I believe Rutgers MQF program is one of the top Quant programs in the US for the following reasons :
1. The program prepares you to be a well-rounded quant. Equal importance is given to finance, maths, and programming through the 15 courses we study here.
2. Faculty: Rutgers MQF has one of the finest faculties to learn some of the most difficult subjects in any master's program from. We were taught Stochastic Calculus and Optimization Models by Andrzej Ruszczyński and I feel his lectures were a treat to listen to. He takes a lot of effort to explain some of the most difficult concepts out there and I have personally learned a lot in his class. Professor Mariya Naumova is another great professor from the program who teaches Econometrics, Numerical Methods, and Risk Management and she is one of the smartest professors I had the pleasure of learning from. We were taught Fixed Income by Priyank Gandhi who has done a quant master's and has worked in the industry before. His lectures were really important to set our base of fixed income which is vital for any quant.
3. Electives: The program offers 5 electives, and I feel I have learned a lot from the electives I took: Machine Learning, and Risk Management to name a few. Professor Serdar Dinc has designed the Machine Learning course in a way where we actually program in every class in front of the professor. ML assignments were challenging and if you do each assignment judiciously you will gain a lot of knowledge about data cleaning and preprocessing, variable selection, which is vital for machine learning.
4. Interviews: The concepts taught in classes like Econometrics, ML, Financial time series, and Stochastic calculus immensely helped me in my interviews. Professor Mariya, Professor Serdar, and Professor Alex helped a lot during my interview process and I believe I landed my job because of their guidance. Professor Alex has been in the quant industry for more than 25 years and we were lucky to have him during the job search process.
5. Career Fair: Rutgers MQF has 2 career management classes and the career fairs organized really help students to get placed for internships and full-time jobs. I have seen most students get an internship/ job with the help of the fintech career fairs. I personally gave a couple of internship interviews ( & the only interviews I got) through the career fair.
6. Administration: Thomas does a fantastic job as the manager of the MQF program. He is always available to solve your problems and you can reach out to him about anything related to the MQF program. He has been of great help to all the students and he makes the experience of the program worthwhile.
The best thing about the MQF program is the diverse background of students (finance, engineering, management, maths, accounting, etc.). Unlike most other programs Rutgers MQF doesn’t hire students who are already quants, but they work on making you a quant and I feel that’s more important. I believe to make the most out of this program, attend all the classes, talk to the faculties about the subject, participate in all the career fairs, focus on learning rather than easy grades, and be the best quant you can be :). All the best!
I am an alumnus from the most recently graduated class here. The program has been a big disappointment and a rather poor investment. Right from the textbook-ish and outdated course content in all the core courses to the bureaucratic nature of the professors, the program leadership and the administrative staff. Many students who came in with experience in the industry have pretty much gone back to doing what they were doing before they entered the program. So, unless you are looking for your first job, there is really no tangible career progression laterally or vertically that has occurred, in a lot of cases.
Lets pick this out one by one.
1. Core course content and the professors who teach them.
Core mathematics components have faculty who are adept at making the students lose themselves in a flurry of symbols, equations and models. If you are mathematically inclined, you will enjoy these courses, irrespective of the fact that the content is purely textbook-ish and will be of very less practical relevance when you interview for jobs. I will give an example. There are several financial instruments which can be priced using different stochastic or numerical methods. But the only ones covered in these courses are vanilla calls or puts. While I agree that the fundamental principles of pricing will probably remain the same for many instruments, it is preposterous that the courses do not even touch on interest rate models or implied volatility models; which are the bread and butter right now. Hence my complaint of the course being outdated. In another example, the introductory econometrics course was so poorly conducted that the instructor did not even cover or touch upon logistic regression, which is a basic question in pretty much all credit risk interviews. Hence the mathematics component leaves a lot to be desired in terms of job interview preparation or relevance to the industry.
