COMPARE In a Dilemma: Got Acceptances from Columbia MAFN and NYU Tandon

Dessembrae Ultor

Member
C++ Student
I recently got acceptances from both NYU Tandon and Columbia MAFN. I'm actually unsure about which program to choose, and would love to hear some opinions. Columbia obviously has huge brand recognition, but other than that, the reviews have not been great. Students aren't very happy with the course structure and career services, and I don't know if the administration has taken and acted on feedback from students. On the other hand, what I've read about Tandon's program seems very encouraging despite the unflattering reviews that the program used to get earlier, and they seem very responsive to students' feedback. Dr. Peter Carr and team seem to be genuinely trying to improve the program, and it appears that the curriculum is quite practical and industry-focused as opposed to being overly theoretical. The placement services also seem more hands-on compared to Columbia. But I'm still unsure whether those things are enough to overcome the sheer weight that a Columbia education lends to a résumé. There is no doubt that a Columbia name opens doors. Thus, the dilemma.

I'd be really grateful if folks could share their thoughts on how the Columbia MAFN program compares against the NYU Tandon, in terms of curriculum, infrastructure, administrative responsiveness and career services, and whether someone like me (who has no quant work experience) would be a better fit at the former or the latter program. Thanks!

Edit: In terms of career goals, I'm mostly interested in trading, quantitative research, quantitative development & risk management, in that order.
 

NumeroUno

Member
I recently got acceptances from both NYU Tandon and Columbia MAFN. I'm actually unsure about which program to choose, and would love to hear some opinions. Columbia obviously has huge brand recognition, but other than that, the reviews have not been great. Students aren't very happy with the course structure and career services, and I don't know if the administration has taken and acted on feedback from students. On the other hand, what I've read about Tandon's program seems very encouraging despite the unflattering reviews that the program used to get earlier, and they seem very responsive to students' feedback. Dr. Peter Carr and team seem to be genuinely trying to improve the program, and it appears that the curriculum is quite practical and industry-focused as opposed to being overly theoretical. The placement services also seem more hands-on compared to Columbia. But I'm still unsure whether those things are enough to overcome the sheer weight that a Columbia education lends to a résumé. There is no doubt that a Columbia name opens doors. Thus, the dilemma.

I'd be really grateful if folks could share their thoughts on how the Columbia MAFN program compares against the NYU Tandon, in terms of curriculum, infrastructure, administrative responsiveness and career services, and whether someone like me (who has no quant work experience) would be a better fit at the former or the latter program. Thanks!

Edit: In terms of career goals, I'm mostly interested in trading, quantitative research, quantitative development & risk management, in that order.
NYU is a well-known brand name, also.

Being accepted into two great schools sounds like a good dilemma to have.

Hope you're able to get more feedback.
 

Michsund

Active Member
C++ Student
I recently got acceptances from both NYU Tandon and Columbia MAFN. I'm actually unsure about which program to choose, and would love to hear some opinions. Columbia obviously has huge brand recognition, but other than that, the reviews have not been great. Students aren't very happy with the course structure and career services, and I don't know if the administration has taken and acted on feedback from students. On the other hand, what I've read about Tandon's program seems very encouraging despite the unflattering reviews that the program used to get earlier, and they seem very responsive to students' feedback. Dr. Peter Carr and team seem to be genuinely trying to improve the program, and it appears that the curriculum is quite practical and industry-focused as opposed to being overly theoretical. The placement services also seem more hands-on compared to Columbia. But I'm still unsure whether those things are enough to overcome the sheer weight that a Columbia education lends to a résumé. There is no doubt that a Columbia name opens doors. Thus, the dilemma.

I'd be really grateful if folks could share their thoughts on how the Columbia MAFN program compares against the NYU Tandon, in terms of curriculum, infrastructure, administrative responsiveness and career services, and whether someone like me (who has no quant work experience) would be a better fit at the former or the latter program. Thanks!

Edit: In terms of career goals, I'm mostly interested in trading, quantitative research, quantitative development & risk management, in that order.
well Columbia mafn is much more math rigorous so for a quant research role that may be useful. I would look at the resume book that the mafn program has on its website and see what field the people seem to go for. I would also contact tandon and contact them with any concerns you have. Good Luck!
 

pingu

Well-Known Member
Congratulations. If you want the name in the diploma, Columbia won't disappoint. However, they have 3 or 4 programs and rumor has it MAFN is at the bottom of the list. I haven't met many people from the this program but they ones I've gotten to know, let's just say they are no part of the "sharpest tools in the shed". I might have bad luck but, man, what a coincidence.

I haven't met people from the Tandon school but I've met Peter Carr multiple times. In my opinion, he is a good guy, a good professor and I think, he will do the best to push the program forward.

just my 2 cents.
 

Michsund

Active Member
C++ Student
Congratulations. If you want the name in the diploma, Columbia won't disappoint. However, they have 3 or 4 programs and rumor has it MAFN is at the bottom of the list. I haven't met many people from the this program but they ones I've gotten to know, let's just say they are no part of the "sharpest tools in the shed". I might have bad luck but, man, what a coincidence.

