DISCUSSION on second rated MFE programs

Feng

I want to update some information. I see on the forum of Global Derivatives that someone has quoted my #5 post in this thread about the placement at U Chicago this year. The information provided in the #5 post is a faithful report about my phone call to U Chicago's amission office, yet after that phone call, I have also got some further information indicating a different scenario.

Some current student in MSFM@U Chicago told me that the market is very bad this year, and none of the int'l student with no prior work experience has got a job offer so far. Even some of those with work experience have not secured a job yet.

I just do not want to be misleading. And hope this can be helpful.

LucasLv

Hello,Feng! I am an undergraduate student without any w/e and I have got the ad of MSFM@U Chicago as well. I highly care about the exact placement of UChicago and fortunnately I have gotten in touch with some Current Chinese Students in the full time program in UChicago. Just like you have said, less than 25% of them got jobs including a part-time one. But they said the job market is currently bad and have exerted negative influence on nearly every MFE program and in good days the placement of UChicago was good. This is some of the information I have. Feng and other friends who got AD of MSFM@U Chicago are welcomed to add me through MSN:lvkai8410@hotmail.com or QQ:657314548.

alain

Older and Wiser
...But they said the job market is currently bad and have exerted negative influence on nearly every MFE program and in good days the placement of UChicago was good.

In good days, everybody's placement was good.

Andy Nguyen

Feng,
Keep Quantnet members updated on what you find out. It's important that you have all the information before you decide which program to join. While you may be disappointed at what you find out, it's better than to hear: "You'll find out when you join us" or "We don't maintain the employment stats."
Yes, these are things some programs told our members when they call.
In good days, nobody bothered to call any program to check up on the stat because once you graduate, you get a job. Now, you got to do some due diligence, sort of background check on a potential date to see if it's a right fit for you.

Tianheng

I just got off the phone with a current student at UChicago.
Here's what I got. Out of 19 chinese students, 2 of them
have got full time offers. Another potential offer is coming
from a trading company in Chicago to a girl in the class,
but she withdrew her application due to some personal
reasons. That is all. The guy I talked to received his
undergrad education in mainland China and did his master in
Singapore. He gave me sort of impression that under this
market condition, it is the location and the networking
power of program director that matters the most.

Things are not any better in other top MFE programs. A guy
at Cornell told me only half of his classmates have got
summer interns up to now. He received his first interview
from BOA last week and lucky as he is, got a full time
offer yesterday. This guy came from Fudan University with a
bachlor's degree in applied mathematics.

Another program I would like to comment on is NYU. Melissa put me
into contact with some of the currents students. I asked them
about the senario of the summer interns, and all 3 students
gave me the same response unaminously: most of the students
have already got internship offers, a clearer picture can be
expected in the coming month. I do believe NYU has had/will
have the strongest plcament among all top programs.

Hope the above helps.

Feng

I do agree that NYU is very strong! I think NYU and CMU are otherwise all equivalent, except that NYU has excellent location. Though CMU has NY campus, I intensely dislike remote teaching.

I have finally decided to go to CMU though. The major reason is that the 1.5 yr duration allows an intern opportunity, which I think is very precious under current market condition. I am really sorry that I have to decline U Chicago.

I do think NYU's program is better, but I do not cherish much hope to get their admission, because I am not majoring in maths. The reply deadline for CMU is approaching, so I am not going to wait any longer.

Thank you for all your help here!

DominiConnor

Do you think that you can master those areas in just 1 or 1.5 years? Given that amount of time, I strongly believe that a typically good student can only grab those in a recipes style.

I think that is reasonable analysis. To me a "master" is someone in (say) the top 10% of a given profession, a MFE does not do this.

I believe that Dominic is biased and particularly obsessed with C++ programming in quant jobs.
I plead guilty on both counts.
I listen to what hiring managers tell me, and study why people fail to get jobs, and C++ is up there big time, hence my bias. If they said PDEs or game theory I'd be pushing them. As a student of my posts you will notice also a bias against those who use Monte Carlo rather than understand the problem.
If you think I bang on about C++ a lot, then I feel I have done my job properly.

However googling on my various IDs with "Excel" will see me tell many people to get that up to speed as well.

A valid criticism of the aggregate nature of my posts is that I complain more than I praise. I talk of things that people don't have which hurt them. I don't ever write "I'm just so happy everyone knows >5 ways of deriving Black Scholes"

It probably takes a computer geek 10-20 years of programming to master the language.
Using the definition I give above you may be right
But at entry level I'm looking for competence, not excellence in C++. You can do that in three months flat. OK, a tough 3 months, and you'd need someone to hold your hand.

