How would being an under grad for 7 years affect me when applying to MFE programs?

I've already been a undergrad for 5 years. I could have graduated this summer but decided to defer graduation for 1 or 2 more years (depending on whether I go for a BS in Math or Math and CS), because I couldn't find any employment and more importantly I don't have anything in my resume to distinguish myself, so even if I do get employment it would most likely be with a small firm without much opportunity for advancement. Therefore I decided to go for another degree in math and CS which would take another 2 years. My Finance degree took 5 years because I was an architecture major in my freshmen year and also because I transferred from a community college in Chicago to Rutgers and thus I had to satisfy many of the Rutgers gen ed after my sophomore year. So my question is how would this affect my application to the better MFE programs? Would it be a huge negative that I spent so much time in undergrad? I am planning to study like I've never did before and try to get A's in the Math and CS higher level courses (which will be hard since they are tougher courses than my Finance ones), but if I do get A's in all or most of those high level technical courses would that offset most of the negatives of being an undergrad for so long?
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
As a headhunter I do see a small % of CVs as terrible as this.
The technical term we use is "JP Morgan IT department"

I suppose a good GPA might help, but it's going to be tough to spin this.

Good managers accept that people do not focus like a laser on education that leads them to a quant degree, indeed some prefer this.
But your walk has been unusually random.

After all that, I do have to ask if you can do real programming ?
 
Yes, I did take a intro to programming (java) course here at Rutgers and did manage to get an A. It was completely out of my major at the time so I decided not to take any more courses.

Wow, does it really look that terrible? For my first degree, I only took 1 extra year, that's because like I said I transferred from a CC out of state which caused me to fulfill gen ed courses at my current school in my junior and senior years. I meant that I would have 7 years of undergrad including my time at CC if I decide to take up 2 more majors.
 
I'm not concerned that you take such a long time to finish your bachelor. What I concern is that after you spend the next 2 years doing CS or Math or both to prepare for your MFE, somehow you
a) find financial engineering not as interesting as you hope
b) become increasingly interested in DNA bio sterm cell engineering

Would you spend 2 more extra years to get ready for that career? It's true that you are always at a disadvantage to people who picked the right courses in the beginning.
I would suggest that you try to finish the current degree, work a year or two doing something in finance to see how you like it, save money. If you feel an advanced degree helps, you can go back do an MFE part time.
If you find it hard to find internship/job now, how would you feel if you are in the same situation after you get MFE?

Just have to keep banging at it until you obtain an internship or job.
 
If you really do not want to work for 1-2 years, atleast get an internship(paid/unpaid) somewhere related to what you would like to do. If you do not find the internship interesting you know for sure that you do not have to get a degree in that area.
 
Go sit in on the Rutger's MS Fin Math classes (perhaps in the fall) and talk to the professors and students there. Go talk to a school counselor. Everything you want to know is within your domain. Trying to figure out whether you should hide in school or go out into the real world from an online forum is foolish. You will get a lot of noise and bias advice here. For example,

Personally from my standpoint you have a mediocre background, which is probably why you haven't had a good internship and why you don't have a full time job. You also prob have an avg IQ based on your academic track record which will prob translate into avg performance in CS or Math classes for the next 2 years. My pet monkey can "code" in Java. You may get into a MFE program, and you'll prob pass all the classes and graduate. You'll get a few interviews where you will meet people like me who will question your academic track record. You will prob give me some BS story about exploring and finding your calling, etc. I will smile and proceed to cut through your BS by assessing your raw intellect with brain teasers and math questions that have nothing to do with finance or financial engineering. And you will squirm in your seat and incorrectly answer most if not all the questions. This cycle will go on and you'll get disenchanted and begin to submit your resume for non quant jobs. You most likely will find a job in an IT group as a business analyst or maybe as a junior programmer on some PnL tracking system. All in all you would have spent 4 extra years getting a job that you can probably get now. Catch my "drift" ?

P.S. If you had the fortitude, commitment, and IQ to get into quant finance, you would have already signed up for math/cs classes at Rutgers or some other school and this thread would not exist.
 
