# Accepted! BU, Claremont, or USC?

#### MSUPokerGod

I'm trying to decide between those 3 schools before BU's 1k deposit due on the 25th. I was offered a 30% fellowship to CGU, a 12k scholarship to BU, and a congratulations from USC. I've searched these forums and have found some conflicting views...
I'm under the impression that BU has a better reputation and their alumni network is larger
Their "graduate career services" program of BU seems to be a plus, whereas it looks like Claremont has more of a "good luck with your degree!" attitude. I haven't yet researched much on USC (research week is this week basically).
Andy, you said (in a thread a couple weeks ago)
"BU is going through a transitional phrase right now so give them a few years to work out the kinks. If you plan to work in Boston, it's a reasonable choice."
Could you elaborate on these "kinks"?
thanks

#### MSUPokerGod

although I should note that I have a 3.39 undergrad GPA with 800Q 500V, and the only reason I wasn't considered for U of M or Baruch because my recommenders didn't make the deadlines, so I could take a year and reapply. (Although I was rejected from UCLA and NYU, so if those are just as exclusive theres not much point in that). A year would also give me time to work on this business I'm in the process of building...

#### Andy Nguyen

Are you domestic student?
You are building a business? What kind? How does this MFE plan fit in with your business?

#### MSUPokerGod

I'm domestic, just graduated from Michigan State.
I'm planning on starting an online poker site (not based in the US, wouldn't even allow US customers due to the current legal climate), with some distinguishing characteristics that I believe would place it into an untapped niche (can't really disclose the details yet). This has nothing to do with MFE, I probably wouldn't have time for it if I went into a program. Like most start-ups, its a long shot, but I have put some serious time and money into it so far, and I have a rough draft of a business plan (longest "paper" I've ever written) with some potential investors. I'd have to have a decent chance at success to forgo school.
so thats the low probability "plan A"...
...but most likely I'll be choosing a coast for MFE instead.
Thoughts?

#### Andy Nguyen

It's pretty much a West versus East decision to me. Looks at the opportunities offered to you by proximity to a financial center.
BU program is now under their business school after years under their Math dept. In the long term, it will bring about positive changes, career services being something those folks have experience in. Keep in mind I stress long term.
Right now, it's a hard read. I have equivalent numbers of "bad" and "good" comments from current students and I trust that they are truthful. Overtime, one will outnumber the other.
One visible positive change made after the transition is that many people visiting the BU program came away impressed by how the program is presented and marketed. That's what good marketing and plentiful resource do for you, something the math dept sorely lacks.

#### coolharvard

Boston University for sure. (Claremont isn't that bad as well).

But don't go to U$C. #### Andy Nguyen But don't go to U$C.
What is your obsession with USC? Did you have a bad experience with their MFE/MathFin program or the university in general?
I have seen your comments everywhere USC is mentioned on Quantnet and I just like to hear your story.

#### MSUPokerGod

Boston University for sure. (Claremont isn't that bad as well).

But don't go to U$C. thanks for trying to help, but this isn't the kind of input I'm looking for. If you have reasons why USC is bad, please elaborate. It's pretty much a West versus East decision to me. do you mean that it depends in what geographical location I want to work? I REALLY want to go to LA, I think it would be amazing, but I've been talking with my parents and they seem to think that BU is just clearly superior. They've even made the argument that it would be better to go to BU and seek a job around LA, than to go to Claremont or USC. Their rationale is that since BU is so well respected it would open up "more opportunities", where I'd have my pick of a greater number of jobs, which would allow me to choose a firm that best worked for me, and I could go to cali anyway. I should note that I have no idea what kind of job would fit me best at this point, but I'd like to work fewer hours for less money (I'm aware that this will still be more hours/money than most jobs ). If it is indeed very close, I'm thinking the$47.6k Claremont price tag (+ higher cost of living? or is boston similarly expensive?) is significantly worse than the 24k of boston
although does it really matter? assuming I get a job, its going to be high-paying, so I can pay this off in a couple years. Does that make sense?
In the long term, it will bring about positive changes, career services being something those folks have experience in. Keep in mind I stress long term.
by long term, do you mean that my degree will appreciate in value as their program becomes better a few years down the road, or simply that the students they educate in a few years will be be better off...?