In my opinion, C++ is important but not as fundamental as Stochastic Calculus, Modeling, Numerical Computations, (and maybe some sense of Finance/Econometrics).

Well, yes I agree, but we are not dealing with quantities amenable to linear addition here, nor is ordering a valid way of deciding how to allocate study time.

A simplistic but useful first model would be to multiply your rank in the core skills like Stoch, LA, PDE, time series, numerical anaylsis, brainteasers and C++

Thus being in the Zero percentile at C++ may often be fatal to your application even if you are wonderful at everything else. Of course C++ without numerical analysis is a bit futile, and unless you have stochastics and finance theory you are just a programmer.

I entirely agree and commend your position of using opportunity cost to help decide what to learn, where I think we part company is how we evaluate the utility of the portfolio, and the marginal return on an investment of your time.

I guess one implicit assumption in your position is that below a certain critical there is no point learning C++ because you won't be able to do anything useful. I agree with that
.
My view is that for many students moving from the 98th percentile in stochastics to the 99th adds little to their value, but the same effort can get you from 0 to 20% in C++.

Ideally, C++ (or programming skills in general) should be required as a preliminary, not as a core part of the FE training.
Agreed, but it ain't gonna happen.
On the CQF, we do C++ as a post hoc lecture series.

LucasLv

Another program I would like to comment on is NYU. Melissa put me
into contact with some of the currents students. I asked them
about the senario of the summer interns, and all 3 students
gave me the same response unaminously: most of the students
have already got internship offers, a clearer picture can be
expected in the coming month. I do believe NYU has had/will
have the strongest plcament among all top programs.

Hope the above helps.

The program of NYU is 1.5yrs and I heard from a current student of NYU that most of them got full-time job after the summer intern. That is before the subprime...These students are 2006 fall. We still don't know how is the placement of the students enrolling in 2007 fall. (Does intern mean so much in today's situation? I don't know. It is said that almost everybody in the program of UCB who got intern in big banks failed to get a full time job after intern. I just heard that I didn't contact anyone in UCB maybe it's not correct.) But with no doubt, the career service and network of NYU is strong.
Wish you good luck in CMU, feng. Keep in touch

Tigga

Just saw this post from a current Cornell student. It seems every program got hit hard with internship and job placement problems. From the recent posts here and elsewhere, we hear problems at cmu, chicago, columbia, ucb. Those are schools you would expect to do better than most with their brand name and network. In light of that, I think the folks at Fordham can use the market condition as an excuse

This year has been difficult for most students to find an intern. Victoria is the person who is in charge of this matter. As far as I can see, she did some help, but not much. All she did was to circulate the ads from companies. She did solicit some intern positions from Citi Global Transaction Service. I'm sure she is still talking with some companies to get intern positions, but it's getting close to summer, I don't know how much time we have left.

As far as I know, more than 70% of students haven't found an internship yet. We have to work very hard and apply to as many companies as we can. The market is so bad this year. Very few people found positions in big banks. Now we have to look at smaller companies. Again, this is a very bad year. I don't know much about other schools, so I can't compare.

perrewperrew

Cornell ORIE with concentration in FE

I am not sure if I am admitted. But the asso. director of the program is going to call me on Friday.

Just in case i do get accepted, I will have something to base on in my decision making

Pravit

Tigga, where did you find that post?

Tigga

Tigga, where did you find that post?
It's on GD by a guy name quanteer. Search for a thread titled "Chicago MSFM vs Cornell ME.FE 10000 fellowship "

Tigga

Look at this post. At this moment in time, I think you have to trust your instinct and go with what you feel right. there are so much bad news around that's it's not black and white any more.

Andy Nguyen

Can we change the title of this thread to a more appropriate one ?
Someone suggested that and I second it. This has morphed into a very informative discussion and we can sticky this.
You should also add to the first post something along the line "Formerly Second-rate (and worse) MFE programs" so people still can search using the old title.

My suggestion would be to name it something like : How to choose a good MFE program ?

rawger

Hi everyone,
I have always seen people discuss a handful of MFE programs like- Baruch, UCB, NYU , CMU etc, but no one talks about the other schools.

I also applied to Baruch and was rejected. I realize that there are a lot more qualified people out there. But I was selected for the Kent state MFE program. I am still waiting for Georgia tech, Fordham , IIT and University at Buffalo.

