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I do not think MFE degrees are as valuable anymore.

When I look at the job placements for top mfe degrees from Princeton and NYU Courant I mainly see quants being placed in investment banks and asset management firms, but most aspiring quants want to enter hedge funds and proprietary trading firms because compensation is generally much higher. People on the internet talking about the 400k total compensation for fresh graduates are thinking of top firms like Citadel, Jane Street, Two Sigma, HRT and DE Shaw, but this is not where MFE graduates are usually employed.

I've talked to an employee at one these firms about the value of an MFE degree and they say they would much rather hire someone with a MS in math at Courant than Courant's MFE program and this doesn't just apply to NYU but all mfe programs. The problem with MFE degrees is that they are too vocational and teach specific skills like derivatives pricing but what top quant firms look for are graduates who have good critical thinking and problem solving skills which you can't tangibly learn from an MFE program. This is why winning first place in some math competition is impressive for these firms on your resume because it's a sign that you have those skills.

Even if someone does aspire to work in the sell side at a bank, I think there are better careers. Your compensation at an investment bank won't be as high as quants at top quant firm unless you are in a managerial role but I don't think there are as many roles in investment banks that make you earn as much as quants in top quant firms. There may be more job security working in an investment bank than a hedge fund, but if you wanted similar pay and good job security, why not work in a top tech company.

I keep wondering why MFE programs in the U.S mainly consist of international students and I think that's because MFE programs dont have much to offer for domestic students. International students can secure a visa through MFE programs and for "quant trader" roles, you don't need to have a Masters Degree or PHD.
 
I think you have a skewed view of what prospective mfe students have. Even landing internships at top banks and asset management firms is tough. Many people in, CMU, for example have got into hedge funds/trading firms, but they seem to be the ones who study hard for interviews or just exceptionally smart. Many students interned and are full time at Citadel, cubist, drw, imc, SIG ... but many students are also at top banks which pay good money. I know people who had successful careers in trading but come back to learn not only security pricing but machine learning and data science as well. In terms of international I believe in other countries students are better trained in math and science and just happen to dominate the field. I personally believe a mfe is worth it at a top school, but not at a lower level unless you have a significant scholarship.
 
I personally believe a mfe is worth it at a top school, but not at a lower level unless you have a significant scholarship.
What programs do you categorize as "top" and "lower"? Based on the extensive research on this website and others, the top 6 programs are tier-1 and the programs ranked 7-11 are in the next tier. Is my understanding of this correct?
Would you consider a top 10 program to be worth it too?
 
What programs do you categorize as "top" and "lower"? Based on the extensive research on this website and others, the top 6 programs are tier-1 and the programs ranked 7-11 are in the next tier. Is my understanding of this correct?
Would you consider a top 10 program to be worth it too?
I like a few personally. CMU, Princeton, Columbia msfe, Baruch(personally don’t like but can’t deny their results), UC Berkeley. Then borderline would be Cornell and UChicago for me. I would say those first 5 are the gold standard and then Cornell and UChicago are also good programs. Again this is just my opinion based on my experiences.
 
I've talked to an employee at one these firms about the value of an MFE degree and they say they would much rather hire someone with a MS in math at Courant than Courant's MFE program and this doesn't just apply to NYU but all mfe programs. The problem with MFE degrees is that they are too vocational and teach specific skills like derivatives pricing but what top quant firms look for are graduates who have good critical thinking and problem solving skills which you can't tangibly learn from an MFE program. This is why winning first place in some math competition is impressive for these firms on your resume because it's a sign that you have those skills.
Working at one of these trading firms and this is spot on. Unpopular opinion here though.. ;-)
 
An MFE/MFIN degree is definitely not necessary for quantitative finance (as someone working as a researcher at top prop trading firm at the moment), but that doesn't make them inherently useless. I've taken part in the recruitment process for my firm, and the degree itself is generally a title, as long as someone has picked up the skills we want and can demonstrate it via their resume/interview (whether their degree is art history, or finance) they'll probably get a shot.

