A student profile at UCB may read like this
Graduated from Ecole Paris with major in applied mathematics with a specialization in financial mathematics.
Received PhD in Applied Math from NYU
Worked 5 years on Goldman Sachs derivatives desk
Andy, you must be right in general terms, but someone like the above would be wasting his time getting an MFE: it would add nothing to his earning potential or indeed perhaps even to his expertise. I think a typical profile might be a Ph.D. in engineering or applied math or even finance, with a lot of programming expertise and experience. And 93% average on the GRE math is more than what some very good math grad students at very strong programs have achieved: just this is an impressive filter. You are right that these students hit the program running and hit the job market running. Hicksville U cannot compete in this. And given a choice, anyone would be stupid to choose Hicksville even if alternatives like UCB cost four times more.