# DISCUSSION on second rated MFE programs

Does anyone have any info/opinions on the Temple MSFE program?

Well, I did a search and found this. Not very impressive. And I don't think there will be serious prospects of a job at the end of it. Seems to be yet another me-too program designed to generate some cash for the school.

One more brand new MFE program offered by Hawaii University http://mfe.shidler.hawaii.edu/Default2.htm
Anyone wants a free T-shirt from them http://mfe.shidler.hawaii.edu/challenge.html

Difficult to keep a straight face while reading words like "rigorous" and "world-renowned instructors." Plus the tuition is $29,000 for a completely untested program (to put it politely) and is itself subject to change -- presumably only upwards. The offer of a T-shirt has some qualifying small print: "while supplies last." We should now make a list of the universities that do not have an MFE program. Surely there must be some? #### bluechimp That's a nicely designed website. I like the t-shirt, too. #### Uncle Max We should now make a list of the universities that do not have an MFE program. Surely there must be some? This one is a very special program. Even their T-Shirt says: "Quants Surf Too", which means surfing, sunbathing and partying will be a significant part of the program So, if your father or uncle run a multi-billion dollar hedge fund, go there for a year of nice living and get your degree. I'm sure you won't have any problems finding employment after graduation If you don't have a powerful uncle, you have to learn somewhere else how to solve Black-Scholes PDE, but you get a free T-Shirt for doing so. #### bigbadwolf This one is a very special program. Even their T-Shirt says: "Quants Surf Too", which means surfing, sunbathing and partying will be a significant part of the program Okay, you've persuaded me. I'm too cynical and blase for my own good. Provided there's a constituent MFE course on surfing and partying (maybe with some euphemistic name like "surfing and sunbathing derivatives") I'll sign on. And the T-shirt is just icing on the cake. #### Uncle Max Provided there's a constituent MFE course on surfing and partying (maybe with some euphemistic name like "surfing and sunbathing derivatives") I'll sign on. They have a course named "Environmental Finance & Weather Derivatives" during Spring semester. This is probably what you are asking for. #### bigbadwolf They have a course named "Environmental Finance & Weather Derivatives" during Spring semester. This is probably what you are asking for. Precisely, that's it. I went back to look at the course structure and though I think I've seen 'em all, this threadbare program had even me squirming in embarrassment. This joins a select handful of US programs that should be collectively titled "Not even third-rate." #### atreides ##### Graduate Student I'm trying to picture orientation day with a huge banner reading "ALOHA MFE students" or "MAHALO students" or something like that...no pun intended. Wonder how they'll recruit, being so far from major financial hubs..Very nice website though. #### DominiConnor ##### Quant Headhunter I don't think being far from financial hubs is fatal, indeed my colleague Paul Wilmott uses his surfing logo a lot in his big book of banking. BigBadWolf nails it when he says$29K is a big ask for a program with no reputation.

Perhaps I'm still jet lagged, but I can't find any real info on the lecturers or much detail on what is actually taught.

No rational person would launch a MFE program in this market, but these things take a long time to set up.

And yes, it is rare to find anywhere that does not offer an MFE, indeed the University of London I believe has 21 different MFEs to choose from.

There is no good objective ranking system, not even ours, which is a) private b) subjective and c) wrong

And yes, Fordham is still at the bottom of it.

and yes, I'm back.

#### financeguy

I just finished the MSOR. First, Columbia certainly does give career aid provided you seek it out. Most people do not. Second, MSOR, MSFE, and MAFN are the three quant programs running together (and keep in mind not everyone from MSOR wants finance AT ALL), and in terms of hiring none of them gets preference over any of the others. All students get interviews. Jobs are another story. This year has been bad across the board. That's for every program, everywhere. I have offers. A bunch of my friends from MSOR, MSFE, and MAFN have offers for summer and full-time positions. I think there's a general misconception that simply going to one of these programs should get you a job. Going to one of these programs does do something: it gets you an interview. Then it's up to you to get the job. Going to any one of these three programs at Columbia will get you LOTS of interviews. I've had upwards of 20. They put the ball in your court and then you have to seal the deal. If you're having visa issues, that's very unfortunate, but that's really not a Columbia-specific problem.

