On Line Courses on Financial Engineering

Since the Director of the program has replied let me add something. The reason I am reading this forum is that I am considering doing an MFE and high on my list is Baruch's program. Right now I am getting up to speed on some math and C++ that I need to start. The reason I am considering Columbia is not because it's an Ivy. It's because I travel a lot for work. I am out at least a week a month and sometimes two. Any program I apply to has to give me flexibility to miss classes every so often. Ideally I would want a program where I can go to campus when in the city but have the means to remain up to speed if I miss a class.

So if Baruch ever decides to go that route please let me know!

:)
 

fixedincomenyc

Fixed Income Analyst
To be clear, I think online or distance programs make sense only to some people. Someone just starting or trying to change careers probably will be better served in a traditional program.

Having said that I should point out that too much emphasis is placed on these rankings. Even among well-established careers paths, like business or law, the rankings are pretty ridiculous. Yes, Harvard Business School is better than some regional college but does anybody really think there is a measurable difference between every institution? I know plenty of people who go to NYU's part-time MBA program rather than apply to Wharton or HBS because, since they already work in investment banks, there is little net benefit from going to the higher ranked institutions.

With respect to the quant world, I am not a quant but have worked on securitization for years. I just turned down a job offer in CDOs. I have both been interviewed and conducted job interviews many times and I have never discussed the school someone went to or been asked about it. Once you have even a little experience all most employers care about is what you know or have done.

Columbia's online MFE degree is from that University's Engineering Dept. It does not say anywhere in the title that it is online. Unless you tell an employer he would never know. The title is different from the traditional one, though. The online gets you a MS in Oper Research: Methods in Finance, the other is an MS in Financial Engineering and both are from the Dept of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. Since the online program allows you to take any course you want in campus (if you live or work nearby obviously) the end result is that you can take exactly the same courses as the MSFE program if you want, something you can always mention in an interview, should it ever come up. What's great about this program is that it allows you to take courses online, in campus, or any combination you wish.


Well said.

I just wanted to add that you may benefit from the networking opportunities available by doing an classroom cirriculum.
 
Any program I apply to has to give me flexibility to miss classes every so often. Ideally I would want a program where I can go to campus when in the city but have the means to remain up to speed if I miss a class.

So if Baruch ever decides to go that route please let me know!
Baruch has been doing that for the last several years ;)
We should do a better job letting people know about our unique features :)

I thought you may be interested to know that all the course material, lecture notes, homework assignments are available online 24/7 and sometimes prior to the class. As a student, you have access to past courses discussion, past homework, etc...you can post questions 24/7 and it will be answered by your classmates, TA, professors throughout the day.

Our students communicate among themselves and with the teaching assistants, faculty via our online network. We discuss homework, projects and work in team so as long as you have internet connection, you are never far from the action.

Asides from the benefit of a tradition programs, our students benefit from an active community. What you see here is a part of of a huge online network where homework discussion are being exchanged at any given moment.

Maybe we can videotape the lectures and open an online program as well. I don't know how the online programs work but I don't think you can get any interactive than whatever we have here :)
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
The reason I am considering Columbia is not because it's an Ivy. It's because I travel a lot for work. I am out at least a week a month and sometimes two. Any program I apply to has to give me flexibility to miss classes every so often. Ideally I would want a program where I can go to campus when in the city but have the means to remain up to speed if I miss a class.

So if Baruch ever decides to go that route please let me know!


There are several schools that have lecture videotaping capabilities in their programs. I know at least two. You can download and watch lectures from anywhere in the world and not attend a single class (except exams). And I would very much like to have this feature introduced at Baruch.

In the meantime, as Andy mentioned, our MFE program at Baruch College has this forum where we can have discussions of various things related to classwork.
 

dstefan

Baruch MFE Director
Since the Director of the program has replied let me add something. The reason I am reading this forum is that I am considering doing an MFE and high on my list is Baruch's program. Right now I am getting up to speed on some math and C++ that I need to start. The reason I am considering Columbia is not because it's an Ivy. It's because I travel a lot for work. I am out at least a week a month and sometimes two. Any program I apply to has to give me flexibility to miss classes every so often. Ideally I would want a program where I can go to campus when in the city but have the means to remain up to speed if I miss a class.

So if Baruch ever decides to go that route please let me know!

:)

Gabriel - it all depends on your background, but missing a week at a time regularly is, generally speaking, going to create problems. We have a currnt part-time student who is also doing a fair bit of traveling, I could put you in contact wit him. pm me if interested.

At the moment, we do not plan to post video lectures online (and we do not tape the lecture anyway). I do not expect to offer an online degree in the foreseeable future.

Dan
 
Thanks for all the responses. I understand Baruch doesn't offer online coursework so I will have to decide if what is offered online, as mentioned by Andy, will be enough for me to keep up while traveling.
 
