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Masters for Mediocre Math Major

I'm a junior obtaining a B.S. in Mathematics from Indiana University, with a 3.58 GPA. I'm presently enrolled in Real Analysis II, Mathematics of Finance, and Abstract Algebra. Other than a Numerical Analysis course, and an introductory course on C++ I've not taken any courses relevant to computer science. I did program a small statistics library for class (unsuited for applications where the data-set doesn't fit in memory), and I have read through The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs a few times, completing around 75% of the exercises. I plan on doing applied work for my senior thesis, although haven't decided on what exactly, perhaps a toy trader would be feasible. I am a native English speaker. I have no employment history.

So far as I can tell my profile is fairly mediocre. I'm assuming acceptance to one of the top seven is out of the question, and with them working at a hedge fund or proprietary trader. I'm currently seeking advice on whether it would be worth applying for the Fall of 2022 to lower tier schools, or whether an MFE in general is not something worth considering. Are Applied Mathematics Masters less competitive, and are there programs which could lead to a higher probability of employment in quantitative finance than the MFE programs I might be accepted to? My interest in quantitative finance is not due to the pay on the upper end of the scale, but rather in finding an occupation where I can do mathematics for a living without the time investment necessary to obtain a PHd.
 
I've been further considering my position, and I've realized the following: my GPA is below that of the average acceptee for most programs or roughly equal at best, the GPA averages are likely artificially low due to applicants who were accepted with existing graduate degrees or who hail from extremely difficult undergrads. I have a relative lack of computational skills, and lack of experience. Being a native English speaker is irrelevant. If I was to be accepted to a program, it would be reasonable to ask why.

There would likely be lower tier institutions which would accept me, but this would come at considerable risk. It is not particularly likely that I would end up as a quant or in a position to do mathematics for a living. Even if I did place into a position which involved mathematics, it's not entirely likely I would be able to retain it. With this in mind I would likely be better off going into a Applied Math, or Statistics masters, and attempting to either enter quantitative finance through this route or pursue an alternative career path such as that of a Statistician, or Data Scientist.

A simple Yes/No/Maybe as to whether my understanding is correct would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Is 3.58 your cumulative GPA or your math GPA? If it’s your cumulative, what’s your math GPA? A 3.58 is not the end of the world, especially if you have strong grades in relevant courses. Building at least a decent background in programming does not take that long, but you do need to be incredibly dedicated towards amassing it. The online courses here on QuantNet — I’ve only completed the intro C++ one but I feel a generalization to all 3 is fair — are exceptional. They get you up to speed extremely efficiently. I think you have a shot to get into a top 10 program for fall 2022 entry provided you spend the next 6-9 months keeping your head down. That said, I’m a current applicant myself at the moment and so I’m sure others here will have more useful things to say.
 
Is 3.58 your cumulative GPA or your math GPA? If it’s your cumulative, what’s your math GPA? A 3.58 is not the end of the world, especially if you have strong grades in relevant courses. Building at least a decent background in programming does not take that long, but you do need to be incredibly dedicated towards amassing it. The online courses here on QuantNet — I’ve only completed the intro C++ one but I feel a generalization to all 3 is fair — are exceptional. They get you up to speed extremely efficiently. I think you have a shot to get into a top 10 program for fall 2022 entry provided you spend the next 6-9 months keeping your head down. That said, I’m a current applicant myself at the moment and so I’m sure others here will have more useful things to say.
Thanks for the reply! Evidentially my math GPA is actually poor at 3.21 due to many B+, and A- grades, and one C. Nine more math classes will be contributing to my GPA before applications; it is possible to get this up to a 3.53 or 3.61 depending on if grades are entered before applications are due this fall. Apparently students can petition to be allowed to retake a course to improve their GPA at my university which would allow me to improve my current math GPA to a 3.44 by retaking one class. This would allow for a maximum of 3.72, but the old grade would remain on the transcript and simply not count towards my GPA.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
"I have read through The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs a few times, completing around 75% of the exercises."
In general, you learn programming by programming, not reading.
Write lots of code examples.
 
"I have read through The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs a few times, completing around 75% of the exercises."
In general, you learn programming by programming, not reading.
Write lots of code examples.
I have a fairly bad habit of avoiding practicality, all things being equal I would be reading CLtL2 right now, which is effectively the Common Lisp standard (I've read a few of the Scheme standards too), something no employer cares about. In any case I've seen your posts around the forums here, and I will put your C++ courses under consideration, especially after midterms.

My present understanding is that if I kick it into gear I have a shot, and since this is something I should do anyway, I will. That being said if a math GPA of 3.6-3.7 is not enough I likely would not take the time to relearn and develop my C++ skills since this language is not used in the other careers I am considering, and I'm less interested in it for its own sake (probably because it's too useful in comparison to Ada, Scheme, and Common Lisp). I believe this is the last point I will be in need of assistance with until I begin filing applications.

Last Question: Given a math GPA of 3.6-3.7 is it likely that I would be accepted into a program which would place me into a job doing math for money. This is so that I can determine whether or not I should dedicate the time to learn C++ specifically for quantitative finance.
 
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