Saw this on another board. Food for thoughts.

This is a mail I received from an existing Columbia student when I contacted him. Doesn't sound good people.

1) What has the placement been like this year ? How much help does Columbia provide in terms of career aid ? Does the presence of both FE and OR student hamper placements ? How easy it is to use recruitment agencies to try for jobs ?

Placements have been extremely bad! Out of 60 students hardly 8-9 have jobs and most of them are in IT that also because these students did there undergrad in Computer Science. Other are planning to get their degrees extended and pass out in Dec-09 but for that also you need some summer internship and even they are extremely difficult to find.

Here FE batch primarily comprises of three main communities Indians, Chinese and French. Indians and the Chinese are the ones who struggle for placements because of huge debt and visa issues; The french can always go back to London and many of them already have offers before coming to Columbia so it's really easy to play with the placement stats of Columbia. Columbia provides ABSOLUTELY no career aid!

Forget about OR there are 3-4 other grad programs which are run in parallel to FE and OR, all of them are competing for these financial sector jobs. So its like 300 resumes going for one position, and there 1st filter any recruiter applies is that of CGPA and because FE program is very competitive people don?t have very good GPAs. Also the career services provided by Columbia University (outside department) are primarily for Undergrads so you have to rely on you network and placement consultants to find jobs. Recruitment Agencies have been helpful in past but they are going to entertain your resumes only during the last 1-2 months of your graduation.

Berkeley and CMU placements are in the hands of their business schools so they have far better career services. Don?t expect same kind of services in Columbia and don?t extrapolate their placement stats. Apart from Berkeley and CMU all other good FE programs share same problems in terns of career services.

2) How is the program ? Are faculty people like Derman approachable and of any help in terms of recruitment ? How are the courses and classes in > general ?

Learning wise program is awesome and profs are really nice. Course is not easy for sure. But in the end you are making a 65K (equal to MBA fees for 1 yr) investment and you need to have a job!

3) Lastly, would you have any information regarding the number of people being accepted this year to the FE program ?

Please share this info with other people who are considering Columbia for FE. And ask to contact any us in case they have some queries. I am writing this mail in a hurry so there may be many typos.

#### financeguy

I've been continually posting my take on this as an MSOR student on other threads. I just want to make sure nobody leaves this forum thinking the wrong thing about the MSOR. When I started out in the MSOR program, I felt as if I was either less important or below in whatever way to the MSFE students. This turned out to mostly just be because there are courses that are "restricted" only to the MSFE students, and because the MSFE students who had already been there over the summer (two months before we showed up) liked to act as if their degree was better.

Here's the truth. Any "restricted" course is not really restricted. MSOR students can take those courses if they want to. On the other hand, those courses aren't really the best and most interesting FE courses. The electives are the best ones, and they're very much totally open to everyone. Also, the FE students are NOT any smarter or better in any way, shape, or form than the OR students. I worked with FE students as group partners and study partners and I was just as good or better than most. That is certainly not to say that I am an exceptional student - I am not - it is just to say that the OR students are just as good as the FE students. In terms of jobs, it is absolutely a level playing field. the MSFE students get the same amount of interviews as the the MSOR students, and they perform just about the same in those interviews, because as I said before, the MSOR students have just as much knowledge. Keep in mind, employers don't care about the added "brand name" that goes along with the MSFE degree. It is the Columbia brand name that gets you the interview, and MSOR has that too. From there, it's just a matter of how much you know and how well you can get it across, and MSOR students are well prepared to compete effectively in this respect. Here's a link to some more of my postings:

Too bad. We now lost the inside source of that program. Somebody must have talked to him or Dominic's post on WM did him in.

