Cornell FE Cornell M.FinEng

CUFE

Junior Trader
Hi Chris,

If no one answered this, PM me and we can talk.

Third Semester Cornell FE Student
 

atreides

Graduate Student
Hi Chris,

If no one answered this, PM me and we can talk.

Third Semester Cornell FE Student


CUFE, maybe you can shed more light on the program at Cornell, just like financeguy has done with the Columbia program - giving folks more visibility into things like rigor of the program, current placement siuation, prospects after the program, myths, truths.. etc . I'm sure it will be greatly appreciated.
 

CUFE

Junior Trader
Sorry for the delay in response. I wrote something back in October but never posted it because I wanted to give a thoughtful response. Then I got caught up with other things and didn't get back to this until now. I will try to post something of value in the next two weeks.
 

CUFE

Junior Trader
Placement:

Some did their undergraduate degrees at Cornell in OR and thus were able to finish the degree in two semesters. They (four of them) found full-time jobs last fall. The program is traditionally 3 semesters so the rest of us are in our final semester. For this past summer, I know of 21-22 with internships, 5 who did research projects with various Cornell FE professors, and 3-4 who did not find a summer job in FE. There were a lot of internships in New York, some in Asia and India, one or two in California, one in Philly, and one in Turkey. Career services at Cornell is a big advantage because a lot of firms come directly to campus to recruit. The downside is that those are for Analyst positions. A good deal of the people in the Cornell program do not have a lot of work experience. The average age of students entering the program was 24. There are those with more work experience who have to forgo campus recruiting to get something for which they are not overqualified. This semester we are able to interview on campus in Ithaca, although we are all are in Manhattan. There are also firms doing interviews with our students in Manhattan. For full time, I know of 15 students with full time jobs in finance. I know of 11 who are still looking but most still have frequent interviews and two people just got job offers this week. There are also 3 people whose job status I do not know.

Rigor:

Not for the faint of heart. Stochastic Calculus will give you a run for your money. Some found Monte Carlo Simulation and Optimization to be the most challenging courses, but I don’t agree. That being said, there are people in the program who were Economics or Finance majors for undergrad. You don’t need to be math/physics/OR to do well in the program. You do need to have some pre-reqs out of the way though. You need two semesters of Probability & Statistics and a course in Stochastic Processes. The coding is not very intense in the program. Our program, while we do use a good deal of R, MATLAB, @Risk, and AMPL for computational problems, does not do anything with C++ and you do not need to know it at all. Some people came into the program with programming knowledge but not of the languages we used and they were fine. Many people in the program do know C++ from earlier studies or jobs, it just isn’t used in our program.

The FE students wreck the curve for the MBA classes we take in the Johnson Graduate School of Management. Those include Bob Jarrow’s (of the Heath-Jarrow-Morton model) Fixed Income Securities & Interest Rate Options, as well as Intro Derivatives, Advanced Derivatives, Investment & Portfolio Management, and a bunch of electives that can be counted toward the degree like Equity Derivatives and International Finance.

While the program doesn’t require you to be a super-genius with a PhD (though we have some students who have them or Masters degrees), there is definitely a distribution of grades in the program and it is hard to get a C in a class but also hard to get an A in a class. Also, expect to pull the occasional all-nighter every two to three weeks in your first two semesters. Maybe more depending on how you manage your time. No big deal. Of course, if you schedule your time well then you won’t have to do those.

Myths/Facts:

I don’t know what myths and facts you want me to address. I don’t read this forum very often so I don’t know what myths exist about the program. It’s a great program and the final semester is very nice since we are living in Manhattan after two semesters in Ithaca. I don’t think that being in Ithaca is a disadvantage for recruiting though. It is very close to NYC and is a nice change of pace if you plan to spend the next few years (or more) of your life in a busy city. Plus, every large bank goes there to recruit, as well as some hedge funds and consulting groups. The Cornell brand name can be a good thing to have, although not as fancy as Columbia, I must admit. Some from other schools may find fault with this claim, but it is what it is. I’m not going to debate it. The faculty is (for the most part) great. Campus is beautiful in the fall and spring. It’s cold in the winter but if you don’t want that, you shouldn’t be considering any schools in the Northeast or Midwest.

