Hiya guys/gals!
I'm an undergraduate senior mathematics major with a minor in computer science (traditional) from Western Illinois University - I'll graduate in May of 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. I'm focused in algebra and applied mathematics. Courses I've taken include, in some type of order:
From mathematics:
Intermediate Algebra
College Algebra
Trigonometry
Pre-Calculus
Calculus I, II, III (I actually took the proficiency test for Calculus III to graduate on time)
Mathematica lab
Linear Algebra
Introduction to Mathematical Logic and Set Theory
Advanced Linear Algebra
Mathematical Modeling
Introduction to Mathematical Statistics I
Ordinary Differential Equations
ODE Lab (final project will be looking into applications of Wiener process and Ito process for retirement models using Mathematica, I'll be happy to post it once its complete if anyone's interested)
Abstract Algebra
Theory of Partial Differential Equations (a graduate level class I am taking for undergraduate credit)
From computer science:
Principles of Object-oriented Programming I, II
Data Structures
Computer Architecture and Organization
Automata and Computability Theory
From finance/economics:
Risk Management and Insurance
Investments
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Macroeconomics
I was originally a psychology major, started from the very bottom rung of the ladder (starting with the "remedial" course Intermediate Algebra), then after sorting through some medical problems, I discovered I was very capable of performing and understanding mathematics and switched to a Mathematics major. To give some background, I failed College Algebra THREE times due to medical reasons. I did OK in Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus and barely received a passing grade for Calculus I. Once my health situation remedied, I aced Calculus II with the highest grade in the class, taught myself the concepts and theories from Calculus III to test out of the course, and have been excelling at the rest of my courses. Looking back, I think it was important I didn't immediately jump into the calculus sequence (as is the typical route most mathematics majors go) - I was able to develop an in-depth understanding of topics previously learned in high school. Moral of the story: Hard work and perseverance can achieve almost anything. Also, transferring universities (in some cases) resets your GPA.
I find mathematics fascinating but wasn't thrilled by physics as much as I was by financing - I almost refused to believe that a blind-folded monkey throwing darts at the financial section of a newspaper could pick better market performers than most actively managed funds. The movie "Margin Call" also sparked my interest, as did learning about James Simons from Renaissance Technologies, and the 2008-2009 recession. So, I decided to pursue financial mathematics to both understand why our primate cousins can outsmart some of the more intelligent minds the world has to offer and because I'm attracted to the challenge the field offers - long hours and mentally straneous work in an environment where you are competing (in a sense) against other "players" or "teams" to see who can get the "highest score". It almost sounds like a fantasy.
I plan on applying to UIUC's MFE program as well as the Financial Mathematics program at University of Chicago. I have yet to take the GRE or Mathematics subject test. If I am not accepted, I will probably enter the industry as some kind of code monkey or analyst and continue to re-apply.
If you have any questions, I'm always happy to answer or help in any way that I can. I look forward to going over all the information available on QuantNet - I'm currently having one hell of a great time trying to solve some of the practice interview questions, keep the puzzles coming!
Best of luck to you all!
-mathemagician
PS: I'm also looking for networking and employment opportunities, so feel free to start a conversation with me about stuff pertaining to mathematical finance, or mathematics in general. I'm always open to making friends/acquaintances even if they are over the internet!