University of Minnesota Financial Mathematics program

University of Minnesota Financial Mathematics program

Did you get admitted to other programs?
Yes

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
Reputation of the university and the math dept, and comparative lower tuition rates.

What alternative sources of info you used to learn more about the program?
Quantnet, forums and alumni.

Tell us about the application process at this program
Application is quite simple and twp essays are needed. No paper documents are needed until you are admitted.

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
All courses required are set and no elective. However, students can choose an emphasis, includes Economics, Statistics, Computer Science, etc. Normally, three additional courses in specific area can even qualify you to gain a minor several course requirements are satisfied.

Tell us about the quality of teaching
Good. Most instructors are experienced practitioners from the industry and very nice to answer questions and to share those hands-on experience. Besides knowledge of quantitative finance from the book, those industry professors can bring more practical perspectives and tell you more about how those theories are implemented in real practice. Some of them are particularly focus on a specific field and bring their expertise which inspires and benefits students a lot.

Materials used in the program
John.C Hull - Options, Futures, Derivs Stochastic Processes - Lawler

Projects
Many course projects, traditional in the quant finance field, are required and they are all arranged in a very practical sense. In addition, the winter modelling workshop brings in some currently popular projects for students to investigate and is indeed valuable.

Career service
Great career service with one-by-one mentoring and the directors are always there and very helpful in providing valuable advice. Regulary weekly career workshops are held to prepare students to be more competitive in job hunting. They are trying to connect with industry practitioners and start arranging important networking event in the field of both actuary and quant finance. Regular yearly netwroking event, winter modeling workshop are good examples. And the recently help risk management symposium is quite successful, with involvement of many successful practitioners as speakers and very well-designed speech contents covering most popular risk mgmt topics in both the actuary and bank sides. We can witness that the placement quality is improving.

What do you like about the program?
Overall, it is a good program especially when comparing the quality/price ratio. Directors and faculty are passionate, with their continuing effort to improve the program. We can see the great improvement and the growing reputation of the program, so great potential is one of the biggest merits that worths our particular attention to the program. Many intelligent classmates including those part-time students, some of who are already in the industry, and it has quite a good reputation in the finance area of Minneapolis.

What DON’T you like about the program?
Course structure is not flexible and the location may be a disadvantage for the program. So more efforts to expand its reputation in a brader area are needed. In addition, more oop language based practices are needed for students to implement the quant finance knowledge.

Suggestions for the program to make it better
Provide more course selections in order to let the students design a more flexible course structure. Also the names of courses should be modified to specify content of the course.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Summer intern in a small company participating in derivatives valuation. Start seeking full-time position in the coming year.
Nice program mainly because the people and stuff are excellent.
if you are eager to learn something, you can have quite a lot of options of minor in statistics, economics and computer science which are also quite helpful when you are searching jobs in US.
This is one of the high valuable programs across the country and I believe with Laurie's efforts, we are building the reputation in different areas now.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Bachelor Degree on Telecommunications Engineering from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China.
Working Experience: No working experience.
GPA:87/100
Revised GRE: 314
IELTS:7.0
Enrolled:2012

Did you get admitted to other programs?
Yes

Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
Reputation of the university and the reasonable tuition rates.

What alternative sources of info you used to learn more about the program?
Quantnet, Friends.

Tell us about the application process at this program
Application is straight forward. No paper documents are needed until you are admitted. Waiting list is applicable in this program.

Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
Course structure in this program is kind of rigid. No elective courses are available. But students can minor in other majors, like Management , Statistics, Computer Science etc.

Tell us about the quality of teaching
Good. The instructors are experienced practitioners from the realm quantitative finance. And some of them may only focus on a specific field of the industry instead of having round knowledge of quant finance like full time professors.

Materials used in the program
John.C Hull - Options, Futures, Derivs Stochastic Processes - Lawler

Projects
The modelling workshop here is of great value, in addition to other course related projects.

Career service
Our executive director has great connection with the industry and she is always very happy to help us in finding an intern and full time job. Every week, we have some training on improving interviewing skills.

What do you like about the program?
Good overall. The faculty is working hard on this program. Classmates around you are excellent, many of our who are already have jobs and you could learn a lot from them. The finance industry in Minneapolis is quite competitive.

