Eligibility criteria for top UK MSc MathFin programs

Dear All,

I know that you are overloaded with these kinds of posts but I would still ask for your feedback regarding the post below:

I am planning to apply for several MathFin 2017-2018 programs in UK . But keeping in mind the tough requirement for candidates I would highly appreciate if someone provides me with any piece of advice whether my background is suitable.

About myself:
Age: 25 years old
Education: Graduated in 2013. Specialist (5Y of education) in Mathematics and Economics from one of the best Russian economics universities. I studied pretty much of econometrics and stochastic calculus and its application for derivatives valuation (Binomial/Trinomial models, Ito lemma, Mean reverse processes, B&S model and Greeks, barrier & exotic options, short-term interest rate models) had separate subjects for fixed income, Market and Credit risk management.
GPA: 4.3 out of 5.0 (around 3.4 out of 4.0). Here is an evidence of this low GPA: during my studying I didn't really care about my scores and the least of all I though about future studying abroad. The only goal was to start working in Risk Management as soon as possible and to help my parents pay for my uni. I did it and I am really proud of it. Unfortunately, my average score has suffered. I put an emphasis on this in my personal statement.
Work experience: around 4.5 years in quantitative credit risk management (did scoring/rating models and their validation, credit portfolio models with analytical and MC approaches, stress testing, collateral allocation optimization ...). Advanced in SAS and VBA. Familiar with R.
In addition: I have strong personal statement outlining my short and long term career goals, pieces of evidence supporting my strong goal orientation and some other features of mine.

My career goals are connected with structured credit products, credit derivatives or corporate bonds with embedded options.


Schools and programs I am targeting (ordered according to priority):

1. IC - MSc in FinMath
1. Warwick - MSc FinMath
2. IC BS- MSc in RM&FE
3. LSE - MSc FinMath
4. Cass - MSc MathTrad&Fin

All these programs do not require GMAT/GRE but I am still taking it (exam is scheduled for December 12th)

Questions:

1) Is my background expectable for these programs (once again the low GPA I will try to defend with my desparate desire I had to start the career as soon as possible due to private reasons. I hope that a decision making committee can take it seriously) ?

2) I am not from EU and thus I will face visa problems to proceed my career in London. Hence for me the name of the school is a serious parameter. That is why I think Cass is not the best choice because it is not that reputable as compared to LSE and IC. The question is how well these programs are valued on the market and how well they are fine-tuned with net-working activities and job placement opportunities?

3) Is GMAT so crucial for these programs? Does anyone know how much of attention admission teams pay to the score? I know that LBS does not weight it unless the score is frankly low.

4) Does the fact that I graduated in 2013 weaken my application because from the admission team point of view I could have forgotten some rocket science maths they require?

This is it. Sorry for the length of the post but I wanted to make sure that I keep all the details.

Would highly appreciate any feedback.

Regards
 
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The hurdle rate is much higher if you dont have a work visa from get go. So your chances lie on getting internship>fulltime offer> sponsorship arrangement. Forget small shops they wont do it only the big firms.

No way the prestige of school is connected with getting a job. Some kids from Kingston Uni get a job whereas from Imperial doesn't. So the distingushing factor is personal leadership/outreach i.e connecting w/ employers in a brute force manner.

The diff between all these programs are marginal. You need to have an internship arrangement in place prior to the course start else you are playing the game at a disadvantage and you will be back to your old job once the program is done.
 
The hurdle rate is much higher if you dont have a work visa from get go. So your chances lie on getting internship>fulltime offer> sponsorship arrangement. Forget small shops they wont do it only the big firms.

No way the prestige of school is connected with getting a job. Some kids from Kingston Uni get a job whereas from Imperial doesn't. So the distingushing factor is personal leadership/outreach i.e connecting w/ employers in a brute force manner.

The diff between all these programs are marginal. You need to have an internship arrangement in place prior to the course start else you are playing the game at a disadvantage and you will be back to your old job once the program is done.

Dear Philip,

thank you for the reply. I have heard this suggestion to search for an internship before the course starts, but I have been always wondered how can I pass interviews if I do not have the program knowledge by that time when the interviews happen? For instance, if I am searching for positions in MBS structuring how can I answer the questions related to this business before I really studied it? I would appreciate a bit more info on that topic.

Thanks,
Semen
 
There are enough quant interview prep books to fill that gap & 4 yrs at risk should give you some footing. MSc program is just going to be a premier and dont expect to be taught anything indepth. The first question you will be asked is do you have a work visa; not how to derive BS. The qualifying factor is applying early, a decent school brand to backup your case and casting a wide net in general. Perhaps you will find more uselful Petraeus's counterinsurgency manual than knowing 4 rules of Ito's Calculus in cracking the london market.

Dear Philip,

thank you for the reply. I have heard this suggestion to search for an internship before the course starts, but I have been always wondered how can I pass interviews if I do not have the program knowledge by that time when the interviews happen? For instance, if I am searching for positions in MBS structuring how can I answer the questions related to this business before I really studied it? I would appreciate a bit more info on that topic.

Thanks,
Semen
 
There are enough quant interview prep books to fill that gap & 4 yrs at risk should give you some footing. MSc program is just going to be a premier and dont expect to be taught anything indepth. The first question you will be asked is do you have a work visa; not how to derive BS. The qualifying factor is applying early, a decent school brand to backup your case and casting a wide net in general. Perhaps you will find more uselful Petraeus's counterinsurgency manual than knowing 4 rules of Ito's Calculus in cracking the london market.

Dear Philip, Thanks for the hands-on suggestions. I appreciate them a lot.
 
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