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Maths a mystery after 10 years....


I always thought maths is like swimming, you learn it once and it stays with you for ever.. BUT i guess i was so wrong.

I am working Hedge funds as a quant/risk analyst for the past 5-7 years.. Last time I studied maths/stats was in 2001. After working in a concentrated field building simple regression models (that traders can understand and use) and lots of programming. I practically have never used any complex mathematics.
I used to be a math wiz before i started working... but now m paranoid, as when I look at even a simple differential equation/eigen values etc.. I can barely remember a thing. I bought a few books but I can not go beyond the first few pages.

What would you guys suggest.. where should I start from.. is there any school in NYC that would allow me to take 4-5 maths courses on a part-time basis as a refresher. I think taking some courses instead of reading books works better for me.. as with a 12 hour a day work schedule, if there is no compulsion I would rather just sleep over it.

I'll give you my two words about the similar experience of one of the experienced portfolio manager exactly in the same situation. He's been working for 10 years and is involved in mathematics - but only very focused issue which is just optimizations and hedging strategies along with some investment theories. Those things are pure mathematical issue but he cannot go beyond them. As a refreshing tool, he's reviewing the materials himself which he finds helpful before applying advanced math courses. So the opinion can be divided whether going for regular study or studying for yourself will be better as refresher (even part-time).

I think taking some courses instead of reading books works better for me

If you find regular studies better in terms of motivation, inner responsibility, giving higher result then go ahead. But even while studying at university, it is always helpful to take your separate (parallel)path of learning I think. Good Luck
Thanks Tsotne and Andy, I appreciate the posts. I really enjoyed the link posted, I agree math is way beyond calcs and a way of thinking. Once I get back to that level I would like to take some advanced algebra and analysis classes; maybe that should have been the way to go in first place and appreciate it better.

Tsotne, what books is the port manager you talked about using, if you know would be great help?
Andy, you being a Baruch Grad, do you know if I can take some classes there or in CUNY that can help me get back into this lost world. Baruch is actually very close to where I work, so would be extremely convenient.

Tsotne, what books is the port manager you talked about using, if you know would be great help?

I don't know which book he is using TBH. Perhaps reviewing materials he learned while studying at the university. Depends on which mathematics you are seeking. You can get lots of useful suggestions on books for particular type of mathematics (stochastic, linear algebra, PDEs, etc) which have been discussed many times in this forum.
You can see the schedule of courses that are being offered at the various CUNY colleges here:


Select the campus, the semester, and then choose "Mathematics" or "Statistics" as the department of interest. Note that in some CUNY colleges (e.g., Hunter), Statistics is part of the Mathematics department, while at other colleges (e.g., Baruch), Statistics is a completely separate department.

This legacy web application is in the process of being phased-out; two campuses (Queens College and Queensborough Community College) have already been migrated to a new "Peoplesoft"-based system called "CUNYFirst", which I am told is rather sluggish and is not as informative as the legacy application in terms of querying for course schedule and availability. The other campuses are scheduled to be migrated over the next couple of years.

If you qualify as a New York resident, then the tuition is quite modest. However, note that the tuition charged for undergraduate "non-degree" students is higher than that charged for matriculated degree candidates. To qualify for tuition at the resident rate you need to prove residency in New York for one year prior to the first day of the semester you seek to register for; living in New York while on a Student Visa (e.g., F-1) does not count.

This application will give you an idea as to the current tuition charges at the CUNY senior colleges (the tuition at the two-year "community colleges" is lower) :


Be sure to select the correct residency and degree status. Also note that while the majority of courses are 3 credits, many of the lower level math courses (e.g., Calculus) meet for more hours each week than do other courses and as such can be charged at 4 or even 5 credits.

You would need to submit a simple application for admission as an "Undergraduate Non-Degree" or as a "Postbaccalaureate" student directly to the registrar (not to the admissions office) at the college where you seek to attend classes; there is a fee of $65. You should be able to find such application at the website of the respective school.

Here are some examples:


http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/ugprospects/repository/files/ND Application -6-10.pdf