COMPARE NYU Tandon MFE vs Georgia Tech QCF

NYU Tandon MFE vs Georgia Tech QCF


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Hi,

I am an applicant for masters in financial engineering for the Fall 2022.
I have received admits for
  • NYU Tandon's MFE program
  • Georgia Tech's QCF program
My personal reason for doing masters is to gain expertise and exposure to quantitative risk management, portfolio management, and data science. I aim to be strong in both math + computational aspects of the same.

Per my understanding, below are the pros and cons of both programs. It would be invaluable if someone could provide their answers/views for the questions at the bottom of my post.

Georgia Tech
Pros:
  • Overall cost of the program
  • Mathematical and computational rigor (given that Georgia Tech’s program is programming-heavy)
  • Possible to get a dual degree in CSE (is it true?)
Cons:
  • Ranked lower on Quantnet (could someone please explain to me why this is the case?)
  • Atlanta not being a financial hub like NY
  • Not diverse enough finance courses.
  • Only 1.5 years? Is it enough time to gain a deep understanding of the subject + obtain skills/expertise + look for jobs?

NYU Tandon
Pros:
  • 2 years program, allows time in job search, learning more skills etc.
  • Course catalog is extensive. Has a number of core financial courses for e.g. quantitative risk management.
  • Ability to take courses from the Courant Institute (Prof. Peter Carr mentioned this in one of the QuantNet threads – does anyone have experience with this?)
  • Being in NYC (how positively should I weigh this given Covid?)
Cons:
  • Expensive program given high cost of living in NY
  • Seemingly lesser computational rigor compared to Georgia Tech which has one the best CS programs.
My core questions are:
  • Is it worth spending 25-30k$ more for a degree at NYU Tandon over Georgia Tech?
  • Can I get a similar “computational expertise” that one gets in Georgia Tech by choosing the right courses at Tandon (and perhaps some more from Courant)?
  • Would there be any difference between NYU Tandon and Georgia Tech from the point-of-view of recruiters? Would I get the same interview opportunities in both these schools?
  • Am I right in thinking that 18 months is too short of a duration to acquire a reasonably deep understanding of a topic? Given that the internship + full-time search takes a lot of time and attention?
  • Why is Georgia Tech's program rated lower than NYU?
 
Last edited:
First, that 25k "extra" is the fees you are paying for the extra semester worth of courses. You would pay the same if you do an extra semester in Gatech.

Second, Gatech "computational" expertise is a sales gimmick. At the end of the day YOU have to go and do leetcode/kaggle/hackerrank. The program will never teach you programming, just demand that you know it.

You last 3 queries may be answered reading through below 👇


I have talked to my undergrad college seniors who have studied at either university.
As per 2019 Gatech QCF graduate (3.89 GPA), Gatech teaching quality in core FE courses was not at all good. You are taught by Industrial Engineering profs. who don't even try to relate to the field (Finance) and it is left to your imagination. Moreover, at that time the program had 0 industry professionals.

NYU MFE on the other hand is majorly taught by industry practitioners. The classes are extremely relevant to any field you are targeting and makes your interview prep. slightly easier, due to "related" content. The location advantage though not apparent now will soon be. In my experience (3 years in IB) finance hiring managers prefer face to face interviews as opposed to the remote interview trend in the Tech domain.

Furthermore, after with the population is "vaccinated" to covid-19 due to the mild Omicron varient spreading widely points to more in-person interviews by the time you reach that stage late next year.

Unless you are targeting the Gatech CSE specifically and are NOT especially interested in Finance or Financial engineering... You should choose the QCF, otherwise NYU MFE is clearly the better choice, both by quantnet/risknet rankings and my experience talking to alums.
 
@pkp could you point me to the source of the quote please? I've chatted a bit with Jonathan, he is/was a part of the Financial Services Innovations Lab and is quite close to Dr. Chava it seems.
 
Also, while I guess it is true that its you who ultimately has to code, if you look at it from the point of view that you get to code, it may make a difference. It does for me. I'm not very much into pure math and need some CS stuff as well.

General question - does everyone doing an MFE want to be a quant?
 
As a CS grad, I often ask myself why I am interested in finance. I know it is challenging and interesting but it honestly baffles me that SDEs are paid more (in general). The top 1% quants might be paid bucketloads, but let's face it, 99% of quants aren't gonna be in the top 1%.

I personally feel like having decent CS skills + finance + strong math knowledge should be extremely high paying, but I think it is not the case. I am not sure why?

I also feel with the advent of cryptocurrencies, DeFi and the large amounts of data being harvested, CS skills will be necessary soon even in traditional finance. How much this will pay v/s a regular SDE at FAANG I do not know. Probably lesser. But I feel having knowledge of both will definitely help in the coming years.
 
I would say that NYU is more connected to the industry, but that may not matter. Getting jobs/internships really depends on you. Both are great schools, so reputation will not limit you.

Courant is a huge plus. I am more focused on fin math than fin tech, so Courant would be a big thing for me. If you aren't willing to dive deep into the mathematics, Courant will not offer much.

I have not really broken down the cost of the programs, but are you sure NYU is only 25k more expensive? NYU is outrageously expensive (not even considering additional costs for living). When I was considering applying, I remember the estimated yearly cost of attendance was something like 75k. A two year program would set you 150k in loans... Now maybe you have scholarships/grants, I don't know your situation. But for full loan, those interests rates are crazy.150k becomes $200k very fast.... I have lived in both the north and south, you will save an unthinkable amount of money living in Atlanta during school. If you are seriously concerned about cost (which you should be), GaTech easily wins that battle.

End of the day it comes down to you. If you like NYUs course better, go there (and vice versa). Don't worry about trying to gauge potential industry opportunities. That thought is hypothetical, you will be able to quantify its value. Attending one school over the other will never guarantee you a job...
 
I would say that NYU is more connected to the industry, but that may not matter. Getting jobs/internships really depends on you. Both are great schools, so reputation will not limit you.

Courant is a huge plus. I am more focused on fin math than fin tech, so Courant would be a big thing for me. If you aren't willing to dive deep into the mathematics, Courant will not offer much.

I have not really broken down the cost of the programs, but are you sure NYU is only 25k more expensive? NYU is outrageously expensive (not even considering additional costs for living). When I was considering applying, I remember the estimated yearly cost of attendance was something like 75k. A two year program would set you 150k in loans... Now maybe you have scholarships/grants, I don't know your situation. But for full loan, those interests rates are crazy.150k becomes $200k very fast.... I have lived in both the north and south, you will save an unthinkable amount of money living in Atlanta during school. If you are seriously concerned about cost (which you should be), GaTech easily wins that battle.

End of the day it comes down to you. If you like NYUs course better, go there (and vice versa). Don't worry about trying to gauge potential industry opportunities. That thought is hypothetical, you will be able to quantify its value. Attending one school over the other will never guarantee you a job...
I think the 75k is the two-year tuition? not yearly cost
 
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