What do you guys think about the other programs that I have mentioned. Global Derivatives ranks Kent's program as 13th in the country. I do not believe in rankings too much myself by the way. They guarantee internships and full time jobs through their Alumni Network that they have . They only accept 24 students every year.

University at Buffalo has a very solid Math and Programming course work and its location near New york city also does not place it at a loss.

I am not too sure about Fordham's promises of offering a very competitive program. I visited the campus and talked to the advisers. I was not impressed at all. I feel it is an overpriced program.

I am really eager to hear everybody's comments on other programs as well. Please express yourselves.

take care every one.

Andy Nguyen

Global Derivatives ranks Kent's program as 13th in the country. I do not believe in rankings too much myself by the way.

Only bring up GD ranking when you attempt a joke. Kevin and the guys at GD did the best they could in 2003 when they attempted that ranking but seriously, it outlived its useful meaning. It was a good starting point in 2003 but it's 2008. Kent at 13th is a joke.
As you said, do not pay attention to any ranking under any circumstance.
rawger said:
They guarantee internships and full time jobs through their Alumni Network that they have . They only accept 24 students every year.

This is interesting. This is the second program that guarantees not only internship but also full time jobs. They state it proudly on their website. Why everyone has not joined their program in droves, I never know.
By the way, have you talked to any of their current students, alumni instead of just reading from the website ?
Here is what they said on their website

How many students obtain internships?
All the students will receive an internship. These internships are provided by the program. Internships are assigned by the Program Director and Administrator.

What is the employment prospect for MSFE graduates?
100% of our alumni are employed by March following graduation.

What was the average salary for MSFE graduates?
The average initial salary is about $65,000 per year prior to adding in bonuses offered by the firms. Once bonuses (usually annually) are added to the base salary the annual earnings are about$150,000 per year.

You should also look at the list of their employers. I haven't heard of majority of them. Not exactly household names in financial centers.
rawger said:
University at Buffalo has a very solid Math and Programming course work and its location near New york city also does not place it at a loss.
While Buffalo is in NY state, saying it's near NYC is a bit of a stretch. It's 300 miles from NYC so in term of distance, you have the same location advantage of a guy in the west coast.
I don't know anything the program at Buffalo but if anything is solid up there, it's the snow. Not a bad choice if you live there. Can't see why anyone would choose to go there to study instead of other programs in term of location.
rawger said:
I am not too sure about Fordham's promises of offering a very competitive program. I visited the campus and talked to the advisers. I was not impressed at all. I feel it is an overpriced program.

Much has been said about the Fordham program. See this

Andy Nguyen

Now that you mentioned they guarantee internships and full time jobs, I'm curious to find out more about it so I put in some simple search and here are the facts.
1) Kent has 3 semesters: Fall, Spring and Summer. (Referrence)
When do their students do internship ?
Not a single student in that book listed any internship during the Fall 2006 - Aug 2007 duration of the program. The program structure has no time for internship, the students didn't put any internship in their resume. Was it just a school project like Fordham ?

To be fair, the last student in the resume book had an internship during the program. Is this the kind of internship you have in mind ?

INTERNSHIPS
Kent State University, Kent, OH
Graduate Assistant, MSFE program (August 2006 – June 2007)
Provide assistance in program activities. Coordinate with the KSU Business School web team on MSFE web site design. Work as a Team Report lead. Provide assistance in program recruitment. Provide assistance in keeping contact with prospective recruiters.

DominiConnor

To be fair to the GD people, as I understand it they have stopped trying to maintain a ranking list because of the sheer volume of programs these days.

It's very very hard to do this to an adequate standard, I did a basic calculation on this, and to get our stuff into something I'd be happy publishing worked out at about $300K, and to do it right would cost nearer$500K

So GD probably made the right decision since there is no obvious way to make a return on that investment.

The numbers are so high because I don't think you understand anything until you can point at a detail or a whole object and say "that is shit" to the face of the person responsible.

It's the shit that matters, really. The value added by someone by helping them pick the best course as opposed to the second best for them is actually very small.

The people who gain value are those that avoid programs like Fordham, but to do that you need to know something to be true, and be in a position to judge whether something is good or bad. I can say with some authority that choosing to teach VBA and accountancy rather than C++ and exotic derivatives is a bad call. It's very much harder to say so clearly that a given ratio of time series analysis to optimisation is good or bad.

Yuriy

MFE Alum
How many students obtain internships?
All the students will receive an internship. These internships are provided by the program. Internships are assigned by the Program Director and Administrator.

It says that internships are provided by and assigned by the people running the program. This gives me a feeling that these are rather projects but not internships.