COMPARE Harvard CSE vs Columbia MFE vs MIT SM Operations Research

nil

Member
Hi there, I'm a 4th year majoring in mathematics and graduating this May, got accepted into all three programs, and I'm looking to pursue a quant job in algo/prop/HF trading in a hedge fund or asset management firm.

I think the Harvard CSE has excellent brand name power, as well as a strong curriculum for data science, machine learning, and analytics. The Columbia MFE is more directly involved with finance, right in New York with excellent career services, and I find the material slightly more interesting, although I'm not sure how relevant the skills are toward prop trading as opposed to quantitative analysis for investment banks.

I also like that the Harvard CSE has a smaller class size so I face less competition from my immediate peers, but it's also a new degree which makes me cautious how it'll fare on Wall Street. I have more choices in my curriculum with the MIT SM Operations Research degree, and can either do the exact same as the Harvard CSE or tailor it toward my precise needs. MIT is also generally better than Harvard for engineering, although slightly less brand name. However, it's a two year program (but relatively funded) and more oriented toward research, so I don't know.

Are there any more things I should take in consideration when picking among these three? Is an MFE really ideal for a quant hedge fund?
 
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Tuna

Member
Hi there, I'm a 4th year majoring in mathematics and graduating this May, got accepted into all three programs, and I'm looking to pursue a quant job in algo/prop/HF trading in a hedge fund or asset management firm.

I think the Harvard CSE has excellent brand name power, as well as a strong curriculum for data science, machine learning, and analytics. The Columbia MFE is more directly involved with finance, right in New York with excellent career services, and I find the material slightly more interesting, although I'm not sure how relevant the skills are toward prop trading as opposed to quantitative analysis for investment banks.

I also like that the Harvard CSE has a smaller class size so I face less competition from my immediate peers, but it's also a new degree which makes me cautious how it'll fare on Wall Street. I have more choices in my curriculum with the MIT SM Operations Research degree, and can either do the exact same as the Harvard CSE or tailor it toward my precise needs. MIT is also generally better than Harvard for engineering, although slightly less brand name. However, it's a two year program (but relatively funded) and more oriented toward research, so I don't know.

Are there any more things I should take in consideration when picking among these three? Is an MFE really ideal for a quant hedge fund?


Hey! Congrats!:):)

Has Harvard CSE started sending out offers? Anyone else who got the offer for Harvard CSE on Quantnet?

@nil : When did u submit your application approximately? Did you apply for the one year SM or the two year ME?



Anyone else who got the offer too???
 

nil

Member
I was admitted a few days ago, which corresponds with the time they started admitting people last year.
 

Tuna

Member
@nil : so u applied for the SM in CSE degree?
@Dave Lee : you applied for SM or ME?
@Andy Nguyen : There are no Harvard applicants on the tracker. Do you have any idea about the above courses?

Anyone has any idea when the results for the ME in CSE(2 yr degree) would start coming?
 
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mumuyang

New Member
Hi there, I'm a 4th year majoring in mathematics and graduating this May, got accepted into all three programs, and I'm looking to pursue a quant job in algo/prop/HF trading in a hedge fund or asset management firm.

I think the Harvard CSE has excellent brand name power, as well as a strong curriculum for data science, machine learning, and analytics. The Columbia MFE is more directly involved with finance, right in New York with excellent career services, and I find the material slightly more interesting, although I'm not sure how relevant the skills are toward prop trading as opposed to quantitative analysis for investment banks.

I also like that the Harvard CSE has a smaller class size so I face less competition from my immediate peers, but it's also a new degree which makes me cautious how it'll fare on Wall Street. I have more choices in my curriculum with the MIT SM Operations Research degree, and can either do the exact same as the Harvard CSE or tailor it toward my precise needs. MIT is also generally better than Harvard for engineering, although slightly less brand name. However, it's a two year program (but relatively funded) and more oriented toward research, so I don't know.

Are there any more things I should take in consideration when picking among these three? Is an MFE really ideal for a quant hedge fund?
Congrats, do you mind I asking when did you get the news from MIT? I also applied to the master program in MIT ORC.
 

nil

Member
I'd appreciate advice and others making dedicated threads for this kind of thing instead of hijacking this one. Or if at least, advice before these sorts of questions. Thank you. :)
 

moretodo

Well-Known Member
I don't mean to start a controversy but the Harvard CSE program is a joke. The curriculum is not structured towards computational finance and it is primarily taught by Lecturers and not Professors.