What DON’T you like about the program?
Course structure could be improved. No electives, not enough diversification. And now students only need to take 8 courses to graduate while 10 to 12 is the normal number for a graduate program.

C# instead of C++ is taught in the program. Almost all the core courses rely solely on Matlab, instead of object-oriented programming languages. C# is taught in the first year and then is kind of abandoned in the second year.

The program is new relative to others and more connections with the industry could be built in the future. But the program is making its effort towards that goal.

Suggestions for the program to make it better
Improve course structure. Strike a balance of the numbers of practitioner and that of full time professor in the instructors team. More connections with the industry.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Intern at a software development company now. Seeking a full time job in the coming year.

This review was submitted anonymously
MFM program in UMN provides the opportunity to learn quantitative finance skills directly from industry professors around Minnesota and Chicago area. It holds weekly seminar on Friday evening which invites distinguished academic professor such as Steve Shreve and quant finance professional such as Peter Carr. Its student club Financial Mathematics Association (FMA) invites alumni and practitioners to come to communicate and network with current students. FMA also holds quant finance career fair and networking event each year. MFM program provides a lot of opportunities for students to participate in projects with professors or industry. There are few I must mention here. The winter modeling workshop holding each year is a 10-day workshop on Financial Mathematics Modeling every winter between Fall and Spring Semesters.Students will work in teams of up to 6 students under the guidance of a mentor from the financial modeling/trading sector. The mentor will help guide the students in the modeling process, analysis and computational work associated with a real-world financial modeling/trading problem. A progress report from each team will be scheduled during the period. In addition, each team will be expected to make an oral final presentation and submit a written report at the end of the 10-day period. The others are like several nationwide/university/CME group trading competitions, IAFE academic case competition and so on. The directors make lots of efforts in career placement. The program is improving day by day.

Minnesota Center for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics (MCFAM) where MFM program is landed in held a successful summer symposium Modeling Risk in Banking and Insurance: Catching the Next Crisis at July, 2013 which was also endorsed by IAFE (http://iafe.org/html/MCFAMJuly2013.htm). Students and practitioners came together for an intensive three day symposium which looked at the broad overview of risk taxonomy and regulation and then delved deeper into specific risk modeling areas for both banking and insurance. In addition to the detailed sessions on risk modeling, risk leaders from Securian Financial Group, US Bank, Wells Fargo, The Travelers Companies and Allianz Life participated in a panel discussion to pinpoint the impact of new regulation on their businesses, including the challenges and open issues.

The courses in MFM program include FM5091, FM5092 which are Computation, Algorithms and Coding in Finance; FM5001, FM5002 which are Preparation for Financial Mathematics; FM 5011, FM5012 which are Mathematical Background for Finance; FM5021, FM5022 which are Mathematical Theory Applied in Finance; FM5031, FM5032 which are Practitioners Course. Most of students will complete all the coursework in two years. Besides all the financial mathematics courses, students have access to almost any course in department of mathematics, finance, economics, statistics, computer sciences and so on.

For application, the deadline is Feb 1. And first round offer will be sent out on Mar 15 and second round at May 1.
Good program and we can learn a lot in the modeling workshop and projects from the course work. The advisor is very helpful in job hunting and can always give a lot of good suggestion.
The Master of Financial Mathematics Program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is one of the top programs in financial mathematics/financial engineering. The courses offered in the program are comprehensive, covering a wide range of topics from mathematical background in finance (probability and measure theory, stochastic calculus, statistics, time series, optimization) to practical applications (options, futures and other derivatives, risk and asset allocation, fixed income markets, copula models and MCMC, volatility models, mortgage backed securities) to computer programming (MATLAB, C#, Excel VBA) in financial engineering. The rigorous coursework and challenging projects are beneficial to all who are interested in pursuing a career in quantitative finance. The faculty members (both professors from the University and practitioners from the industry) are nice and knowledgeable. The fellow students are smart and hard-working. The executive director of the program is very supportive of the students with respect to their job search, placement and career development. Graduates from the program land very decent jobs in the finance industry. In addition, the tuition of the program is relative low compared to similar programs in the US, and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen. Overall, the Master of Financial Mathematics program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has a lot to offer, and I highly recommend those of you who are interested in financial mathematics/financial engineering to apply and come to the program!
A good program offers you a lot of opportunities to learn from practitioners and participate in activities in the financial community in the twin cities. Good reputation among local firms.
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