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Profile Evaluation MFE,

Can anyone please evaluate my Profile

Applying for Master of Quantitative Finance

1. gre : 325 (169Q 156V)
2. CGPA - 7.1 (IIT Kharagpur)
3. work experience : 5 years of data science (Product based)
4. 4 research paper in data science ( First Author : NAACL, Asonam || second author - AAAI, ECAI : )
5. 1 year as startup Co-founder (40k users on playstore)
6. 1 year self learning experience of trading, options (Built and coded trend following strategy, different channels)
7. FRM - Level 1 Qualified.

I am totally afraid that my cgpa will hamper chances in top 10, What are the chances you see, Should I apply or totally reject all to apply ?
 
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What does "Totally reject all to apply" mean? You'll never know if you don't apply. Go for it. You should have a chance at the top 10 given you have good grades in the required prerequisites.
 
Thanks for replying,
I checked, I also don't have good grades in required prerequisites. They are at same level too. So I am totally worried. I mean to say I will not consider apply to any ambitious university, as the admission is very competitive or should I consider 4-5 from top 10.
 
Personally, I think you have a reasonable shot given a holistic view of your credentials (it seems like grades are your ONLY possible weakness, if any). For prerequisites where your grade wasn't as good, did you still perform well relative to your peers? I know that the IITs are like the best schools in India, so you obviously had to work much harder for your grades than say an Indian student from a mediocre Indian school.

Oh and you're definitely overqualified for some of the lower ranked programs.
 
Thanks for replying,
I checked, I also don't have good grades in required prerequisites. They are at same level too. So I am totally worried. I mean to say I will not consider apply to any ambitious university, as the admission is very competitive or should I consider 4-5 from top 10.
Like @Andy Zhang said,I think they'll take your grades with a grain of salt. I'm certain your work is quant heavy enough to convince the admissions departments you have a strong hold on math and statistics.
Also,IIT Kharagpur has a harsher grading system right? Only even grade points (10,8,6,4) are given out? I think you're grossly overestimating how bad your GPA is. Apply to the top 10 confidently and talk more about your work experience and Quantitative methods used on the job. You've been out of school for a while and you have great industry experience. I don't think you have to worry.
If you really want to go to an MFE program,you can apply to any program outside the top 10 and pretty much guarantee admission. But I wouldn't compromise if I were you.
To summarise,apply confidently to the top ranked programs and see how it goes. Don't reject yourself before the programs reject you
 
Thanks for replying & boosting my confidence,
I don't think, relatively I scored any better too, as I was in a mirage that time, that grade doesn't matter. Which programs do you see I am overqualified. So If I apply 3-4 of them, I will score one for sure.
 
Like @Andy Zhang said,I think they'll take your grades with a grain of salt. I'm certain your work is quant heavy enough to convince the admissions departments you have a strong hold on math and statistics.
Also,IIT Kharagpur has a harsher grading system right? Only even grade points (10,8,6,4) are given out? I think you're grossly overestimating how bad your GPA is. Apply to the top 10 confidently and talk more about your work experience and Quantitative methods used on the job. You've been out of school for a while and you have great industry experience. I don't think you have to worry.
If you really want to go to an MFE program,you can apply to any program outside the top 10 and pretty much guarantee admission. But I wouldn't compromise if I were you.
To summarise,apply confidently to the top ranked programs and see how it goes. Don't reject yourself before the programs reject you
Yes Sure, Thanks @WorkofArt, Yes IIT Kharagpur has little harsher grader system, if we compare it to IIT Bombay. but not so much. 20-30% people are above 8 CGPA, Grades are given in (10,9,8,7,6,5) and we require 6 CGPA at-least to get the degree.
Sure I will surely apply to top 10 university. I will totally focus on work experience and quant works I have done by self. I also see I have holistic profile, the only dent is GPA, but that I can't improve now.

If we go outside 10, then we have this list of universities :
University of Chicago
North Carolina State University
University of California
Rutgers University
University of Washington
Johns Hopkins University
Boston University
Fordham University
Stony Brook University
If I apply 3-4 of top 10 and 3-4 of these universities, Will I be able to surely secure an admission? I think this will be a optimal strategy. As at the end I should get an admission.

Applying to all of top 10 will be also a good approach but that can be risky and there are chances that I won't get any admission.
 
Personally, I think you have a reasonable shot given a holistic view of your credentials (it seems like grades are your ONLY possible weakness, if any). For prerequisites where your grade wasn't as good, did you still perform well relative to your peers? I know that the IITs are like the best schools in India, so you obviously had to work much harder for your grades than say an Indian student from a mediocre Indian school.

