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Chances of making it to an MFE/Masters Program

aporto

Active Member
C++
Hi everyone, I’ve decided to apply for some MFE/QFin Masters Programs in the fall, and would like to know my chances with my current background.

In 2017, I graduated with a 3.0 in economics from a well-known public school in NY (where most programs I plan to apply to are located). My low GPA was attributable to some tragic life events and lack of direction, but I had high marks the last year and earned As in my core/relevant courses (Econometrics, Finance).

Since then, I’ve worked at large US and foreign financial institutions (think JPM/BAML/Barclays) in both Treasury and risk related roles, with almost three years of professional work experience.

Academically, I definitely do not possess the quantitative backgrounds of many applicants, but this year I have taken Calc 2 and Linear Algebra from a well known school in NYC with A grades, and plan on taking Calc 3 in the summer. I’ve also learned Python, or at least enough to build functions, use OOP, and perform data analysis (Pandas, Linear regressions) to a decent level.

On the extracurricular side, I passed all three levels of CFA exams, tutor the exam curriculum, and take a relatively active part in the CFA Society/NYSSA.

Does my lack of a deep mathematical background severely limit my chances of admittance to a program? I hope that most programs will overlook a quant-heavy background if I score a high GRE and show some progress in mathematical topics. Is there anything else I could do to drastically improve my chances? Thanks!
 

spxmaxsmp

New Member
You can also look at the curriculum of a program, and decide if you can handle the material. You might also want to study Probability at more than a superficial level.
 

aporto

Active Member
C++
You can also look at the curriculum of a program, and decide if you can handle the material. You might also want to study Probability at more than a superficial level.

Thanks for the advice. Would a course on Calc based probability/multivariate probability be a good start? I was planning on taking that after Calc 3 this summer.

I definitely don't feel like I could handle the material now, but a lot could change in 1.5 years, and I'm definitely willing to put in the work.
 

YankeesR

Well-Known Member
C++
full disclosure, I'm not in a program, I plan on applying for fall 2021. I will try to give you a more direct answer strictly based off what I have asked/researched from schools and websites such as QuantNet. You need a lot more work. You have atleast a years worth of more math classes. Specifically, probability (I would recommend two of these as the first course rarely goes in depth as needed), differential equations, at least one mathematical statistics course. And that's the minimum, the next question is what separates you from everyone else? It certainly is not your gpa, so how do you make up for a deficiency? Show strength in other areas, such as acing your GRE quant and more math courses. The next level of courses you could benefit from taking that I've seen are numerical analysis, pdes, stochastic processes, and real analysis... now CS, it says you know python which is great, but you need C++, unless your only planning to apply to NYU Courant, which I would say Java if you were. Lucky enough the C++ course that is offered here is recognized from a few of the top schools on here. I know CMU recognizes it, Baruch, and I believe a few others, but to be honest I wouldn't stop at the first one, I would go onto the advanced one as well. I've seen numerous people on here say when they were accepted to Baruch they needed to complete both the beginner and advanced C++ on here before they started the program. That seems like a chance to be proactive and take both before you apply to stand out, as I've stated earlier, with your grades, you need to stand out.

Now I should note, my advice changes drastically if your only concern is getting into any program that is quantitative finance, including those on the bottom of the QuantNet rankings. In that case, yeah sure some school will probably be glad to take your money and look away at the lack of preparation you have, but is that what you want? I think aiming for a top 5 program should be the goal, and if you still don't get in at least you will be adequately prepared for the lower level programs that will accept you regardless. One thing that is worse than not getting into any program, is getting in and then failing out because you were under prepared for the program itself.

once again, I am in no way an expert on this, and many people are more qualified to answer. I only replied to give you some direction from what I've seen. If anyone disputes this advice, feel free to critique and provide alternative information.
 

spxmaxsmp

New Member
I agree with @YankeesR .
Here is a list of topics that I think you should study: pobability, statistics, numerical linear algebra, ODEs, PDEs, optimization, C++, Python.
 

aporto

Active Member
C++
@YankeesR - I really appreciate the thoughtful and honest advice, thank you for writing that out. I think everything you said makes a lot of sense, and I definitely agree that there is a lot of work to do. I have already started the C++ for FE assignments and plan on enrolling, but taking on the next course is a great idea after completion of the first one. Going to try and get the first course done as quick/thorough as I can.

As for courses, I think the progression would be Calc III this summer, then Calc Based Probability and Differential equations in the fall (most of the courses enrolled at Baruch). Do you think these courses (and the C++) would be sufficient to be considered in applications? I will definitely continue with the topics you mentioned after sending applications (Numerical analysis, real analysis, stochastic calc), but that wouldn't really help for the application itself.

Yeah would definitely like to make it to a top program. Definitely understand that my undergrad background is deficient, but like you said, hopefully getting As in all the math courses and killing the GRE would allow me to be considered.

Thanks again!!!
 

aporto

Active Member
C++
I agree with @YankeesR .
Here is a list of topics that I think you should study: pobability, statistics, numerical linear algebra, ODEs, PDEs, optimization, C++, Python.

Thanks! I'm hoping to cover all of those areas before applications. Is numerical linear algebra a level above/continuation of an undergrad level linear algebra course?
 

spxmaxsmp

New Member
@aporto It requires a good understanding of linear algebra. It is not necessary but it can be useful to get a better sense of the concepts in linear algebra and to understand the numerical aspects of algorithms.
 
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