If you need to take the FE degree online, I'd choose the Columbia degree over Stevens. The Columbia CVN has been on the market quite a while and the cost difference to Stevens is too small to overcome the "name" advantage that Columbia enjoys.

I am assuming you have read this tread and understand that most (FE) graduates recommend a bricks and mortar school over the online experience unless you do not have the option due to personal circumstances.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
Definitely choose Columbia over Stevens if no other options are available.
Also, carefully check the courses they offer. Do a degree at Columbia but keep an eye on Stevens. Maybe Stevens will let you take one course if it is not offered at Columbia.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
The Wilmott CQF can be done remotely, and is currently around 100 lectures, all of which are videoed. There apparently has been quite a hard debate in academic circles about students taking recordings. My personal view is that you can't stop them, so live with it, but not everyone agrees.
As a lecturer I do find it a little more stressful, as any blunder is there for all time to be dissected.

I have to declare an interest that I teach most of the C++ component.

7city USA: Financial Markets Training

To the best of my knowledge there is no cheap, online finance course.
 

Sam Harris

Space Systems Engineer
I'm half way through the Columbia Online program, and I must agree with all here on the disadvantages. $4k a class hits the wallet hard, and no networking is rough. However, you've all missed the tremendous advantages of online.

(1) You can pause and rewind your professor. How many times has your mind drifted in class and it snaps back only to realize that the prof has changed subjects and you missed the bridge. You spend the rest of the lecture furiously scribbling with no idea what's going on. With a videotaped lecture, you just rewind and play it again. Five times if necessary!

(2) Your time is not under someone else's control. I have a wife, hobbies, friends, and a full time job. I tried a night-school approach and it drove me nuts. Some lectures were material I understood and didn't need 4hrs of rehashing, whereas others were really hard for me to grasp and I felt like I was being dragged behind a truck for 4 hrs straight. With a taped lecture and nearly infinite control over my time, I can tailor the entire degree to my personal pace.

(3) If you travel, there is no other option. I am gone 200 days a year and all I need is my laptop to be in school. You can't do that with brick and mortar.

(4) Opportunity cost of no job. I make the NYC equivalent of $174k a year and my education is 60% funded by my employer. So, my out-of-pocket cost is less than nill... it's net positive!

(5) If you live in or around NYC, any possible downside to Columbia's online degree is negligible. You can attend all the social functions, all the recruiting fairs, all the employer presentations, the professional lectures, etc. I just happen to live in a desert, thousands of miles from any reputable institution of higher learning.
 

dstefan

Baruch MFE Director
I recently looked more closely at the CQF curriculum and was quite impressed. More impressive is the examination system, and the class ranking with the distinction being offered for the best people. Also, the networking opportunities are much better than for any other option for on line courses.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
Yuriy, is MIT's Open Course Ware one of these? What's the other one, Wilmott?

No, MIT was not one of them, neither was Columbia :) I was talking about Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Florida, both of which I happened to attend.
CMU tapes all of their lectures in Computational Finance program. The University of Florida tapes some of its lectures; they have hybrid courses that you can either attend or watch online.
 
Hi DominiConnor,

Thank You for the information on Wilmott CQF program. I'm a Java programmer with little knowledge in C++ language. I do have a computer science education and if need be can pick up on C++ too. So could you please provide me your perspectives on C++ vs Java for FE and whether Java has any roles to play in FE?


Thank You,
Shakti
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
I'm half way through the Columbia Online program, and I must agree with all here on the disadvantages. $4k a class hits the wallet hard, and no networking is rough. However, you've all missed the tremendous advantages of online.

Sam, I'm just wondering, how do you take exams at Columbia? :)
 

alain

Older and Wiser
...if need be can pick up on C++ too

I don't think C++ is something you can pick up and run with. Java is very forgiven to programmers mistakes (except maybe in multithreading programming)... C++ will make you pay dearly for any mistake that you make.
 

Sam Harris

Space Systems Engineer
Sam, I'm just wondering, how do you take exams at Columbia? :)

My boss at work "proctors" the exams. The University e-mails him the exam and he prints it out then faxes it back to them. He used to have to overnight the physical exam, but now only has to keep in on file for the rest of the semester in case the fax didn't work.

If you live in NYC, the University provides proctors, or you can take the exam with your brick and mortar classmates.

Again, I think taking the online degree while living in NYC is the best of both worlds. I'm seriously considering living there for my last semester (to help with the job search).
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
My boss at work "proctors" the exams. The University e-mails him the exam and he prints it out then faxes it back to them. He used to have to overnight the physical exam, but now only has to keep in on file for the rest of the semester in case the fax didn't work.

If you live in NYC, the University provides proctors, or you can take the exam with your brick and mortar classmates.

Again, I think taking the online degree while living in NYC is the best of both worlds. I'm seriously considering living there for my last semester (to help with the job search).

Very nice :) How does your boss feel about you leaving the company? He basically is helping you find another job and leave the company.

I have a feeling that in a few years, 50% of degrees, especially in business, will be awarded online.
 
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