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Advice for Choosing UK MSc Programmes

Hello,

I am a final-year Maths undergrad studying at a mid-tier Russel university, interested in quantitative research. In my first and second year I had an average of 71% (1st Class predicted overall). I have picked, and performed well in, relevant modules for financial mathematics.

I have currently applied to:
Imperial: MSc Maths and Finance,
Warwick: MSs Mathematical Finance,
UCL: MSc Financial Maths.

I haven't been able to secure any internships; I meet the entry requirements for all these courses but my first question is: can anyone make an estimation of the likelihood any of these programmes accept me?

In the case I am rejected from all three, I am also considering the UCL's slightly less competitive MSc in Computational Finance, or some other programmes in scientific computing/data analysis. In any situation I would like to pursue a PhD after graduating from a Master's programme. My second question is: to what extend would this 'step down' in Master's qualification impact a future career in quantitative research?

Thanks.
 
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No one will probably even notice you took the UCL's Computational Finance MSc in place of UCL's Financial Maths MSc.
Only if you were vying for a position in direct competition with another candidate that has UCL's Financial Maths MSc in his resumé, then I foresee that the recruiters may perhaps bother to care to check the differences between the two programs.
I say perhaps, because they probably won't even bother to do that.
 
What about Birmingham? Here is a 2020 thesis

If I'm honest I thought the course structure for FinEng at Birmingham was alright, but I have a worry that I wouldn't be taken as seriously if I applied to less prestigious institutions. I decided to move university's last minute for my undergrad for family reasons, from a top 10 institution to ~ top 30. A lot of my friends from high school are doing the same course, but attending target institutions, have had a much easier time of getting internships/placements, so I think I've developed a slight paranoia.

I suppose I wanted to 'off-set' any judgments people make make about me by doing well on a prestigious course.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
I suppose what you know >> what Michelin star you have/paid?
But I am not in HR..

My students who are assigned to me tend to get full-time jobs after 2-3 months. They have good C++ and maths background. I don't take them otherwise.
 
I suppose what you know >> what Michelin star you have/paid?
But I am not in HR..

My students who are assigned to me tend to get full-time jobs after 2-3 months. They have good C++ and maths background. I don't take them otherwise.
I am probably being too pessimistic - do many student go on to do further study after completing their MSc?
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
I am probably being too pessimistic - do many student go on to do further study after completing their MSc?
I don't know .. you probably need to inquire with the uni,
And it depends on the 'kind' of MSc I suppose .. research or more practical.
How long is a piece of string?
 
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In terms of finding a position in BB/HF/PTF, I would rank the programmes in UK as:
1st MCF@Oxford (~30 students)
2nd Math&Fin@Imperial (~30 students)
3rd FinMath@LSE (~20 students)

And even the 3rd one is not at the same level of the first two. For an overall of 71%, it's really hard for these 3 programmes, as most of the students have 80% above. I would say there's a chance for UCL/Warwick and the RMFE at imperial's business school.
 
In terms of finding a position in BB/HF/PTF, I would rank the programmes in UK as:
1st MCF@Oxford (~30 students)
2nd Math&Fin@Imperial (~30 students)
3rd FinMath@LSE (~20 students)

And even the 3rd one is not at the same level of the first two. For an overall of 71%, it's really hard for these 3 programmes, as most of the students have 80% above. I would say there's a chance for UCL/Warwick and the RMFE at imperial's business school.

Thanks @Kerr for sharing those insights. Could you please further comment on the Math&Fin - Imperial v/s. RMFE - Imperial in terms of coursework, career services, any other criteria?
 
Thanks @Kerr for sharing those insights. Could you please further comment on the Math&Fin - Imperial v/s. RMFE - Imperial in terms of coursework, career services, any other criteria?
I've heard this many times, "Imperial business school is not really imperial".
In terms of programme size, math&fin only has ~30 students each year, the RMFE ~150.
The coursework of RMFE is much more like "general finance" than quant comparing to math&fin.
RMFE cannot ensure you a quant position in BB/HF, most of the students ended up with risk positions.
It is much more difficult to get admitted in the math&fin programme.

So the both courses are not really at the same level.
 
I've heard this many times, "Imperial business school is not really imperial".
In terms of programme size, math&fin only has ~30 students each year, the RMFE ~150.
The coursework of RMFE is much more like "general finance" than quant comparing to math&fin.
RMFE cannot ensure you a quant position in BB/HF, most of the students ended up with risk positions.
It is much more difficult to get admitted in the math&fin programme.

So the both courses are not really at the same level.
To add on to this comment, per FOI requests here is an idea of how admission rates compare:
RMFE
MathFin

I can't comment on the accuracy of this data, but interestingly it does appear that the number of applicants to MathFin has dropped in the last few years, as such it would seem slightly less competitive than formerly.
 
I've heard this many times, "Imperial business school is not really imperial".
In terms of programme size, math&fin only has ~30 students each year, the RMFE ~150.
The coursework of RMFE is much more like "general finance" than quant comparing to math&fin.
RMFE cannot ensure you a quant position in BB/HF, most of the students ended up with risk positions.
It is much more difficult to get admitted in the math&fin programme.

So the both courses are not really at the same level.

RMFE grads are indeed rarely destined for quant positions. Some make it, but the numbers are limited (~5%). However (and this is important), the students there generally have very different ambitions (including non-finance: consulting, tech, ...). I would also stress that it is not a 'risk management' degree. Ok, more grads do risk than quant finance, but only by about a factor of 2.
 
Somewhat related: MathFin at Imperial would be my first choice as I'm very interested in applications of machine learning to finance. It doesn't seem many other MathFin courses offer such a level of specialisation for the discipline.

As it seems my low 70s average would leave me unlikely to be admitted, I'm wondering whether it would be a sane idea to request a change from a BSc to MMath, for which I'm eligible, and then apply for Imperial's MathFin MSc afterwards.

This would also mean that I would not be accepting offers from Warwick or UCL for 2021 entry, were I to receive them.

Could anyone offer some advice?
 
Somewhat related: MathFin at Imperial would be my first choice as I'm very interested in applications of machine learning to finance. It doesn't seem many other MathFin courses offer such a level of specialisation for the discipline.

As it seems my low 70s average would leave me unlikely to be admitted, I'm wondering whether it would be a sane idea to request a change from a BSc to MMath, for which I'm eligible, and then apply for Imperial's MathFin MSc afterwards.

This would also mean that I would not be accepting offers from Warwick or UCL for 2021 entry, were I to receive them.

Could anyone offer some advice?
I probably would agree with doing the MMath and increasing your avg. but i guess this comment does come quite late!
How did you end up proceeding?
 
I probably would agree with doing the MMath and increasing your avg. but i guess this comment does come quite late!
How did you end up proceeding?
Thanks for the input, I talk a bit more in detail about my dilemma between an MMath and MFE in this thread.

Ended up receiving an offer from Warwick, including a 50% fee reduction. All things considered, I've firmly accepted the offer and I'm due to start in September.
 
Somewhat related - although it's probably not the most visible place to make the request - if there any Warwick MSMF (formerly MSFM) alumni on QuantNet, I'd be interested to get in touch to discuss your experiences with the course, and particularly any useful preparation.
 
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