COMPARE CMU pitts vs Cornell

Feng

New Member
I know there are too many of this kind of posts, still I want to hear your opinions. This would be an important decision for me.

Surely the reputation of the CMU program is great, but the Ivy name of Cornell is still an attraction. If I am returning to Asia, I believe the Ivy name can help anyway (not necessarily in quantitative finance, but may be in other field. After 10 or 15 years, who can tell what I will be doing).

The Cornell program has been reformed and now it's also a 3 semester program, which allows an summer intern. The director who interviewed me told that at present, at least 50% of their students have already secured the summer intern this year, so it would not be much worse than CMU, I guess.

They even got a project training in the 3rd semester. Projects are sponsored by Wall Street companies. I remember the director mentioned Lehmen Bro. And the 3rd semester will be carried out in NY.

My two major unsatisfaction with CMU is that:

1) Location. I will not go to NY campus of CMU because I do not want to pay $100k and get remote education, and I want to have the experience of studying in an US university campus. So if I go to CMU, I will only go to Pitts. But Pitts is far away from NY.

2) The school name of CMU is not great enough, compared to Ivy. Especially in Asia.

Of course job placement after graduation will be my No. 1 consideration. I just want to know, is their career services, alumini network resourses, and program reputation really that much greater than Cornell, so that it is worth to give up Cornell, considering the 3rd semester in NY, the company sponsored projects, and the Ivy name?

I really really want to hear your comments. Thank you very much!
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
First, CMU is way too rich for my blood. 100K+ for a master degree is just too much for my wallet.
People can use the future cash flow arguments, networking opportunity to justify the price but at the same time, students from other programs like Baruch, Columbia, NYU have got cushy jobs for much less upfront payment.

Cornell NYC semester is a unproven thing but it can only help. It definitely will have a bigger ring to its name when you come back to Asia. CMU has a big name in this financial engineering space but outside of it, most people will only know it as a big university somewhere in Pittsburgh. In fact, I only came to learn about it when I read about MFE programs.

You enter the field at a time of great uncertainty. As successful as they have been in the past, don't count much on the name to help you in the future. If you get in an interview, either you can answer the question or you can't. Good candidates will always get good job no matter which program they study from.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
What do you want us to tell you? Comments about what? I think I'm losing my patience lately. Maybe because Quantnet didn't get these posts before and now it seems everybody wants our opinion about the program. Here is what I know. Ithaca is miles away from NY as it is Pittsburgh so do the math. If you are unsatisfy with CMU just go to Cornell and be done with it.

If you are so keen about the Ivy league name because it's well seen in Asia, why do you care about the job placement after graduation? People won't care in US so the name should not matter. You are contradicting yourself on this point.

My advice is to make a decision and stick to it. Don't try to second guess yourself. You are going to live with it. What do you care what we think about it? Sorry about the rant. I didn't want to pick on you directly.

I had a conversation with somebody yesterday (somebody higher on the totem pole) about the latest posts on QN with this trait... and we were discussing that anybody that presents this type of indecision would make a horrible trader.
 

MikeK

Member
What do you want us to tell you? Comments about what? I think I'm losing my patience lately. Maybe because Quantnet didn't get these posts before and now it seems everybody wants our opinion about the program.

I had a conversation with somebody yesterday (somebody higher on the totem pole) about the latest posts on QN with this trait... and we were discussing that anybody that presents this type of indecision would make a horrible trader.
I think you spoke well for a lot of us, Alain. These past few months, with everyone getting their acceptance letters to schools, every other post is "where should I go?!?!!?". In fact, I personally have been logging on less because I was fed up with it.

We're not picking on you directly, Feng. But Alain is right in that these posts are annoying. He's also correct in saying that a critical skill for trading, quant, etc positions is the ability to make a decision and live with it.

Not to mention, we're also tired of people asking about Ivy league programs simply because they are Ivy league. Or at least I am.
 

Feng

New Member
@ Alain & MikeK

Thank you very much. I can fully understand how annoying this kind of posts are.

