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MSF or MFE?

Hi,

I going to apply for several programs within the next two weeks.
Although I have been quite sure to do an MFE for the last weeks, I'm unsure now.
So I would like to ask you guys for help, wether to do a Master of Finance program or Financial Engineering/Quant. Finance.

The point that casts doubt to me is that it seems to me as if a lot of people with an MFE become quants and do option pricing and coding for the rest of her life.
Although I'm quite interested in the field and I can imagine working in this area for a couple of years, it's not what I want to do for my whole life.

I am far more interesting into trading, making real money and planning where to invest the money instead of research and I would like to have a job some day in which I can be close to the money and have managing function with being in charge for things, however, I also want to do maths.

So that's the point that cast doubt on doing a MFE program.
On the other side I have some points about a Master of Finance.

The main thing is that I don't want to end up in a job in which I'm talking all day without having real knowledge of the field. I hope you know what I mean. I'm unsure if a Master of Finance gives me such a deep insight into this field or if it just a "talking-degree".

Thanks for your help.

Cheers.
 
Hello @Flex

First of all, the reason why MFE graduates become quants and do the codding for the rest of their life is that MFE concentrates much on programming and also includes deep math as you stated you want to go with. As I have said in many posts here, MFE programs generally require you to have a programming language knowledge to get admitted. Again the most important one is C++.

Second of all, as you say, you want to be a trader and be involved in real money transactions rather than coding and constructing theoretical mathematical models, I can say that MFE doesn't prevent you from doing this. Furthermore, MFE gives you a knowledge of programming which is gonna to be a big part of your life as a trader then. Programming is an ambiguous also, ordinary trader needs softer languages like VBA is also enough and HTF has to satisfy more serious requirements like C++, C#, .NET, SQL, Python, etc. So if you differentiate between MFE helps you quite a lot.

I am far more interesting into trading, making real money and planning where to invest the money instead of research and I would like to have a job some day in which I can be close to the money and have managing function with being in charge for things, however, I also want to do maths.
So this is not a contra - arguments for MFE. ;)

Good Luck
 
Hi @Flex

I am kind of in the same dilemma. I have the same goals as you. I want to study quantitative aspects of finance but at the same time I want have deep knowledge of general finance since I come from a non-finance background. As of now, I am planning to attend the Imperial MSc Finance as it is fairly quantitative. Nevertheless, I am self studying Stochastic Calculus and other math involved to succeed as a financial engineer from the books recommended on this site. These are my two cents..

I am sure any advices here will also be a great help to me!
Good Luck!
 
Nevertheless, I am self studying Stochastic Calculus and other math involved to succeed as a financial engineer from the books recommended on this site

Take Shreve's 1-2 part stochastic calculus(if you haven't already started reading other books). It will be very useful to keep track on quantitative side of finance, because many stochastic calculus books concentrate on examples and the concepts are being explained by providing examples directly. Shreve is really a great book from this point of view, providing proofs and requiring you to make a proof of statements in the end-of-chapter exercises. ;)

Good Luck you both
 
Take Shreve's 1-2 part stochastic calculus(if you haven't already started reading other books). It will be very useful to keep track on quantitative side of finance, because many stochastic calculus books concentrate on examples and the concepts are being explained by providing examples directly. Shreve is really a great book from this point of view, providing proofs and requiring you to make a proof of statements in the end-of-chapter exercises. ;)

Good Luck you both
Super! I'll definitely get on with it. Thanks much :)
 
I agree with your goals you could probably go either way (MSF or MFE) and still do well. But I think a more important question is based on your current background what would be "easier" (or a better fit) for you to get into, a good MSF or MFE? While there is some overlap in the kinds of students these program target, there are also differences. And there is nothing stopping you from applying to a few of each and then deciding from the acceptances.

And as damperwer pointed out, many MSF programs have more quantitative course offerings.
 
