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Best MFE program to get into S&T

Also, don't forget, not only MFEs try to get into S&T. I visited a CLOs trading desk a few weeks ago and there was only 1 MFE grad (he was a strategist) at the desk, the rest had different degrees/levels (1 was an applied math graduate). So, MFE is not the only option to get into S&T.

Trading desks these days like smart people who have the potential to learn its product space, manage risk, and make money in the market. In trading cash equities and bonds, certainly one doesn't need an MFE - in the past, many of these guys didn't even go to college - but of course now with official recruitment processes it's just about impossible to get in to these jobs without an undergraduate degree. In those products, the desks just need to see that you're hungry, smart enough, and interested in the markets. If you want a job trading options or other non-linear derivatives at a bank, then that's not quite good enough anymore. You absolutely need at least an undergraduate degree with some amount of math on your resume. The job involves understanding derivatives and integrals of functions, and the senior traders won't sit you down when you start to teach you the fundamental theorem of calculus. Also a lot of the time the job involves at least a bit of programming, and again the senior traders won't want to have to explain what a loop is or what monte carlo simulation means. The point is there's a bit of very basic prerequisite academic knowledge that now comes with the job. For most people with a quantitative bend, these prerequisites are more than covered in college. But now the problem is that so many people these days have A's in all the prerequisite classes. The desks try to sort out the absolute best and brightest from schools, and that sometimes now means they recruit from quantitative masters and even PhD programs so they can be sure they're getting a smart kid. Different desks need and value different things, so you might find that one desk puts a ton of emphasis on programming, while another puts a ton on math. When you get to the job, you certainly won't use everything you learned in your academics, but the point is to show that you're able to excel at doing a ton of what's considered to be hard stuff.

Okay, so now you're an MFE grad who knows all the basic prerequisite material, is smart, and is very interested in the markets. How do you get an interview? That's a bit more tricky, because for one, as Andy pointed out earlier, banks have official recruiting lines and MFE just isn't a category. Banks recruit at undergraduate programs for the analyst roles, MBA programs for the associate roles, and at other banks for lateral recruitment. Hopefully one day there will be some sort of official process for MFE grads into S&T but for now there's not. There are maybe 2-3 ways I can think of that you can get yourself into a trading role from MFE. 1) Trading desks can post entry level jobs available on university job lists - desks who want something a little different from what HR pulls into a general analyst class rotation program will post on here to just hire quant students directly. 2) Trading desks who go to certain MFE programs / professors in MFE programs to seek out candidates outside of official university processes. 3) Networking yourself in. It's obviously very difficult to do this successfully. In order to have a shot at executing this, you'd need to be from a name brand school. Think Princeton, Columbia, NYU. It's not like the people looking for S&T candidates out of these programs actually care or know exactly what you study there - just because you think one program is more quanty than the next is pretty irrelevant - they just know you're getting a quant degree from a top notch university and that's what counts to them. It's going to be next to impossible doing this from a place like Baruch, no matter how good the quant education may be there and no matter how good the placement may be in other areas of banks. It would even be a challenge coming from UCB since it's so far away. But even if you do come from one of the brand name universities, hopefully you see from what I've written that it's far from a guarantee that you'll land a trading role just because you've graduated from the program. It may be more reasonable to expect to land a quant role, and then transition into trading after a couple years on the quant side. This is how a lot of traders I know got into it. In any case, it's not impossible - I did it and I know of a handful of others who have - but it's not the norm and it's not easy.

The answer is none. Get an MBA.
This is not good advice. In these forums you'll find it's common practice to discourage members who, down on their quant recruiting efforts after being unsuccessful in the job market after their masters program, ask if they should just continue educating themselves with a PhD and hope that maybe then they'll land the job they want. It's pretty silly then to find here that so many people just freely tell others to get themselves an MBA if they want certain other jobs, in this case S&T roles. Yes, MBA candidates do get recruited for S&T, but they generally don't land in the places that people in these forums generally want to. You'll find MBA grads in sales all over the asset classes. You'll also find them in trading, but less so in the nerdy, more quantitatively rigorous areas. Naturally there are exceptions, but that normally correlates more to prior experience and education rather than the fact that they have an MBA. Further, MBAs are the most expensive degree you can get and it's not a trivial thing to get into a top MBA program. You would need to go to a top 5 MBA program, or sadly for IB recruiting purposes you're basically wasting your money. And make no mistake, getting into one of the top MBA programs is just as or more competitive than getting into the top MFE programs. Putting together MBA applications, going through the processes, getting yourself into a great one, spending over $200k to go there, and then dedicating 2 years of your life to learning things irrelevant to trading and graduating in the top of the program and getting recruited by the top banks is hardly the process I would recommend to someone who just wants a job as a junior trader.
Unfortunately, getting into a graduate program is easier than getting a job as a trader on a top desk, there are just far fewer spots available. This is why graduating from a certain program doesn't guarantee you anything.
 
