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MFE Programs Transparency Project

I hate pretty much all of Andy's list
I am shocked and chagrined! I know you like to play the older, wiser, experienced, educated, "I'm a pimp", whatever card, but give people a little more credit. You might share a condition with Stan Marsh. Often people are using simple metrics like how much a school is "liked" as a proxy for all the stats we're talking about right now. The quickest way to value something is to look at how it's trading in a market and look at historical payoffs. Is it incomplete? Of course. Does it get the prospective students the lion's share of information they need? Yes.

Try to find one example of a prospective student asking things like "is the guy that teaches econometrics good at school X".

Perhaps I'm taking too much liberty with your "like" qualifier, but people ask all the time about what content schools cover. They ask questions about how well coding is integrated with theory. They ask what programming languages are taught.

On another note I think a lot of the questions being suggested here are quite good but I do concur that they should be divided into different priorities as sleekmover suggested:

Shared Information should be like a mini skirt: long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep it interesting ...
I think we should classify information as Must Have, Should Have, Could have. Give this list to programs, assign weights accordingly and rank them later on on Transparency of information based on the information they provide and the score they get.


Quant Headhunter
physecon I see fewer such questions than you do, and I hope we can agree that they struggle against the tide of "reputation" questions.

You're right that I'm an old pimp, but I had a real job before; in fact several, and the thing that got me through some quite astonishingly bad career decisions and the occasional bit of bad luck was having a good education to fall back upon.
Trust me, at 30, saying "my degree was the one in Britain with the highest ratio of applicants to places, bar none" just makes you look weak, since they then ask "if you're so smart, why ain't you rich" ?
As it happens I had the highest entry level pay of anyone in my year, but...

The options at 30 or 35 are being dead or finding something to do with your life, and school reputation buys few options.
Understanding things does.

I hear a lot about how MFEs are a bubble, indeed there is a lot of rumbling about education not having the value it once did.

I reject that.
People are increasingly choosing courses that do not suit their abilities or a rational view of the labour market. Note I say "rational" not optimal. Careers are stochastic processes with a bit of chaos thrown in, so much so that I'm equally harsh on those that pick the sexiest current subject and throw themselves at that, unless they have a talent for it.

I hear lots of complaints about courses and since my default economic view is that markets are reasonably efficient, it leads me to believe that universities are providing poor lecturers and non-applicable skills because too few students are asking them to.

So, one positive suggestion:
Rank instructors out of 100. By name, publicly.

There are >1,000 people teaching some aspect math finance in the USA, possibly 2,000
Some are excellent, some average and some are shit.

Most MFE courses share the names at most 2 or 3 of a faculty that may be in the dozens.
Some quite literally share no names at all.

Students accept this crap relying upon the "reputation" of the school which leads schools to provide inferior lecturers.
Indeed, I don't see much in the way of mechanisms where the schools even try to find out if the lecturer is any good.

If they came far down a list of schools ranked by average quality of teaching, they would fix it swiftly.