Yet as an undergraduate in China with no w/e, it's really hard for me to get a vivid vision in my mind about the job market. I want hear what the people in this industry and on the street say so that I may try my best to make up a big picture.

I plan to work in NYC after my graduation, but thinking about returning to Asia after several year. Surely work experience in US would be crucial so I care the placement right after graduation. I am only wondering whether school name would also be a matter, and how big a matter when I return to Asia. I have never worked in this industry so I do not have much idea.

"People won't care in US so the name should not matter." This is exactly the things I want to hear, and this kind of information should be very helpful for me.

"make a decision and live with it" is a very good advice. Once I have made a decision, I will follow your advice.

Different programs have different strength in different aspects. How and to what extent these different aspects can help in the end is just I want to hear from people who are more knowledgeable than me.

@ Andy

You have always been very kind. Thank you all the way!
 

Feng

New Member
For the last two days, I have contacted some current MFE students and got some information, so I would like to share it with people here. Hope it may help.

Although the CMU director claimed in an andio interview put on their website recently that up till now 80% of their students have secured summer intern, which is even better than previous years at this time. Yet, A current student their told me that this year 80% of Asian students got interns in Asia. I remember also on GD that someone else has posted that another CMU student mentioned that among the ~20 students who haven't got intern offer yet, half of them were Chinese students. If so, I think this is really no good news at least for Chinese students.

While most CMU students I contacted either say there is no big difference between NY and pitts campus with respect to job oppos, or strongly recommended pitts. To my surprise, no one(from CMU) strongly recommends NY, although many students from other schools would tell me to choose NY between the two.

I have heard from another Chinese student from Cornell that Chinese students at Cornell are actually doing better than other groups in securing summer interns this year. Most of the interns secured so far are in large banks in NY. Although up till now maybe only around 60% students have fixed their intern(according to the Cornell director giving me the interview), I think the quality is bettern than what CMU Asian students get.

The Cornell student also told me that Cornell didn't pay much attention to marketing their students in previous years, but only from this year, they take off. Still he recognizes that CMU has stronger networks and connections than Cornell.

Also, from the information given by NYU students, 8 of the 9 Chinese students at NYU have already secured their summer interns, and all in NY. So NYU sounds really gorgeous.

My current conclusion is that, if I receive NYU, I will go(currently I am still waiting, I am going to send them an email asking for a decision). Otherwise I will go CMU pitts. Although it seems bad for Asian students this year at CMU, I believe Asian students have been given the same opportunities as US students. Anyway, CMU do have stronger networks and connections and career services, the rest is up to individuals. And as my preference for campus life, I would still choose pitts.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
... I believe Asian students should have been given the same opportunities as US students.
I'm sure chinese students had the same opportunities as other students. This sounds like "sour grapes". If they didn't get internships in this field it is usually becuase there was something wrong... but if you think this is a problem (that chinese students don't have the same opportunitties as others), you have a clear choice, don't come to US to study and get a job. I'm sure the asian students here will agree with me.

I do wonder if a foreign student in China would have the same opportunities as a chinese student.
 

Feng

New Member
I'm sure chinese students had the same opportunities as other students. This sounds like "sour grapes". If they didn't get internships in this field it is usually becuase there was something wrong... but if you think this is a problem (that chinese students don't have the same opportunitties as others), you have a clear choice, don't come to US to study and get a job. I'm sure the asian students here will agree with me.

I do wonder if a foreign student in China would have the same opportunities as a chinese student.
Oh, my god! I have realized that my English is so terrible!!!

Actually what I wanted to say is that "Chinese students were given the same opportunities, but they still didn't do very well." So there might be some problems with the students.

It is because I had no specific evidence that they were given the same oppos, so I just used a "should" to indicate that it was my guess, in case actually it's not the same, which I think is almost impossible. Maybe I just used the mindset of Chinese language to speak English. I just want to share some information I got, and I am sorry for the misleading caused.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
I'm glad that you caught your mistake. It means you will have to improve your English as well. Some headhunter mentioned to me once that communication skills was one of the biggest hurdles chinese students have.
 
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