Columbia MSOR Columbia MSFE reject, redirected to MSOR

catchuec

New Member
I have got quite a lot of information for Columbia MSOR/MAFN/MSFE programs for current students/alumni and I would like to share the same with you. Please go through the below mentioned details -

Forums present a completely different picture than reality and that's the reason I started contacted students/alumni of Cornell/Columbia ( I have contacted 25+ people so far :) in the process ). I am happy that I have at least a better picture of quant finance through my interactions with current students or alumni than I would have had from reading forum posts.

Based on the discussions so far,
i) Columbia MSOR = MAFN = MSFE (there is flexibility in choosing the courses) . There is absolutely no difference between the courses and you can take any course from IEOR/Math dept. The batch size is really huge MSOR ( 120+), MSFE ( 70 +), MAFN (60 + ) and this is going to increase further this year. In addition to competing with the above masters candidates, one has to compete with undergrads in FE, OR, CS undergrads/masters, MA Stats students for similar job profiles.

ii) The placements had been good till 2010 - things are really different for 2011 and 2012 batches. In fact, none of the 2011 alumni responded to my mails. All these details from an international applicants perspective. The same firms which were giving out interview invites in 2010 or earlier are not doing the same in 2011/12

iii) Many of the current students have advised me to go for Masters in CS at Columbia(100% of the students have got summer internships), but that's something I am not interested in at all.

iv)One thing that I am not clear about is the job profile/type of job I might be landing into after Columbia MSOR/MAFN. People are not open about their work and they just give one-liner answers when queried about the work they do. And the jobs they are doing are quite different then our perceptions ( gained from forums and other sources )

v) Only few of the international Columbia MFE students (3 - 5) who are graduating in May 2012 have jobs as of now ( 2 more months to graduate ). Its extremely difficult to get a decent quant job (in terms of work content and 100K+ salary) these days - what one gets after relentlessly trying for interviews is an analyst/associate role. Most of the 2011 alumni are working in areas which are quite different from quant.

vi) The only places that assure a secured quant job in such market conditions are CMU, NYU, UCB.

vii) None ( yes no one ) among the students/alumni has a clear picture of the future prospects of quantitative finance or where they are headed

viii) In terms of rigor/course structure/quality of teaching, Columbia is the one of the best places to be.

ix) Lot of students/alum would have preferred MSOR to MAFN because of the flexibilities of MSOR and also the length of the program.

x)If you are an international applicant ( like me ) and headed into one of the Columbia programs, go for it if you really love quant finance and the stuff that they teach here. Take a note of point ii) and iv) I mentioned above - things have changed post 2010 and we don't know how things are going to turn out in 2013/14.

Again, the above is my perspective based on my interactions with several people in the last 2-3 months. I would suggest any prospective student headed into one of the above Columbia programs to apply caution and reach out to alum/students before making a decision. I would like to know if anyone else has more details about things mentioned in ii) and iv)
 

JDawg

Member
And the jobs they are doing are quite different then our perceptions ( gained from forums and other sources )
Could you elaborate a little more on the types of jobs that these graduates are getting?

Great post, thanks for writing all of that up.
 

catchuec

New Member
Sorry, I do not have detailed information about the batch that graduated in 2011 - I have got contrasting replies from Columbia 2010 and 2011 alumni in terms of job content/career prospects. Apparently, the same firms those were giving out interview calls and hiring in 2010 are no longer doing the same in 2011/12. I would like to hear more from other prospective students as they will be contacting a different set of people ( compared to the ones I have contacted) and it will be interesting to know their views.
 

bullion

Active Member
catchuec
THANK YOU. You've just done us a great service giving us a closer look of the Columbia scene. The shift toward Masters in CS is quite consistent with what I've been hearing, and their recruitment condition is probably expected from a brand-based generalist program.

Maybe we can edit the data a bit and add it to the program reviews and wiki?
 

toucheternalck

New Member
Yes, my apologies!
If you want to be a quant, then go for the MFE, but not for the MSOR.

The reason comes from the current economy: MSOR quants are "less attractives" than MFEs (Columbia and others), so are served last. Yep, but there aren't that many jobs in the street...