Oh and you're definitely overqualified for some of the lower ranked programs.
Thanks for replying & boosting my confidence,
I don't think, relatively I scored any better too, as I was in a mirage that time, that grade doesn't matter. Which programs do you see I am overqualified. So If I apply 3-4 of them, I will score one for sure.

Sorry I forgot to mention that I am FRM Level -1 qualified too.
 
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Are there any programs in the Top 10 that you like for a specific reason other than they are in the Top 10? I am assuming you are referring to the rankings posted on this website. Let me say, we have no idea how these rankings are established. I would not put the entire faith of a graduate degree and thousands of dollars on quantnet's opinion between two schools. With that being said, the overall Top 25 is most likely a good representation of reputable schools with strong programs. I would look through this list and determine which programs you like the most based on your goals and learning style. Maybe the "Top 3" programs don't work for you, but some further down the rankings do. Seems like this situation would solve your issues. I would like to point out that those programs that you listed were "outside the Top 10" are very strong and well known. Students get great educations and later good job placement from each of those schools. I have noticed that some participants on this forum are so concerned with rank that they barely consider how the school works for them. Who cares how good a school is if you are not in a situation to take advantage of the perks. I would take the specifics of these rankings with a grain of salt.

But from a profile standpoint, your stats look good (excluding GPA because I only understand a 4.0 scale). Assuming you have good involvement in your research, talking about those paper are a big plus (especially if they are published). Seems like you have an interesting background that you can use to your advantage. Good luck!
 
Are there any programs in the Top 10 that you like for a specific reason other than they are in the Top 10? I am assuming you are referring to the rankings posted on this website. Let me say, we have no idea how these rankings are established. I would not put the entire faith of a graduate degree and thousands of dollars on quantnet's opinion between two schools. With that being said, the overall Top 25 is most likely a good representation of reputable schools with strong programs. I would look through this list and determine which programs you like the most based on your goals and learning style. Maybe the "Top 3" programs don't work for you, but some further down the rankings do. Seems like this situation would solve your issues. I would like to point out that those programs that you listed were "outside the Top 10" are very strong and well known. Students get great educations and later good job placement from each of those schools. I have noticed that some participants on this forum are so concerned with rank that they barely consider how the school works for them. Who cares how good a school is if you are not in a situation to take advantage of the perks. I would take the specifics of these rankings with a grain of salt.

But from a profile standpoint, your stats look good (excluding GPA because I only understand a 4.0 scale). Assuming you have good involvement in your research, talking about those paper are a big plus (especially if they are published). Seems like you have an interesting background that you can use to your advantage. Good luck!
Thanks @jarryds for bringing a great perspective here. Frankly speaking currently I was just naively thinking of choosing any 10 university out of top 25-30. But I will now go deeper on choosing universities.

My goals are to get a good buy side quant role, and moving forward, start my hedge fund/self-trading. I can research about the alumni and their current role and make a informed decision. I am also thinking of applying to Canada (three universities Toronto, British Columbia & Waterloo) as I want to move on to my self-desk due to easy PR. Can you give more prospective on how I can choose better university based on my goals and learning style. Do I need to consider more goals or anything more you see from your perspective.

My learning style is I always believed on learning by doing and I love maths, numbers, puzzles. I can learn anything if I see a practical use case of it. Mostly I do things practically first then I learn the use the theory behind it. I learn by that way.

Yes my GPA is not good to relative to my peers, From IITs also there will be mostly more than 8.0 CGPA guys, but other things are on my sides. less people will going to have varieties of experiences which I have. Yes I have good grasp on the research, on two paper I am the first author (NAACL, ASONAM) and on two papers (AAI, ECAI, top AI conferences) I am the second author. I understand I have explored different horizontals (startup co-founder, Research publications, 5 yrs. work exp) and can make a coherent story to why I am interested in Quant education (by explaining that I have tried all things and found out what is working for me which is true), Do you see any more how I can use it for my advantage.
 
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What ML journal did you have a first author in? I mean if you have a first author in Neurips or something, you can just write that paper's title and say you are a first author on a piece of a cardboard to mail it to them and still probably get a top 6 program acceptance.
 
What ML journal did you have a first author in? I mean if you have a first author in Neurips or something, you can just write that paper's title and say you are a first author on a piece of a cardboard to mail it to them and still probably get a top 6 program acceptance.
No I am first author in NAACL & Asonam & second author in AAAI, ECAI.
 
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Thanks for replying & boosting my confidence,
I don't think, relatively I scored any better too, as I was in a mirage that time, that grade doesn't matter. Which programs do you see I am overqualified. So If I apply 3-4 of them, I will score one for sure.

Sorry I forgot to mention that I am FRM Level -1 qualified too.
I was thinking more along the lines of programs ranked 20 and worse. But going to the buy-side from those programs is going to be almost near impossible--in fact, in some of the low rank programs, sell-side only comes to recruit for back office roles. Also, don't expect much from career services--you'll still survive because you have lots of work experience. Finally, the quality of your classmates--to be blunt--will most likely be quite crappy relative to the quality you had at IIT.

