the program externally (rankings, etc) and internally (more MIT undergrads).

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Accepted offer with a leading consulting company in New York

Besides the program's websites, what alternative sources of info you used to learn more about the program?
Quantnet
WSO
The main reason I chose this program is the action learning that is available to students. MIT Sloan provides unparalleled opportunities to work on real world problems. This affords the student a chance to collaborate and innovate while working with faculty, sponsors, and companies. Action learning opportunities include but are not limited to a Finance Research Practicum, Proseminar in Financial Engineering & Investment Management, or Proseminar in Corporate Finance/Investment Banking. These opportunities allow students to work with prominent leaders and companies in Finance, while solving complex financial problems.

This program also allows freedom to choose your curriculum. The Program Office supports you but really trusts the students. I was in command of where I wanted to go with my education. For me this meant completing a concentration in investment management. The program faculty and academic advisors provid the road-maps for a concentration in a certain area, but you don’t have to follow every detail of it -- this allows room to explore your interests within Sloan and the greater MIT community.

Frequent Questions:

How would you characterize the Sloan culture?

Collaborative. Strong sense of community. Humble students. B-schools have a reputation for competition but at MIT Sloan I’ve found that everyone is willing to help and support you by recommending job opportunities and by looking out for one another. This goes beyond the MFin cohort. I know I’ll keep in touch with MBAs I’ve met. We’re all family here.

What advice to you have to new students?

My advice for new students would be to take the time to learn what opportunities there are (e.g. conferences) and go to as many of them as you can. Keep a balanced work-life. Reflect on what interests you personally. Ask questions. Sloanies are good at all of this and you will quickly feel a part of this community..

Use the summer as a safe space to find out what your interests are and what you don’t know but need to develop. The faculty are there to guide you but not to hold your hand. They are always dedicated to your success.

Closing Comments:

I wish I had more time! One year goes by very quickly. It’s a unique opportunity and I am very happy that I chose to attend MIT Sloan.
What I like about the program

Professors
Professors are absolutely phenomenal. Until coming here, I did not realize to what extent MIT really is the “birthplace of modern finance”, a frequently used phrase at Admit day that I wholeheartedly ignored. However, after spending some time here, my view has drastically changed – perhaps somewhat due to a newly formed bias though. The faculty list is available at here and notably includes:

John Cox (options research)
Leonid Kogan (asset pricing theorist)
Andrew Lo (author of econometrics books, “A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street”, amongst others)
Bob Merton (Nobel prize, LTCM partner)
Stewart Meyers (corporate finance guy)
Steve Ross (invented APT, perhaps invented state price density framework)
Antoinette Schoar (leading Entrepreneurial Finance researcher)
Doug Breeden (inventor of Consumption CAPM, founder of Smith Breeden Associates)
Eric Rosenfeld (LTCM partner)
Jeff Shames (formed MFS CEO)

All of the above are teaching in the 2011-2012 year, creating an incredible opportunity to learn from both (a) the guys that invented the theory, and (b) the guys that made millions using it. Tough to match that.

Flexibility of the curriculum
There is only one required course, 15.450, as mentioned above (in addition to two introductory courses in the summer). The requirements are available at here, but roughly speaking as long as you take 5 finance classes at Sloan during your time here, you can do anything you want with your other credits. Many took the opportunity to take non-Sloan classes (Math, CS, other MIT-ish subjects), others took “soft” Sloan courses in Sales, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, etc, some took HBS courses (can register for 2 per term), etc.

The program is what you make of it, but you have to survive 15.450. At the link for the curriculum, there are many rules, which make me think of something an undergrad professor from MIT told me – “MIT is like a big communist country – there are tons of rules, but everyone knows how to get around them.” And getting around the rules usually involves just asking the program directors – they are very flexible and supportive.

Grading
To graduate, you need a B average, but the curve works in your favor. 40% of each class get As, the next 50% get Bs, and the bottom 10% (in theory) get Cs. So most students were not worried about grades, which allowed them to focus on areas they are most interested in during their studies. Also, in Sloan classes which have a quantitative lean, the MBA students “dilute” the curve since their math level is usually much below that of MFins. (though the opposite may be true in “softer” Sloan classes)

On Campus Recruiting
The Career Development Office (CDO) is very helpful and responsive.

