# "MFE program profile evaluation" master thread

#### trace

Admission requirement, what should I do?

Hello,

I am close to getting my BASc degree in electronics engineering from a Canadian School, however, I have come to realize maybe electronics wasn't really what I truly wanted to do, which has got me into thinking pursuing a higher academic studies in a different route especially in the filed of FE at Baruch (after extensive readings in the topic of FE). However, I would like to know more about the program admission requirement. Does the program requirement focus more on overall GPA standings, final two year GPA standings, or the grades of each individual math/stats/prob courses more? The reason for this is due to the limited retake privilege students are entitled to at my school, and I want to be very careful with it. In other words, should I just focus on my upper year grades and GRE exam so I don't have to retake my undergrad math courses?

Also, I have had a year and a half of different Co-op work experience tho not in the field of finance, e.g. Nokia, Cypress semiconductors...etc. Should I look for a job in a financial related (e.g. a teller at a bank) or should I leave it as it is?

Thanks!

#### Andy Nguyen

What do you really want to do :get into an MFE program or get a job first right after your BS ?
If you want to apply to MFE after BS, just focus on getting great grades, take all the required courses, C++, good GRE score, etc and ignore how they will evaluate your profile.
If you want to get a job first, why do you think a teller at a commercial bank has anything to do with quantitative finance ? Try to get some internship/part-time job as relevant as possible.

#### chris lake

Opinion of MQF at Rutgers? Chances at Rutgers and Baruch?

Hi Guys,
Been a while since I posted on the forum. Been busy with college applications!

Anyway just wanted to ask everyones opinion of the Masters of Quant Finance program from Rutgers? Is this popular at all on Wall St? How competitive is it? They do have a career placement statistics page which indicate a couple of good second-tier and some top IBs and firms that recruit there.

I have a BS EE (3.6 GPA) and MS EE(3.8 GPA), 650 GMAT (5.0 on AWA) - does it look like I have decent chances to get in? Also, what do my chances look like at Baruch, assuming everything else is in order?

Thanks a lot guys,
Chris

#### MikeK

All of the FE programs local to New York City have some presence on Wall Street (though, some more than others obviously). If your goal is to work as a quant in one of the top-tier firms, then you need to be really good and dazzle them in the interview. Going to Baruch, Rutgers, NYU, etc does not guarantee anything.

I know a good number of traders or portfolio managers who went to Rutgers, and they definitely have a large network in NYC. Plus, their football team is decent...

#### Andy Nguyen

Rutgers has 2 programs and I usually got confused which is which.
The Math Finance program is relatively new, starting in 2006. They got 19 students in 2006 and 56 students in 2007. Heard that the 2006 students are still looking for jobs. No placement stat available.
The QF program is 2 year program and seems a bit older. It has the placement stats but most of the positions seem to be business analyst. Some of the employers are UPS and Linens 'n Things. Those are places you don't usually expect the typical quantitative finance jobs.
Who knows if you can get in Rutgers or Baruch. Just apply and let the schools decide.

#### MikeK

Rutgers has 2 programs and I usually got confused which is which.
The Math Finance program is relatively new, starting in 2006. They got 19 students in 2006 and 56 students in 2007. Heard that the 2006 students are still looking for jobs. No placement stat available.
The QF program is 2 year program and seems a bit older. It has the placement stats but most of the positions seem to be business analyst. Some of the employers are UPS and Linens 'n Things. Those are places you don't usually expect the typical quantitative finance jobs.
Who knows if you can get in Rutgers or Baruch. Just apply and let the schools decide.

Wow, why on earth would they have two separate programs? Is it common for schools to do this?

#### Andy Nguyen

Wow, why on earth would they have two separate programs? Is it common for schools to do this?
Money, inter-departmental competition, politic.
You would be amazed of how many programs Columbia has competing for the same group of students. Take a look
In the tristate area, Columbia and Rutgers have multiple programs. I believe the trend will grow as business dept, math dept, engineering dept, finance dept, computer science dept see $$and will jump into the game. http://quantnet.com/wiki/Main_Page #### MikeK Money, inter-departmental competition, politic. You would be amazed of how many programs Columbia has competing for the same group of students. Take a look In the tristate area, Columbia and Rutgers have multiple programs. I believe the trend will grow as business dept, math dept, engineering dept, finance dept, computer science dept see$$\$ and will jump into the game.
http://quantnet.com/wiki/Main_Page

That makes perfect sense when you have these "blended" degrees that pull courses from various departments. If the program has the potential to be successful, then everyone wants a piece of the pie. Hey, that alone should prepare Rutgers MF and QF students for the real world!

#### Barry

Am I qualified?

Hi All,

I am new to this forum and value your input on a career change that I am considering.

I am currently working as an astronautical engineer for the US Air Force and I am very interested in the possibility of moving over to the finance in the coming year. I am looking for a job in finance that is highly analytical and where I can make use of my current skill set. Based on my research, quantitative analyst seems to be a good fit, but I am not sure that I have all the qualifications. Please provide your thoughts on my job prospects and what I may be able to do to improve them in the coming year.

Experience: 3 years as astronautical engineer at NASA and the US Air Force
2 years as US Air Force pilot

B.S. United States Air Force Academy (Major: Mechanical Engineering, Minor: Mathematics)
M.S. Rice University (Major: Mechanical Engineering)

Academic focus: Dynamics and control of space systems, stochastic methods, monte carlo analysis, optimization methods, modeling and simulation of multivariable systems, linear algebra

Skills: C, C++, Matlab, Excel

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. Also, if you recognize another job category in finance that is a better fit that I may be overlooking, please provide that info as well.