So your saying that every single geek that has lived to this day that chooses to prioritize academics over say something like athletics is soley based on their above avg (or maybe genius in your case) IQ and not because they don't have any other talents such as physical abilities, charm, or some other extroverted talent? Because you and others on this forum have such a curious mind that even if you had the athletic ability of Lebron James you would have decided to stay in your bedroom and solve Math problems? I'm not saying I'm a gifted athlete or anything but many people in college really get into sports or any type of athletics because their body is in their prime and they would like to utilize it before they can no longer do so at their highest level.

Really, how smart are you? What's your biggest accomplishment to come here and tell me that I'm average and that you're superior intellectually? I've encountered some amazing arrogance on this board as if this group of FME students are some type of 1 in a million geniuses who were picked to solve the amazing mysteries of pricing financial derivatives.

Of course there are arguments of why certain people choose certain paths and people like Einstein who mastered Calculus by 15 of course had a mind that only would let them pursue science, but for people not as special, and that includes you, there's more than just minor deviances of IQ that makes them choose the path they do. For you to sit there and tell me that I would have chosen the Math and CS courses if I had the intellect is pretty laughable. Do you know what the real smart people think? They are humble enough that no matter how smart hey are they know are just meager human beings in this vast universe so they know it really doesn't mean that much with a 140+ IQ. The fact that you think you're so special because your in the field of quantitative finance which isn't even anything to be proud of for the smartest people, shows the arrogance that only second rate high IQ people possess.

We'll see if your right about me.


One more thing, fortitude? Now, I think you're a little confused. You think of yourself as some genius who had to overcome some great adversity that is academics, more specifically math and CS, that you couldn't have done it without your fortitude and great IQ? Now I may not have had the commitment as an undergrad (and HS) but so do many others. Wow, so you really believe that the reason you chose your path is because your some kind of immensely talented individual who was destined to pursue math and CS to become a Quant because of your god given talents? lmao..... fortitude, hey next time anyone makes fun of any geeks, I'll tell them "stop, you don't know what kind of fortitude and IQ it takes to focus your life entirely on academics."
 
Francis said:
a budding quant? i guess that sums up the kind of attitude you people have. you like to believe you're some kind of elite intellectuals. its quite funny actually.

Hi Francis,

Guess u were offended by comments in response to your query, sorry abt that. But then from reading posts in this forum u must hav realized that memebrs are quite blunt.
I do think that ur use of language in response to cw202's comment were quite uncalled for and i'd believe is against the spirit of the forum
 
I think what people are saying is that--based on your own description--you do not seem to have the kind of focus required to study the type of mathematics required in a graduate-level program. Its one thing to make the jump from comm college to Rutgers. On a side note, good for you. Whatever your circumstances were you obviously did well enough in CC to get into Rutgers which, in my opinion, is a great school.

Let me clarify again that I said "focus" and not "ability". There are so many people these days jumping into FE programs because they think "Hey, I'm good at math, and I want to earn $10 million a year". From what I read, these are the ones that tend to drop out of the programs or are generally unhappy in their FE careers.
I'd say just finish your current degree and either apply to FE programs or find a job/internship. The plus-side of getting a job is that your employer will most likely pay for your masters program if you decide to then do it part-time. But honestly, you flipped majors so many times how can anyone reasonably think you're serious about a graduate program as specific as financial engineering?

That being said, best of luck to you, and please watch your potty mouth. That kind of talk has no place in this forum--it belongs on a trading desk.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
"focus" is an important term that I'd like to focus upon.

Almost everyone in this line of work started off in a different direction, sometime quite radically so. One guy we placed did serious work fighting global capitalism before joining a large bank :)
But he focused on his previous line of work well, and before that he had focused on a clear line of studies. Now he focuses on quantish work.

An "ideal" CV basically says:
Set out to do hard thing 1, when I finished that,
I did hard thing 2, when I finished that,
I did hard thing 3, when I finished that,
I did hard thing 4, when I finished that,

Rare of course, but you need to show that you can commit to things, as well as being smart enough to do them well.

You also need a thick skin to do this line of work, and in Francis posts I perceive that this needs to be worked on as a priority.

As it happens many people in quant finance are what most people think of as geniuses.
A PhD in a hard topic is not exactly rare, I have >1,000 PhD physicists on my database.
That of itself is not genius, but a few have written serious books appreciated by their peers.

Again that's not quite genius, but we have loads of people who've won national awards for cleverness, varying from impressive scholarships, winning the Chinese national physics olympiad, top first in maths from Oxford (for one year we have the 1st and second).

