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Oxford MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance Chances

Hi all,

Firstly, I'm new here so if this post is not in the right location I would greatly appreciated being redirected to the correct forum. Anyway, as the title suggests I just want to know what my chances are with this program, and I suppose other MFE programs in general. I don't have any family, relatives, friends, that are in the quantitative field, and despite my searching the internet wide and far, I either come up with dubious answers from outdated articles or contradicting answers depending on the website. Needless to say, its been frustrating trying to develop a "plan" of sorts for myself heading into the next year, mostly because there's so much uncertainty centered around the whole coronavirus situation. I would greatly appreciate anyone who reads through this entire mess and helps me out in any sort of way.

Background: Just finished my junior year at UCSD as a Mathematics and Economics major (joint major) with a minor in Business from Rady School of Management. Planning on graduating next year 2021, and my expected GPA is around a 3.5. This is the main factor I'm worried about when it comes to Oxford MFE and MFE programs in general. On Oxford's page, it states that the minimum GPA sough for US applicants is 3.6. However, I emailed the director of admissions (she was listed as a point of contact on Oxford's website) and she stated pretty clearly that they care specifically about upward trend in a student's GPA, and most importantly, they specifically look for high grades in math courses, especially those relevant to the curriculum such as: calculus, linear algebra, probability, statistics, algorithms and partial differential equations

A lot of the "downfall" of my GPA happened because I came in as a Biology major in the premed track; even though I was not really interested in becoming a doctor I was sort of pressured to by my parents and myself (didn't know if there was anything else I could do/was interested in at the time), and ended up doing pretty poorly in a lot of the biology and organic chemistry classes. I changed my major to math and econ at the start of my Junior year and have been doing much better, getting all A's for the first time in the last few quarters. So in that way I have a "strong upward trend", and my A's have been in classes like Diff Eq, Linear Algebra, Statistics, etc. Next quarter (fall quarter) I'm taking even more advanced courses in probability, statistics, and real analysis mainly...so I feel like if I do well in those classes they can serve as further testament to my "growth" and upward trend over my college career thus far.

Letters of Recommendation will probably just be neutral aka a non-factor, not stellar but not bad either. I'm planning on taking the GMAT in the next couple of months as well, expecting a great score on that as well but Oxford specifically doesn't seem to care about that too much according to their admissions FAQ. I also saw that a large portion of their admissions is based on the Admissions Exam and the Technical Interview? If this true, could anyone guide me to good resources to learn the stuff on the exam? Something like MIT Open CourseWare? I know a lot of the stuff on the current 2020-2021 Admissions exam they posted on their website, but theres still some unfamiliar stuff I want to strengthen in the next few months before the new exam is released.

Last but not least, my extracurriculars are not great. I've done an investment banking internship at a boutique firm, which mostly consisted of basic accounting, due diligence, modeling type stuff. And this summer, I'm currently working as a financial analyst for a New-York based biotech startup (most of the work is done via zoom). I might have the chance to collaborate on a research paper, so that would be nice if it actually materializes. I've also done a couple of meh clubs (business club, editor in a biotech journal club, etc), and some TAing (teaching assistant) stuff. So nothing outstanding really.

So, after all this rambling...I have a couple of questions, and I summarized them below to the best of my ability.

1. First and most important question imo....am I rushing into this?? I couldnt find an average age for Oxford MFE, but it didn't seem like they had a requirement similar to business schools about having like at least 4 years of work experience. So is there any chance I could potentially go straight from my senior year at UCSD to Oxford MFE? If not, what do you recommend I do? Focus on trying to get some sort of quant/data science job next year? And then apply in a couple years down the road? The problem is idk if my UCSD undergrad degree is enough for me to secure a job next year, especially with the current coronavirus job market.

2. Does anyone know how good the job placement is for Oxford? On their website they state that most students place into top investment banks and hedge funds, so just trying to gauge the truth of that statement. And these are usually for quant-based roles like quantitative analyst, quantitative developer, quantitative trader?

3. Do you usually start doing an internship during the Oxford term already, or is it just too much work to do the internship and balance your studies at the same time?

4. Based on all the stuff I wrote above, do I stand a chance? If my technicals are strong (95%+ accuracy on admissions exam and stellar performance on technical interviews), will this play a large part in an acceptance, or are they not as important as I think they are? Are my mediocre GPA and OK extracurriculars an automatic rejection? Because I'd seen some data on a website a while back that seemed to indicate that high scorers on the admissions exam seemed to have a pretty good chance of getting in. I ask this because I'd rather not dedicate a ton of time into learning the math on the admissions exam and finishing the actual ten page exam (which will probably take a couple months for me) if I have no chance whatsoever to begin with.

5. Should I even try to apply to other MFE programs? Looks like every MFE program in the US expects like a 3.8 GPA plus several years of actual on the job experience. The average age looks to be almost business school levels....like 27. so I'm guessing they wouldn't take to a naive 21 year old's application to warmly.

*Also, just realized I never really said what my "dream career" is yet, and tbh maybe because its a little embarrassing and looked down upon to dream so big when I've achieved so little so far. But my dream right now is to start off in a quant type role (something like a quant trader), work for several years in hopefully an HFT hedge fund, and then eventually...one day run my own strategy as a portfolio manager. Again, I realize I'm a loooong way away from this dream actually happening, but I'm willing to work hard and take steps towards it. Thanks

JUST WANT TO SAY AGAIN BIG THANKS TO ANYONE THAT READ ALL THIS AND HELPS ME. Truly, I really appreciate it! I am so lost rn and would appreciate any guidance at all. Even if you tell me I have zero chance and I'm screwed, at least it would save me time from filling the application and preparing for the admissions exam :)
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I had a friend who went straight to the Oxford MSc MF straight after undergrad - he only had a few summer internships and managed to place at a very solid HF afterwards. I can't answer of the other questions you have however, as I will also be going through the same process and have no idea what they expect :)