Besides, the core curriculum of the MSOR is a total waste of money, with a very low level and poor professors (IMHO).

But don't get me wrong, there are some very great classes! Just, I'm warning you: the IEOR dep's interests are not yours, and you must be very honnest with yourself in what you want to do.

I'll give you a more extensive review later tonight, if you want.

PS: However, guys... never say no to a free option! If Columbia is not asking for a deposit for redirecting your application to the MSOR, then just do it (because it most likely means they'll reject you from the MFE, and it gives you more time to make your mind).
thanks for the honest post. it would be really great if you could please submit a full-fledged review of the program!
 

toucheternalck

New Member
I have got quite a lot of information for Columbia MSOR/MAFN/MSFE programs for current students/alumni and I would like to share the same with you. Please go through the below mentioned details -

Forums present a completely different picture than reality and that's the reason I started contacted students/alumni of Cornell/Columbia ( I have contacted 25+ people so far :) in the process ). I am happy that I have at least a better picture of quant finance through my interactions with current students or alumni than I would have had from reading forum posts.

Based on the discussions so far,
i) Columbia MSOR = MAFN = MSFE (there is flexibility in choosing the courses) . There is absolutely no difference between the courses and you can take any course from IEOR/Math dept. The batch size is really huge MSOR ( 120+), MSFE ( 70 +), MAFN (60 + ) and this is going to increase further this year. In addition to competing with the above masters candidates, one has to compete with undergrads in FE, OR, CS undergrads/masters, MA Stats students for similar job profiles.

ii) The placements had been good till 2010 - things are really different for 2011 and 2012 batches. In fact, none of the 2011 alumni responded to my mails. All these details from an international applicants perspective. The same firms which were giving out interview invites in 2010 or earlier are not doing the same in 2011/12

iii) Many of the current students have advised me to go for Masters in CS at Columbia(100% of the students have got summer internships), but that's something I am not interested in at all.

iv)One thing that I am not clear about is the job profile/type of job I might be landing into after Columbia MSOR/MAFN. People are not open about their work and they just give one-liner answers when queried about the work they do. And the jobs they are doing are quite different then our perceptions ( gained from forums and other sources )

v) Only few of the international Columbia MFE students (3 - 5) who are graduating in May 2012 have jobs as of now ( 2 more months to graduate ). Its extremely difficult to get a decent quant job (in terms of work content and 100K+ salary) these days - what one gets after relentlessly trying for interviews is an analyst/associate role. Most of the 2011 alumni are working in areas which are quite different from quant.

vi) The only places that assure a secured quant job in such market conditions are CMU, NYU, UCB.

vii) None ( yes no one ) among the students/alumni has a clear picture of the future prospects of quantitative finance or where they are headed

viii) In terms of rigor/course structure/quality of teaching, Columbia is the one of the best places to be.

ix) Lot of students/alum would have preferred MSOR to MAFN because of the flexibilities of MSOR and also the length of the program.

x)If you are an international applicant ( like me ) and headed into one of the Columbia programs, go for it if you really love quant finance and the stuff that they teach here. Take a note of point ii) and iv) I mentioned above - things have changed post 2010 and we don't know how things are going to turn out in 2013/14.

Again, the above is my perspective based on my interactions with several people in the last 2-3 months. I would suggest any prospective student headed into one of the above Columbia programs to apply caution and reach out to alum/students before making a decision. I would like to know if anyone else has more details about things mentioned in ii) and iv)
A great job indeed! in fact I too have been interacting with many of the alums/current students and can validate the information that you have put forth in point i, iii, v, viii, ix.

thanks once again!
 

catchuec

New Member
A great job indeed! in fact I too have been interacting with many of the alums/current students and can validate the information that you have put forth in point i, iii, v, viii, ix.

thanks once again!
Glad to know that the information I have is accurate. It will be great if someone can dig up information regarding point ii, iv as these two points will have critical information which can be used by many prospective candidates heading to Columbia MFE/MSOR/MAFN programs in fall 2012.
 

