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Columbia MFE vs NYU Courant

Columnia MFE vs NYU Courant

  • Columbia MFE

  • NYU Courant


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Hi guys,

I got admits from both Columbia Masters in Financial Engineering and NYU Math Fin. Could someone shed any light between those two as of 2021?

Btw, does anyone know why NYU Courant reported only 48% employment rate 3 months after graduation ? I know it was a tough recruiting season due to Covid, but NYU Courant statistics are significantly low.
 
Haven't applied to either program, but I've done some research and I think I can shed some light on both programs.
NYU Courant has by far one of the strongest Math department in the US and the world, and especially when it comes to financial mathematics. They have a very nice set of electives and core curriculum.
Columbia boasts of a strong IEOR department that offers the MSFE with excellent placements. The course also has a plethora of electives to choose from various colleges within Columbia like their Business School, School of Arts and Sciences, etc.
I don't think you can go wrong with either program. From what I know , the NYU Courant program is more math rigorous. The reputation of both programs in NYC is excellent and would provide similar opportunities. The only choice you really have to make is the courses you want to study. And also, I believe the NYU program would be better suited for PhD prospects, if that is your goal.

I don't have an answer for the placement question. Maybe @CourantMathFinance could help us out. If I were to guess, it would probably be because of the high number of international students. But I think this year was one off for them, as their program is highly regarded.
 
I would go to Columbia. Despite the strong academics and name, the job placements show me that they aren’t placing enough effort into career services
 
In terms of curriculum, I think NYU has got a serious hedge. However, the placements stats for this year are indeed a concern, but I am confident there is a good explanation since we are talking about a top program. For the other years, the difference in placements in not significant and it depended more on student than institution imo.
 
Regarding the concern on placements, while this might be heresy, but I don't think some other programs are honest with their placement numbers this round.

If you really like math, I would join NYU's program - After all, it is the #1 applied math program in the world
If you want a more well rounded program, my vote is on Columbia.
 
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In terms of curriculum, I think NYU has got a serious hedge. However, the placements stats for this year are indeed a concern, but I am confident there is a good explanation since we are talking about a top program. For the other years, the difference in placements in not significant and it depended more on student than institution imo.
Thanks for the input ! But why do you think that NYU's curriculum has an edge over Columbia's ?
 
I would go to Columbia. Despite the strong academics and name, the job placements show me that they aren’t placing enough effort into career services
Judging from the number of students still looking for full time position (resume book 2020) and internships ( resume book 2021) compared to class size (around 25-30 students) , I think you are right.

On the other side, I don't think that Columbia places a lot of effort in career services too but placement statistics are definitely better
 
Haven't applied to either program, but I've done some research and I think I can shed some light on both programs.
NYU Courant has by far one of the strongest Math department in the US and the world, and especially when it comes to financial mathematics. They have a very nice set of electives and core curriculum.
Columbia boasts of a strong IEOR department that offers the MSFE with excellent placements. The course also has a plethora of electives to choose from various colleges within Columbia like their Business School, School of Arts and Sciences, etc.
I don't think you can go wrong with either program. From what I know , the NYU Courant program is more math rigorous. The reputation of both programs in NYC is excellent and would provide similar opportunities. The only choice you really have to make is the courses you want to study. And also, I believe the NYU program would be better suited for PhD prospects, if that is your goal.

I don't have an answer for the placement question. Maybe @CourantMathFinance could help us out. If I were to guess, it would probably be because of the high number of international students. But I think this year was one off for them, as their program is highly regarded.
Thanks for the reply. I am considering doing a PhD in the long run (not directly after the MFE). Do you think that going to Columbia would reduce the chances of getting into a PhD program in the future?
 
Thanks for the input ! But why do you think that NYU's curriculum has an edge over Columbia's ?
I think NYUs focus a little more on statistics &ML, which I think is a more useful skillset at the moment, especially if you are interested in a trading/buy side job. Of course, placements show Columbia’s student have the skills to land a job, but I feel their curriculum focuses on more classical quant topics (you can take IEOR electives in stats/ML though). If I may correct my first answer, I would say my tastes aligns more with what they wanted to do with their curriculum at NYU. I am biased by the fact I'd prefer a buy side job and a stats-heavy curriculum. If you are not particularly interested in statistics and want a desk quant job though, Columbia would have the better curriculum. I don't want to sound like Columbia's is not top notch
 
Thanks for the reply. I am considering doing a PhD in the long run (not directly after the MFE). Do you think that going to Columbia would reduce the chances of getting into a PhD program in the future?
I heard first hand from someone affiliated with NYU's program that they strongly prefer people who go into industry (which I know you are doing) so I'm not sure if NYU's program would help with getting a PhD. I would definitely ask both programs and see how many % eventually get a PhD in the long run.

Maybe something to consider: What do you want a PhD in?
 
I heard first hand from someone affiliated with NYU's program that they strongly prefer people who go into industry (which I know you are doing) so I'm not sure if NYU's program would help with getting a PhD. I would definitely ask both programs and see how many % eventually get a PhD in the long run.

Maybe something to consider: What do you want a PhD in?
I got a similar response from the admission committee when I had asked them about conversion to PhD. They clearly said that their students go into the industry and don't pursue PhD's.
But having said that NYU curriculum may allow more research opportunities in Math/Stat/ML than Columbia.
Disclaimer: Not admitted to NYU MathFin, admitted to Columbia.
 
I got a similar response from the admission committee when I had asked them about conversion to PhD. They clearly said that their students go into the industry and don't pursue PhD's.
But having said that NYU curriculum may allow more research opportunities in Math/Stat/ML than Columbia.
Disclaimer: Not admitted to NYU MathFin, admitted to Columbia.
Yea, if you somehow can work alongside legends like Avelleneda, Kohn, or Mercurio, and get recommendations from then I'm sure you'll get a leg up on PhD applications. But I don't think they'll let you do research.

Also @prisonMike congrats on getting into Columbia!

@QuantLver I don't plan on getting a PhD (MS/MSc.) will be my terminal degree, so my opinion might not be valid, but: if I was considering doing a PhD in Financial Engineering/Computational Finance/Mathematical Finance, I think Columbia might be the way to go since they HAVE a FE PhD and networking with professors there, I think, should help you with gauging your chances.
 
Please feel free to ask me further questions, since I won't try to answer everything in one post. Let me just make some comments. Note that I know very little about the Columbia program, so I cannot comment on it or compare it to our program.

1) In both the admissions process and curriculum, we have high expectations in the math and CS skills of our students. Expect to be challenged. We believe that strong fundamental skills provide a more solid long term foundation for your career.

2) We have, however, recognized that the needs of the financial industry has shifted in fundamental ways. In particular, the demand has shifted from quants trained in stochastic pricing models for derivatives to those who are well trained in data science applied to the financial industry. We do not believe this is a temporary trend. So in response we have revised our curriculum. Although we were already offering elective courses in data science, we now have new data science courses in the mandatory core curriculum. This allows us to offer more advanced elective courses in data science than we could otherwise.

3) @QuantLver, I don't have any specific advice for the best path to follow for a PhD in Mathematical Finance. I would say that none of masters in quantitative finance programs will prepare you well for a PhD program. The MS curriculum is designed to prepare you for a professional career in the industry, and that is probably not what you need to succeed in a PhD program. You should also make sure you have a compelling reason to pursue a PhD in quantitative finance.

4) As for our employment statistics, the data posted on Quantnet was not up-to-date. We will be posting on our web site more accurate numbers. I will say, however, that, even with the corrected numbers, we are dissatisfied with the numbers from last year and are making efforts to make sure they're much better in the coming years.
 
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