One thing I think is inaccurately reported is our admittance rate. Global Derivatives has our admittance rate at 25%. This is false. For the class entering in 2008, the admittance rate to the program was below 13%. We are a part of a larger Master of Engineering program in Operations Research and perhaps that 25% statistic is for the OR Masters program and not just FE.

Prospects after the Program:

You will get a great primer in finance as well as a solid background in statistics and probability. You can take courses from the Johnson School in almost any business subject to supplement your more quantitative core courses. Some students took things like Financial Statement Analysis and The Search for Alpha (taught by the former head of Bear Stearns Asset Management, Richard Marin).

You will not have the skills necessary to be a full “quant” but that is true of any Masters level program in FE. To truly be a quant you will need a PhD in my opinion.

This program gives you a great foundation of knowledge about quantitative finance that can be applied in a variety of roles. Students have gone on to work in asset management, sell-side trading in rates, credit, commodities, FX, ABS, CDOs, MBS, equity, equity options, etc, algorithmic trading, prop shops, investment banking, risk management, quantitative fixed income research, structuring, hedge funds, financial engineering, analytics, consulting, financial technology, and private equity.

Graduates start at either the Analyst or Associate level. Since many in the program don’t have three or more years of work experience and those who do have been in another field, I would say the majority are Analyst positions. That being said, students in past years who have come from working in finance for a few years have exited the program with great full-time offers as Associates.

Hope this helps. I’m not too excited to write much more but if you have quick questions I’ll be happy to respond.
 

CUFE

Junior Trader
Thanks for finding this Andy.

Actually, the May 2009 Graduates were almost entirely non-FE people. Only 3 or 4 Cornell Financial Engineering students graduated in May 2009 and there was 100% placement as all of them had jobs by October or November 2008. Those 3 or 4 that graduated from FE in May had done the program in 2 semesters, having done their undergrads at Cornell. The slideshow you posted describes the entire Operations Research M.Eng. program unless the bullet point specifically states it is for the Financial Engineering concentration. Anyone viewing the slides should be aware of that. That goes for GRE and GPA stats as well.

Also, at graduation last month for the students who started at Cornell in August 2008, the director of Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan stated that placement, as of graduation, was 70%. I don't know if that is published anywhere on the Cornell ORIE website, but I was one of the graduates so I can tell you first-hand what was announced.

Finally, another statistic for you guys: when I was admitted, my admission letter stated that the admission rate for the FE concentration in Fall 2008 was 12.5%. I've seen admission rates for Cornell FE quoted before and they often give the admission rate for the entire Operations Research M.Eng. program and are not specific to Financial Engineering. The general admission rate for OR is MUCH higher than the FE one.
 
Schools must do a better job updating their website and provide up to date info to prospective students or employers. It's 2010 and in my opinion, I find it less than professional to not take good care of the online presence. This is the case for many program, not any specific program.

For example, see Placement Statistics

By the way, I just emailed Victoria Averbukh, who is director of CFEM to invite her to write a guest post for QN when we launch. We'll see.

---------- Post added at 09:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:21 PM ----------

CUFE,
Can you invite your classmates who recently graduated in Dec 2009 to write a review for the program?
Their info is available here Our Students but it would be more better if you can convince them to share the insight, experience and spread the word.

The link to the review form is here Wanted: student reviewers of MFE programs - QuantNetwork - Financial Engineering Forum
 

CUFE

Junior Trader
Whoa, easy there. I wasn't attacking your stats. I was just helping clarify your post for the others and trying to add to the information available to prospective MFEs. I meant nothing personal. Yes they probably should update their website, but that's a marketing issue and has nothing to do with the quality of the program.
 
Thanks for finding this Andy.

