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Which program to choose between UCLA MFE and NYU MSMF

  • Total voters
Hi all, I have been accepted into both the above programs, UCLA MFE, and NYU MSMF, and I would like to get the opinion of the QuantNet Community. I aspire to work in quant research, trading, or structuring after I complete the post-grad. I would very much appreciate it if you could spare a moment and let me know your thoughts.

Now, I have also shared my research, ideas, and perceptions about these programs. Please feel free to correct me, or add your ideas.

  • B.Tech. in Computer Science from a Tier-1 Indian College
  • Experience: 4 years at a BB as a quantitative engineer.
  • Skills: Programming, Algorithms, CFA-L1, etc.


  • Great program reputation of NYU Courant
  • More rigorous curriculum
  • Location
  • Smaller class size
  • I have heard good things about their career services.
  • Employment Stats after graduation seem a bit low(even though after 3-month stats are fine)
  • I am concerned as great as the program's theoretical foundations are, whether there is enough practical exposure.


  • Associated with the Business School, I believe this provides a certain generality in work opportunities.
  • Coursework with applied projects and workshops is more practice-oriented.
  • I felt the curriculum is slightly rudimentary, but broader in scope. I list this as a con because I feel that easier courses can be completed on online platforms. And I am, to an extent, certain about the type of work I want to do after graduation, so the broader coursework is not as advantageous to me.
  • Location. Even tho there are a ton of opportunities out West, I feel proximity to NY is still advantageous. Is this as big a factor in the post-COVID, better remote and long-distance functioning world? I do not know.
I am still an undergrad but this is my opinion if I was you. Courant is a well respected school for mathematics. I am not sure why people worry about how practical program is in an industry who looks for extremely smart people. Applying a concept is up to you. If you can't look at a math concept and apply it to a real life problem then all you are doing is regurgitating knowledge.

Also, getting a job is the most important thing (And much harder than getting into any school). While there are remote roles, I think being in a financial center is better than being in California. After your first role you can look for remote positions.

So in my opinion NYU us better, and NYC is better than LA so I would go for NYU. (You should consider money but I am unfamiliar with your situation/scholarships). Good luck!
Both schools are excellent.

To put some light on the location part, I can confirm after talking with multiple people, alums, recent graduates, and the career team at UCLA that the location is not an issue for job opportunities. You can speak to the admission team at UCLA if you have any specific doubts. Also, Alyssa (Executive Director MFE) has completed her team for MFE, and they have four career coaches.

I believe it depends on the profile you want to end up in about employment stats be at NYU or UCLA. The stats have multiple factors that might not reveal a clear picture.

I wouldn't want to say objectively which school is better. Before accepting an offer, I suggest talking with the MFE team regarding academics, career opportunities, and other factors at both schools.
All the best!
@chintanpatel can you please elaborate on what you mean by this? "I believe it depends on the profile you want to end up in about employment stats be at NYU or UCLA."

Are you implying that there is a difference in the profile one could pursue from both degrees?

@finkv I hear what you're saying, and I do not disagree with the fact that if we can't apply a theoretical concept in practice, then it is sort of pointless.
Thanks, everyone for all your responses so far. I'll appreciate it if even more people chime in.
Personally, I would choose Courant over UCLA.

Living in NY is a big plus in my opinion. NY is a great city to explore. I study at Columbia MFE and I go downtown to drink on average twice a week. The smaller class size is nice. It gives it a more cohesive cohort experience. I think apart from socially, the smaller class size doesn't matter. If you want to get to know your professors you still can in a class size of 100+ and I do not know how much 'personal attention' career services will give you. I am also a math nerd and think I would enjoy the classes there.

And not to discredit UCLA, which is a great school, I know graduates from their last class working for as large IBs, S&P, Blackrock, and Jane Street. One of my best friends just graduated UCLA MFE! You hit it on the mark that since UCLA is tied with Anderson their students get a lot more resources put towards them despite their class size. We have only one dedicated career service member for FE as a comparison. UCLA also has great sports teams to go watch while you are there.

Chintan is correct to say that it's hard to objectively say which is better. Both programs Can create strong quants/traders it really depends on what environment you want to be in and what you do during it. I know a FE degree is a professional choice but try not to think myopically. An FE degree is way more than what you learn in the classroom. It will be the peers you meet, the professors you look up to, the city you get to explore, the place you like to study, and the pride that comes with being a Bruin or a Bobcat.

Good Luck!
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If you have questions about the Courant Math Finance program, I'd be happy to help. I think the responses so far are all very good. I will say that I think being in NYC can be an advantage for in-person networking.
Yeah, it is true you'll have the advantage to be in NYC for in-person networking. I suggest you talk with the admission team and the alums of the schools (i.e. current students, recent graduates, and past graduates) for better clarity. Also, could you ask the general questions in this thread, the CourantMathFinance team would reply on it for everyone to know. 😃

And by profile I meant the job profile. For example: Quant Trader or Quant Researcher/Analyst. The numbers are noticeably different among them.