COMPARE Chicago MSFM vs Northwestern MSiA

Which program is better

  • Chicago MSFM

    Votes: 9 47.4%
  • Northwestern MSiA

    Votes: 10 52.6%

  • Total voters
    19

DStuantuan

New Member
Hi all! I received offers from Chicago MSFM and Northwestern University's MS in Analytics, which is a data science program. I'm interested in becoming a quantitative researcher in a buy-side firm, but I don't have relevant internship or job experiences, so I'm not sure about the difficulty of such jobs. Since I'm not super confident about math in terms of probability, I'm kind of scared to enter this field. Besides, I'm interested in data science and AI technologies in general, so I would like to give it a try.
Chicago MSFM:
pros: massive brand name. Great location since I'm interested in funds. Project lab which can be regarded as an internship experience. It seems like they have improved their courses to include more practical ones like deep learning.
cons: not very good placement statistics, 71% employment rate at graduation with 85k avg salary. Courses are still more theoretical compared to other MFEs. Didn't hear anything good about their career services.

Northwestern MSiA:
pros: excellent placement statistics, 100% employment rate 1 month after graduation, mainly in tech, with 115k median salary. Curriculum is super career oriented with focuses on programming, machine learning and AI methods. One 8 month industrial practicum project and a capstone project to get all the team work experiences.
cons: slightly weaker brand name, because I'm an international student, brand names matters if I goes back to my home country eventually. Because I want to implement cool algorithms to do something practical, I'm not sure about whether the role as a data scientist will be actually fun and stimulating and also the pressure of working in high tech is high.

Any suggestions on program selections and the future prospects of quant finance and data science would be highly appreciated!
Thank you!
 

RandomGenerator

New Member
I would pick UChi MSFM if I were you. Here are the reasons:
1. If you want to be a quant researcher, you will need to have a solid theoretical foundation.
2. A data science program is a better option if you are unsure about what you want to do. You will probably spend much more time on subjects that are not relevant to quant.
3. Indeed if you care about brand name, you should go for UChi.
 

idkmyname

New Member
Northwestern MSiA is tier 1 in analytics but UChi is tier 2 in MFE/MSFM. Northwestern's brand name is as strong as UChi, with a better location I think. Northwestern is at the north of Chicago, safer, close to downtown, while UChi is at the infamous south Chicago. My suggestion is to search for where graduates from both school work at, and what kind of job they do.
 

DStuantuan

New Member
I would pick UChi MSFM if I were you. Here are the reasons:
1. If you want to be a quant researcher, you will need to have a solid theoretical foundation.
2. A data science program is a better option if you are unsure about what you want to do. You will probably spend much more time on subjects that are not relevant to quant.
3. Indeed if you care about brand name, you should go for UChi.
Thank you for your advice! I'm not dead set to become a quant researcher. I'm interested in it because I had some classes about option pricing and portfolio management and think they are quite interesting. I don't have the talent to do proofs and super theoretical math like real analysis, but I do like machine learning and numerical analysis.
Another concern I have for Northwestern is that the curriculum covers everything, which is good, but as a current senior at UCLA majoring in applied math and stats, I think I would spend a lot of time learning things I've already learnt in my undergrad. However, I really want to learn data visualization, Hadoop and AI methods. Also, the data science industry seems to be flooded with all kinds of people and you kind of lose your value because of the abundance of open source tools and the fact that non tech people can simply input a dataset, run several tests and get the results.

So one of my idea is that maybe I can do the Northwestern one first and then if I don't like working as a data scientist for my whole life, I apply for an MFE later, which would be a super expensive route.
 

Youlan Dai

Member
Why some people like to compare totally different programs with ‘tier’? If you don't have your ways to choose what you want, then selecting the what so-called "tier 1"program is probably the best choice. By the way, I think the tier 1 CS program belongs to big four, so UIUC CS PHD is tier 2. So if one day my friend faces the choice between it and NYU MSDS, I will highly recommend to go to NYU because it is tier1. Cool~~
 

RandomGenerator

New Member
Thank you for your advice! I'm not dead set to become a quant researcher. I'm interested in it because I had some classes about option pricing and portfolio management and think they are quite interesting. I don't have the talent to do proofs and super theoretical math like real analysis, but I do like machine learning and numerical analysis.
Another concern I have for Northwestern is that the curriculum covers everything, which is good, but as a current senior at UCLA majoring in applied math and stats, I think I would spend a lot of time learning things I've already learnt in my undergrad. However, I really want to learn data visualization, Hadoop and AI methods. Also, the data science industry seems to be flooded with all kinds of people and you kind of lose your value because of the abundance of open source tools and the fact that non tech people can simply input a dataset, run several tests and get the results.

So one of my idea is that maybe I can do the Northwestern one first and then if I don't like working as a data scientist for my whole life, I apply for an MFE later, which would be a super expensive route.
Considering the market now, I personally think that to be a quant researcher is much harder than to be a data scientist. So if you want to get a job, data science would be a safer choice, especially your program has good statistics. The repetitive coursework wouldn't bother me. If you are motivated, you can always learn new things.

I personally don't have much faith in data science programs because they are new and I feel that schools make them up for money. If I want a career in data science, I will go for a statistics or cs program.

But eventually, if you can get a job and make decent money, it doesn't matter anymore.
 

idkmyname

New Member
Bruh you cannot compare a PhD program with a master program. Also, if people are applying for different areas MFE, BA, OR, Stats, appearantly they are not 100% sure what to do in the future.
 

DStuantuan

New Member
If you want to do quant finance for your career, go Chicago. If not, northwestern
Thank you for your suggestion! Another concern for Chicago is that it's curriculum doesn't include any database management and big data skills like distributed computing which some of the quant research jobs that I'm interested in require, so I don't know if it suffices if I self learn those techniques or it will be better if I get a DS degree first.
 
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