#### Andy Nguyen

I didn't see any timelines from you in the Tracker.

#### MSUPokerGod

I applied to those 3, UCLA, NYU (both rejected), U of M, and Baruch (both not considered due to recommenders not turning in recommendations in time)
I didn't do any of the tracking, sorry

#### MSUPokerGod

do you need me to go do the tracker now? I'm looking for some clarification on the state of the BU program...

#### Andy Nguyen

do you need me to go do the tracker now? I'm looking for some clarification on the state of the BU program...
Yes, your input in the Tracker is appreciated very much.
I don't have the answer for your question about future of BU program and value of its program. Programs move up and down every year in the ranking and applicants' or employers' perception. In reality, deans know that their program don't change that much from year to year but a drop in average GRE, placement rate gets amplified a lot.

5 years from now, you don't need the name of your degree to help move you up the ladder. It's your track record that does the speaking. For the next 2 years, your goal is to find a program that prepares you best for a good entry job closest to your desired career path.

The number of applicants to BU program jumps a great deal the past 2 years and this year they have over 1,000 applicants. A great number of them are fresh graduates from China.
Think about it. BU has more applicants this year than MIT, NYU, Columbia MFE. Will this translate into a much better incoming class, I don't know.

#### MSUPokerGod

I REALLY want to go to LA, I think it would be amazing, but I've been talking with my parents and they seem to think that BU is just clearly superior. They've even made the argument that it would be better to go to BU and seek a job around LA, than to go to Claremont or USC. Their rationale is that since BU is so well respected it would open up "more opportunities", where I'd have my pick of a greater number of jobs, which would allow me to choose a firm that best worked for me, and I could go to cali anyway.
do you think that this is a fair assessment?
Also, what do you know about the differences in the programs as far as what type of job I would be best prepared for? Does either have more of a focus on programming for example? Is there a place where I can see what types of jobs BU graduates go into versus Claremont and USC graduates?
Or if there isn't a site, do you know how I could get that kind of information...?

#### MSUPokerGod

Alright well I decided to go to BU, but I finally got an email back from USC and I figured I'd share it.
Also I should note that I tried unsuccessfully to find the answers to all of these questions on the website. I also called, and the secretary said she was going to connect me with the FE people, and I was sent to the Electrical engineering department, which was a message that not only was there nobody there to answer the phone, the message said that the phone doesn't take messages and they didn't staff to answer that particular line, ever. Yet the secretary connected me with them anyway.
I got this email back 5 days later:
Below are some of the answers. Please see the Financial engineering website for further inquiries: http://mapp.usc.edu/mastersprograms/degreeprograms/EE/MSFE.html

On May 23, 2011, at 1:01 PM, Jason wrote:

Hi,
I was accepted into the financial engineering program, and I have a few questions.

How long is the program? 1.5-2 years. 27 units total.

When is the graduation date? See above.

How many credits/semester do I take, and what do I do during the Summer of 2012? If there are course available that count towards the major that you wish to take, you can take those.

In the webpage http://mapp.usc.edu/mastersprograms/currentstudents/AcademicAdvisement.htm, why is there no link to a financial engineering adviser? Currently, the EE department advises the Financial Engineering majors, there is not a specific department as it is a collaboration from various departments/schools at USC.

when is my nonrefundable deposit due? There is no required deposit for masters students.

where is a list of courses? http://mapp.usc.edu/mastersprograms/degreeprograms/EE/MSFE.html

what services does the school provide to help students get jobs? we have a Career Services Center within the Engineering school as well as one serving the greater USC population, this is a service you must actively pursue on your own.

what firms come to specifically recruit financial engineering students? I would suggest doing some research on this on your own.

