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Brief advice for an undergrad junior in college

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the advice. Please feel free to not sugarcoat anything you have to say or mention. I am deeply interested in ascertaining the truth to my questions.

I am currently studying at Pace University,

My greatest interests lay in structured products. I loved, let me repeat LOVED, (I cant underscore and bold the font enough ) Frank Partnoy's book Fiasco and Infectious Greed, Sebastion Malleby's More Money Than God, The Big Short, Market Wizards (all volumes of it)

I have a couple good books on my 'to read' list like Emmanuel Dermans My life as a Quant among others

These kinds of books piqued my interest in structured products. I also love to read about the different kind of options styles on wikipedia, like Russian Lookbacks, and Bermudian options. They all seem so cool and interesting.

As I understand it, structured products enable the investor to add or take away risk. Through financial engineering and SPEs (special purpose entities) they can also be used to leverage more than you should, avoid taxes, hide debt, and bet on things you shouldnt be allowed to bet on in the markets. Famous examples mutual funds come to mind to me right now like Robert Citron's Orange county. Btw why was that guy obsessed with wearing purple all the time? Anyway I figure the best way to get around and fully understand structured products and their applications is by getting a masters in a quant program like Columbia's financial engineering MFE.

Right now im a Major in Quantitative Business Analysis. Its like a managment science or operations research type of major. To get more math exposure, im minoring in math. I also have a minor in finance. The only thing is that in order to graduate on time, I wont be able to calculus 3 or linear algebra. I understand that these are integral subjects to the MFE esque programs. I will study them on my own.

I also have only one internship under my belt. It was at Bedrock Capital. Basically these guys lent to realestate developers or owners, then the debtors made additions to the real estate. Bedrock would sell their exposure to Barclays capital and then Barclays would issue bonds. It was mostly menial work. I took data given to me by the debtors and helped put it into Bedrocks computer models. I dont consider this real solid work experience. Although it was really fun. Those guys even took me to a strip club once. Gosh I love women in NYC.
Now down to business,
Im going to be a senior in undergraduate next semester.
I have a 3.95 gpa.
Im going to study my butt off until my eyeballs fall out of my head for the GRE this summer, then study some more
I have little work experience, I deeply regret not having more
I also forgot to mention im enjoying programming 1 immensely. But this is only programming 1,

what are my chances of getting into a MFE program?

It was naive of me to assume early in my college career that I could get into a top quant program by only making good grades and getting a good GRE score. I dont want to make that mistake again. Do you guys sense any other naive assumptions I have made about MFE or structured products by reading this post?

I have emailed a recruiter at Columbia who mentioned work experience wasnt an absolute requirement. Do any of you know people with little work experience who were accepted to any quant programs?

I want to be involved with the pricing of structured products as well as their structuring. I want to be a sell-side guy. I think I would love that. Is a quant degree truly essential for that? Many many many decades down the line, I think I want to make it my life's purpose to regulate structured products.

I have striven to make my post as least boring as possible. I want to thank all of you that comment and reply.

On a side note, I really do enjoy the math subjects as well as statistics. Statistics was and always will be my favorite subject. Im finding my progamming class very pleasurable. I think becoming a quant is what I want to do.

anyways, thx for reading
 
Even if you somehow sneak your way into an MFE, you're going to be completely outclassed math-wise by your peers. You literally have like... no math experience. Calculus 3 and linear algebra are like freshman level subjects.
 
Did you read my entire post? I will be studying those two subjects on my own.

Also, there seems to be at least some precedence that a minority of students are accepted straight out of college with very little experience.

The link below describes one such student. However I noticed he went to get his MFE during 2009. I imagine there wasnt a large amount of applicants that year. Maybe thats the only reason he was able to get in?

https://www.quantnet.com/resources/columbia-university-financial-engineering-program.5/reviews
 
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