At the end of the day, A MFIN (like most graduate degrees) is a good way for candidates to break into the industry, establish a network if you're in a rut and haven't had success with headhunters, and make a career pivot within finance (i.e. switch to ibanking from research or vice versa, switch to academia)

Also, again as someone who works in the industry, any firm that's deciding to not interview people just based off their degree title is probably not going to do that great in the long term. The best way to get good candidates is to go into the recruiting process with limited preconceived notions. I've seen that plenty of firms look down on PhDs for being "snobby and out of touch with reality", I don't think anyone on this website seriously believes that a PhD in Finance/Math would provide no value as a quantitative researcher, and the opinion of those firms doesn't de-value the degree / work they put into it.
 
Working at one of these trading firms and this is spot on. Unpopular opinion here though.. ;-)
Less about unpopular opinion, more about this being OP's second post (out of his three) on pretty much the exact same topic. There were some comments about the contexts where it may or may not make sense to do MFE degrees on that other thread which they never even bothered to reply to. Instead of making a new nearly identical thread they could've posted there.
 
Less about unpopular opinion, more about this being OP's second post (out of his three) on pretty much the exact same topic. There were some comments about the contexts where it may or may not make sense to do MFE degrees on that other thread which they never even bothered to reply to. Instead of making a new nearly identical thread they could've posted there.
Unpopular in the sense that this is a forum for MFEs, frequented by MFEs and with many members having a financial interest these degrees (e.g. prep. classes).
 
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On the sell-side vs top tech company, Maybe people prefer/like the field more.

I can very well see people liking the role at banks more. The technologies that you will be working in a bank is also very different. I get that Python/C++ is/always was very popular everywhere but unless you are someone working in ML/high perf. stuff you probably won't use these languages at Tech Firms.

I work as a quant researcher(entry-level) at one of these sell-side firms and am interested in switching to FAANG etc. It is only when I started asking my clg friends I realized how much our roles have diverged even though both of us mostly code 90% of the time.
 
Unpopular in the sense that this is a forum for MFEs, frequented by MFEs and with many members having a financial interest these degrees (e.g. prep. classes).
We know that many aspiring quants want to work at top quant firms but the job placement of all MFE programs shows otherwise. Users in other forums and quants at these top quant firms also express the same sentiment as me. I don't think there is much to argue here. I feel like some users arguing against me are biased and trying to rationalize the value of their degree.
 
We know that many aspiring quants want to work at top quant firms but the job placement of all MFE programs shows otherwise. Users in other forums and quants at these top quant firms also express the same sentiment as me. I don't think there is much to argue here. I feel like some users arguing against me are biased and trying to rationalize the value of their degree.
@Indigo_ Can I ask why you are doing this on a forum filled with MFE graduates and prospective MFE students? Do you genuinely want to discuss this or are you just looking for someone to agree with you?
If you are just looking to slam MFE programs, I think you will find more takers on the Wall Street Oasis lol.
 
@Indigo_ Can I ask why you are doing this on a forum filled with MFE graduates and prospective MFE students? Do you genuinely want to discuss this or are you just looking for someone to agree with you?
If you are just looking to slam MFE programs, I think you will find more takers on the Wall Street Oasis lol.
@kevinabraham I don't think that what @Indigo_ is wrong or uncalled for.

Many people(such as myself) come to the forums for advice and guidance on whether to pursue an MFE or not, it helps to know both sides. Well one might say that some of this might be obvious/common sense but for someone just starting off on his research of MFE programs such a discussion might be very healthy.

Why do you ask? Well, I am one of those perspective students looking to apply to MFE/MSCS(since I am interested in both fields, industries at the moment) and want to know the scope/value proposition, etc...

I feel that the forum has helped me on that, even though my final decision is not to pursue an MFE maybe 😅
 
@Indigo_ Can I ask why you are doing this on a forum filled with MFE graduates and prospective MFE students? Do you genuinely want to discuss this or are you just looking for someone to agree with you?
If you are just looking to slam MFE programs, I think you will find more takers on the Wall Street Oasis lol.
I'm not really sure. I am also deciding whether I should get an MFE or not to become a quant
 
When talking about a path to quantitative finance there are a few routes. The quickest would be to be an undergrad at a prestigious university and getting top grades in a quantitative discipline. This route is where most of the top firms get there employees(Jane, Two sigma, Citadel). However some employers need PhD’s, so they hire top PhD’s studying something relevant to them. Then there’s the people who went to non-target schools who are real smart, but can’t break into quantitative finance. Maybe they weren’t focused in high school to go to a top undergrad and study a certain discipline that would lead to a career in quantitative finance. These people need the mfe to get into finance and to have a chance to learn the fundamentals of the field. Many students use the mfe sort of as a mba to change their career, so for them I don’t see a better path. I would say that the main argument is that there are better ways to become a quant. I would say if you are a high schooler or freshman in college that yes being smart in physics and applied math is a great way to become a quant. But for those who have already graduated or are from non-target schools the mfe is probably the best way to break into quantitative finance.
 
