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Aspiring Quantitative Trader/Portfolio Manager MFE Advice

Hi all,

I'm currently a senior at a lower top 10 public US university majoring in Economics and graduating this winter. I'm interested in either trading or quantitative portfolio management (not sure which yet, but I know I want to be generating returns) and I was wondering what my MFE admissions prospects would look like, and whether or not you think an MFE would be a good fit.

Here's my background:

GPA: 3.75/40, Econ GPA: 3.75/4.0

Transferred from Georgia Tech after 3 semesters (last semester at GT was spent co-oping), where I earned a 3.3 GPA due to a lack of focus and somewhat poor mental health. At Georgia Tech, I got an A in Calc I (which covered integration and differentiation, which to my understanding makes it more like Calc I and II at other universities), a C in Calc II (which covered, sequences, series, and linear algebra) and a D in multivariable calculus. I also took a Python class and earned an A, as well as an A in Physics I and a B in Physics II (both calc based). On the whole though, this was a low point for me.

The summer between Georgia Tech and starting at my new college, I retook multi at a large state school near my hometown and earned a B.

Then at my new school, I really turned things around: I earned an A in Principles of Statistics (stats pre-req for econometrics), an A in Econometrics, an A in Game Theory (calculus based), a mixture of A's and A-'s in various upper level calculus based economics courses (Advanced Micro, Industrial Organization, etc), and a B+ in Linear Algebra. Aside from Linear Algebra, the only classes I've done worse than an A- in have been squishy things like Comparative Politics. Currently I'm taking an upper level econometrics class that I am on track to earn an A in (that makes pretty substantial use of linear algebra), a class in data analysis using Python (pandas) that I am also on track to earn an A or A- in, and a class on equity markets and portfolio management that I am also on track to earn an A in. The prof for that last class has been very impressed with me and offered to write me a strong letter of rec for graduate study in finance.

As far as work experience goes, this past summer I interned at a large asset management firm doing fundamental equities research. I was the only intern and unfortunately did not get a return offer because of a hiring freeze, though both my boss and my boss's boss (head PM for that office) have offered to write strong recommendations.

While I haven't gotten my official GRE scores back, the unofficial scores I was shown at the end of the test were a 169 Q and a 170 V. And while it's probably not relevant to my application, I did make it very far through the technical interview gauntlet for a well known prop trading firm for a trading internship. The questions mostly dealt with Bayesian probability and "rationality" and I was only rejected in the final round.

So, with all this in mind, what are my chances at admission in a top program? And how likely would I be to succeed in such a program, as well as get a good job afterwards? Thanks in advance for your honest input.
 
1) what are my chances at admission in a top program? If you haven't applied yet, you have zero chance. Apply and find out.

2) And how likely would I be to succeed in such a program? That is up to you. If you are asking, I don't like the prospects.

3) as well as get a good job afterwards? See my answer to #2
 
1) what are my chances at admission in a top program? If you haven't applied yet, you have zero chance. Apply and find out.

2) And how likely would I be to succeed in such a program? That is up to you. If you are asking, I don't like the prospects.

3) as well as get a good job afterwards? See my answer to #2

Why even reply if you're not going to do so in good faith? I know 2) comes down to my own skills and work ethic; but surely past performance/experiences are predictive of future outcomes. If I wrote the same question about pursuing a PhD in Math at Harvard, the answer would be "No, you aren't qualified for this, and if you were by some miracle to get in, you would very likely not be well prepared enough (or smart enough) to thrive there." And that's okay. That's really useful feedback to get.

With regards to 3, I'm more interested in the base rates of success for US students who are interested in these types of positions.

If anyone could help shed some light here, I'd really appreciate it.
 
Why even reply if you're not going to do so in good faith? I know 2) comes down to my own skills and work ethic; but surely past performance/experiences are predictive of future outcomes. If I wrote the same question about pursuing a PhD in Math at Harvard, the answer would be "No, you aren't qualified for this, and if you were by some miracle to get in, you would very likely not be well prepared enough (or smart enough) to thrive there." And that's okay. That's really useful feedback to get.

With regards to 3, I'm more interested in the base rates of success for US students who are interested in these types of positions.

If anyone could help shed some light here, I'd really appreciate it.

I'm replying to #2 in good faith. It is up to you. This past performance/experience are predictive of the future outcomes are problematic in this context. They just give you an idea but they don't predict a lot when it comes to a person deciding to do something. Look through history how many acts of valor, courage or scientific discovery have been done but people with no history.

So, again, it all comes to what you decide. You need to apply to any of the programs and after you are accepted, you hunker down and push through. Nobody else will be able to answer how likely you are to succeed besides yourself.

If you applied to a PhD in Math are Harvard and you are accepted, I'm sure you will probably push through and do it.

You need to be optimistic and resilient. You need to have grit and that it all comes down from you, not what some unknown person tells you in an internet forum.
 
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