I think we now know anything there is to know about Fordham program. If some students decide to come back and update us on any new developments, we love to hear from them.

Moving on, here are some corresponds between a prospective student and several Columbia MSOR students. This gives light onto many questions being asked here and around the forums : whether MSOR students can take any FE courses, and what is going on with the placement scene.

MY EMAIL:
Sorry for sending this email from out of the blue, but I was hoping you could answer a few questions for me. I was denied admission into the MSFE program at Columbia but was recommended for the MSOR program. It seems that I can still pursue a career in FE with an MSOR degree by taking FE electives. I wanted to know if it was easy getting into the FE classes or were you always given second priority which meant sometimes the class would get full and you had to take some other classes. Can MSOR students take the same classes as MSFE students or can they only take classes like Introduction to FE and Pricing Models etc. I hope to finish the program in 3 semesters and take some finance classes from the business school. Do you think that MSFE students have an advantage over MSOR students when it comes to job placements or is it a level playing field? Can you please comment on the MSOR program at Columbia. Not much feedback is available on the internet....just FE program stuff is.

Thank you for your help. I understand if you're busy right now with the Spring semester and can't get back to me immediately.

RESPONSE #1
Hi there,
To be honest, the current economic scenario makes it hard to predict the job scenario for FE graduates. The smartest always get jobs. Regarding courses, there are some courses that are marked as specific for FE, but OR students are generally allowed to enroll. For the most part, it does not make a difference which program you do, though the FE program is supposed to carry a 'brand' name.
And you can do only one course per semester from the business school, so you can take a max. of 3 b-school courses during the course of your program.

RESPONSE #2
This happens every year....and many people come thinking that OR can manage with fe..SAME WITH ME...and in terms of knowledge u mite fall short of them by a small margin..but when u go to interviews and submit ur resume FE guys are obv. given higher priority unless u hav somethin stronger to show on ur resume..and well the FE guys itself are struggling with the placements..so from OR dont even expect to get a job easily though at the end of the day u mite get one...but interms of knowledge yes you dont have much to lose if ur goin for OR but in terms of placements OR is at a disadv ...
And if ur lukin for placements only try CMU or sumthin bcos there placement is stronger for FE though the faculty and stuff at columbia is amazin...

RESPONSE #3
Hi
You might have got your answers by now I guess. But my 2 cents - You are right about the most part - during fall the FE courses are restricted to FE students. During spring though, you can take FE electives, some of which do give a priority to FEs, but a lot of OR students take these classes too.
Well, my personal view is ,I found it to be a level-playing field for OR and FE as far as jobs are concerned, but you might want to get additional feedback from other people on that.

#### Phoebe

Professional Degree at Columbia

Thanks for all the great info. Those are definitely very helpful.

I was wondering if anyone has heard of a Professional Degree in IE at Columbia? I already have a MSEE degree and would rather not go through the painstaking process of studying for another GRE. I was told by Columbia that the Professional degree is actually regarded higher than the MSOR and I could take that with a concentration in finance?

Thank you all!

#### financeguy

Columbia offers a PD (professional degree) in FE and a PhD in IEOR. The PDFE is a higher level FE degree than a master's and can only be applied to after having completed an MSFE or MSOR with FE focus. Think of it as a taught PhD-level program for FE. The PhD in IEOR is exactly what it sounds like, and a specialization is offered in FE. This is a more traditional PhD program and is more research focused (with a dissertation requirement), while the PDFE is intensive in very advanced FE coursework. Comparing either the PhD in IEOR (FE concentration) or the PDFE to the MSFE or MSOR does not make sense since they're simply on different levels of the degree spectrum. The other cool thing about the PDFE, by the way, is that it's offered jointly with NUS (National University of Singapore) and you can study part of the program there as well. You also receive degrees from both Columbia and NUS.

