COMPARE Princeton MFIN vs Columbia MSOR

Lolasff

New Member
Hi all,

Just got admitted to both Princeton's MFIN (2 years) and Columbia's MSOR (Operations Research).
I need some information about these 2 programs.

- Reputation in NYC
- Ranking among other Masters
- Is it worth it to pursue the Princeton program in 2 years?
- Is it true that Princeton is not well-known as a grad school in comparison with Columbia?
- Which program should I choose?

I have to make a decision by April 14 which gives me less than a week. I am French and these programs are not well known in France. That's why I'm asking all these questions that may seem obvious to some of you but I really need help because except forums, I can hardly get advice from people here.

Many thanks for your help.
Lola
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
Go for Princeton. It's a much smaller size program compared to MSOR where you will be one of the few hundred graduates Columbia mass produces every year.
Princeton is in New Jersey which is not having the advantage of being in NYC as the Columbia program. Columbia is a big name in NYC but at the same time, its MSOR is generating bad vibes this year.

There are few threads about the MSOR program here.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
Do some search in this forum. Check the wiki. There are some threads about the Columbia MSOR... but I think those threads will push you to go to Princeton.
 

bhargav

Member
I am not very experienced in this regard nor did i apply to these programs. But if i were in your situation I would go to princeton. How can you compare Finance degree with OR(even though you might take 1 finance elective per semester or whatever). Look at curriculum of these 2 programs and it is you who can decide which one is better.
 

Muting

Member
Go to Princeton. I have known a friend from there. One of their program's chairmans has worked in Merrill Lynch for 10 yrs before she went back to school. And she is very dedicated to helping students find jobs. As far as I know, Princeton has good placement record.
 

echostate

Member
Go to Princeton. I have known a friend from there. One of their program's chairmans has worked in Merrill Lynch for 10 yrs before she went back to school. And she is very dedicated to helping students find jobs. As far as I know, Princeton has good placement record.

Generally, is Princeton's MFin program as good as Berkeley/NYU/CMU MFE?
 

Feng

New Member
Lolasff, Congratulations !!!
Princeton is my dream, but I was rejected. I am heading for CMU now.
 

Lolasff

New Member
I would rather go to CMU :) but mostly because CMU is more quantitatively oriented.
Thanks to all of you for your encouragements!!!

Don't you think that it's a bit late to start working at the age of 27. I'm 24 today. If I go to Princeton (2 year program), I won't start working before the age of 26/27.
 

Lolasff

New Member
Go for Princeton. It's a much smaller size program compared to MSOR where you will be one of the few hundred graduates Columbia mass produces every year.
Princeton is in New Jersey which is not having the advantage of being in NYC as the Columbia program. Columbia is a big name in NYC but at the same time, its MSOR is generating bad vibes this year.

There are few threads about the MSOR program here.
I heard Columbia MSOR had very bad placement record this year...
Besides, I'm more interested in the Princeton MFIN coursework but my concern is the length of the program. I am already 24 and going to Princeton whould mean start workin at 26/27... Whereas the one-year program at Columbia would enable me to start workin at 25!
What's your opinion?
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
Please allow me to be frank.
Stop all the nonsense talk about being 25-26-27 and too old. It's naive, annoying. I got my first job at 31. Other people I know start the MFE program at much older age.
If you want to work when you are young, don't go to school.
If you join a program, 1 or 2 years is what you have to spend. No other choice.
Nobody will hire you at 18 if you have no desirable skillset.
Everybody will fight to hire you at 60 if you have skillset market wants

It's never about age. It's about how can you make money for the employers.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
Thanks to all of you for your encouragements!!!

Don't you think that it's a bit late to start working at the age of 27. I'm 24 today. If I go to Princeton (2 year program), I won't start working before the age of 26/27.
So that you know I started working at age 26. That's when I finished my BS. I was trying to leave Cuba before that so don't worry. There's plenty of time in front of you.
 

Prateek Bhatia

New Member
Princeton MFIN is definitely the better option. Since the issue of Columbia OR is being discussed here also, I would like to bring up my own situation in if you all don't mind.

