Princeton MFin 2011 Princeton Master in Finance results

bigbadwolf

Well-Known Member
You can use as many illogical arguments as you want but that doesn't change the truth. I guess you may not have any real qualifications and background in Quant Finance, that's why you are making such statements.

CMU/Baruch are very good programs. But each program has its own vision, focus and strengths and weaknesses. But your original statement about Princeton MFin "I don't think they can produce quants" just shows your ignorance.
I don't see what purpose attacking me serves. Many of the people going into serious quant programs have already taken general courses in ODEs, PDEs, statistics, linear programming, and numerical analysis in their math, physics and engineering programs. Now they come to see it applied to finance. That's what a good quant program does. The last thing they need is to be shuffled to some other department to take general courses in PDEs and numerical analysis.

As the message from Wendell Collins makes clear, they're looking for "leadership" qualities rather than hard-core programming and math skills. So many of their candidates may not have the technical flair to apply general concepts to finance (assuming they even have the inclination to do so).

I'm sure Princeton does a good job of creating finance generalists who can go on to assume "leadership" positions -- but stop this puerile argument that the program can produce quants. Or at least put forward a credible counterargument. Just citing the names of courses in bold and calling me illogical and ignorant doesn't cut it.
 

vincegata

Member
I have to agree with bbw that it does look on the "soft" side, and electives that are not tailored for finance do not add a lot of value. I already had PDE, numerical analysis, stochastics before joining my program. However, e.g. in a specialized Numerical analysis for finance they will tell you to forget about Runge-Kutta b/c of Markovian property.

Nevertheless, Princeton is a great program.
 

mcgruber

Member
I have to agree with bbw that it does look on the "soft" side, and electives that are not tailored for finance do not add a lot of value. I already had PDE, numerical analysis, stochastics before joining my program. However, e.g. in a specialized Numerical analysis for finance they will tell you to forget about Runge-Kutta b/c of Markovian property.

Nevertheless, Princeton is a great program.
vincegata, all the programs will have shortcomings in one form or the other. Studying PDEs/Numerical methods from a mathematics point of view is far superior than studying a curtailed and trimmed down finance-only versions of these topics. With solid foundation in both Finance and Mathematics, the two dots can be connected. This "Princeton prepares only generalists" is just a conjecture and plain wrong. Wendell Collins doesn't mention anywhere that Princeton creates generalists. I think someone has once again wrongly assumed that "finance leadership" means just soft skills.
Who says that students with solid quant and Math skills cannot be finance leaders ?

And Princeton electives offered by other departments do impart solid skills to the students to do quant related work ( if they choose). If students choose not to take them then that is a different story. But, I repeat, there are ample opportunities for Princeton MFin students to gain quant skills.

This Quantnet article mentions some serious problems with topics coverage with most MFE programs. But still most MFE students do become "quants", even the ones from Princeton MFin :)

http://www.quantnet.com/state-of-financial-engineering/

some excerpts:

"Throughout our Internet search, the following topics were absent from the syllabi of the numerical analysis courses within the financial engineering curricula of the academic institutions we reviewed:
1. Z-transforms and Laplace transforms
2. Banach and Sobolev spaces
3. Fourier series and transforms (one exception)
4. Lax equivalence theorem (same exception)
5. Von Neumann stability analysis
6. Courant-Friedrichs-Loewy (CFL) condition
7. The Nyquist sampling theorem (useful in Fourier analysis)
8. Convergence analysis
9. Error propagation analysis
10. The Weierstrass approximation theorem
11. The interplay between truncation and discretization error

It is simply not possible to claim expertise in numerical analysis if one does not have at least a passing acquaintance with the above foundational elements. However, learning these things takes time. On the other hand, if the goal is not to become knowledgeable in numerical analysis but simply to learn a sundry assortment of basic methods, there are much cheaper ways to do this, for instance in the mathematics or computer science department of the same school. Numerical analysis is a well-formed discipline that does not need finance to give it credibility.
The consequence of all this is that today, and through no fault of their own, students with degrees in financial engineering are ill-equipped to face the rapidly changing face of finance. "
 

goldski

Member
There are lots of quants from Princeton MFin doing quant trading at hedge funds, banks, etc. I recently spoke to a Mfin recently who was at GS on their principal strategies group that got moved to KKR. He was a quant trader at GS and now at KKR. They just happen to get placed into top quant trading positions and not the support quant positions that require either lots of math or lots of programming where lots of CMU,NYU and Baruch students go. although those programs have supplied quant traders too.

CMU, NYU and Baruch are "hardcore" quant programs. They produce "hardcore" quants whereas Princeton and Berkeley produce more all rounded quant finance individuals.
 

bluechimp

Member
I'd say that among Princeton student, the majority seeks to obtain trading / risk-taking positions, and not necessarily quant jobs. Are people smart enough to become quants? Yes, I believe so. When you have valedictorians from Ecole Polytechnique and Tsinghua/Beida in your class, you know you're in good intellectual company. Are there courses available to prepare you to become hardcore quants? Yes -- just take all ORFE PhD courses by your second year.

But not all people want to be quants. Princeton placed a ton of kids in prop positions throughout the past credit boom, and this in turn I believe shape the characteristic of the program over time -- people come because they want to take similar prop jobs.
 

Abdel

Economist
What you guys think of the director of the Benheim Center for Finance (Yacine Aït-Sahalia)?

I'm asking this because he's from my home country (actually the region I'm from!).
 
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