I haven't met people from the Tandon school but I've met Peter Carr multiple times. In my opinion, he is a good guy, a good professor and I think, he will do the best to push the program forward.

just my 2 cents.
I think Msor is the lowest though.
 

pingu

Well-Known Member
I think Msor is the lowest though.
I don't know anything about the program themselves just of the rather small sample of ex-students I have met coming out of the MAFN and MSOR programs. Again, the graduates from the MSOR program were better (by a lot IMHO) than the ones out of the MAFN program.

I don't have a real opinion about the programs in terms of content since I haven't done a lot of research of them (besides reading QN). Outside of the ranking or reviews, opinions about the programs in this forum are from people who "want" to be in the program but have no idea of what's really going on after you get in.
 
My personal (sample size of 1) experience with NYU Tandon has been overwhelming negative, although it has been almost 3 years since I graduated. Other people can better explain to what extent things have changed since, although who you can trust to be impartial is up to you.

As for Columbia MAFN, this is all I could find for placement information:

Firms such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, UBS, Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital, Deloitte Consulting, Ernst & Young, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole CIB, various hedge funds and asset management firms, and many others have recruited graduates of the program.
This is the type of unhelpful, non specific "information" that I absolutely hate and is a huge red flag.
 

Michsund

Active Member
C++ Student
My experience with NYU Tandon has been overwhelming negative, although it has been almost 3 years since I graduated. Other people can better explain to what extent things have changed since, although who you can trust to be impartial is up to you.

As for Columbia MAFN, this is all I could find for placement information:



This is the type of unhelpful, non specific "information" that I absolutely hate and is a huge red flag.
Yeah I applied for msor as well it seems very good to me but I though mafn may have been better? Not really sure
 

Dessembrae Ultor

Member
C++ Student
Congratulations. If you want the name in the diploma, Columbia won't disappoint. However, they have 3 or 4 programs and rumor has it MAFN is at the bottom of the list. I haven't met many people from the this program but they ones I've gotten to know, let's just say they are no part of the "sharpest tools in the shed". I might have bad luck but, man, what a coincidence.

I haven't met people from the Tandon school but I've met Peter Carr multiple times. In my opinion, he is a good guy, a good professor and I think, he will do the best to push the program forward.

just my 2 cents.
Yikes, it's pretty alarming to hear that the students of the MAFN program weren't that great. On the other hand, I wonder if it's a result of the supposed lack of career services and interview preparation at the program? In any case, if the reputation of the program among industry professionals is such, it sort of cancels out the value addition of the Columbia name to the résumé.
 

Dessembrae Ultor

Member
C++ Student
My personal (sample size of 1) experience with NYU Tandon has been overwhelming negative, although it has been almost 3 years since I graduated. Other people can better explain to what extent things have changed since, although who you can trust to be impartial is up to you.

As for Columbia MAFN, this is all I could find for placement information:



This is the type of unhelpful, non specific "information" that I absolutely hate and is a huge red flag.
Could you share broadly what you disliked about the program? I'd love to know what I should watch out for if I do decide to accept the offer from NYU. Also, was this before or after Dr. Carr took over?
 
Could you share broadly what you disliked about the program? I'd love to know what I should watch out for if I do decide to accept the offer from NYU. Also, was this before or after Dr. Carr took over?
I graduated before Peter Carr even started as a program director.

The program leadership and administrators didn't really care for the students, based on my impression. Some, if not most of the lecturers I had were "guest" professors that had well paying full time jobs which of course took priority over teaching. Lecturers would often miss office hours and TAs were poorly paid, underqualified, and more often than not unavailable. This was before NYU FRE got someone dedicated to job placement so the career services available were worse than a joke. The program leadership, without a doubt, demonstrated its apathy and gross incompetence on multiple occasions.

Take my review with a grain of salt, as it is a few years old, and I have a higher intolerance for incompetence and BS on the part of program leadership. If I attended another program, my review would likely be harsher than the average review for that program as well.

For its credit, NYU Tandon FRE does release its (in my opinion) incomplete or vague placement stats, far better than Columbia MAFN which does not and instead uses weasel language when providing placement information.
 
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pingu

Well-Known Member
Yikes, it's pretty alarming to hear that the students of the MAFN program weren't that great. On the other hand, I wonder if it's a result of the supposed lack of career services and interview preparation at the program? In any case, if the reputation of the program among industry professionals is such, it sort of cancels out the value addition of the Columbia name to the résumé.
By the way, my experience was not during interview. These were people already working. They got the job but they were not good at it and their knowledge was lacking, both programming and modeling, and the applied analytics skills were not there either.
 
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Nth Root of N

New Member
If you want the name in the diploma, also consider that Columbia has quietly become a commodity in terms of professional degree offerings; even the label is of questionable value.

I don't know anybody from MAFN, but I know someone who did quant Ph.D. under the ORIE.
 
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IntoDarkness

Active Member
If you want the name in the diploma, also consider that Columbia has quietly become a commodity in terms of professional degree offerings; even the label is of questionable value.

I don't know anybody from MAFN, but I know someone who did quant Ph.D. under the ORIE.
this... use columbia's name as your advantage while you still can... i graduated from another columbia program and both the columbia name and the program content helped me advance my career extensively
 

Michsund

Active Member
C++ Student
I've worked in recruiting for a bit and I've seen some successful MAFN grads, even recently. I would say for now it probably has an edge over tandon as it is still a growing program.
 
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