Core programming component. I should say this part was pretty much non-existent or taught like an undergraduate introduction course rather than engage students with relevant graduate level examples in quantitative finance. If you compare the syllabus of the OOP C++ and Python courses here with those at the top programs, you will notice that the other programs make an effort to cover pricing models implementation. Here, the focus is on looping, data types and other such introductory stuff. To be honest, the students have been complaining and requesting for a better instructor since the past two cohorts which graduated, but the program administration has made no effort to address this. MATLAB, R were covered in a single day workshop, together. To spend tuition on 6 credits for a 2 semester introductory sequence makes me feel I am throwing money down a drain. Instead, check out online websites which teach this content for free.
Core finance components. This was the better part of the program. Though the Options course left a lot to be desired. The instructors are much better than those from the Mathematics or Programming components.
The electives are the saving grace of the program. However, there are very few elective courses as part of the required 45 credits to graduate. ETFs, Data Mining and Advanced Financial Analysis are some courses really relevant to the questions you face in job interviews depending on which career track you choose. Though this program doesn't really send out students to hedge funds in the US, the course on Hedge Funds and the one on Portfolio Management were also very practical. But there are a few bad apples here too. For eg, the risk management elective spent only half out of 12 classes on option greeks, when in reality, almost all of market risk management is dependent on the greeks. Having come to the course with a background in risk management, I was surprised that barely any contemporary topics like CVA / XVA were covered, when in reality 75% of the market risk positions in the industry require some sort of CVA/XVA knowledge/experience. For my cohort, the Time Series professor had changed. He was replaced with someone part time from NJIT who handled the course so badly that in one class, one of the students had to go to the board, correct his mathematical proof, derive it for him and explain it to him in Mandarin and all this after the "professor" was actually looking at the textbook in his hand while scribbling the proof on the blackboard.
3. Career Outcomes.
Now, don't kid yourself. Everyone is here in this program hoping to come out of it with a good job. Some expect a certain title, some expect a certain industry, some expect a certain salary. You have to come to this program with a realistic expectation that not all of your dreams will come true. You will end up compromising on the role or the pay or the title or the brand. This is the job market's reality which many students gloss over. Your first job out of a grad program in business school, generally, is like a plank that will propel you to your dream job next. However, Rutgers MQF finds it difficult to even give you this plank, let alone your dream job. As I have said multiple times earlier, curriculum wise, you are already lagging behind in training, w.r.t the industry expectations. Next, you don't have an Ivy League brand. You aren't located in NYC. The career director spends an inordinate amount of time on fussing over vocabulary, punctuation and alignment in your resume (essentially lecturing you on how important soft skills are) rather than working to engage recruiters to come meet students or engage hiring managers to actually find out what is the skill set expected of fresh graduates (which is feedback that should ideally be passed on the program director and core faculty). Honestly, the resume stuff is not why she was hired and she should ideally delegate it. You should get your actual figures on salary and placement from the school but personally, the experience left a lot to be desired. The one saving grace here is the career director's initiative of experiential learning. Owing to her vast industry network, she engages a few of her ex-colleagues to provide unpaid work to students who don't find summer internships, working on some relevant industry projects. Atleast, this gives you some relevant stuff to put on your resume while searching for full time jobs. I will not get into the tough situation for international students in the job market as its not a problem that only Rutgers students face. But, remember that it adds on to everything intrinsically wrong with the program.
4. Program Leadership and Administration.
Visionary, efficient and engaging are the wrong words to describe them. Bureaucracy, sloth-like response times and indifferent to student issues are the perfect adjectives. The program director has an archaic mindset towards both the curriculum and the job market and this hurts all the students in the program. I cannot think of a single instance in which he reached out to the students/alumni and tried to solicit feedback on what can be improved in the curriculum.
