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How old are you guys + Some much needed advice

rpgquant

Member
Hey all, thanks for reading my post
I wanted to know some background on you guys, like how old are you all. If possible, I would also like some guidance as well on how to approach the admissions process.
About me:
Education: the top ranked university in Australia, My program is one the most selective in the nation (Only available to top 3% of Australian High School students). My Major is in Quantitative Finance My major GPA is 6.1/7 on the Australian scale. I scored Distinctions and High Distinction in undergraduate courses that are also prerequisites in most masters curriculums.
I am just about to graduate at the age of 21 and I want to apply to mid ranked programs such as Columbia Master of Arts specialisation in Mathematics and MIT MFin, Columbia MFE,
I am taking GRE at the end of this year, but judging by my practice exams I should do well.
it would be a dream to get admitted into Princeton but given I have no internships and work experience, I doubt I have a chance.
I am currently 21 turning 22, Should I spend an extra year or two working and getting more work experience and then applying?
Also not sure if it would help but, I represented my university in college-level sport and also have a diploma in music. Do these extra curricular activities boost my admissions chance?
Thanks all :)
 

Onegin

Well-Known Member
C++
TLDR: apply now, get 170 on quant for GRE, sport wont help for admissions likely, but will be a huge factor in recruiting. Companies appreciate athletic achievement, especially in team sports.

Congrats on rocking your undergrad. Most MFE students are early career, some 25-30 w a few years experience and then a few outliers older than that. So, you’re right on track.

You didn’t ask this, but maybe a question to think about is where you would like to end up - in Australia or the US. A lot of programs in the US are geared toward H1B candidates working in money center banks. That means heavy stochastic calculus and bias towards sell side derivative trading / pricing. A few programs have strong asset management programs, which are more forecasting oriented. So it will be important to know which programs alighn w your goals. I’m not sure how much non-linear derivatives are traded in Sydney, but there are a lot of Super funds looking for talent. Again, it sure how many are quantitatively managed, but that could be an opportunity.

Regarding your original question, if you have the pre-read, like really have them down, then maybe apply now. Quantitative finance means a lot of things to different school programs, so be sure to double check that you have the knowledge at the desired level of resolution. And then take more coding / algorithm classes anyway in the meantime.

Hope this helps
 

MadCPlusPlus

Member
C++
Hi there,

About me: I am 28, have a math bachelor's degree, and FE master's degree. Currently working in the options trading industry as a quant developer. BTW, I was a professional athlete too in my 10 to 20 years old.

I would say your background is pretty good, better than average in my opinion. Congrats.

I will say something maybe not directly related to your questions here.

My suggestion is if you know what you are doing by any means, you can go to graduate school right away and accumulate the knowledge you need as early as possible. But if you have no idea what you are really looking at. You just..um..heard of the career you may or may not want to spend your whole life in. I would say, go out and work for one or two years first. Because after that, you will know exactly what you really want. And then you can come back and learn with purpose. Learning with purpose is a much much much more efficient way to learn.

At the end of the day, you should just let those programming skills, math modeling ability...etc melt into your blood, became part of your thought to tackle real-world problems. Effective learning will empower you to use what you learned to handle your life effectively and organically, create new ideas boldly, communicate with your team efficiently. You will feel your feet are on the ground. It is not about whether you have a master's degree or Ph.D. degree, it is really about to have you really selectively absorbed things into your blood across your life journey.
 
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Andy Nguyen

Member
Age should not be a problem. Skillsets and things you would bring to the table are the main priority.
Age has always been something people coming into this field are concerned with. It has been asked every year. You can search for "age" in the title and a bunch will come up.
 

rpgquant

Member
Thank you all for your response! Wow you guys are some very talented people
I honestly really really appreciate you guys. Could you guys please recommend me some programs to apply to? Programs that I would have a decent chance at getting accepted into given my undergraduate background.
I know my application isn't that strong so I'm thinking about applying to mid ranked programs such as Columbia Master of Arts, Chicago, MIT, UCLA, Cornell, NYU Tandon.
 

rpgquant

Member
Im in my last semester of undergraduate, I'm currently finishing up studying statistical Credibility Theory which consists of Bayesian statistics, Advanced Derivatives and options pricing ( Optional sampling theory, martingales, Ito's calculus, stochastic integration, geometric Brownian motion etc.) and Actuarial Risk Modelling Techniques (population modelling, interest rate modelling, mortality etc..)
I know for certain I need to improve on my coding skills, as I am only proficient in one coding language which is R.
I would also like to study advanced stochastic modelling in finance (Borel algebra etc.. ) further and learn financial machine learning in other coding languages. So I think going into postgraduate from after undergraduate is path god wants me to take. it just feels like the best choice for me personally at the moment. :)
 

Onegin

Well-Known Member
C++
Your initial self description indicates you are a strong candidate. It’s not clear what changed between that and the assertion that your application is weak. We can try to help either way; the help is as effective as you are objective. Check the rankings here, see where you stack up. Your coursework sounds solid, interests are at the top end of many candidates.

Career services and placement are likely to be paramount for your goal of permanent US residency. Two approaches - small prestigious school like Princeton, which doesn’t really need a solid career services, or larger program w a dedicated career services office. Be wary of programs captive to math departments, or bastard children in a business school.
 

rpgquant

Member
Your initial self description indicates you are a strong candidate. It’s not clear what changed between that and the assertion that your application is weak. We can try to help either way; the help is as effective as you are objective. Check the rankings here, see where you stack up. Your coursework sounds solid, interests are at the top end of many candidates.

Career services and placement are likely to be paramount for your goal of permanent US residency. Two approaches - small prestigious school like Princeton, which doesn’t really need a solid career services, or larger program w a dedicated career services office. Be wary of programs captive to math departments, or bastard children in a business school.
My initial self description is all true haha fortunately. its just that im trying to be realistic with myself. Lets use sport as an analogy, say I scored 10 points in Australian college level basketball. Someone who also scores 10 points in NCAA Basketball is much more superior to me even though we achieved the same result on paper in the same sport, but the American competition level much more competitive than the Australian competition level, hence it is easier to score 10 points in Australia than USA . My university, The Australian National University, is ranked top 50 or 30 in the world depends if you look at QS or THE, there are 49 universities that are "better" than my university. What im trying to say is that I may have gotten a 6.1/7 at my current university but had I attended say UCLA or UC Berkeley for undergrad I might've only been able to achieve a 5/7. And because of basketball commitments I slacked off in my freshman year, but it didn't affect my major gpa at all fortunately, not sure how worried schools will be when they see I got a 55/100 for introduction to finance. But I scored a 80+/100 in Advanced level finance(Corporate finance, Financial Maths, Derivatives, Investments) the next year when I quit the basketball team. So im also kind of worried grad schools be like oh no you only got 55/100 in your introduction to finance course even though you got 80+ in advanced finance courses we still see you as a dropkick idc we can't accept you. I know for a fact Australian grad schools are very lazy when it comes to admissions process, they just see if you passed a certain threshold, for instance someone with a 65% in accounting(no offence to anyone doing accounting) from a less selective/ reputable university will be viewed the same as someone who scored 65% in subjects such as stochastic process, Ito's lemma, Geometric Brownian motion, actuarial risk modelling, bayesian statistics, regression modelling, from a reputable school.
 
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