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Odds of Admission

I recently graduated with a degree in math (3.9 gpa) and did well on my GRE's (168 quant, 167 verbal). I don't have a lot of relevant work experience (just a six-month internship at a real estate management company) so i'm wondering what my chances are of getting into one of the top schools (Columbia, NYU, etc.). I am trying to keep it local (New York), so I only have about ten schools to apply to.

On a related note, is a degree from a slightly lower tier school (say NYU - poly) "almost as valuable" as a degree from the top tier? (I am aware that "almost as valuable" is not clearly defined, but I'm hoping you catch the general drift). What are my chances of getting into a lower tier school?

One more thing. Is it advisable to jump straight from a bachelor's to an MFE?

Thanks in advance.
Unless you have a good idea on the specific courses that only offered at a certain program, MFE programs are ultimately about getting a high-salary job in the financial industry. Top-tier/mid-tier, Ivy/prestige are not going to help you a bit if you are unable to get a job after shelling out a good $100K, a huge fortune if you are a fresh graduate with no real prior job.
So your goal is to optimize your chance at a program with the best job placement record. Well-known programs will help but by no mean indication of any existing placement/support system. Many program will give you the name and let you find a job yourself with that stamp.
If you spend quality time looking into local programs, you would be able to nail down the list to a handful and not 10 programs.
If possible, by all means, find a job and get some work experience before thinking about MFE.


i strongly believe that students do themselves a major disservice in undertaking a terminal degree like an mfe out of undergrad. hopefully, you'll receive many interviews as an mfe student, but you'll have absolutely no idea what workplaces are like or what you want if you've never worked before. a few years will do wonders as far as life and career education are concerned. you'll be better able to speak with potential employers and size them up.
Ok, but how do you go about getting your first job? I didn't go to an ivy league school, so nobody is out there searching for me. The internet is a dead-end. I never hear back from a company when I just send them my resume in response to an internet ad. So I'm left hoping that I accidentally get rear-ended by the head of a major hedge fund who just happens to be looking for an intern.
Ok, but how do you go about getting your first job?
Read Joy Pathak's suggested tips here. Most, if not all, are applicable to undergrads too!
I didn't go to an ivy league school,so nobody is out there searching for me.
And you have come to this conclusion how?
The internet is a dead-end.
The internet is a tool - it's up to you to figure out how to use it effectively.
I never hear back from a company when I just send them my resume in response to an internet ad.
Most people don't. Your point is?

Personal experience pursuing this avenue has been a 1-2% yield (roughly).
Send more, stand out or pursue other avenues.
So I'm left hoping that I accidentally get rear-ended by the head of a major hedge fund who just happens to be looking for an intern.


i don't believe i ever mentioned that you had to get your first job in the financial services industry, either.
Amanda, I would consider a 1-2% yield a dead end. I am not saying that I will stop using the internet as a resource, but it is far from an ideal method for obtaining a job. What other avenues would you suggest? I know that nobody is actively searching for me as I have went to my schools career service center many times and, unless you count insurance sales jobs, I have come away with absolutely nothing to show for it.

mfegrad, what sort of jobs should I be looking for? Where should I find them?

Thanks again.


your school's career services center should have some leads, no? there's no system for employers to post jobs for you to apply to?

as for what to do, it could be anything. you've mentioned real estate. there's consulting stuff. there's actuarial work (which would be good for you given your math degree and would probably give you some programming and math stuff which would help you with an mfe). really, the world is yours. what are you interested in?
The career services center has nothing. I've actually passed the first actuarial exam, and I'm taking the second in a week (I should pass). However actuarial jobs are just as hard to find. Its usually the same story: They don't want you unless you've had some work experience, which means you can't get work experience without already having work experience. I know that this doesn't hold absolutely (or nobody would be able to find work), but it sure feels that way.
Sadly, I have to inform you that the situation at many MFE programs isn't that much different from your experience, when it comes to career services. This is a case where blindly applying to programs without due research will painfully backfire.
When you go to a program website and see no mention of placement stats, be concerned. Even if a program advertises 100% placement rate, be skeptical.