• C++ Programming for Financial Engineering
    Highly recommended by thousands of MFE students. Covers essential C++ topics with applications to financial engineering.
    Python for Finance with Intro to Data Science
    Gain practical understanding of Python to read, understand, and write professional Python code for your first day on the job. Coming soon.
    An Intuition-Based Options Primer for FE
    Ideal for entry level positions interviews and graduate studies, specializing in options trading arbitrage and options valuation models.

Moving From Finance to Quant

Hi guys.

I was wondering what the best course of action would be to transition into a mfe program to eventually work as a quant.

I am currently in the last semester of my junior year in college with a major in finance and a minor in CS. I have a 3.6 GPA and come from a non-target school, although I have a pretty good resume, with academic activities, founder and leadership roles.
I have come to the late realization that I really prefer maths to finance and I wish I had focused on that instead. Unfortunately, the only math courses I have under my belt are elementary calc, discrete math for CS, finite math, and elementary statistics. I would be able to take calc 2 and linear algebra in the next two consecutive semesters.
I am close to accepting summer internships for a data analyst role or capital markets role.

I have become discouraged that I don't have the necessary prerequisites to have a chance at a good mfe program and I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could give some recommendations into what I could do to have a good chance at this point.
 

noether-skolem

Active Member
C++
If you can take linear algebra and probability in the coming semester, and stochastic processes in the next semester, that'd take care of all the requirements. I think they're not always strict with these requirements if you can convince them of your strong background in other areas. I didn't take stochastic back in undergrad but managed to get offers/interviews from some top programs.
 
If you can take linear algebra and probability in the coming semester, and stochastic processes in the next semester, that'd take care of all the requirements. I think they're not always strict with these requirements if you can convince them of your strong background in other areas. I didn't take stochastic back in undergrad but managed to get offers/interviews from some top programs.
Thanks for the feedback.
To take linear algebra I would need to take calc 2 as a pre req at my school, so I would probably need to take a summer course. There are also no classes offered that cover stochastic processes at my college.

And if I were to do that, what are some other areas I can focus ok to make myself a better candidate and do you think I would then have a realistic chance for a good mfe program?
 

noether-skolem

Active Member
C++
I'm not sure if "saying" you'd self study stochastic would work as well for you as it did for me, since I was a math major. Probably look into some reputable online courses? I'm sure someone else could help you with that (or maybe search the forum for similar discussions in the past).

It seems strange to require calc for linear alg, perhaps check with your school if they can waive the requirement or allow you to take both at the same time (that sometimes happened in my school, especially for those with good grades). Explaining your plan to fulfill MFE program requirements might help too.
 

marco di bartolo

Well-Known Member
C++
I went through the same situation, coming from economics and I took a gap year to work and study. I took 3 maths courses from my bachelor uni, the C++ course and ODE/PDE from Datasim Learning. I am still studying for these learnings and during the while I have been applying for different programs.
 
I'm not sure if "saying" you'd self study stochastic would work as well for you as it did for me, since I was a math major. Probably look into some reputable online courses? I'm sure someone else could help you with that (or maybe search the forum for similar discussions in the past).

It seems strange to require calc for linear alg, perhaps check with your school if they can waive the requirement or allow you to take both at the same time (that sometimes happened in my school, especially for those with good grades). Explaining your plan to fulfill MFE program requirements might help too.
Ya, my math department has been internally known as having bad setups. They have recently been causing me a lot of trouble.

As a business student, elementary calc and elementary stats were requirements, and those classes are what caused me to fall in love with math; however, after taking them, I found out the prereq for calc 2 and intermediate stats were only fulfilled by calc 1 and intro stats. I am also not allowed to take calc 1 or intro stats since I have taken the elementary versions. This means that I am at a standstill and cannot progress. Since I had good grades I am currently trying to get my past professors to help me with getting past it, but it has been a pain.

As to my plan to fulfill MFE prereqs, I am unsure. Currently, it looks like I will be one or two math classes from looking like a solid candidate upon graduation, since the math department is a real pain. I also do not have the C++ experience. My CS minor mainly focused on java, with one computer organization class in C.

I currently have two ideas on how to progress for an MFE. If you have any alternative or more efficient ideas I would be extremely grateful.
1. Focus on doing as much math as I can for now but primarily aim for a job(probably in capital markets or data analyst) and do that for year or two while I take supplementary night classes or online ones and then apply.
2. Take a year off with perhaps a part-time job for money and focus mainly on taking community classes and online ones to build up as much of a quantitative curriculum as I can and then apply.
 
Last edited:
I went through the same situation, coming from economics and I took a gap year to work and study. I took 3 maths courses from my bachelor uni, the C++ course and ODE/PDE from Datasim Learning. I am still studying for these learnings and during the while I have been applying for different programs.
Thanks for the response.
That seems like a similar route as to what I might consider doing. Do you think it has been efficient in getting you close to some good MFE programs so far and would you recommend the same?
 

marco di bartolo

Well-Known Member
C++
It's a bit early to say... But I have had interviews with both UCB and Columbia, which is something. I believe I could have planned things better, for example I did an internship, before my current job, which in the end was maybe worthless and maybe I should have picked a more prestigious institution for my math courses. Apart from that, I think it was worth it, I made a lot of experience and if I don't manage this year I'll try the next one. I'm still young, as I guess you are as well. If you want to do it, plan it properly, check out Datasim Learning for math/ML and computational finance courses, the C++ course of Baruch, the online ML course from ColumbiaX, which you can find on Edx and the CFA. If you manage to do some of this stuff + a good job experience, you are in good waters
 

Onegin

Well-Known Member
C++
It's pretty hard to do well in an MFE with just the min pre-reqs. Many of the international students have seen a lot of probability, sto-cal, and often taken advanced stat classes. If you're playing catch up, your time to recruit will be limited. I wish I had done even more prep than I had, and I completed a second BS in math w/ 2 calc based probability courses, to stochastic processes courses, linear alg, diff Equ, and calculus x 3.

if you're in undergrad, and considering going straight to MFE out of school, consider loading up on summer courses. "I plan to take" mean nothing for my apps until I had completed the courses at an accredited school. Online courses weren't really counted, either. The internships will help, but you're way better off getting solid skills. If you're in a city, maybe there are other schools that will give you credit for the math classes.

C++ courses here are important exception to "online courses don't count" fwiw.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
C++ courses here are important exception to "online courses don't count" fwiw.
Are there measurable/standardised criteria to determine the added value of a given online course?

edit: and maybe subjective criteria.
 
Last edited:

marco di bartolo

Well-Known Member
C++
Thanks for the response.
That seems like a similar route as to what I might consider doing. Do you think it has been efficient in getting you close to some good MFE programs so far and would you recommend the same?
Hi, I received admission to CMU in New York this morning after being on the waitlist and I'm on hold status for Berkeley. So, my "gap" year plan paid back in the end
 
Top