MBA vs MFE for trading jobs

hedgie

New Member
I was set on applying for MFE fall'09 as my ultimate objective is to become a trader. I am currently 26 years old. Looking at programs and courses it appears obvious that MFE is one of if not the most suitable postgrad degree for trading ( based on skills learned, course content, etc...). I have dedicated almost 2 years to study and take GRE math subject test and even exam P for actuary. Problem is I have no "real" financial services experience as I have been running our family business, although based on my business experience along with CFA 1 and just "keeping up" with financial markets I woud say my knowledge level is up there. My friend who happens to be VP Ops @ GS tells me that MBA is better route for me to get into trading. He tells me that an MBA will automatically make me eligible to enter S&T associate postion at IB while MS is only good if I have solid experience- (ie there is no "formal" entry procedure for MS). Is this true? If so, I am dumbfounded as MBA education seems pretty general ( in fact more finance material is covered in CFA) as opposed to MFE which appears to be very specialized. A bit confused here, can anyone confirm or even better yet contradict his statement for me?
 

TIFFY

New Member
i want to know too. i am currently considering the MFE and MBA, and haven't decided which one i should go for. i have been reading some articles. according to those articles, comparing a MBA with a MS in MFE is like comparing apples and oranges. a MBA and a MS have different career paths. i think a person who studies MFE does some technical work, it is like 50% tech and 50% finance, while a MBA is more general. the most important and the most difficult question (for me though) is to figure out what you want to do...
 

cstassen

New Member
I work as a trader in a large inv. bank (probably THE bank - guess which...). I would definately say MFE. There are more MBAs at present, but that is only because the MFE is newer. As products become more complex, it is traders responsibility to know and understand the models, which is precisely what you learn in an MFE and what you DON'T learn in an MBA.

Go for the MFE - especially if it is one of the good ones. I'm a Princeton guy, and the fact that I have mathematical skills made it very easy for me to approach the different desks, and I could choose more or less what I wanted!
 

claudewang

New Member
Could you please share with us your experience to get the trader job? Can you tell us your background and give us some tips about how to gain more chance to be hired as a trader? Many thanks.
 

cstassen

New Member
Sure.

I have an economics background - my degree is however much more quantitative than american econ tends to be (i've done 1,5 year of calculus/linear algebra, 5 statistics courses etc). Besides, I did quite a lot of math courses, covering prob until the level of conditional probabilities on a measure theoretic base.
I did one year of masters-studies, and then moved to princeton for the MFin (did it in one year). I got an internship, and that is the key way in.

So go for an internship. A good way to prepare is to think about stuff like "why do you want to work for XXXX" and "what makes you interrested in trading" etc. These two questions are key. Also, get to know the market. A good thing is to read the FT as often as possible.

Besides that, even though you probably are, SHOW that you are interested and hungry to get the job. That is key

As a mentor of mine said: "Get a job, make it happen" - don't wait for them to reach out for you, you have to GRAB them!
 

Telecaster

New Member
yes, I met him last year during my internship at the london office. His catch phrase was "guys, get a job. Make it happen!" exactly as you put it.

Are you working at the London or NY office?
 

cstassen

New Member
Haha, that's excactly the same (although this guy put in the f word a couple of times as well). NY, what about you? Which desk are you at?

yes, I met him last year during my internship at the london office. His catch phrase was "guys, get a job. Make it happen!" exactly as you put it.

Are you working at the London or NY office?
 

GusTsahas

Member
I would say for an eventual trading career go for the MFE as it gives you the training to DO certain things on your own instead of waiting for this guy to run the numbers for you or that guy to code the system on a pc for you. In my view, you can supplement soft managerial skills as you need them by seminars or taking a class a couple of times a year but it would be very difficult to make up the material one learns in a good MFE program.

[FONT=&quot]I completed the MFE program at Baruch and trade in many markets and I take pride in the fact that as a small trading firm we can do A to Z without constantly having to go to outside to get "expert" help. We are the experts!! :smt024 [/FONT]
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
Quantnet being a quant community so opinions would be in the favor of MFE or technical background for trading jobs.
I've worked close to an equity trading desk that made up of mostly MBAs and majority of them could not program. They have a quant who does all the programming.
I also agree with the opions here that the lack of programming skills limit many traders. I have seen many traders who have to wait around for someone else to code up some excel/vba. Had they been able to do it themselves, it would save time and probably make more money.
If we are to hire someone to our desk and choosing between MBA/MFE, I would hire the MFE guy because I know he can get his hand dirty and contribute right away.
I'm not sure things are different for the fundamentals-driven places but it seems like the need for the technical skills learned by MFE grads is here to stay.
 

resfranzi

New Member
mba is the driver. mfe is the mechanic. in the old days, cars were rare and were hand-made. mechanics were in demand. nowadays, cars are mass produced. mechanic's skill set is not as valuable. driver's skills are more common. in the future, due to rising oil prices, mass transport may replace cars. drivers may also lose their jobs
 

Telecaster

New Member
Doesn't make much sense to me either.