Also some have made big piles of money by being smart, which impresses me :)

Drifting aimlessly around midscale academia does not impress me.

Some people, like you perhaps think that my job as a headhunter is to be nice to people.
That's just naive.

I'm honest with people, I'm rich and good looking enough that loads of people are nice to me, and thus I don't value it as much as you do.

I do value honesty, and I see my role as an amplification term. If I think you can make it in this line of work, then I will illuminate ways forward. But a certain % of the people that reach me are simply not cut out for this line of work.
I see it as cruel to give them false hope, since most have the ability to succeed somewhere more suited to their talents.
I will never be a professional sportsman, this was never going to happen, I knew this by age 8. Thus I wasted no time on this when doing things with numbers, computers and dodgy chemicals all offered good careers.

You need to step back and find a role model. I don't mean an inspirational figure like me, but someone who you think is both like you ,and who you would like to be.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
Francis, don't get upset. You are asking for advice and people have their opinions and then, they express them in their own words. If you feel offended (and I think you should be), just prove them wrong. You are the only one capable of show the world you are made for this type of job.

As I have mentioned before, it doesn't matter if you have spend your lifetime doing something else as long as you prove in the interview that you know your stuff and you can make your future employer lots of money (or help them to get there).

However, the odds are against you and, as cw202, your resume could project a questionable background. It means the person interviewing you will ask you everything imaginable to make sure you are good enough for them. You just need to answer the questions correctly and if you can, impress them. That will be enough.

But again, in a normal distribution of candidates with your background, if you prove cw202 wrong, you will be an outlier (a "black swan" of sorts).

BTW, I've being soft here just because it seems you can't handle the heat. That is something else you will need to learn to deal with if you decide to become a quant.
 
I apologize for the language that I used that may have offended some people. I'm not trying to say this as an excuse but cw202's post seemed more like a attack than a critique hence my tone and language.
 
>I'm honest with people, I'm rich and good looking enough that loads of people are nice to >me, and thus I don't value it as much as you do.

And here I thought I was the only one with those attributes in this business. :D
Guess I'm just a white swan.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
"are IT departments really that bad?"

IT people get small random bonuses, poor career progression and management whose principal skill is golf, occasionally seasoned by accountants who aren't any good at accountancy.

But in ordered sets you have a worst, even if the set is bad in aggregate.

I'm not saying that JP Morgan have the worst technical services of any major IB, merely that I am unaware of any that are worse.
 
I just read your interview on the home page of this site. I have to say, I'm jealous. Because, well it seems like you've figured out the whole world already.


So is cw202 your other account?
 
I just read your interview on the home page of this site. I have to say, I'm jealous. Because, well it seems like you've figured out the whole world already.

So is cw202 your other account?
NO.
And drop any personal attack.
Critique the post, not the poster.

On a lighter note, I think you should consider who may read your posts. If you see a reply you don't like, ignore it and move on. You can benefit greatly if all discussion is kept professional.

Thanks
 
You also prob have an avg IQ based on your academic track record... My pet monkey can "code" in Java....You will prob give me some BS story about exploring and finding your calling, etc. I will smile and proceed to cut through your BS by assessing your raw intellect....

P.S. If you had the fortitude, commitment, and IQ to get into quant finance, you would have already signed up for math/cs classes at Rutgers or some other school and this thread would not exist.

I'm all for bluntness from people who are informed about the quant industry, but this is a ridiculous post. How old are you? It's a little too passive aggresive for my taste.
 
I'm all for bluntness from people who are informed about the quant industry, but this is a ridiculous post. How old are you? It's a little too passive aggresive for my taste.

Yeah,

but then this issue is bn addressed and parties hav moved on to more value adding disucssions...
 
Good for you, but there's a difference between bluntness and being an arrogant prick. This shouldn't matter here, but its usually people like you and cw202 who won't be too 'blunt' in people's faces (I promise people like you won't get too far acting like cw202 in my face).

You told me I was not getting the picture before? There's a difference between criticizing someone and completely trashing them regarding matters such as this (ie telling someone their IQ and work ethic isn't good enough without knowing much about them). If your telling me I had no right to get mad at cw202's first post in this thread, well then there's nothing to discuss with you. Especially since you think being 'blunt' in this situation makes you better.
 
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