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COMPARE MFE vs MS in Stats vs MS in Applied Math

Most flexible math related degree


  • Total voters
    29
Hello all,
Currently work as a university math lecturer. Have an M.A. in Math Education, B.S. in Mathematics & B.S. in Computer Science. Teaching has become bit routine and I definitely want to make more money (current making $66K per year and max out @ 85K after 15 more years).

Which degree would be MOST FLEXIBLE and GIVE BEST CHANCE to break into math related field such as a statistics, quantitative finance, mathematician? I hope to have a stable job making at least $60K per year and plan on switching fields after I finish my masters.

MFE vs MS in Stats vs MS in Applied Math

Thanks!!
 

koupparis

Carpe noctum
In terms of the most broadly applicable degree, I would think MS Stats would be your best bet. Statistical analysis is incredibly useful in a number of fields so you wont be restricted to just one area. MFE will almost certainly steer you towards finance. Finally, MS Applied Maths might not take you anywhere, unless you focus on a specific area for your thesis, in which case you may already be picking the field you're most interested in.

If you want the best chance of breaking into a specific field, then do a degree that focuses on that field. If you want to go into finance, then do an MFE and further specialize in the area of finance you want to get into. If you aren't sure of where you want to end up, then maybe the MS Stats is your best choice, but then you'll be competing against people with focused degrees and interests.
 
Excellent advice. I am definitely leaning toward the M.S. in Stats degree. Have some background in programming and would love to get into a position that will also allow me to use those skills. As far as finance goes, could anyone provide some high need areas right now. Thanks!!
 
i would say MS Stats or Applied Math, given that you aren't 100% set on finance as a career. You can taylor many of the MS stats/applie math programs so it includes a healthy dose of financial engineering, but if you decide finance isn't the thing for you MS Stats/applied math would be more helpful in getting your resume looked at by non-finance companies.
 
Great advice guys. Really appreciate it. My biggest concern with getting the MFE was the lack of flexibility and the cost. Could not believe how much those programs cost.

I was admitted to Rochester Institute of Technologies Stats program a few weeks ago. I recently applied to Penn State's MS in applied stats program as well as University of West Florida's MS in Mathematical Sciences Program. Both programs are online. Just waiting for acceptance. West Florida's program is not as well know as Penn State, but they have a ton of electives that focus on applied math as well as statistics.

Would love to take a financial engineering entry level class to get a feel for the subject. Any recommendations?
 
What are "the right electives"?
the right electives.
If it is applied math, you should mix theory with numerical stuff. PDEs and ODEs with numerical methods in PDEs. Do a course in applied analysis. Take some applied stochastic processes or applied probability course. The rest is free. Try to choose a couple of computing heavy courses even a course in the CS dept. The other math electives should be probability/PDE focused.

Well if your school offers them. Some schools offer courses in computational algebra (abstract) which is good. End of day depends on what you like. Probability or PDEs or both. You must show maturity in math and take at least one or two courses which involve proofs. I would avoid courses in set theory or galois theory. They are not really applied math. But of course very relevant for pure math people.

You have to give a choice of electives. Think there was a separate thread running around where people commented on what courses to take. In my opinion too much time is spent on this. Just take courses which develop mathematical maturity. Quite a few math Phds in finance come from areas totally unrelated. One famous quant did his PhD in set theory. If you are good at math you can learn the other stuff. Ability to do your own proofs and understand real analysis.

Most engineers don't do proofs. They do calculus type plug and chug. If you have solid foundations in math, you can learn or pick up other things. However I have to say to develop intuition in probability takes time. I am not talking measure theoretic stuff. I am talking about thinking probabilistically.
 
the right electives.
If it is applied math, you should mix theory with numerical stuff. PDEs and ODEs with numerical methods in PDEs. Do a course in applied analysis. Take some applied stochastic processes or applied probability course. The rest is free. Try to choose a couple of computing heavy courses even a course in the CS dept. The other math electives should be probability/PDE focused.

Well if your school offers them. Some schools offer courses in computational algebra (abstract) which is good. End of day depends on what you like. Probability or PDEs or both. You must show maturity in math and take at least one or two courses which involve proofs.

You have to give a choice of electives. Just take courses which develop mathematical maturity. . If you are good at math you can learn the other stuff. Ability to do your own proofs and understand real analysis.

Most engineers don't do proofs. They do calculus type plug and chug. If you have solid foundations in math, you can learn or pick up other things. However I have to say to develop intuition in probability takes time. I am not talking measure theoretic stuff. I am talking about thinking probabilistically.

Excellent recommendations!!
 
forget the MFE. Applied math with the right electives is the broadest followed by stats.
To put this in the proper context, despite all its ills you can't really put MFE programs in the same comparison with other math-based master degrees.
It's obvious from recent discussions, such as this one, people are drawn to MFE programs (albeit the good ones) because of the career services they provide, despite the whooping price tag. You can't complain that your MS Stats, MS Applied Math, MS CS, MS Math dept does not provide any career services to get you a job.
But you can with your MFE program if they provide nothing in return. After all, MFE is a terminal, professional degree which leads to jobs, however narrow and niche it is becoming.

Just food for thoughts. Know what you want before you ask how to get it.
 
To put this in the proper context, despite all its ills you can't really put MFE programs in the same comparison with other math-based master degrees.
It's obvious from recent discussions, such as this one, people are drawn to MFE programs (albeit the good ones) because of the career services they provide, despite the whooping price tag. You can't complain that your MS Stats, MS Applied Math, MS CS, MS Math dept does not provide any career services to get you a job.
But you can with your MFE program if they provide nothing in return. After all, MFE is a terminal, professional degree which leads to jobs, however narrow and niche it is becoming.

Just food for thoughts. Know what you want before you ask how to get it.

The attractive salary was the main reason why I even considered the Financial Engineering job sector. Something about making a six figure salary that gets my blood flowing. Thanks to every ones input I am 99.9% sure the MFE is not for me. Most of my colleagues have solid careers in academia, so it is a relief to get advice from those who work in math related careers outside of the classroom.

The comments in this discussion board have been more beneficial than you guys will ever know. Will definitely be making a decision in the next 3 to 4 weeks and will let you know which way I go.

Thanks again!!!
 
I was admitted to Rochester Institute of Technologies Stats program a few weeks ago. I recently applied to Penn State's MS in applied stats program as well as University of West Florida's MS in Mathematical Sciences Program. Both programs are online. Just waiting for acceptance. West Florida's program is not as well know as Penn State, but they have a ton of electives that focus on applied math as well as statistics.

Penn State has a highly regarded Statistics Department --
that's where C.R. Rao has been since 1988 (currently emeritus, though)

http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2011-news/Rao1-2011
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calyampudi_Radhakrishna_Rao
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cramér–Rao_bound

I don't know much about their online offering, though...
 
Penn State has a highly regarded Statistics Department --
that's where C.R. Rao has been since 1988 (currently emeritus, though)

http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2011-news/Rao1-2011
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calyampudi_Radhakrishna_Rao
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cramér–Rao_bound

I don't know much about their online offering, though...

Thanks myampol. I have heard many great things about their Stats program. The online program is supposed to be identical to the regular program and I think they were rated #1 in online programs for 2011. Hopefully will hear some good news soon. Thanks!
 
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