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Does Columbia MFE have better employment statistics than CMU MSCF or is there some story behind these numbers?

Hi guys,

I was going through 2021 and 2020 MFE program rankings published by QuantNet and noticed that for both years, Columbia has better employment statistics (just purely in terms of the number of people employed, not considering any salary data). However, Columbia does not provide transparent employment statistics on their own website, unlike CMU which provides a detailed report each year.

Especially in the 2020 rankings, CMU had 78% students employed at graduation whereas Columbia had 93%. Even after 3 months, Columbia showed a higher employment rate (100% vs 93% for CMU).

For 2021, the rankings indicated CMU had better employment statistics than Columbia at graduation but not 3 months after graduation (98% Columbia vs 95% CMU ).

This discrepancy surprised me considering CMU is known to have one of the best career services whereas Columbia's career services are not considered to be that good.

Thus, I want to ask whether there is a story behind these numbers or do these numbers reflect reality accurately? Please let me know your opinion on this guys and thanks in advance!
 
Hi RIka,
First, I think that with those top programs, those differences are not that meaningful. What I would find meaningful though, is what you call the story behind the figures. Where do the grad works ? How many ended up in trading, desk quant, risk, and for which company ? It may tell about where does the career service has its connections, and tells where the grads want/can work. CMU for instance does very well with buy side jobs compared to many other great program. If you want to work as a buy side quant, I'd take that into consideration.
More generally, the fact that CMU has a detailed report is a very good sign to me. You can see if recent grads got your dream job (for CMU, usually yes)
 
Hi RIka,
First, I think that with those top programs, those differences are not that meaningful. What I would find meaningful though, is what you call the story behind the figures. Where do the grad works ? How many ended up in trading, desk quant, risk, and for which company ? It may tell about where does the career service has its connections, and tells where the grads want/can work. CMU for instance does very well with buy side jobs compared to many other great program. If you want to work as a buy side quant, I'd take that into consideration.
More generally, the fact that CMU has a detailed report is a very good sign to me. You can see if recent grads got your dream job (for CMU, usually yes)
Thank you for the response!
I have gone through the profiles of recent graduates and in both cases, I was able to find positive outcomes. I am open to working in different roles but have a preference towards working as either a quant analyst at a buy-side firm (for which CMU is favourable) or a role at an IB (in which case, both are equally favourable). My main concern is employment statistics as I need to make a choice between these two programs. I wish to work in the US upon graduation and currently have no full-time experience. The CMU employment stats are incredibly transparent but that is not the case with the Columbia MFE program which makes me question the validity of the greater employment statistics reported by Columbia. I have also gone through a few threads on QuantNet which have criticised Columbia's employment reporting. Thus, I want to seek the true figures or find out if the Columbia employment reports are accurate as employment stats will play a big role in my decision making. Please let me know your thoughts on these programs and their employability, thank you.
 
I don't want to evade your question but ask a counter question. Let's say both programs have comparable and equal career services. That doesn't determine the outcome the career services themselves. After a certain point,it's based on the candidate's individual talent to secure top positions. Maybe what we're missing here is the quality of the students at these programs. They could be comparable but at the end of the day,the career services only get you so far. If you're not able to clear interviews,it's on you. So take the statistics with a grain of salt and focus on bettering yourself. The career services at both programs are excellent but it depends on your own talent to maximize your potential.
Maybe the outcome is dependant on more than just the career services themselves and focused more on the students? Just a thought.

Edit : If you're comfortable with acing interviews,I don't think either program would give you a considerable advantage
 
Completely agree with the responses here. Both programs are very good. Note that I came from the MSOR program. Personally, I did struggle with job search, BUT...BUT it was my own fault--should've practiced more coding and dynamic programming, and these aren't areas where any career services can help you with. I was partly debating about doing a PhD, but eventually decided against it, so I ended up going through interview books, such as the green book, relatively late.

I know that Columbia's curriculum covers a lot of the green book, save for maybe the algorithms section. I'm sure CMU MSCF does the same. CMU's computer science department is top 4 in the world so maybe MSCF students get more rigorous training in algorithms and such--speculating here.
 
I don't want to evade your question but ask a counter question. Let's say both programs have comparable and equal career services. That doesn't determine the outcome the career services themselves. After a certain point,it's based on the candidate's individual talent to secure top positions. Maybe what we're missing here is the quality of the students at these programs. They could be comparable but at the end of the day,the career services only get you so far. If you're not able to clear interviews,it's on you. So take the statistics with a grain of salt and focus on bettering yourself. The career services at both programs are excellent but it depends on your own talent to maximize your potential.
Maybe the outcome is dependant on more than just the career services themselves and focused more on the students? Just a thought.

Edit : If you're comfortable with acing interviews,I don't think either program would give you a considerable advantage
Absolutely, I agree that career services can only find the jobs for you and its one's own responsibility to actually ace the interview and get the job. I feel that employment stats reflect a program's student quality and the program's quality, so CMU lacking behind Columbia was puzzling considering they'd have identical or at least very similar quality (both program and student). Wouldn't you agree?
A top student from any program would not have a hard time finding a job if he/she worked hard in developing the right skills, but I also do consider career services to be a good fall back incase you weren't able to find the right opportunities on your own.
 
Completely agree with the responses here. Both programs are very good. Note that I came from the MSOR program. Personally, I did struggle with job search, BUT...BUT it was my own fault--should've practiced more coding and dynamic programming, and these aren't areas where any career services can help you with. I was partly debating about doing a PhD, but eventually decided against it, so I ended up going through interview books, such as the green book, relatively late.

I know that Columbia's curriculum covers a lot of the green book, save for maybe the algorithms section. I'm sure CMU MSCF does the same. CMU's computer science department is top 4 in the world so maybe MSCF students get more rigorous training in algorithms and such--speculating here.
Aah that is an interesting finding! Yes after going through the curriculum, CMU does have a lot more focus on programming and computation, especially machine learning and data science. Columbia does have most of those courses as electives but I am not sure about how good the electives are compared to core courses.
 
I feel that employment stats reflect a program's student quality and the program's quality, so CMU lacking behind Columbia was puzzling considering they'd have identical or at least very similar quality (both program and student). Wouldn't you agree?

The 2021 figures you quoted to present the case of CMU lacking behind Columbia in terms of employment stats is a stretch. That difference is negligible.

Both are reputable programs. Choose the one that you believe you will learn the most from.
 
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