Also I wanted to point something else out to you. Since you're a MSEE (electrical engineering for those who don't know) graduate, you might not have any finance background and you also might not know much about jobs in the field. Keep in mind that a PhD might "overqualify" you for a lot of jobs you might end up wanting and limit you to very, very quant stuff in the industry. If your goal is to remain in academia, then clearly the PhD is for you.

#### Quantrocks

Hi there,
How about ranking of MFE program in ASIA? :sos: budget constraint....pls advise. Thanks!

#### Andy Nguyen

You are unlikely to find anything useful out there. We are more knowledgeable towards US-based programs and there does not exists one ranking for the US programs, let alone one for the Asia ones.

#### Andy Nguyen

Please welcome another MFE program. USC announced that it offers Financial Engineering degree in addition to its Math Finance program.

USC, Los Angeles, CA, Aug 17, 2009

In an effort to adjust to a rapidly shifting job market, the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering will offer four new graduate degrees this fall, including ones in green technology and health systems.
The four Masters of Science degrees -- Green Technologies, Electrical Engineering (Electric Power), Health Systems Engineering and Financial Engineering -- provide interdisciplinary education with schools such as the Marshall School of Business and the School of Policy, Planning, and Development.
Administrators hope the new degrees, which have been in development for three years, will prepare graduates for an industry focused on cost efficiency that is looking for creative solutions.
Carolyn Suckow, director of Student Affairs for Viterbi's Master's and Professional Programs, said the school decided to institute the new programs in order to stay up to date with the needs of society and the private and public sectors of health and energy development.
"What we see in the news, what our researchers tell us, what students are asking for -- that's what determines why we add new degrees," Suckow said.
Jim Moore, department chair of Viterbi's Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, said the degree was created to address two needs: the need for more well-prepared graduates and the need for more graduate engineering students with undergraduate engineering degrees.
"It was apparent that many areas, especially the arena of health care, will expand rather rapidly in coming years," he said. "It seems we ought to be attempting to structure curricula that would draw graduate students here and allow them to compete."
The M.S. in Health Systems Engineering, Moore noted, will teach students tactics which could be effective in changing the way the health-care system is approached in the United States.
The other degrees also aim to prepare students to address societal problems.
Electrical power engineering will prepare students to work toward more sustainable goals for powering the country. The masters in financial engineering, already offered by schools like UCLA and Columbia, will teach students to combine math, finance and engineering -- skills useful in fields such as investment banking and insurance policy work. The degree in green technology will focus on creating solutions to global demands for energy and energy efficiency problems.
All four degrees will also be offered online through Viterbi's Distance Education Network. DEN was also part of the impetus to create the degrees, providing information about students' needs and the demands of the workplace, Moore said.
"Here at Viterbi, we're basically stalwarts -- we do research, we teach classes, we publish papers and we're not the most businesslike people in the world," Moore said. "DEN was able to say, 'Look, here's the business opportunity. Here's what we think the faculty should do to meet societal needs.'"
Though the beginning class size is between 20 and 30, Raghu Raghavendra, a senior associate dean for strategic initiatives, said professors hope the program will eventually include as many as 100 students.
"New programs start small," Raghavendra said. "We hope that our students will find these new degrees useful."
The MFE program website

#### Andy Nguyen

University of Texas at Dallas announced Financial Engineering concentration within its Master of Science in Finance degree.

Financial Engineering concentration (24 hours):

FIN 6310 Investment Management
FIN 6314 Fixed Income Securities and their Derivatives
FIN 6360 Options and Futures Markets
FIN 6364 Advanced Investment Management or FIN 6370 Theory of Finance
FIN 6382 Introductory Mathematical Finance
FIN 6384 Numerical Methods in Finance
ECO 6311 Statistics for Economists or MECO 6315 Approaches to Statistical Inference
MECO 6312 Applied Econometrics and Times Series Analysis

Master of Science in Finance - School of Management @ UT Dallas