I also have a Columbia MSOR admit and I would definitely prefer an FE admit from a good school like Princeton. Unfortunately for me, my FE admits are from the so called 'second grade schools' like IIT chicago, Rutgers, NCSU. Given this situation I am highly inclined to take up the Columbia admit.

I have studied the course structure and syllabus carefully everywhere and I won't be missing out on that much from the knowledge point of view in Columbia MSOR. However, placement priority will definitely be given to FE students as far as good finance jobs are concerned. And as Andy said, I will be one of the few hundred graduates Columbia mass produces every year(seriously the OR class size is huge and they have around 75 MSFE's too!).

What I want to ask you all is that as far as perception on the street, placements n career services is concerned, would it be better to be one of the many Columbia graduates or to graduate from a lower quality program. ( Certainly the question doesn't arise if I had an admit from a school like Princeton.) Will Columbia's location and name offset the trade-off of doing an OR degree rather than an MSFE degree.

I have read a lot about this OR/FE matter on the various threads. As Alain said, they rightly push someone in lolasff's boots to go to princeton rather than Columbia OR, but they don't really push me any real direction. I would really appreciate your comments on this.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
Don't you think that it's a bit late to start working at the age of 27. I'm 24 today. If I go to Princeton (2 year program), I won't start working before the age of 26/27.

I do not see any problem with this except that you will need to figure out where to get money (for living expences like home, food, clothing) for 2 years vs. 1 year.

Also, Fin and OR are kind of far from each other except for those areas of finance that use OR. I'm not familiar with OR at Columbia but you will most likely need to take courses in Supply Chain Management, Network Flows/Network Design, Logistics, Integer/Linear/Nonlinear/Dynamic Programming.

Ask yourself whether you would enjoy OR; it has some courses that not everyone will like. I consider myself partially connected to OR, but I do not picture myself taking Supply Chain Management or Logistics courses. It might turn out that half way through the program you will realize that you can't stand spending all your time figuring out how to get as much goods as possible from point A to point B spending the least amount of time and money.
 

Prateek Bhatia

New Member
Well actually in Columbia , you can completely avoid the Supply Chain Management, Network Flows/Network Design, Logistics courses in your OR masters study. The offer a wide range of electives in finance itself which you can take, some of which have been stated as reserved for FE students. But courses like Introduction To Financial Engineering, Applied Financial Engineering, Quantitative Risk Management, Applications Programming for FE, are not one amongst those reserved for FE students, and they can very well be included in your study.

Problem is, the OR class size is big and getting those courses could be a problem. Besides some of the good FE courses like Monte Carlo simulation, Financial Engineering: Discrete-Time Asset Pricing , Financial Engineering: Continuous-Time Asset Pricing will be out of your reach.

So Princeton would be a better option for you, lolasff. But you all haven't answered my question yet.:sos:.
Should I start a new thread about it, I think there are many who are in the same boat as me.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
What I want to ask you all is that as far as perception on the street, placements n career services is concerned, would it be better to be one of the many Columbia graduates or to graduate from a lower quality program. ( Certainly the question doesn't arise if I had an admit from a school like Princeton.) Will Columbia's location and name offset the trade-off of doing an OR degree rather than an MSFE degree.
It really depends on how lower is lower. Some programs may be ranked lower (in whatever way we rank them) but give you as much knowledge as Columbia, but others may be ranked lower and give you much less knowledge so you will never make it past the 1st interview. We should not forget that besides having their name on the resume, those highly ranked schools give you suffiicient knowledge to pass difficult interviews.

If I had to choose between, say, Polytech's FE and Columbia OR, I would definitely choose Columbia. Yes, it is not FE, but not all jobs specifically ask for a degree in FE, many just say "quantitative degree". On the other hand, many jobs ask for a degree from a top 10 program.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
It is also a bit hard to believe that many of the courses are avoidable in Columbia's OR. It is a degree in OR in the end :)
 

Vic_Siqiao

Member
of course Princeton. two of my friends are in their program, they really enjoy their life there.
 
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