Hi, I've been admitted to both programs and can't seem to reach a decision between them.

Most reviews on MAFN are outdated so would appreciate any advice from recent students. I like the math focus however I see there are no elective courses on Microstructure or programming focused courses in general...

Columbia MAFN alum here. First off, congratulations on being accepted into 2 fantastic programs! I put a review up on QuantNet for the Columbia MAFN program last year and based on conversations I've had with those currently still in the program the points I made in that review still appear to apply.

To your point on programming courses, the Columbia MAFN program usually offers an elective course called

*Math GR5260 Programming for Quantitative & Computational Finance* in both the fall and spring semesters, where C++ is used in the fall and Python is used in the spring. It's a very popular course and the classmates I've spoken to who took it enjoyed it. Furthermore, the mandatory core course

*MATH GR 5030 Numerical Methods in Finance* involves working with Excel/VBA, most statistics courses use R, and most other courses typically let you/your project group use whichever programming language you want for your assignments (With the majority of students using Python). Beyond this, I don't recall an all-encompassing course specifically about microstructure, but concepts from it are within elective courses like

*Math GR 5300 Hedge Funds Strategies and Risk* and

*Math GR5380 Multi-Asset Portfolio Management* to name a couple.

Personally, I would suggest learning to code in at least one language prior to enrolling if you choose to join the Columbia MAFN program, as many courses will assume you know how to code already. I took the C++ course from QuantNet along with the Python course from ScriptUni prior to enrolling and found both to be a solid foundation for my work in the Columbia MAFN program.

Hope that helps! Ultimately, no matter which you choose, you'll come out with a great education and opportunities for a career in finance. I've actually worked with a few alumni from the NYU MathFin program and we've talked a lot about the similarities in our experiences.

mafn is not very well structured

This looks like useful feedback to me. Any chance you'd be willing to elaborate?

I believe this is a reference to the Columbia MAFN and not NYU MathFin.

From my experience, the Columbia MAFN's 6 core mandatory courses are structured such that in your 1st semester you learn about the foundational mathematics and statistics underlying quantitative finance along with a broad overview of financial asset classes and markets, while in the 2nd semester you learn the applications of the foundational mathematics and statistics within finance through option pricing primarily. Beyond that you are left to learn about the industry/industries and further mathematical/statistical methods of interest to you through offered electives. I appreciated this flexibility personally, since it allowed me to explore my career interests as well as opportunities beyond quantitative finance. However, I also acknowledge that it probably isn't the best for everyone and does require you to have a good idea of what you want to do upon graduation from the start in order to select your elective courses to meet those goals.