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Help! 2020 Ivy UG, Sanity Check on 2021 MFE?

Background:
Primarily finance. I have a weak math background (Calculus I) and limited programming experience (some Python, VBA, and SQL). My UG performance (3.5 cumulative, 3.7 major) shows significant improvement with time. I have been conducting research under one of my professors since graduating.

Prep Plan:
Taking courses through the University of California system to meet the prerequisite requirements for a variety of MFE programs and applying for Fall 2021. I would prepare for and take the GRE ASAP. A potential schedule would look something like this:

Fall: Linear Algebra, Calc II for Engineers, Java I
Winter: Calc & Analytic Geometry, Mathematical Reasoning, Calc-Based Probability and Statistics, Java II
Spring: Basic Data Structures & Object-Oriented Design, Intro to Probability, Intro to Differential Equations, Vector Calc

Questions:
Does anyone know if these courses, which would be through the continuing education initiative on different UC campuses and not part of a degree program, would be looked upon poorly? Would I be considered for contingent admission if many prerequisite courses are in progress when I submit my application? Does anyone have alternative suggestions for meeting the prerequisite requirements?

Essentially, am I potentially a competitive candidate? I would really like to do this, but I do not want to go on a wild goose chase.
 
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Onegin

Well-Known Member
C++
Questions:
Does anyone know if these courses, which would be through the continuing education initiative on different UC campuses and not part of a degree program, would be looked upon poorly?
No, provided you received letter grades from an accredited university. I did the same thing, and was admitted to 3 top programs.
Would I be considered for contingent admission if many prerequisite courses are in progress when I submit my application?
Maybe check w some of the programs? I applied to several schools while my pre-req work was in progress. Some were willing to take a risk and admit me before I had grades, others ***cough***CMU***cough*** were not.

Does anyone have alternative suggestions for meeting the prerequisite requirements?
Sounds like you have it down. I would add summer classes as well to the mix. Consider the C++ program online here instead of the university ones - it's more practical. With your extra time, load up on mathematical statistics, linear algebra, analysis. I wish I would have done analysis, I struggle through a lot of the proof stuff right now.
Essentially, am I potentially a competitive candidate? I would really like to do this, but I do not want to go on a wild goose chase.
No one can promise you a positive outcome, and it's a hard and shitty thing to try to switch careers. The only justification I can tell is to have a deep intrinsic motivation and aptitude for the problems in quant finance. The competition is fierce, and the industry is changing rapidly.
 

YankeesR

Well-Known Member
C++
Yeah no problem. What was a question you had, anything in particular? Maybe it was something that was brought up in the meeting. If not, I can go over some of the common questions that we're asked.
 

jeffsnguyen

Active Member
C++
Python
Not sure why you're taking Java? C++, Python, and R are more relevant. QuantNet has their own C++ and Python course. They are not easy by any stretch, esp. if you're light on coding.

You want more advanced math and programming than that list: Complex Var, ODE, PDE, Numerical Analysis. Also Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

UCB has a super comprehensive list posted on their website. After reviewing that list, you can email them to verify your own institution (though unnecessary if it's a UCex course) and they can tell you which is good and which isn't. Most program use the same list.
 

YankeesR

Well-Known Member
C++
Not sure why you're taking Java? C++, Python, and R are more relevant. QuantNet has their own C++ and Python course. They are not easy by any stretch, esp. if you're light on coding.

You want more advanced math and programming than that list: Complex Var, ODE, PDE, Numerical Analysis. Also Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

UCB has a super comprehensive list posted on their website. After reviewing that list, you can email them to verify your own institution (though unnecessary if it's a UCex course) and they can tell you which is good and which isn't. Most program use the same list.
How is the python course going? I'm finishing up the C++ course and will be taking the python one shortly after.. Been waiting to see some updates from people that are expected to graduate from the course soon (based off when they posted in the intro thread).
 

jeffsnguyen

Active Member
C++
Python
How is the python course going? I'm finishing up the C++ course and will be taking the python one shortly after.. Been waiting to see some updates from people that are expected to graduate from the course soon (based off when they posted in the intro thread).
I'm learning a lot. It's not easy for me (hit a brick wall in Lvl 2 that took more than 2 weeks). Thought I'd only need an hour a day but it definitely takes more than that for me. I'm halfway through (lvl 6) and looking forward to the MBS case study. Just touched on multiprocessing, such a cool concept.
 
