Looking to start a career in finance and recently got accepted to a few master's programs. I've narrowed it down to the MAFN program at Columbia and the inaugural MMS in Asset Management at Yale and need some advice.I'm not yet sure if I want to be a quant researcher and am looking to choose the program that is most likely to keep my options open (within finance) and lead to lucrative job opportunities.
Here is what I have gleaned about each program so far:
Yale Asset Management (curriculum linked)
- 9 month program, required courses very germaine to AM but still has options for ML courses and some math
- many of the profs worked with and learned directly from David Swenson (who was originally started the program) and also most work at large hedge funds
- 1-month winter internship opportunity
- I would be in the inaugural class so no job placement data or direct alumni connections (would still have access to the general Yale SOM and Yale University alumni network)
Columbia MAFN (MA in Mathematics with a Specialization in the Mathematics of Finance)
- 3 semester program + potential internship opportunity (4 months) over summer between 2nd and 3rd semester (~16 months total)
- very technically focused and a lot more math than Yale degree (as expected since it is a math program)
- career services department is only one person (although they work specifically with MAFN students), would also have access to general Columbia career services
- lots of alumni as this program has been around for awhile it seems, although not sure how cohesive alumni network is at this point
So far, the follwoing are importrant to consider according to my browsing of internet forums:
- Alumni connections/networking opportunities and career services are most important. (So far the career services department seems great at Yale, but I've been told Columbia is much better known in the financial industry and has more alumni working there)
- It is valuable to be in NYC for networking (assuming the pandemic does not persist into the fall/next year)
- It is still possible to get into less technical finance roles with a technical background, but not vice versa
Finally, my background and competencies:
- not from a math background, but reasonably strong at math; although better at verbal and writing on a percentile basis (168/170 GRE Quant, 164/170 Verbal, 5.5/6 Writing)
- I lead large programming workshops at my UG school in R and Python, but am not very advanced (can just do loops, basic data manipulation, visualizaton, some ML, ect.)
- UG was at non-target in Canada, Bcomm majoring in Econ, minoring in Finance
- above average at networking and interpersonal skills and good at interviews (at least for internships)
- have about 2 years of internship experience, worked mainly as Finacial Analyst at both a Big 4 firm and a financial sector regulator
Please let me know if there is anything else I should be considering. Also, would be great to connect if there is anyone on here that has been through the MAFN program at Columbia, would interested in hearing about your experience with the program, job outcomes, and any suggestions you have.
Greatly appreciate any advice, thank you all in advance.