Profile Evaluation For 2020 MFE Programs

pmlrjn

New Member
Hi, I am an MFE aspirant hoping to get admission in fall 2020.
My latest GRE score is 323 (169 Quant + 154 Verbal), AW still awaiting where as in my previous attempt it was 320 (170 quant + 150 verbal, 4 in AW), I am yet to write TOEFL. I have graduated from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi with my major in Maths and Computing and my CGPA is 7.97/10.0

I am currently working as a quant strategist in Goldman (for past 1.5 years, joined straight after graduation) and have done two interships in machine learning and software developement. I am targeting any one of the top 10 - 12 schools for a masters program in financial engieering, can someone please help me evaluate my profile and suggest schools which are more likely to consider me.

1. Should I apply in all schools even where the admission statistics of last years are higher than my score? (given the effort and money)
2. Should I send both of GRE scores while applying to a school or the latest one would do?
3. How does recommendations work? for example if I am applying to CMU will the reco. of alumni of CMU be better than a more senior person than him/her but from different school?
 

Onegin

Active Member
C++ Student
Looking good!
1. Should I apply in all schools even where the admission statistics of last years are higher than my score? (given the effort and money)
Yes. Q170 is the only one you care about; I wouldn't bother w/ GRE again.

2. Should I send both of GRE scores while applying to a school or the latest one would do?
Different schools have different policies. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY SEND THE 170Q. Two directors of admissions laughed - out loud- when I asked them if my 170V would move the needle at all. . .

3. How does recommendations work? for example if I am applying to CMU will the reco. of alumni of CMU be better than a more senior person than him/her but from different school?
Most important is that they know, like, and can vouch for you. Better to have a stellar letter from someone less prominent than a lukewarm letter from someone with an impressive title / pedigree. That said, network all you can with school alumni to see if they have suggestions. Make sure your recommenders know you.

All in all, congrats. it sounds like you're on track to be quite competitive. Start thinking about personal statements and getting your transcripts together. Deadlines are coming up. . .
 

pmlrjn

New Member
Looking good!
1. Should I apply in all schools even where the admission statistics of last years are higher than my score? (given the effort and money)
Yes. Q170 is the only one you care about; I wouldn't bother w/ GRE again.

2. Should I send both of GRE scores while applying to a school or the latest one would do?
Different schools have different policies. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY SEND THE 170Q. Two directors of admissions laughed - out loud- when I asked them if my 170V would move the needle at all. . .

3. How does recommendations work? for example if I am applying to CMU will the reco. of alumni of CMU be better than a more senior person than him/her but from different school?
Most important is that they know, like, and can vouch for you. Better to have a stellar letter from someone less prominent than a lukewarm letter from someone with an impressive title / pedigree. That said, network all you can with school alumni to see if they have suggestions. Make sure your recommenders know you.

All in all, congrats. it sounds like you're on track to be quite competitive. Start thinking about personal statements and getting your transcripts together. Deadlines are coming up. . .
Thanks for your reply Onegin, a couple of questions more
1. (this might be a repetition) won't 150 in verbal pull my application down?
2. I have already sent the latest scores(4 univs we select after GRE) for the 169Q test and didn't send any score after the 170Q test(lack of knowledge). How should I rectify it if I want to send both/170Q scores to the universities
 

Onegin

Active Member
C++ Student
1. Won't 150 in verbal pull my application down?
Maybe. check the verbal averages for the programs you want to attend. If you do need to brush up, magoosh is from my point of view the best. I used their vocab cards and bumped my verbal to 170. Their reading comprehension, etc are top notch as well, though I didn't use them. a 170Q is much superior to 169Q for smaller top tier programs more sensitive to deviations in average Q GRE scores. Again, no one cared that I could speak eloquently about my lack of math knowledge.

2. I have already sent the latest scores(4 univs we select after GRE) for the 169Q test and didn't send any score after the 170Q test(lack of knowledge). How should I rectify it if I want to send both/170Q scores to the universities?
Apply. Send the new scores. All applications will require you to submit scores, and each program has different policies which are disclosed in the application. One interesting thing about these programs - the admissions teams / program leadership at the top programs seem to care very much about the candidates and students. They want you to succeed. Personally, I had extremely positive interactions with CMU, UCB, Cornell, NYU Courant, Baruch, and even with Columbia.

Please let us know what you find on the verbal results.
 

pmlrjn

New Member
1. Won't 150 in verbal pull my application down?
Maybe. check the verbal averages for the programs you want to attend. If you do need to brush up, magoosh is from my point of view the best. I used their vocab cards and bumped my verbal to 170. Their reading comprehension, etc are top notch as well, though I didn't use them. a 170Q is much superior to 169Q for smaller top tier programs more sensitive to deviations in average Q GRE scores. Again, no one cared that I could speak eloquently about my lack of math knowledge.