When talking about a path to quantitative finance there are a few routes. The quickest would be to be an undergrad at a prestigious university and getting top grades in a quantitative discipline. This route is where most of the top firms get there employees(Jane, Two sigma, Citadel). However some employers need PhD’s, so they hire top PhD’s studying something relevant to them. Then there’s the people who went to non-target schools who are real smart, but can’t break into quantitative finance. Maybe they weren’t focused in high school to go to a top undergrad and study a certain discipline that would lead to a career in quantitative finance. These people need the mfe to get into finance and to have a chance to learn the fundamentals of the field. Many students use the mfe sort of as a mba to change their career, so for them I don’t see a better path. I would say that the main argument is that there are better ways to become a quant. I would say if you are a high schooler or freshman in college that yes being smart in physics and applied math is a great way to become a quant. But for those who have already graduated or are from non-target schools the mfe is probably the best way to break into quantitative finance.
I agree with most of what you said. I just think this hasn't been mentioned enough in this forum and there's a push for users to attain MFE when it may not be the best path.
 
We know that many aspiring quants want to work at top quant firms but the job placement of all MFE programs shows otherwise. Users in other forums and quants at these top quant firms also express the same sentiment as me. I don't think there is much to argue here. I feel like some users arguing against me are biased and trying to rationalize the value of their degree.
I don’t know what your talking about here. Even if you go to Harvard only a handful of students are getting into top quant firms. Obviously out of a group of a hundred students only about 10% will get the very top positions. It’s not like everyone who gets into Princeton gets a job at Citadel. However many of the people do get interviews for all these top positions, which is the most you can ask for. If you get the interviews for these top places then it’s on you to actually make the cut and doesn’t really mean the program isn’t allowing students to get feed into these top positions.
 
I don’t know what your talking about here. Even if you go to Harvard only a handful of students are getting into top quant firms. Obviously out of a group of a hundred students only about 10% will get the very top positions. It’s not like everyone who gets into Princeton gets a job at Citadel. However many of the people do get interviews for all these top positions, which is the most you can ask for. If you get the interviews for these top places then it’s on you to actually make the cut and doesn’t really mean the program isn’t allowing students to get feed into these top positions.
I understand that even among MIT, Princeton and Harvard grads, getting the job will still be difficult if you can't do well in the interviews. However, a lot of students in these MFE programs want to shoot for these firms, but the job placements of these MFE programs shows that most of these MFE graduates don't have the skills to land a job at these firms. Jane Street claims that they try to interview and give everyone a chance to obtain the best talent so I don't think it's just because that MFE degrees are looked down upon that MFE graduates can't get a job at these firms. If Harvard and MIT grads are getting the job from undergrad or without obtaining an MFE, that means you have to be smart as them. If you are getting an MFE, chances are that you don't have what it takes to work at these firms and most aspiring quants should realize this. Perhaps spend your time in undergrad like what these Harvard and MIT grads did by pursuing lots of research opportunities, personal side projects, and winning competitions. Or, maybe you can just focus studying for the interview since after all passing the interview is the toughest part and it's not like your job will be as difficult as the brainteasers they give you to test IQ or thinking skills. I know people from state schools that get interviews at Jane Street as well. Furthermore, a lot of what you may learn in an MFE program may not be relevant to the job and the training you receive may be detrimental to being a successful quant.
 
What was the point of this thread? To provide your opinion? To look for objective feedback? As @noether-skolem pointed out, you posted a thread almost identical to this some time ago. It is unclear what your goals were for creating this thread. Also, I think you are overgeneralizing with your statements. This topic requires you to think more like a fox, less like a hedgehog my friend.
 
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