I didn't submit my supplemental form in time for the May 2nd deadline, can I still qualify for any financial aid? please reference the financial aid website: http://www.usc.edu/admission/fa/ OR speak to Student Financial Services for anything regarding financial aid: http://fbs.usc.edu/depts/sfs

Are there any specific classes or training for algorithmic trading? Please see our website for the outline of courses available: http://mapp.usc.edu/mastersprograms/degreeprograms/EE/MSFE.html

Thank you,
Jason​

Thank you for your inquiry,
EE Student Services
studentinfo@ee.usc.edu

This is a laughable response. "I would suggest doing some research on this on your own."
are they kidding? I make an important inquiry about their program that is very difficult to find, and they don't provide any help at all.
Please see our website for the outline of courses available: http://mapp.usc.edu/mastersprograms/degreeprograms/EE/MSFE.html
Obviously the person who sent this answer didn't go to that page themselves. You can go see whats on that page if you want, but basically this is the extent of the information on that part
• 3 required courses: 9 units
• 2 advisor-approved electives in the areas of finance, business, and economics: 6 units
• 3 advisor-approved electives in the areas of optimization, simulations, and stochastic systems: 9 units
• 1 advisor-approved elective in the areas of systems and controls: 3 units
• Minimum of 18 units must be taken from within the Viterbi School of Engineering.
• A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required for graduation.
Thats it. I couldn't even find the "3 required courses"

How long is the program? 1.5-2 years. 27 units total.

When is the graduation date? See above.

I asked this because their supplemental financial aid form requires you to put whether you are graduating in December or May. However, 1.5 years from August is Feburary, and 2 years is August. Thus I don't know what to put on the form.

Pretty sloppy, apathetic, and late response. Even if they did get back to me before the Wednesday BU 1k deposit deadline, I couldn't have chosen them.

#### Andy Nguyen

I receive a review from one recent USC MFE graduate. I'll put it up soon.
The reviewer is supposed to give me additional input later but in the interest of time, here comes

Name of program *
USC MS in Financial Engineering

Rate this program *
· 7

Title your review *
Great new program but still has room to develop

recently graduated from USC's M.S. in Financial Engineering program. I liked the choice of courses offered at USC. Although there were limited courses to choose from, the choices are great and they really provide great depth in the field. Some courses are highly electrical engineering and probability theory related. For those who do not come from a technical background, you may be at a disadvantage, but there are two courses you can take to get caught up in probability theory. For those with a technical background (I have BSEE from UCSB), you should be fine in most of the courses. This year they have developed the program in order to be diverse for all backgrounds. You will get a foundation in probability theory, random and stochastic processes, and dynamic programming, while also taking courses through the Marshall School of Business. Personally, I liked the business courses in Valuations and Investments, but they do offer a wide range of o ther courses to choose as your electives (Fixed Income Securities, Forecasting and Risk Analysis, Tradings and Exchanges, Management of Financial Risk, Mortgages and Mortgage-Backed Securities, etc).

Teaching quality is excellent and most professors are extremely approachable. The USC Career Center is great and is really helpful, but lacks when it comes to FE majors since it is a newer program. Although USC Career Services may not have the exact job you may want, the Trojan Alumni Network is expansive and is globally well-known. It is very easy to connect with other Trojan Alumni.

I hope this helps for others interested in pursuing a Master's in Financial Engineering!

Would you recommend this program to your friend? *
· YES

Your background, how did you know about this program and why you decided to choose this program. *
I was originally accepted and enrolled at USC for their MSEE program, but decided that it's not really my passion and I randomly came across the MSFINE (that's what they call it at USC) on the EE website. The Electrical Engineering department is still the "parent" department until MSFINE can grow into its own. I currently work in the defense industry and I'm hoping to find a position in the financial industry soon.