2. I have already sent the latest scores(4 univs we select after GRE) for the 169Q test and didn't send any score after the 170Q test(lack of knowledge). How should I rectify it if I want to send both/170Q scores to the universities?
Apply. Send the new scores. All applications will require you to submit scores, and each program has different policies which are disclosed in the application. One interesting thing about these programs - the admissions teams / program leadership at the top programs seem to care very much about the candidates and students. They want you to succeed. Personally, I had extremely positive interactions with CMU, UCB, Cornell, NYU Courant, Baruch, and even with Columbia.

Please let us know what you find on the verbal results.
average verbalaverage quant
Princeton University167(median score)
Baruch College156(1st quartile 142-152)169
University of California, Berkeley77.7 pecentile93.2 percentile
Carnegie Mellon University159169
Columbia Uiversity(FIn Eng)159169
New York University(Math in Fin)169
Cornell168
Columbia Uiversity(M.Fin)169
Massachusets Institute of Technology155-164166-170
NYU Tandon School of Engineering169
University of California, Los Angeles168
University of Chicago168

This is what I could amass from school websites and quantnet (many schools are not givig data about verbal score), what should I do Onegin about the scores given I am not giving GRE again
 

Onegin

Active Member
C++ Student
it seems you’re looking for a level of certainty That might not be avail. My opinion is that Quant scores are heavily weighted while verbal are not weighted or have a minimal weight. Several programs don’t even report the number.
If you have your other pre-reqs in line and you have feee time - go for it. My vocabulary improved by doing flash cards for the exam, and that’s handy. But if you have to make trade offs I’d submit the 170Q score and be done with it. But I’m just an asshole on the internet, and probably one in real life as well. And these are only opinions. Individual results may vary.
 

pmlrjn

New Member
it seems you’re looking for a level of certainty That might not be avail. My opinion is that Quant scores are heavily weighted while verbal are not weighted or have a minimal weight. Several programs don’t even report the number.
If you have your other pre-reqs in line and you have feee time - go for it. My vocabulary improved by doing flash cards for the exam, and that’s handy. But if you have to make trade offs I’d submit the 170Q score and be done with it. But I’m just an asshole on the internet, and probably one in real life as well. And these are only opinions. Individual results may vary.
I hear you though I have 1 more question. Is recommendation of people like CA or having bahelors in finance who work in investment banks useful in MFE application?
 

Onegin

Active Member
C++ Student
It seems recommendation is a function of: 1. How well the recommender knows you 2. Their view on your potential to succeed in a program, and ability to communicate supporting examples and 3. Credibility of that person. Generally 1 and 3 have a kind of inverse relationship. The CEO of a respected Quant firm is highly credible, but maybe doesn’t know me well enough. Conversely, the head of marketing might think I’m terrific, but lacks the Quant background to speak to my potential in a program. If you’re early career, professors are the gold standard.

I guess one question I have for you - do you really want this career? It is a job that involves navigating uncertainty, conducting research to provide information to reduce that uncertainty, and establishing exposures to attractive risks. A lot of your questions indicate a desire for a clear, comprehensive answer that doesn’t exist outside of a multiple choice test. There are also a ton of articles on how to strategize for letters of recommendations that I don’t care to reproduce - they are a google search away.

I’m not trying to be a jerk. There are a lot of rewarding careers out there that prize your demonstrated conscientious approach. Maybe you are doing all of extra research beyond this forum. If you do continue, it will be important to navigate the uncertainty a little more comfortably. Specifically, to be able to make conclusions from information you find.
 

pmlrjn

New Member
It seems recommendation is a function of: 1. How well the recommender knows you 2. Their view on your potential to succeed in a program, and ability to communicate supporting examples and 3. Credibility of that person. Generally 1 and 3 have a kind of inverse relationship. The CEO of a respected Quant firm is highly credible, but maybe doesn’t know me well enough. Conversely, the head of marketing might think I’m terrific, but lacks the Quant background to speak to my potential in a program. If you’re early career, professors are the gold standard.

I guess one question I have for you - do you really want this career? It is a job that involves navigating uncertainty, conducting research to provide information to reduce that uncertainty, and establishing exposures to attractive risks. A lot of your questions indicate a desire for a clear, comprehensive answer that doesn’t exist outside of a multiple choice test. There are also a ton of articles on how to strategize for letters of recommendations that I don’t care to reproduce - they are a google search away.

I’m not trying to be a jerk. There are a lot of rewarding careers out there that prize your demonstrated conscientious approach. Maybe you are doing all of extra research beyond this forum. If you do continue, it will be important to navigate the uncertainty a little more comfortably. Specifically, to be able to make conclusions from information you find.
Haha I hear you loud and clear but being at an investment bank it's my job to mitigate risk conservatively and I think I was doing that here as well :P :P. But I am definitely ready to take more risk and that's why decided to go for a different path. Thanks Onegin I know now what I have to do
 
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