Getting a MFE does not mean you will be doing derivative pricing and coding for the rest of your life. The computational knowledge you will acquire from a good program will allow you to go into other areas.

If you don't especially like coding or hard math, you should consider the MSF.

But don't let a degree limit you. MFE -> general finance; I have seen MFE get BB IBD analyst jobs in M&A. However, MSF -> Quant might be more difficult if you try to acquire the skills yourself. The most important thing is your knowledge and interest in the field.
 
Thanks for the response, guys!

So you mean with an MFE I can get into most areas, also into those jobs which are more likely to be done by an MSF graduate today. But on the other side, with an MSF it's more difficult to get into those typical MFE jobs. So the MFE seems to be the better degree. Did I get you right with that? But why is there a MSF existing? Is it just a more focussed degree for those guys who want to go into M&A and would else choose to do a MBA?

Can you give me some websites or books in which I will find more information of the different job positions, typical carreer paths, typical background for the certain positions, etc. Also I would like to get to know more about what the every day work in different positions in an investment bank or hedge fond looks like.
 
Thanks for the response, guys!


So you mean with an MFE I can get into most areas, also into those jobs which are more likely to be done by an MSF graduate today. But on the other side, with an MSF it's more difficult to get into those typical MFE jobs. So the MFE seems to be the better degree. Did I get you right with that? But why is there a MSF existing? Is it just a more focussed degree for those guys who want to go into M&A and would else choose to do a MBA?

Can you give me some websites or books in which I will find more information of the different job positions, typical carreer paths, typical background for the certain positions, etc. Also I would like to get to know more about what the every day work in different positions in an investment bank or hedge fond looks like.

See this:
http://www.quantfinancejobs.com/


Search for degree matching principal and find out which position requires which educational level. As for MBA, it is less programming focused while MFE is more programming focused and a bit less math oriented. It also depends, universities sometimes overlap the curriculum but general difference is that. MFE is for people with much programming experience and lack of financial knowledge.
 
I'm not necessarily saying MFE can help you get into most areas. I'm just saying it's more possible for a MFE to do so than a MSF. MFE is still a very specialized degree. My contact with MFE that got a job in M&A is not the norm. And it's harder for MSFs to get into quant finance just because the knowledge required is harder to acquire on your own or in an undergrad.

I'd suggest reading some of the suggested reading on this site and others to get an idea of what you are interested in.
 
Another kid who wants to buy island in his early 30s.

"I am far more interesting into trading, making real money and planning where to invest the money instead of research and I would like to have a job some day in which I can be close to the money and have managing function with being in charge for things"

Who doesn't? If you are really capable for it, you can try to find a S&T job now, assuming you just graduate from college. The bloody truth is most people doing that just have an ivy BA/BS degree, not MFE/MSF grads.

If you really think you are good at making real money, try to open an option/stock account. In most cases, you will be pissed off in 1 month.

Don't think too much before you have choices. I can provide far better opinions when you ALREADY have offer from Top MFE and MSF.
 
Neither degree would make you a world class expert in anything finance-related. If you are going straight from undergrad, it will open your eyes to the world of finance, provide you some set of tools and knowledge that hopefully will get you in the door. The next few years would be up to you.
MFE degrees are not created equally. Some are more quantitative and programming intensive than others. Same can be said for MSF degrees. There are more and more hybrid MSF degrees on the horizon. And there are MBA/MFE dual degrees.
First, figure out what you want to do in life and what the best path to get there. If it MUST require an MFE degree, so be it. If it requires a history degree from Harvard, apply there.
If you apply for a job that they ask stochastic calculus, C++ and brainteasers at the interview, MSF isn't the right choice for that job.
 
I'm not necessarily saying MFE can help you get into most areas. I'm just saying it's more possible for a MFE to do so than a MSF.

It is in most cases definitely so. We should differentiate in programs due to our needs-that's the point everyone agrees on. But apart from needs, MFE helps you get into most areas than MSF- it's true.
 
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