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2016 QuantNet Rankings of Financial Engineering (MFE) Programs

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Berkeley and Princeton MFE grads are the most sought-after grads by top firms. Grads of both prestigious schools also enjoy the highest average starting salary offers. They're also the two most selective MFE programs out there.

Berkeley MFE is not necessarily selective. They simply put much more weight on work experience than other programs. If you have some years of decent (not necessarily excellent) work experience, it is one of the easiest programs to get into.

For example, I know four Berkeley MFE alumni from 2011 to 2015, and most of them were rejected by other top schools like CMU, Columbia, NYU because they already had worked full time before MFE but had a mediocre GPA and test scores. Some were even rejected by Chicago.

Berkeley just has a different preference when selecting the candidates. That is why it “seems“ selective to people around you, but the overall admission rate is actually not as low as you think.


Neil, your perception about the Berkeley Haas MFE program is not entirely correct. It isn't as easy a program to get onto. You were pitifully bluffed by it's high admit rate. You ignored the over half a thousand applicants that were pre-screened every year and were advised to discontinue from applying due to lack of requirements and/or prerequisites. This is something not being practiced by other schools thus their relatively lower admit rate. So you see -- the admit rate in this case is a misnomer.

It's also not necessary to have a work experience prior to applying to the program. It does give those applicants with relevant experience an edge, however. But, the reason why Berkeley is imposing stricter admission criteria than the others is because it can afford to do it, something that the less attractive programs, or those schools with lesser pulling power and appeal, are hessitant (or scared) to do knowing they'll be suffering a significant plunge of the number of their applicants, and that would severely devastate their admission stats, or evev lose money generated from the application fees.

It is also not true that you can get onto the MFE program with mediocre GPAs or GMAT scores. This is a complete heresay. Almost everyone admitted on the program is, at least, magna cum laude standing. The average undergrad GPA of the enrolled students is 3.88 and 740 is the average GMAT score. That isn't shady by any means. And, I seriously doubt if you can name more than a couple of programs that have better stats. On top of that, over half of the students have, at least, a master's degree. Anyone who's thinking that a program having a more "educated" and accomplished student body is a disadvantage group must be having a serious identity crises. You'll learn from your peers.

As to your claim that you know 4 people who got into Berkeley Haas but not into Columbia, NYU and CMU... Well, let me tell you also of my personal anecdotes. I know 16 people who were admited onto the MBA program at Stanford but not Berkeley Haas. I also know some people who got into Harvard Law but not NYU Law. I also know a couple of guys admitted to Harvard undergrad but not UCLA. Such things happen to any top program. But just because you know a couple of special cases makes the whole thing the norm. There are outliers in all admission statistics.
When is the 2016 ranking list expected? The title has changed to 2016 quantnet rankings, but the underlying ranks are still the same.


Active Member
However, in the real world, no one would go for Baruch over Berkeley/Princeton. That would be very, very stupid to do. Baruch is just a tier 3 school. It doesn't have any name recognition outside of NY in a slightest. As someone who grew up in France, I know for a fact that no elite French student, in general, or MFE aspirant, in specific, would rather be at Baruch than at Berkeley/Princeton. (Berkeley vs Princeton would have a very long debate though, I'm sure, because they're neck-and-neck.) Maybe Baruch gets some respect in NY. But it's the best that it can get. Because outside of NY, no one cares about a degree from Baruch. Seriously.

I just wanna say never say no one would do something because you never know. Please keep it in mind if no one told you.

Also please respect people's work. Thank @Andy Nguyen for collecting and analyzing the data. Don't talk in a way that you are the only one who knows everything. We are here to discuss questions not to fight against each other.

Don't reply to my message. Thanks.

CN Chen

Tough noogies I wasn't able to find someone to take the other side of my bet!

That's a great point but the focus on tuition here may be (dare I say it) intentional. When US News does their college rankings table, they include things like acceptance rate, and enrollment class size numbers along with tuition. Here, tuition is clearly the most important thing. That's great for one of the top programs in particular: Baruch.

I've brought up the very strong pro-Baruch bias on QuantNet with Andy a few times before, but I don't really see that changing. If I were a betting man, now that Baruch is finally within spitting distance of the top, they would be my lock to be #1 in the 2017 MFE Rankings.
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