The admin staff and the International Students Office are worse than the US Congress. One example here is generation of CPT i-20s for international students. My friends from a university on Boston had theirs generated in a matter of 5 mins. Rutgers OISS takes 3-5 business days. Their standard answer for everything. Another friend from a university in North Carolina told me that his OPT form will all filled out and kept ready for him by his advisor and all he had to do was sign. At Rutgers, you have to fill out your form and a host of other paperwork yourself and just to get the university's endorsement (OPT i-20), you have to wait another 3-5 business days.
Overall, my experience with the program has left me disillusioned, in deep student debt and set me back 3 years in my career.
45 Credits in total compared 30 credits of most of the MFE programs. You could choose course in different area: math, programming, data analysis, system simulation, finance, accounting, etc. You also have many choices in New Brunswick. That means you have so many rooms to tailor the course with your career goal and interest.
The career services is excellent too. For example, this year, the career adviser bring several big name company to our program to conduct projects with students. Also many industrial people will be invited to give speeches in workshops.
The location also add great points to this program. 20 mins to WTC, 35 mins to mid town Manhattan, which makes to easy to participate in different events or interviews.
Before I attend MQF program, I had an education background of bioinformatics. I wanted to have a career switch at that time. So I chose the quant program at Rutgers. It turned out that it was the right choice. First, this program has diverse courses to choose. You can learn sophisticated math theory if you are good at it, or you can choose finance/economics/accounting courses if you like to explore finance. As far as I know, many other programs only offer or specialized in one side, but not both. Second, the professors are exceptional. The classes are well organized and they are extremely helpful in connecting the industry. I got my first internship in the first few months after attending this program. Third, there are many alumni working at wall street, which are the most powerful resources in job hunting and career development.
After working several years at different rating agencies/ banks, I am proud to say I made a right choice attending MQF program.
Cursory research of the program shows it provides a balance between math, finance, and programming that many other programs are skewed in. After attending here, I believe my assumptions to be true for the most part. While course offerings are not very diverse each semester, there is bound to be opportunities to take very interesting electives. Core classes are flexible enough where time is not an issue. Coursework is reasonable enough to get proper practice without being overwhelming. Teams are important, and building of teams is encouraged in and out of the classroom setting.
Career advisory was lacking the first year. Many company visits, but not many practical opportunities. New career advisor is excellent. Works hard to provide opportunities for all students. Very personal and hands on in assisting each and every student who asks for help.
The biggest issue with the program is the structure of the courses. While the time when classes are taken is flexible to arrange, the sheer number of core classes makes specializing very difficult. Also, some courses do not focus on application enough.
Overall, the program is a great experience. For the most part, professors are excellent. Even if a professor may not teach material or in a manner suited to one's needs, the professor is still very helpful in other aspects of academic and career development.
B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering
14 months work-ex in IT sector
The no.of job postings on Rutgers MQF career website is limited. Rutgers NB career portal is a better choice. However, over the last few months the career service of MQF improved a lot. New Career director takes every case personally. Most of us received calls or leads in the last one month. I will be working as an intern in one of the rating agencies for this summer.
Close to NY. Great chance to network
Large no.of Rutgers alumni are in Financial services and are approchable
Wide range of electives. you can choose MBAs and MFin electives.
You can take basic courses in Finance (A very good introduction for non finance students by Prof Castelino) , programming (C++, Sql, Phyton) and Probability and statistics
Prof. Steven Dym (options. He will be teaching Fixed Income as well from 2015) and Prof. Rusczynski (optimization and Stochastic calculus) are the best faculty of this program
Financial Time Series (Mandatory course) Hw’s are very practical. However, if you lack background in statistics it will be challenging.
Term projects in Fixed income and Numerical Analysis are industry oriented
Financial Modeling I (taught by Dr. Wu, The director of the program) assignments are very practical. He emphasizes on intuition behind every concepts
You can also take exotic electives such as Quant Equity trading (based on market microstructure and technical trading), Indexing and ETFs (Includes guest speaker sessions), Applied Portfolio Management (Equity Research - Provides networking opportunity with high profile people in industry) and Compliance
Course structure. It would be more beneficial if students are allowed to choose electives and core courses to specialize in a particular stream
Few courses such as econometrics are very theoretical in nature ( I did not take the course. I am writing this based on my friends review)
More interaction across all Finance specialization of Rutgers
No online refresher courses prior to join the program
What do you think is unique about this program?
