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COMPARE Claremont MFE vs. BU MSMF

Greetings all,

I am trying to choose between CGU MFE and BU MSMF and could use some insight from folks with direct knowledge of these two programs. First, some context re. what I hope to get from the program. Right now I am targeting a career in asset management, but want the flexibility to pursue other areas of quant finance - e.g. fintech - if I decide that is a better path. I am flexible about geography post-graduation, but have a preference for NYC, SF, or Tokyo.

BU on paper would seem like a clear choice - it is more highly ranked, is closer to potential employers, and has a wider variety of specialized course offerings. However, CGU appears to provide a much better environment for really getting to know the professors and vice-versa. I have seen first-hand how one can be very anonymous in large 100+ student classes, with almost zero student-professor or even student-student collaboration. Some of BU's reviews mention endemic cheating in the program, which is sometimes characteristic of 'academia at scale' and not the kind of culture I'm looking for. CGU has a few negative reviews as well, but the sample size is small.

So, for folks who know the BU program - what is the learning culture like? Do students help each other? Do professors know your name, and do they take an active interest in students when it comes to finding job opportunities, research ideas, etc? Lastly, some reviews complain about the overly theoretical nature of the curriculum, is this still a problem?

For folks who know the CGU program - did you find that the smaller size and more personalized experience helped outweigh the obstacles of the socal location, relatively fewer course offerings, etc? Post-graduation, did you feel the CGU degree helped open doors?

Thanks!
 
I am just about to finish the BU MSMFT program and can provide some insight.

BU MSMFT is typically a three-semester program, but you have the option to add an additional fourth semester for a graduate certificate in fintech (see this link). You could choose an Asset Management concentration with this additional fintech semester to get exactly what you are looking for.

Regarding some of your other concerns, my class did have about 100 students in it, but we were split into two cohorts. So I was never in a class larger than 50, and some were as small as 12 or 13. I made an effort to participate in classes and office hours, so all of the professors knew me by name and were very invested in my academic success. I can't speak to endemic cheating as I wasn't aware of any, but of course that doesn't mean it didn't happen. I can be oblivious to things like that.

Students definitely help each other. Before the program starts, there is an "orientation" type week called LAUNCH where you get to know your classmates. We did a scavenger hunt around the city, had lunch together every day, and became fast friends. The classes are set up such that there are plenty of opportunities for collaboration via group homework or projects.

I wouldn't say that professors help you with job opportunities directly, but there are other resources to help you with that. The program director was formerly in industry, and he is very connected. He frequently brings in guest speakers and instructors. There are also a couple of advisors who will help you with career things like resumes/cover letters, networking, behavioral and technical interviewing, etc.

The program is definitely very rigorous and heavy on theory, but I wouldn't say this is a problem. There is a good mix of theory and application in my opinion. For example, this semester I am taking two theory-heavy classes (Economics of Fintech and Statistical Machine Learning) and two classes that are mostly applied (Fintech Programming and Machine Learning Applications in Finance). So far, my homework has been a good mix of math problems and programming problems (in Python, R, and Solidity).

Finally, if you'd like some anecdotal evidence, I was recently hired for a full-time position at a financial software company in the Boston area. Everyone that I interviewed with and who I work with speaks very highly of the program. I actually have three other BU MSMFT alumni on my team, and there are several more throughout the company. The BU MSMFT degree is desirable to at least one employer.

I hope this helps! Let me know if I can provide any more info.
 
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