Not sure why you're taking Java? C++, Python, and R are more relevant. QuantNet has their own C++ and Python course. They are not easy by any stretch, esp. if you're light on coding.

You want more advanced math and programming than that list: Complex Var, ODE, PDE, Numerical Analysis. Also Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

UCB has a super comprehensive list posted on their website. After reviewing that list, you can email them to verify your own institution (though unnecessary if it's a UCex course) and they can tell you which is good and which isn't. Most program use the same list.
Hey Jeff, thanks for the response - great point. I wrote this when I started researching the MFE, and I planned on taking Java because my local UC offers no coursework in C++. I ended up coming to the same conclusion as you, and if this is UCB list that you are referring to, I ended up basing my final plan on it. I now plan on taking Math coursework at my local UC and Computer Science coursework at another UC within commuting distance, which teaches their intro programming coursework in C++.

Updated Prep Plan:
F20: Calc II, Intro to CS (C++)
W21: Linear Algebra, Calc & Analytic Geometry, Intro to CS II (C++)
S21: Intro to Differential Equations, Mathematical Reasoning, Intro to Data Structures & Algos (C++)
M21: Vector Calc, Software Construction (C++), Intro to Data Science (Python)
F22: Intro to Numerical Analysis: Linear Algebra, Intro to Probability, Intro to Machine Learning and Data Mining (Python)
W22: Intro to Mathematical Statistics I (R), Intro to Stochastic Processes I, Intro to Partial Differential Equations

Let me know if you have any thoughts, and do you mind elaborating on your comment about verifying my coursework? I have been considering collecting syllabi from the coursework I plan on taking and sending them to programs that I plan on applying to, but I am sensitive to the optics of drowning admissions with 17 syllabi.
 
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YankeesR

Well-Known Member
C++
When I attended the Baruch information session, someone asked a similar question to yours, that is, what is the programs thoughts on submitting an application while pre requisite courses are still in progress. The way that I interpreted the answer that was given was, that context matters. Meaning, how many pre requisite courses are in progress, if it's a lot, that is not good. Another thing to add is, what courses matters. If you are submitting an application that does not even have calculus 2 done, then that is a problem. Calculus 2 is a low level course, if they don't even have grades of you in low level courses then what can they base there decision off to say you are qualified to take harder math courses down the road? Now, if you are submitting an application and have taken many math courses and lets say you are missing one or two courses that could help you stand out such as PDE's and Numerical analysis (which is not required as a pre req from Baruch, I'm just generalizing now) this is not bad. We have plenty of information to go off already to see what your abilities are in intermediate math courses such as probability, diff equations, linear, etc to make a sound decision.

If it were me, would I send out applications with 17 courses pending? No, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. Once again, context matters. Gather as much information as you can. Email every program you are interested in and tell them your situation and see what they say.
 

jeffsnguyen

Active Member
C++
Python
"Verifying institution" means asking adcom if the courses you take from these schools are acceptable to be used as prereqs. In general, as long as the school is accredited, there shouldn't be any problems. I think UCB also accepts some Coursera courses. If this is the route, best to check first before taking them.

You can ask adcom questions about your study plan and get feedback on it, without emailing them syllabi. Skip the formal course title and just boil down to: these are subjects (Calc 2 , Multivar Calc, ODE, Python, C++), these are the time line. Have you attend their info sessions? Schools usually hold Info Session and Q&A where you can learn about the program, talk to them and get some contacts that you can send these questions to if it's specific to your application.

Keep in mind that most people who apply for these programs are STEM majors, i.e. they already have these courses done, so take that into account in terms of your application's competitiveness and when you want to send in your applications. Top programs expect you to have these done prior.
That being said, programs under b schools have some leeway depends on how your other experience look. At the end of the day, they want to admit someone who won't fail during the program (can keep up with the coursework, so you do need certain level of knowledge in math and programming) and can be sold to employers. Don't be shy to talk to them about your plan, ask for feedback and make decision in terms of study timeline.
 
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