This is not good advice. In these forums you'll find it's common practice to discourage members who, down on their quant recruiting efforts after being unsuccessful in the job market after their masters program, ask if they should just continue educating themselves with a PhD and hope that maybe then they'll land the job they want. It's pretty silly then to find here that so many people just freely tell others to get themselves an MBA if they want certain other jobs, in this case S&T roles. Yes, MBA candidates do get recruited for S&T, but they generally don't land in the places that people in these forums generally want to. You'll find MBA grads in sales all over the asset classes. You'll also find them in trading, but less so in the nerdy, more quantitatively rigorous areas. Naturally there are exceptions, but that normally correlates more to prior experience and education rather than the fact that they have an MBA. Further, MBAs are the most expensive degree you can get and it's not a trivial thing to get into a top MBA program. You would need to go to a top 5 MBA program, or sadly for IB recruiting purposes you're basically wasting your money. And make no mistake, getting into one of the top MBA programs is just as or more competitive than getting into the top MFE programs. Putting together MBA applications, going through the processes, getting yourself into a great one, spending over $200k to go there, and then dedicating 2 years of your life to learning things irrelevant to trading and graduating in the top of the program and getting recruited by the top banks is hardly the process I would recommend to someone who just wants a job as a junior trader.
Unfortunately, getting into a graduate program is easier than getting a job as a trader on a top desk, there are just far fewer spots available. This is why graduating from a certain program doesn't guarantee you anything.

Actually, it is good advice in the correct context. Your response ignores that my suggestion to get an mba was entirely relative to an mfe, not absolute. If you are going to get a masters degree already, and are more interested in a role in s&t, get an mba over an mfe. You don't have to tell me about posters telling people to get a phd after a failed mfe. I actually always advise that getting a phd just for the sake of obtaining a specific position (e.g. high freq trader) is a poor decision.
 
I guess that Columbia would be the best shot for me to get into S&T.

NYU and CMU are also very good since they have a summer internship included. Do any of you know if it's possible to negotiate to have a full time offer as an 2nd year or 3rd year analyst after a summer internship or grad program from NYU or CMU with a little bit of work experience?
 
I met two English majors last week who are in the rotational associate trading program at a BB.

Exactly, MFE grads aren't in the running for the rotational programs. Desks do hire directly, however, into analyst and associate programs. The hire goes through the general training but then doesn't go into rotation. This happens at a lot of banks - this is what I was referring to. Maybe 5-10% of "rotational" analyst classes are made up of direct hires depending on the bank. This happens just because some desks don't feel that the analyst class that HR brings in has enough people with the background they like for roles on their desks.

By the way, let's make a side bet. Should either one of the English majors end up trading interest rate or FX derivatives after rotations, I'll pay you $100. If either ends up in equity or credit research you pay me $20. Shall we trade?
 
I stand corrected here. I suppose from all the debate it doesn't matter as much which degree you get. Just make sure you go to a targeted school and really master the market you want to be in.
 

mfegrad

CMU MSCF Alum
financeguy, for what it's worth, a lot of my classmates are doing rotational programs within s&t (or did them as an internship and then got placed directly as a result of that).
 
financeguy, for what it's worth, a lot of my classmates are doing rotational programs within s&t (or did them as an internship and then got placed directly as a result of that).

That's very encouraging to hear. Do you know what banks and how they got in?
 

mfegrad

CMU MSCF Alum
That's very encouraging to hear. Do you know what banks and how they got in?

http://tepper.cmu.edu/master-in-computational-finance/your-career/recruiting-partners/index.aspx

that information relies on self-reporting. i know there are others who have accepted offers that aren't on there, but that's a good sampling. you have just about all of the BBs represented. i'd venture that most of the "associate" or "analyst" roles are within rotational programs, with a few quant roles in there, as well.

the vast majority are through campus recruiting. companies contact the career services office and set up interviews and/or post jobs on the internal recruiting board and then screen via resume submission. generally two rounds of interviews will occur.
 
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