What I don't like about the program

Cost
Admittedly expensive, unless sponsored. Scholarships are very rare.

No internship as part of the program. There has been discussion for a long time about incorporating one, but there simply does not appear to be a good way of doing so. Extending the program to be 1.5 years (so July to December) has been considered, but is problematic.

First of all, the extension would cost ~$30k for an extra semester due to general MIT rules. If the extension is optional to students, then the only ones that would take it would be those that don’t find a job by May/June, leading to some negative selection bias.

It would also require students to hedge by recruiting simultaneously for full time jobs and internships. If it is mandatory, then the price tag goes up, and all students then graduate in December, not a good hiring time. So problems any way you look at it – but the issue is actively being discussed.

Other comments
I would recommend a master in finance to three categories of individuals: those looking to learn more about finance (perhaps engineering undergrads), those looking to re-brand to get access to on campus recruiting, and those looking for a backup plan in case they can’t land a decent job coming out of undergrad. As for MIT specifically, I would recommend the program to those with a significant quantitative interest, or at least ability. The single required course of the program, 15.450 Analytics of Finance, is quite brutal – see this link for nearly full lecture notes and assignments to get a taste of it.

In my perception, the admission process is very numbers driven, unlike most typical MBA processes. it seems that extracurricular activities are not that high on the list of preferences – we simply want the brightest individuals. One thing that seems to be important is to demonstrate that you are employable – as any program, job statistics are very important to us (since that’s largely how we attract talent) and we want to be able to find you a job after graduation. I believe the Career Development Office is actively involved in the admission process, so if they don’t think they can find you a job, you are probably not getting in. Good luck to all.
I highly recommend the MFin program. Our class had 58 students with extremely diverse background from country of origin, undergraduate studies, and work experience. The program is divided into three semesters (summer, fall, and spring). The summer session begins in early July and last till late August, and it can be quite extensive without a financial background. The course curriculum is very flexible depending on your career and academic interests. Required classes include corporate financial accounting, financial theory, analytics of finance, and a proseminar. Courses at Sloan stress team work and most of the assignments are case studies with a group of students. Classes are also a good mix of lecture based and case study based.

The students in the program pursue a wide range of different career paths from traditional investment banking, sales and trading, prop trading, asset management, consulting, and alternative investments. Students can also cross register and take Harvard Business School courses and MIT graduate courses in different departments.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
undergrad education in computer engineering
work experience in software

Did you get admitted to other programs?
Columbia FE, LSE FinEconomics, etc
I studied full-time in the program from 6/2009-6/2010

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
perfect balance between MBA and Financial Engineering
(narrower than MBA but broader than master of financial engineering)

Tell us about the application process at this program
straight forward. Mandatory interview from 2010

Does this program offer refresher courses? How useful was it?
Yes. Referesher courses in the summer. Especially very useful for non-business/finance/economics majors

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
Very flexible.
Analytics of Finance
Advanced corporate risk management
Investments
Options & Futures
Also, you can take any MIT/MIT MBA course as elective.
e.g. parallel computing, stochastic calculus, statistical inference and data mining. Also, you can take any Harvard/HBS course as elective (cross-registration)

Tell us about the quality of teaching
MIT's unique lecture + recitation system
excellent professors

Materials used in the program
a lot

Programming component of the program
no particular programming experience is required
MATLAB is used in many of the quantitative courses

Projects
many quantitative finance projects
many investment projects
many valuation projects
and many many more.....
too many projects.......

Career service
Full support of MIT Sloan career services office plus dedicated career adviser for MFin students

Can you comment on the social interaction between students of different ethnics, nationalities in the program?
Very tight group; we hang out together and have a lot of fun

What do you like about the program?
The best thing must be the extremely flexible curriculum and elective choices. Also, MIT's reputation for innovation and quantitative powerhouse helps in the job market.

What DON’T you like about the program?
Too short. I wish i could spend more time at MIT.
Suggestions for the program to make it better
Perhaps an option to stay longer, for thesis

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Got an offer for a position in quantitative financial modeling; new york.

