Looking for advice


Hi all,

My name is Akarsh. I am looking to enroll in an MFE program in the US, beginning fall '19. My first priority is a career doing quant work, post my education.

About myself
I live in India, and have graduated from the University of London International program, having completed a BSc in Economics and Finance, in 2018. I have no full time work experience, and will have only 3 months in a finance startup, with little quantitative work, by the time I submit my application. I have at least 6 months to pursue relevant work before the program begins.

When it comes to quantitatives, I am confident I have a strong background, with a GRE score of 170 in quants, and First class honours ( which I am told is 4.0 GPA ) in maths and statistics courses. We did not have a breakdown of courses such as linear algebra, calculus, etc.

As for programming, I have never received any formal education. To solve this, I am currently doing a course on data science : Link, which covers R, Python, and SAS, which should be completed by November. However, this does not cover C++.

What I want to know
1) Will I face any problem with regards to my lack of C++ certification? If the data science course I am currently doing is insufficient, will I have time post November to do a course on C++ for the fall intake?

While I am ready for all the hard work necessary, do you feel that the programming part of an MFE course will be difficult for me to cope with? My background focuses more on the Finance and Mathematics section of the course, but is lacking in programming.

2) Is my background in quantitative subjects sufficient? If there are any past instances of students doing my particular course, who got accepted into any MFE program, your advice will help a lot. My main concern is whether universities allow for differences in undergraduate course structure, and that I am at minimum meeting the prerequisites.

It will also be helpful if someone knows the GPA conversion that applies to my course.

3) I will be financing the program almost entirely through Private loans. This is quite a huge amount for me, and barring the most expensive university should still come to about $100k as per university estimates. My question is, does it make sense financially to go through with this, or should I wait and try to save up myself and reduce the loan amount necessary.

For example, is it farfetched to assume that I will be able to pay off my loans within -say- 3 to 5 years?

Any help is greatly appreciated, and any other advice is always welcome, especially if coming from someone in a similar position as me. If you feel there is something I can improve upon, please mention it.

Thanks for your time.


Well-Known Member
If you are strong at mathematics picking up enough programming for admission shouldn't be difficult.

Paying off your loan in 3-5 year is likely not going to happen. If you plan on living in NY for example can you make $100k starting salary this is what you are looking at:

Taxes: $40k
Rent: $30k
Food, clothes, travel: $10k

VERY rough but this would estimate you could pay off your loan in 5 years assuming NOTHING unexpected happens in your life AND you choose to save nothing for retirement.

Why are you so determined to pay off your loans quickly? They are pretty low interest.


Thanks for the response.

Reason I'm debt averse is personal preference, but also since I have seen it eat away at close relatives savings. I am not exactly sure the interest rate I would be getting anyways. But you are right, I should be looking at paying it off over a longer time frame too.

Also taxes 40% o_O

In your experience, do universities in general give time to pick up necessary programming skills after applications are submitted?