COMPARE CMU MSCF (Pittsburgh) vs Columbia MSFE vs Berkeley MFE

CMU MSCF/Columbia MSFE/Berkeley MFE

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Hello everyone,

I've got offers from the MFE programs below and am trying to make a decision.
1. CMU MSCF (Pittsburgh)
2. Columbia MSFE
3. Berkeley MFE

My Profile:
-International student.
-B.Sc. and M.Sc. in statistics, familiar with math/stat courses but weak in programming and finance.
-No relevant experience in finance
-hope to find a quant position after graduation.

My views of the three programs:

-Great reputation/career service/courses, intensive training in programming
-not sure whether the Pittsburgh location is a disadvantage when looking for jobs...
-it seems that the class size is getting bigger, especially in 2012, which might bring more competition?

-Famous name/professors, rigorous courses, flexible
-it seems that career service is not as good as programs in business schools

-Good courses, especially in finance, great reputation
-Most students are highly experienced and my lack of experience might be a big disadvantage.

My views are based on the information I get and could be biased... I hope that you can share your opinions about the programs. Any comment is appreciated.

Thanks very much for reading!
cmu and Berkeley are definitely first tier, compare only b/t these view is cmu has more concentration on programming(if it is ur weakness)and ranked as #1by quant net whereas Berkeley is a big name has better rep world wide and their mfe is under hass biz school(very finance oriented) gl


Psychic in Training
If you want a job on east coast (i.e. NYC, Boston) - go to college on the east coast.

If you want a job on the West coast (the weather/quality of life is SO much better...), go to college on the west coast.

Other qualities similar, of course (in this case they appear to be).
Berkeley places a comparable amount of students in NYC (50% in 2010 and 40% in 2011) as CMU (around 50% in 2011). Also, Berkeley and CMU tend to have similar employment rates and salaries, with Berkeley having slightly higher stats on average. Just thoughts to keep in the back of your head.

Check out the employment reports: (March 2012 graduates) (December 2011 graduates)


Psychic in Training
The website you provide states that 65% of CMU's class got placed in NYC...

CMU and Cornell aren't stupid, they built outposts on Manhattan for a reason.

90% of communication is lost in transition from a face to face conversation to a phone call. Another 90% is lost going from phone call to email. Not to mention you're not going to meet anyone from NYC sitting in California.

Also look closer at Berkeley's employment stats. You might find some peculiarities under closer examination...


Psychic in Training

Use this on all of the cities whose location you don't know off the top of your head

I like to note that graduates from most programs with good career services usually have no problem obtaining a job in a specific geographical location if they really work hard to achieve it.
It's also true that the advantage of location (being in NYC) is much emphasized but often underutilized. Many MFE students in NYC just hole up in their classrooms/socialize among their own groups and never venture out to use the numerous chance encounters with other finance professionals that NYC offers.
A determined and well-networked student will find a way to get a job any place he desires regardless of where he studies.


Psychic in Training
I'm not sure if you're trolling me, but Kennet Square, Morristown, and Stamford are not parts of NYC.

I'm not at all trying to troll you (...are you trolling me?), but your refusal to include the New York metropolitan area into "NYC" is... unconventional... to say the least. Have you ever been to/lived in NYC? Are you familiar with the layout of the surrounding area?

I'm sure Berkeley would include Stamford, the hedge fund capital of the USA, into NYC if it placed someone in one of the plethora of hedge funds that call it home.

More over, it is hypocritical of you to question the inclusion of Stamford into "New York" considering that Berkeley does not actually drill its placement statistics down to the city level and merely mentions "Northeast USA", which you would have us assume means "Manhattan", but as far as I'm concerned is just as likely to mean "some random lighthouse in northern Maine".

Nothing is impossible. The best and brightest typically find a way to overcome whatever difficulties are in their way. But the probability and resistance level and quantity of opportunities is heavily dependent on location. That guy that got placed from Berkeley in NYC? He'd probably have 10x the number of NYC interviews if he went to CMU, and an education that is better or just as good as one from Berkeley. And that is my point.


Psychic in Training
... wow.

From your linkedin page I see you're admitted to Berkeley. Congratulations! Great program. But before you come looking for a job in NYC might I suggest reading up on local customs (i.e. commuting by rail...).

Just a heads up - Stamford is closer to midtown than very solid chunks of Brooklyn and Queens. You tellin' me Brooklyn and Queens aren't in NYC either? And that's completely ignoring the redheaded stepchild of NYC - Staten Island.

How about JC? That's "not NYC" either? Goldman Sachs would surely disagree with you there.


Psychic in Training
This is an exaggeration.

Saying that won't make it a fact. It's really not an exaggeration at all. It's just reality. You play more ball if you live next to the court. Some people live by the court and refuse to play ball, true. But that's their problem. Like you said, the recruitment opps are identical for all top tier programs.

Joy Pathak you think you would have found a tenth of the interviews/opportunities that you did without being NYC-based? I know sure as heck I wouldn't have my job...
That guy that got placed from Berkeley in NYC? He'd probably have 10x the number of NYC interviews if he went to CMU

Saying that won't make it a fact. It's really not an exaggeration at all. It's just reality.

Saying this too does not make it a fact as well. There are people in the UCB MFE program who've got at least 2-3 interviews in NYC as stated by themselves. They most definitely would not have got 20-30 interviews from CMU. It's just plain speculative exaggeration that you are trying to exert upon others.


Psychic in Training
You're not actually contradicting me, you realize that, right?

My whole point, for the third time, is that people from Berkeley that got interviews in NYC would be able to get more of them (and, if u know anything about barrier valuation, which is a parallel to this situation, would have a better quality job) if they went to CMU. Assuming they could get in. Purely due to more amicable location.

My point was NOT that Berkeley graduates are unemployable, or that going there dooms you to career only in your choice of Anchorage, Alaska or as a sherpa carrying bags on the side of Mt. Everest. This is very clearly not the case. Berkeley graduates are clearly typically successful. I do not know how much clearer I can articulate this.

But clearly Berkeley and their alums are super-defensive about their location. For a good reason - it's a clear disadvantage of going to Berkeley. No matter how many I talk to, they don't seem to get basic multiplication. Is it career threatening? No, I clearly acknowledge the fact that Berkeley does a great job with placement and education et al. But it is what it is - stop pretending it doesn't exist and that you get the same quality of NYC opportunities sitting on a beach in California - you clearly do not (esp if you are the type of proactive person that is successful on wall street). That is all...

It is not exaggeration. It really isn't. I know it's not because I've seen it with my own eyes. Hopefully Joy Pathak can ball park what truly proactive employment seeking looks like in NYC. When we were in grad school together, he had at least two interviews every week, with one MD remarking that he should write a book about "landing the perfect internship". His approach was to go out and play ball, not wait on the sidelines to get asked to play. Which would not be possible in any other city of the world. (well, maybe London...)