Thanks
Barry

#### Andy Nguyen

I think you are the third engineer from the Air Force that posted here. People have tried to move into finance from different fields and Air Force is no exempt.
I fly a desk
Advice requested on a major career change into Quantitative Finance

My first suggestion would be to learn more about the different kind of roles, products. Finance is a broad field and quantitative analyst is a general title, not a specific role.
Get a few books from our Master reading list and read through it. Most people enroll in a quantitative finance to gain an entry role in this field.

#### Barry

Thanks

Hi Andy

Thanks for the very prompt reply and the links. I have checked out the master reading list and plan to read a few of the core books.

It appears that just about everyone on the quant field has a Ph.D. or Masters in financial engineering. Is this a must? (I likely wont have time to go back to school before pursuing a job and my masters is engineering, but my academic focus is easily applied to finance as well). If so, are there other closely related analytical fields in finance that have less stringent degree requirements?

Thanks for all of your help.
Barry

#### Andy Nguyen

I'm not qualified to say anyone is qualified for this field. Only employers and headhunters can do that.
From what I read from Dominic (one of the well known quant headhunters), employers only take a look at people with a master degree minimum. Remember, we are talking about quantitative positions here, not finance in general. I know plenty of people who work in this industry with a bachelor degree. One of my friends working for a hedge fund as an analyst with a bachelor degree in Finance from Baruch.
I agree that most people here have MFE, PhD, doing it or at least trying to get in so it seems like everyone processes one of these degree.

If you think you have relevant experience and education, you can try to angle your search to get in the field. I'm in through the MFE route so I don't really know how hard it is to get in without one.

By the way, you can try to get an IT role in one of the IB. The money is much better than NASA or Air Force is paying you.

#### Barry

Andy

Thanks again for the reply. I do have the master's degree covered (Rice University), but it is not an MFE or Ph.D. which seems to be highly desired.

You wrote that an IT role in an investment bank may be a possibility. I am going to show my ignorance here, but what does IT stand for?

Thanks
Barry

#### Andy Nguyen

IT refers to Information Technology. Every investment bank, hedge fun has an IT dept. Plenty of people work in IT derivatives group.
and get Dominic guide. It's all in the master reading list.

#### snboardersam

How do I stack up?

I recently graduated from Pace University with a BBA in Finance. I'm planning on getting my masters in Finance but I'm not sure where I stand. My Freshman year I did poorly and received a 2.7 GPA. Sophomore year I had a 3.83. Junior and Senior years I had 4.0s, leaving me with a cumulative GPA of 3.66. My final five consecutive semesters I had 4.0s. My major GPA of Finance was a 4.0. I was also president of the Finance Society, captain of the track team, and VP of the Model UN team. Do I have any chance of getting in to a top program? I still have not taken the GMATs, but I have confidence that I will do well.

Thanks

#### DominiConnor

That GPA curve is in the right direction, I'd worry more if it went the other way.

I think you need two things, to get into a good program, but also to get one that is good for you, personally.

First up is whether you should be doing an MBA or a MFE.
What is your motivation for choosing MFE ?

Second you need to work out objectively whether your skills match this highly competitive game. I can't call that from the information you provide, and if you look deeply at yourself, my guess is that you don't know either.

A number programs allow for you to take a written test to demonstrate your ability. This is sometimes used when students come from a foreign university whose grading scale is unknown, or perceived to be buggy.

Dan Stefanica who runs the Baruch program has written a primer for aspiring quants, which you should use not only to fill in some minor holes, but a self test on whether you can deal with the level of maths required.

#### ChristopherPeters

Wondering this same thing.

I'm about to begin my 5th year of undergrad. I did a quantitative economics degree (of which I've completed all the classes), and I'm beginning on a math minor. Right now, I only have Calc I under my belt. My GPA is a 3.3 (3.2, 3.0, 3.5, 3.5 respective to years), and I've had a mix of As and Bs in econ, with As in the quantitative courses. I have an internship doing regression analysis right now (if that counts for anything).

I got a 780 on the quantitative section of the GRE.

My problem is that a) the most applicable math classes are going to be in the Spring of 2009 (probability, PDE) and b) I can get letters of recommendation from my econ profs. that taught me econometrics but I wouldn't be able to get any from math professors.

Should I try to apply this Fall, or take the math classes and wait a year and apply next Fall? Or should I do a mix of both?

#### Pravit

ChrisPeters, just of curiosity, doesn't economics usually require you to know stuff from Calc III, such as partial derivatives, chain rule, gradient, multiple integrals, etc.? I am kind of unfamiliar with how much math US economics degrees usually require. I was looking over my girlfriend's economics papers (she's an econ major at Warwick in the UK) and it seemed like you needed a pretty good grasp of everything from Calc I - Calc III. Do econ majors take some extra math course that goes over those topics, or are they just introduced in econ classes?

#### ChristopherPeters

Well, I know that programs certainly differ. However, I also know that a lot of econ programs only require "business calc. I", which is a horrible travesty, but also a fact (at my school). So I'm stuck trying to "catch up" with math. Regardless, I'm highly motivated, and extremely interested in financial engineering.

I'm working at an energy think tank right now doing regression analysis, and spending a lot of time reading about energy derivatives. The energy sector would be my primary interest in studying FE.

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