Also, by and large, both Harvard SEAS and Harvard University are grossly overrated! Harvard SEAS is not even comparable to the engineering schools at Purdue or Pennsylvania State University in terms of research and quality of faculty.

The same can be said about Harvard University as a whole. The undergraduate education is not great by any means. The courses are pretty easy and there is huge grade inflation. The faculty, by and large, do not interact much with their students.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2011/03/18/a-harvard-education-isnt-as-advertised

Also, Harvard does a very poor job of hiring competent new faculty members straight out of a PhD/Post-Doc. The only reason that students at Harvard get good jobs is because of its prestige and aura, and the endowment of Harvard. I do agree that some of the students who do graduate from there are absolute geniuses but they only make an infinitesimally small percentage of the graduating class. Its quite frankly unfair and unethical that the rest tend to free ride their way to good jobs.

Also, a high percentage of their really successful alumni already come from super rich families or have had the liberty to invest time in ridiculously risky endeavors (building facebook for instance) because they knew that if they failed, their Harvard degree would bail them out. This in no way is an indication of the quality of education there.

They typically poach renowned research faculty from other top schools at Associate and Full Professorship levels to sustain their prestige and quality of faculty owing to their huge endowment which is highly sub-optimal since these professors are way past their prime and are just acknowledged for their perceived quality at Harvard.

There a few exceptions though such as Economics, Applied Math and some departments at Harvard Med but by and large the trend explained above dominates.

Also, most renowned Harvard faculty have huge conflict of interest issues and conveniently digress them and liquidate their perception and association with Harvard into money by corruption. HOD of Econ dept. Prof. Campbell and Larry Summers are perfect examples. Prof. Hubbard from Columbia is another example. These guys have basically corrupted the very practice of education in economics by funding a surge of research in economic deregulation which clearly is suicidal now but the research enforcing it continues. Typically, the abstract mathematics that use economic utility theory in these papers severely undermine the tail risks associated with such policies and Harvard is the birth place of such research approaches in economics.
 

GoIllini

Market Crises= Gray Hair
This forum needs more St. Bernard, less Pit Bull. (Yes I know I am about to get attacked by an owner claiming that Pit Bulls are gentle animals)

But if you choose Harvard over Georgia Tech for a CS or engineering degree, you are crazy.
 

nil

Member
I see a legitimate complaint about Lecturer positions over Professors teaching the courses, and that the engineering program is too small, underranked, and new. The radical opinion against Harvard in general and not only the engineering program however, makes me difficult to take the rest without a grain of salt.

Just so we're being fair at the accusations, Columbia is extremely sketchy with all its Master's programs, employing hundreds of students across all different programs with possible concentrations in "Mathematical Finance" or "Financial Engineering"... This personally is absurd to me for a top school to do for any other reason than cash. Thus it's a huge disincentive to enroll in the MFE in particular without a larger insurance that I'll be recruited despite the hundred clones I'm waiting in line behind. It seems there's little going for it except the name of the degree (an aging discipline) and the name of the university.

So... who wants to take a crack at bashing MIT now? :O
 

bigbadwolf

Well-Known Member
The radical opinion against Harvard in general and not only the engineering program however, makes me difficult to take the rest without a grain of salt.

Harvard is over-rated -- but that's what having a "brand name" means (i.e., a rep out of proportion to one's actual strength in teaching, research, or quality of degree).
 

nil

Member
Harvard is over-rated -- but that's what having a "brand name" means (i.e., a rep out of proportion to one's actual strength in teaching, research, or quality of degree).
My point is the same contrarian claim can be made against Columbia just as well, if not more so because of all the programs and higher tuition fees.
 

bigbadwolf

Well-Known Member
My point is the same contrarian claim can be made against Columbia just as well, if not more so because of all the programs and higher tuition fees.

True. Over the years there have been at least two threads on this forum (to my knowledge) discussing whether Columbia's copious offerings are not cheapening their "brand name."

In your position I'd probably opt for MIT.
 
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