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Need some general advice

Just some background. I have a bachelors in computer science and have been working at a major US investment bank in NYC for 2.5 years (recruited out of college).

For this time I've been working on the firm's order management and exchange connectivity platforms. It is becoming clear to me that these are solved issues, with not too much future growth as far as business opportunities are concerned. I am not interested in solidifying myself as a programmer, and have consequently have been considering a masters degree.

Right now I am torn between a few things.

Firstly, I saw the starting salaries of CMU's MSFE graduates and I wasn't that impressed. Only the highest range of their scale makes what I make. Having read this and other forums it appears that a lot of people in these programs are doing internships, ect. This indicates to me that they truly are getting entry level positions. Are these degrees more for people who aren't already in this industry? Or would my career benefit from getting a MSQF or MSFE?

Secondly, what degree should I get? I can't see myself not working in the financial industry (love it). I can swing either way on the "people person" or "pure mathematician" scale (as long as I am learning new stuff) Does an MBA even make sense? Maybe after I've worked a little more? Or even post MSQF or MSFE?

And finally, should I let my firm pay for a degree? They will do it, but I am not sure of the ramifications, especially considering I can't be recruited if I do this.

Thanks for your input.
 
For the second part of your question re:tuition reimbursement, I just wrote an article on exactly the same issue
Banks tighten tuition reimbursement policy - Quant Network

Now, if your company has some policy different from what I covered, please send me a private message and we can talk offline.

Now as for the CMU salary, you are correct that majority of these folks will get an entry level positions because many of the students are fresh out of college with no previous relevant experience in finance. That explains the salary number.

People already working on Wall Street will mostly study this part-time and these are the folks working in MO, BO. There are lot of finer points to think of before you do this. See my article.

And lastly, MFE, MSQF, MathFin are basically the same thing called differently by different programs. You don't tell us what you want to do out of your current job so I can't tell you if a master degree is a good choice.

And don't kid yourself. You may not be making more than you currently do after spending time and money on a degree.
 
For the second part of your question re:tuition reimbursement, I just wrote an article on exactly the same issue
Banks tighten tuition reimbursement policy - Quant Network

Now, if your company has some policy different from what I covered, please send me a private message and we can talk offline.

Now as for the CMU salary, you are correct that majority of these folks will get an entry level positions because many of the students are fresh out of college with no previous relevant experience in finance. That explains the salary number.

People already working on Wall Street will mostly study this part-time and these are the folks working in MO, BO. There are lot of finer points to think of before you do this. See my article.

And lastly, MFE, MSQF, MathFin are basically the same thing called differently by different programs. You don't tell us what you want to do out of your current job so I can't tell you if a master degree is a good choice.

And don't kid yourself. You may not be making more than you currently do after spending time and money on a degree.

Andy, thanks for the great response (and quick too!). I am not worried about the tuition reimbursement (my company's policy falls in the more generous of the ranges described). Your article and post indicate to me that these degrees are being worked on part time by people who already have jobs in the industry. Sounds like this is a wise choice, considering starting compensation won't necessarily reimburse you for your investment.

That said, my goal is to move closer to the business. I am interested in automated trading, specifically options trading. I already work with some automated trading desks, but my relationship is secondary in that I provide a service they use, but don't work directly on their projects. I feel that it may be possible to transition from my current roles in to automated trading, but it will be a stretch. Will one of these degrees help me?

To your last point. Please don't think I am entirely compensation focused! If the benefit of the degree is lateral movement in career and not upwards I am fine with that too, assuming I understand the ramifications.
 
If algo trading is your interest, how would a non-technical MBA help you? You need exposure to stats, options theory, tick data both theoretically and practically. Ideally, you go to a program where you get to be a part of some project in this area.

Also take a look at NYU and Baruch. The first has teaching practitioners in the space, the second is setting up new courses that gear towards that space.
I graduated from Baruch MFE 3 years ago and don't have first hand experience with the new courses.
 
One thing to do is look at the qualifications of people currently in positions that you are interested in or ads for such positions. This isn't perfect but will give you an idea of the qualifications you will need to work towards.

I'm no expert on algo trading but I do question whether a MFE is enough to get into algo trading.

If you are unsure you could always do a MBA/MFE and cover all your bases. ;)
 
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