Closeness to Mahattan is a unique characteristic due to the large number of finacial firms, and the ample opportunities to attend industry conferences, education seminars, and networking events.
What are the weakest points about this program?
The lack of practical application to real world finacial careers. While there is plenty of emphasis on purely academic work, it would nice to put some of it to work in a classroom setting. It would also be good to get some VBA experience as that can enhance any career. I also felt that too many professors have trouble conveying difficult topics.
This has been revamped since I was a student. New coordinator seems dedicated to helping students. The general business school career department is solely geared toward MBA students and can't provide much useful assistance. That being said, Dr. Wu does a nice job of exposing local companies to the program which leads to job opportunities.
Small number of American born studends with high levels of Asian students.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
3 years of industry experience followed by a Ph.D. in economics
I who studied part-time in the program from 9/2009 to 5/2011
Did you get admitted to other programs?
Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
Was already a Rutgers student in the Economics dept. Value of program is better than other programs
What alternative sources of info you used to learn more about the program?
Online research, compared coursework of other programs
Tell us about the application process at this program
Applied online, submitted GRE scores and grades online
Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? What do they offer and how much it costs?
Yes, very brief introduction to finance course (free)
Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
There are a total of 16 courses (equivalent of Ph.D. program). There is a big lack of advanced statistics courses and stochastic calculus courses. This is remedied by speaking with the director and substituting courses to make up for this lack. The courses available in the Newark Campus are unfortunately very elementary (Microeconomics, Probability, Stochastic Processes, etc). I took these in the New Brunswick (top 25 math/stat programs) and the quality of the courses is much more advanced.
Tell us about the quality of teaching
New Brunswick's courses are much more rigorous than Newark's courses. However, most professors are excellent and care about their students.
Materials used in the program
Very good texts are used (if you take the NB courses), including Shreve, Hull, O'Kane, among others. For NB's microeconomics course, Rudin is used to build the advanced models.
Programming component of the program
1 course in c++ and 1 course in java, coupled with heavy use of Matlab
Wrote a paper which described liquidity premiums in fixed income markets using Markov chain Monte Carlo simulations (this is in an elective statistics course, in New Brunswick)
Rutgers Business School's Office of Career Management was absolutely useless. I used the equivalent service in New Brunswick (Rutgers CareerKnight), providing me with interviews at major invesment banks, consulting firms, and government agencies for quantitative interviews. I received a summer internship in fixed income quantitative analytics (using CareerKnight to interview). My score below will be for CareerKnight and not RBS OCM
What do you like about the program?
Great overall financial engineering education. It is what you make of it. You can speak to the director and substitute classes (case by case basis). This will make your education much better.
What DON’T you like about the program?
Obvious gaps in the program structure coupled with absense of flexibility.
The quality of the Newark courses is abysmal (particularly microeconomics and probability). This is remedied by taking the same courses in New Brunswick. This program has a huge need for advanced statistics (particularly time series analysis). It would also need another semester of stochastic calculus. The programming aspect is a bit too simplistic.
Suggestions for the program to make it better
Add a time series analysis course (Econometrics 2, NB campus, Prof Swanson), add another semester of stochastic calculus. Get rid of the java course and add a rigorous quant dev class (Computational Finance, NB Campus, Prof Feehan). Teach microeconomics more rigorously (real analysis, topology, advanced risk models) (or take in NB campus). Get rid of probability and add a rigorous measure theory course.
What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Offer in fixed income quantitative analytics (begin July 2011)
This is a great program, if you take most courses in New Brunswick and use CareerKnight in NB instead of RBS OCM