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Graduate Programs for Quant Finance in University of Florida?

VitoLeonardo

New Member
Preface: When I started my undergraduate career, I want to work in a quantitative finance related career before I even knew what an MFE was. I did my undergrad at a university in NYC expecting to complete an MFE after. I tailored my undergraduate degree as best as I could to prepare me for an MFE. I have a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Quantitative Economics and Applied Mathematics (3.82 GPA overall/3.97 Major GPA). The Quant Econ major was mostly Econometrics classes that I supplemented with Finance and Risk Management electives and the Applied Math major should be self-explanatory. I also worked as a Research Assistant for an Economist in the Econ department for three semesters (which helped pay for my undergrad). I also worked a lot of odd jobs to make sure I had no debt's when graduating. I believe I did everything I could to prepare for a top MFE program although I wish I had a relevant internship.
But for some unforeseen circumstances, mostly to do with family, I had to move down to central Florida and I do not think I will be able to leave for another 2.5-3 years. I do not want to put my education on hold or work some unrelated job in central Florida for a couple of years. Luckily, I happen to be 45 min from the University of Florida so I have the opportunity to continue my education. When I was in NYC, I used to commute on average 1.5 hours from Queens to Manhattan every day so I can definitely drive 45 min to UF for classes.
My concern is that I do not know how reputable UF's graduate programs are. There is not much mention of UF on QuantNet or Reddit. I am not sure what networking opportunities that I would have. I have heard that the reputation of this university outside of Florida is not as prestigious as other large schools. I also found two threads on QuantNet (one from 2008 and one from 2012) discussing how it is not a target school. This concerns me greatly. I feel that I worked very hard for the last 4 years and I do not want my hard work to go to waste.

Graduate Programs in Florida for Quantitative Finance:
Nonetheless, the only graduate programs that the University of Florida offers that are of interest to me are the MS in Statistics or the MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering.
The MS in Statistics is generally a PhD program but I can apply directly for an MS. It is very selective with only a 6% acceptance rate. Because it is generally a PhD program with very few admitted students, there is not much employment statistics available. But since Stats degrees are in such high demand, I believe this is a safe route. I have also heard of Quant Funds hiring graduates with Statistics degrees.
The MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering focuses on operations research, applied probability and statistics, stochastic models, and programming from what I can see from the required courses. According to the student outcomes database at UF, from 2015 until 2019, between 70% and 80% of graduates received job offers before graduating with salaries ranging between 85k and 95k. Almost all graduates were employed in Florida so I believe these employment statistics are pretty good for the state. They also list J.P. Morgan and Citi Bank as employers of recent graduates.
Both programs are highly ranked on US News. They also both have 5-6 core classes and I would have the opportunity to choose the other classes from other departments as electives. They also offer a PhD in Quantitative Finance that can be completed through the Business school, Statistics department, Math department, or Industrial and Systems Engineering department if I decide to go that route.
The University of Central Florida also offers an MS in Financial Mathematics but they have zero employment statistics available and I have never heard of the program. It also has a 55% acceptance rate so I believe it is a waste of time for me.
Johns Hopkin's MS Financial Mathematics also has an online option.

Is anyone here familiar with any of these programs or UF in general? Are any of these programs reputable in NY? Will it be worth my time to complete them or will it negatively hurt my career goals?

Thank you in advance for any insight shared.
 
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