Actually, the May 2009 Graduates were almost entirely non-FE people. Only 3 or 4 Cornell Financial Engineering students graduated in May 2009 and there was 100% placement as all of them had jobs by October or November 2008. Those 3 or 4 that graduated from FE in May had done the program in 2 semesters, having done their undergrads at Cornell. The slideshow you posted describes the entire Operations Research M.Eng. program unless the bullet point specifically states it is for the Financial Engineering concentration. Anyone viewing the slides should be aware of that. That goes for GRE and GPA stats as well.

Also, at graduation last month for the students who started at Cornell in August 2008, the director of Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan stated that placement, as of graduation, was 70%. I don't know if that is published anywhere on the Cornell ORIE website, but I was one of the graduates so I can tell you first-hand what was announced.

Finally, another statistic for you guys: when I was admitted, my admission letter stated that the admission rate for the FE concentration in Fall 2008 was 12.5%. I've seen admission rates for Cornell FE quoted before and they often give the admission rate for the entire Operations Research M.Eng. program and are not specific to Financial Engineering. The general admission rate for OR is MUCH higher than the FE one.

I don't understand why Cornell doesn't confer straight FE degree (such as Master of Engineering, Financial Engineering) like Columbia (Master of Science, Financial Engineering)? Cornell instead confers a Master of Engineering, ORIE degree, with certificate in Financial Engineering. IMO, this is not much different than Columbia's MSOR students who select FE courses as their electives.

I think the way Columbia does it is much better (separate degrees for OR and FE students) and it avoids confusion.
 
I don't understand why Cornell doesn't confer straight FE degree (such as Master of Engineering, Financial Engineering) like Columbia (Master of Science, Financial Engineering)? Cornell instead confers a Master of Engineering, ORIE degree, with certificate in Financial Engineering. IMO, this is not much different than Columbia's MSOR students who select FE courses as their electives.

I think the way Columbia does it is much better (separate degrees for OR and FE students) and it avoids confusion.

Please read page 13 of the Master of Engineering Handbook of Cornell ORIE before you comment on the program.
Brochures and Downloadable Documents

It is way different from the MSOR program of Columbia, although the name of the master degree fall in the same category of ORIE. It's just a matter of administration.
 
Please read page 13 of the Master of Engineering Handbook of Cornell ORIE before you comment on the program.
Brochures and Downloadable Documents

It is way different from the MSOR program of Columbia, although the name of the master degree fall in the same category of ORIE. It's just a matter of administration.

I understand the content may be different depending on how MSOR students select electives, and I know Cornell's students spend 3 semesters.

But for an employers who are scanning resumes, do you think which would be more appealing, a M. Eng degree in ORIE with concentration in FE or a MS degree in FE? Sure you can explain to the employer in the interview, but there is good chance you may not get selected for interview because your degree would suggest that the FE portion of your study is just a "concentration" rather than a "major."
 

alain

Older and Wiser
... or you can say M. Eng in FE from Cornell. You are talking about semantics that are not going to influence anything.
 
... or you can say M. Eng in FE from Cornell. You are talking about semantics that are not going to influence anything.

Would that be considered "lying on your resume" though? Because your diploma and transcript both say your M. Eng degree is "ORIE" major. Your diploma and transcript will not mention anything about FE concentration. Cornell does not "techinically" offer M. Eng in FE.

This would be like going for an master degree in interdisciplinary studies, with concentration in economics. You can't put master degree in economics on your resume.

I have nothing against Cornell's program of study. I just don't understand why they don't separate the two degrees like Columbia does.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
I have master degrees from NYU and Baruch. I can tell you their diplomas just say Master Science. That's it.
 
I have master degrees from NYU and Baruch. I can tell you their diplomas just say Master Science. That's it.

Alain, thanks a lot for your clarification. Got a lot of stuff to catch up in the first semester at Cornell. Will try to post updates and more insignts about the program later.
 
I have master degrees from NYU and Baruch. I can tell you their diplomas just say Master Science. That's it.

What about your NYU and Baruch transcript? What if the employers ask for an official transcript from NYU or Baruch for verification purpose, and find the the degree designations listed on the official transcript and your resume don't match?

(I do know that some schools put major on diploma (my undergrad school does), but some schools don't (my grad school doesn't).)
 
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