toucheternalck

New Member
Glad to know that the information I have is accurate. It will be great if someone can dig up information regarding point ii, iv as these two points will have critical information which can be used by many prospective candidates heading to Columbia MFE/MSOR/MAFN programs in fall 2012.
yeah as far as point ii, iv are concerned, we need some digging. although the people with whom i have interacted did not in any way suggest what has been put forth in point ii.
 

grcheng

New Member
I just received an email for MSOR interview. It's about 10 minutes. Anyone has some idea what the interview questions are about? Are they more like general questions?
 

susanvilla

New Member
I just received an email for MSOR interview. It's about 10 minutes. Anyone has some idea what the interview questions are about? Are they more like general questions?
I think so, since it is said in the letter that "to discuss your candidacy and interest in Columbia University". Therefore, I guess it will not be technical, but some questions general.
I chose the time of March 15th. How about you?
 

grcheng

New Member
I think so, since it is said in the letter that "to discuss your candidacy and interest in Columbia University". Therefore, I guess it will not be technical, but some questions general.
I chose the time of March 15th. How about you?
I chose March 15th 16:30-16:40pm Eastern time.
 

susanvilla

New Member
I chose Match 15th 16:30-16:40pm Eastern time.
Good luck to both of us. Even though there comes too many negative opinions these days, I still believe New York is better than other places. Finding a job is difficult everywhere.
 

dancingpig

New Member
Hi. I just received the interview invitation as well. But by the time I clicked that link...all slots were booked... And it has been only around 3 hours since I got the email. Seems that MSOR is giving out loooooooots of interviews this time if taking the time slots as an indicator...
 

shadewizard

New Member
I have got quite a lot of information for Columbia MSOR/MAFN/MSFE programs for current students/alumni and I would like to share the same with you. Please go through the below mentioned details -

Forums present a completely different picture than reality and that's the reason I started contacted students/alumni of Cornell/Columbia ( I have contacted 25+ people so far :) in the process ). I am happy that I have at least a better picture of quant finance through my interactions with current students or alumni than I would have had from reading forum posts.

Based on the discussions so far,
i) Columbia MSOR = MAFN = MSFE (there is flexibility in choosing the courses) . There is absolutely no difference between the courses and you can take any course from IEOR/Math dept. The batch size is really huge MSOR ( 120+), MSFE ( 70 +), MAFN (60 + ) and this is going to increase further this year. In addition to competing with the above masters candidates, one has to compete with undergrads in FE, OR, CS undergrads/masters, MA Stats students for similar job profiles.
Thanks for the information you provided!
But I noticed from their website the fact that some MSFE core courses are for MSFE student only.
i.e. IEOR E4707 Financial Engineering: Continuous Time Models
IEOR E4709 Data Analysis for Financial Engineering
I think the courses above are essential for someone who want a career in quant finance.
Can students of MSOR have access to these courses in the first Fall semster?
Although on spring I can take almost all courses as MFEs, it has sense only if I have learned the prereq stuff (stochatic calculus , programming, etc.).
 

catchuec

New Member
Thanks for the information you provided!
But I noticed from their website the fact that some MSFE core courses are for MSFE student only.
i.e. IEOR E4707 Financial Engineering: Continuous Time Models
IEOR E4709 Data Analysis for Financial Engineering
I think the courses above are essential for someone who want a career in quant finance.
Can students of MSOR have access to these courses in the first Fall semster?
Although on spring I can take almost all courses as MFEs, it has sense only if I have learned the prereq stuff (stochatic calculus , programming, etc.).
Try contacting any current student/alumni regarding the substitutes for these courses or their equivalent courses in Math Dept - please do your own homework. Whatever data I have mentioned/collected is from first hand sources. I suggest you to do the same and I am sure you will by surprised be some of the truth you will get to know regarding the so-called prereq stuff :)
 

susanvilla

New Member
Hi. I just received the interview invitation as well. But by the time I clicked that link...all slots were booked... And it has been only around 3 hours since I got the email. Seems that MSOR is giving out loooooooots of interviews this time if taking the time slots as an indicator...
I received the interview invitation some days earlier, but I also found that the majority of the slots had already been booked. So I guess some were booked by interviewees in other programs like MS&E. Is it possible?
 
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