My two cents: you will learn more usefull stuff in an MFE for a trading/structuring role. However if you look at the bigger picture, you will find that an MFE will help you only during your career as a trader/structurer, which might not last very long. I doubt you will still be trading once you hit 35 or 40. Many people shift careers at that point and that's precisely where something like a Harvard, Stanford or Wharton MBA will make you shine. Many people, at some point or another, shift towards the corporate side of things where an extensive list of influencial contacts (which one gets at a good business school) and impeccable soft skills are much more useful than programming skills and knowledge of ito's lemma.

Also, MBA programmes in the good schools offer a huge array of electives. You can tailor your MBA the way you like. I know that at Harvard you are allowed to follow virtually ANY course given at Harvard or MIT.

An MBA (from a good school) is for life. I don't think the same can be said of an MFE. However, the choice of doing an MBA or an MFE also depends on your personality. I don't think everybody is MBA material. The same also goes for MFE's. You should know where you stand on the 'qualitative vs quantitative' spectrum and that should give you a rough indication of where you would fit.
 
This is my first post on this forum. I was intrigued by your statement regarding 35-40 after career. Do you think that an MBA will give you a better future in general?

I doubt that you can make a broad statement. Assuming with an MBA from Wharton you become an MD at 40 in an investment bank by default, does that make you happy or wealthy?
How about if an MFE gives you the chance to work as a trading/risk manager in a hedge fund?

I am just 27, I cannot estimate the chances of success in both cases. I can say that considering number of MBA from top schools (at least 2000 a year), and the number of MD positions opened each year, it is pretty difficult.
The number of MFE plus Physics/Math PhD in one year is relatively low (a few hundred maybe) and the demand will be always be high.

Ignoring the chances of success, in the end is a discussion about what you think you would enjoy.

PS: Maybe at 40 MFE will retire to spend their millions managed by MBA grads :)


Doesn't make much sense to me either.

My two cents: you will learn more usefull stuff in an MFE for a trading/structuring role. However if you look at the bigger picture, you will find that an MFE will help you only during your career as a trader/structurer, which might not last very long. I doubt you will still be trading once you hit 35 or 40. Many people shift careers at that point and that's precisely where something like a Harvard, Stanford or Wharton MBA will make you shine. Many people, at some point or another, shift towards the corporate side of things where an extensive list of influencial contacts (which one gets at a good business school) and impeccable soft skills are much more useful than programming skills and knowledge of ito's lemma.

Also, MBA programmes in the good schools offer a huge array of electives. You can tailor your MBA the way you like. I know that at Harvard you are allowed to follow virtually ANY course given at Harvard or MIT.

An MBA (from a good school) is for life. I don't think the same can be said of an MFE. However, the choice of doing an MBA or an MFE also depends on your personality. I don't think everybody is MBA material. The same also goes for MFE's. You should know where you stand on the 'qualitative vs quantitative' spectrum and that should give you a rough indication of where you would fit.
 

TIFFY

New Member
mba vs mfe vs cfa

i have read all the posts here. it seems to me that a MBA from the top 10 b-school is worthwhile, otherwise mfe is a better option. i have another question. i am going for the CFA program ( i passed level 1 and waiting for the result for level 2). is the combination of MBA + CFA better than the combination of MFE+ CFA? since CFA covers almost all aspects of finance, is it a overlap for mfe?
 

kean

Mathematics Student
Not everyone with MBA or MFE makes a lots. It depends on individual. Similarly not everyone with MFE can be a trader. Being a trader you need to be informative and sociable as well - which is more or less mba materials! Being a trader you need to know technical stuff too - so MFE comes along.

I think you guys want to know which one can get you the best return or being a trader. If you ask this type of question, you are not a trader material. Keep it to yourself, enrol for an MBA or MFE and then work hard to achieve your goals.
 

kean

Mathematics Student
hey, you can invest your own fund and then call yourself trader too.
 
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