This review was submitted anonymously
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I studied full-time in the program from 7/2009 - 6/2010
Undergraduate degree in Economics
Various finance summer internships
Did you get admitted to other programs?
Columbia QMSS
Yale IDE
Duke Economics
UCL Economics
Warwick Finance & Economics
Among others...

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
I chose this program because of flexibility of the curriculum, the strength of the faculty and I knew that my fellow students would be some of the best and brightest. I was particularly excited about taking the first-year Finance PhD courses.

Tell us about the application process at this program
The application process is relatively straightforward. I think a few things have changed since I applied; I think an interview may now be required.

Programs like Baruch MFE, UCB MFE have refresher courses for incoming students. Does this program offer such courses? How useful was it?
We had a "refresher" course. This involved a one week prep, covering financial economics and then the Finance Theory course which covers investments and corporate finance. The vast majority of the students found the class to be extremely engaging and a lot of information to help them jump start the program. This was particularly important, as job recruiting would begin in the fall.

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
The course selection is divided between required courses, restricted electives and unrestricted electives. Restricted electives tend to be the typical finance courses. Required classes are the finance theory, a proseminar (which involves helping a company with either a financial engineering problem or a financial management problem.)
Almost any graduate level course at MIT can count as a unrestricted elective. I pursued a financial economics pathway. I took the first 2 classes (1 each semester) of the Finance PhD track, which included Financial Economics with Stephen Ross. This was probably my favorite course.
Other students took courses in mathematics, statistics, computer science, english/literature, game theory, negotiation.
You can actually take many elective courses, if you have the time.

Tell us about the quality of teaching
The quality of teachers varies. All of the full professors are top researchers who all have published in the leading economics and finance journals. Many of them run their own hedge funds or are advisers and have a unique professional and academic insight.
Despite this, some professor are better at teaching than others.
The practitioner professors are more often teaching project based classes, such as Proseminar or Practice of Finance seminars.

Materials used in the program
Required courses:
Usual stuff, BKM, BMA, Hull, etc
Cochrane, "Asset Pricing"
Campbell, Lo, McKinlay, "Econometrics of Finance Markets"
Electives: Tons of books, a sample
Leroy, "Principles of Financial Economics"
Ingersoll, "Theory of Financial Decision Making"
Sterman, "Business Dynamics"
Duffie, "Dynamic Asset Pricing Theory"
Oksendal, "Stochastic Differential Equations"
Grinold & Kahm, "Active Portfolio Management"
...
And many more. And of course, these vary depending on your choices.
Note: Below on the practicality, I chose a more theoretical courseload than most.

Programming component of the program
We are free to use whatever language and tools we want to help us. And we are expected to either know this already or learn this ourselves. While here, I have used stat/math packages such as R, MatLab and EViews.

Projects
I have done two main projects (among countless smaller ones). One involved designing better optimization algorithms for factor portfolios for a large asset manager. The other involved designing a new investment product.

Career service
There is a dedicated career adviser within MIT Sloan's career services center that works purely with M.Fin. students. Furthermore, as students at Sloan, we have access to both the career services, interviews and job postings at both regular MIT and Sloan.

Can you comment on the social interaction between students of different ethnics, nationalities in the program?
This dynamic may change next year; but we were a very small and tight knit group, regardless of nationality, etc.
What do you like about the program?
The flexibility is what drew me to the program and that's still what I find best.

What DON’T you like about the program?
There are so many things to do/see/take advantage of at MIT (guest lectures, classes, conferences, events) and I don't particularly have the time to do these things.
The MIT Sloan facilities, in a physical sense, ie number of classrooms, study spaces, etc is somewhat limited and old. However, a new building should be finished this fall, just in time for my class not to be able to use it.

Suggestions
I would consider rearranging the order that the students take some of the required courses. I would also help employers understand the nature of the program. It is a Masters of Finance degree; not necessarily an MFE degree, albeit a student could tailor it to a quantitative finance degree.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
I have accepted a job offer to work in a bank in NY.

Other comments
Being in Boston is good for those looking to get into asset management.

This review was submitted anonymously
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