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CMU (21k scholarship) vs UChicago (70% off tuition)

CMU or UChicago?

  • CMU ($21K Distinguished Merit Scholarship)

    Votes: 44 81.5%
  • U of Chicago (70% off Tuition Scholarship)

    Votes: 10 18.5%

  • Total voters
    54
Really could use some advice, I'm feeling very overwhelmed trying to make this choice. My gut is telling me U Chicago; I am really interested in the prospect of working at a place like CBOE or CME in Chicago. I also would rather be in a buy-side or a non-traditional finance shop over an investment banking role. I also have very little interest in living and working in New York (would attend the Pittsburgh campus at CMU). However, I wasn't expecting to get into CMU and I feel like it would be foolish to turn down a chance to attend one of the best MFE programs, especially with the added scholarship. I'm really struggling with deciding. Any input would be really helpful
 
cmu hands down
Could you expand on why? I know CMU is regarded as one of the best programs, but I've been looking at the curriculums and career outcomes and it's not super apparent why that is. The average starting salary at CMU is higher, but aside from that, I'm struggling to understand what sets it apart
 
Also curious as to why CMU is regarded as such a top tier program
MSCF has been in the game since 1994, longer than any of the other programs (Chicago is 1996, so they’re an old dog too) and it’s fair to say they’ve stood the test of time. Their curriculum has very little fat on it and covers a lot of ground, more than many other programs especially so far as ML and data science goes. Shreve 2 is the standard intro stochastic calc text — you get to learn the subject from the man himself. Their alumni are scattered throughout industry. I can only provide an example relevant to my interests — Jeff Rosenberg, in systematic fixed income at BlackRock is an MSCF alum.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s incredibly difficult to separate the 7-8 top programs and that in the long run you really can’t go wrong with any of them. They all have their appealing factors, some more than others, and it all really comes down to what you are seeking to get out of the program.
 
Based off your highlighted preferences, that's tough. I would still pick CMU, but its hard for me to extract my built in preferences. I'm also in a similar position as you, where I received the 70% scholarship, but I'm still leaning towards Columbia (turning down that scholarship is really not easy). When I started this process, I made a ranking of programs based off my personal preferences and told myself I would stick to that ranking. Columbia was first (technically Princeton was first but I missed the deadline due to personal reasons) and when I received the admit from them I stopped sending out applications (I still had applications to send out to CMU and Baruch). What I am getting at here is you have good options, but only you knows which of your preferences you are willing to budge on, and which are most important. For example, I wanted a program with flexibility and I also wanted to be on a campus setting in NY (these are just two of the many preferences I had). The NY preference I could've easily budged on, but flexibility of tailoring the program the way I see fit was something I considered of higher importance. Considering what you wrote on the UChicago page, I think its fair to say you have more research to do on the programs.

Back to CMU vs Chicago. While the biggest percentage of CMU graduates go to NY in banks, a decent amount go to buy side firms as well and it seems year after year people end up in Chicago as well, so it sounds like it's definitely possible (based off previous years statistics). I also don't want it sound like I think UChicago is a bad program. I think UChicago is a great program and you can definitely achieve your goals at this program as well. All in all, you have a good problem my friend.
 
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Based off your highlighted preferences, that's tough. I would still pick CMU, but its hard for me to extract my built in preferences. I'm also in a similar position as you, where I received the 70% scholarship, but I'm still leaning towards Columbia (turning down that scholarship is really not easy). When I started this process, I made a ranking of programs based off my personal preferences and told myself I would stick to that ranking. Columbia was first (technically Princeton was first but I missed the deadline due to personal reasons) and when I received the admit from them I stopped sending out applications (I still had applications to send out to CMU and Baruch). What I am getting at here is you have good options, but only you knows which of your preferences you are willing to budge on, and which are most important. For example, I wanted a program with flexibility and I also wanted to be on a campus setting in NY (these are just two of the many preferences I had). The NY preference I could've easily budged on, but flexibility of tailoring the program the way I see fit was something I considered of higher importance. Considering what you wrote on the UChicago page, I think its fair to say you have more research to do on the programs.

Back to CMU vs Chicago. While the biggest percentage of CMU graduates go to NY in banks, a decent amount go to buy side firms as well and it seems year after year people end up in Chicago as well, so it sounds like it's definitely possible (based off previous years statistics). I also don't want it sound like I think UChicago is a bad program. I think UChicago is a great program and you can definitely achieve your goals at this program as well. All in all, you have a good problem my friend.
Thanks this is really helpful. I severely underestimated the strength of my own application and I thought UChicago and CMU were long shots, so I didn't analyze the programs as closely as some others. Now I'm here with two acceptances plus scholarships so I'm scrambling to try to compare the two. It's comforting to know I don't have a "wrong" answer.
 
Thanks this is really helpful. I severely underestimated the strength of my own application and I thought UChicago and CMU were long shots, so I didn't analyze the programs as closely as some others. Now I'm here with two acceptances plus scholarships so I'm scrambling to try to compare the two. It's comforting to know I don't have a "wrong" answer.
Yeah no problem, and I understand. Even though Columbia is my top choice I still have unknowns about the program, so I get that. Another thing I forgot to add. If you look at the curriculums, while UChicago has the machine learning course and deep learning, CMU has taken the full dive into data science. CMU could open doors in tech down the road and at one of the seminars the admissions director said quite a few go into the tech sector after years in the finance industry. For me personally, having more doors open is intriguing and another reason why I liked Columbia as well (through electives).
 
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Yeah no problem, and I understand. Even though Columbia is my top choice I still have unknowns about the program, so I get that. Another thing I forgot to add. If you look at the curriculums, while UChicago has the machine learning course and deep learning, CMU has taken the full dive into data science. CMU could open doors in tech down the road and at one of the seminars the admissions director said quite a few go into the tech sector after years in the finance industry. For me personally, having more doors open is intriguing and another reason why I liked Columbia as well (through electives).
Are you currently a student at Columbia? Could you share more about Columbia and CMU's pro and cons?
 
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