For the programs you listed, I think admission to ones like University of Chicago (target to prop trading in Chicago) and UCLA is still uncertain. For the rest, I think your chances improve the lower ranked the program is. I think you can improve your chances for the top-mid MFE programs by writing a nice personal statement. I can't give you a definite answer, but think of your personal statement as your sales pitch. If you can pitch well, the impact of your not so good grades can be mitigated significantly since everything else you have speaks top MFE caliber.
 
I was thinking more along the lines of programs ranked 20 and worse. But going to the buy-side from those programs is going to be almost near impossible--in fact, in some of the low rank programs, sell-side only comes to recruit for back office roles. Also, don't expect much from career services--you'll still survive because you have lots of work experience. Finally, the quality of your classmates--to be blunt--will most likely be quite crappy relative to the quality you had at IIT.

For the programs you listed, I think admission to ones like University of Chicago (target to prop trading in Chicago) and UCLA is still uncertain. For the rest, I think your chances improve the lower ranked the program is. I think you can improve your chances for the top-mid MFE programs by writing a nice personal statement. I can't give you a definite answer, but think of your personal statement as your sales pitch. If you can pitch well, the impact of your not so good grades can be mitigated significantly since everything else you have speaks top MFE caliber.
Thanks @Andy Zhang , Yes I will apply in mix within top 30 programs, will try to explore which universities suits me better. So personal statement is going to key factor. In sop do you think should i focus on why CGPA is low, may be I could find one or two reason and explain. Or totally neglect it and focus on every other aspect of profile how my profile is great fit for the program. If you have any idea, How I can pitch well and overcome the low cgpa thought for the committee (Don't want to overburden you, but just asking if you see any concrete coherent one). Sure, I am some confident too that I will be able to get a good job/ buy side one from my efforts at the university.
 
Thanks @jarryds for bringing a great perspective here. Frankly speaking currently I was just naively thinking of choosing any 10 university out of top 25-30. But I will now go deeper on choosing universities.

My goals are to get a good buy side quant role, and moving forward, start my hedge fund/self-trading. I can research about the alumni and their current role and make a informed decision. I am also thinking of applying to Canada (three universities Toronto, British Columbia & Waterloo) as I want to move on to my self-desk due to easy PR. Can you give more prospective on how I can choose better university based on my goals and learning style. Do I need to consider more goals or anything more you see from your perspective.

My learning style is I always believed on learning by doing and I love maths, numbers, puzzles. I can learn anything if I see a practical use case of it. Mostly I do things practically first then I learn the use the theory behind it. I learn by that way.

Yes my GPA is not good to relative to my peers, From IITs also there will be mostly more than 8.0 CGPA guys, but other things are on my sides. less people will going to have varieties of experiences which I have. Yes I have good grasp on the research, on two paper I am the first author (NAACL, ASONAM) and on two papers (AAI, ECAI, top AI conferences) I am the second author. I understand I have explored different horizontals (startup co-founder, Research publications, 5 yrs. work exp) and can make a coherent story to why I am interested in Quant education (by explaining that I have tried all things and found out what is working for me which is true), Do you see any more how I can use it for my advantage.

Side note, are you sure you need to continue education to get into this field? Are there rotational programs or internships that you are eligible to apply for?

But for education, although most of the master's programs have the same underlying objective, they have slight differences in coursework that you may like or dislike. I would find the jobs that you want and look at the typical background of the employee and preferred qualifications. Try to match programs that spend the most time on topics relevant to this position.

Each program kind of has a forte, for example, Carnegie Mellon emphasized computational finance, where Boston focuses on financial technology. Some programs have more flexibility in electives, whereas others had rigid course structure. Also look at the difference in length, some are 1 year and others are 1.5. Are you interested in research? How much math/stats do you want to learn? Some of these programs are offered by the business department and will not be as mathematically rigorous as programs offered by the math departments.

Also money. I have not heard a lot of discussion surrounding the financial repercussions of attending graduate school. See if any schools are able to give you scholarships or assistantships to lower cost of attendance.
 
Thanks @Andy Zhang , Yes I will apply in mix within top 30 programs, will try to explore which universities suits me better. So personal statement is going to key factor. In sop do you think should i focus on why CGPA is low, may be I could find one or two reason and explain. Or totally neglect it and focus on every other aspect of profile how my profile is great fit for the program. If you have any idea, How I can pitch well and overcome the low cgpa thought for the committee (Don't want to overburden you, but just asking if you see any concrete coherent one). Sure, I am some confident too that I will be able to get a good job/ buy side one from my efforts at the university.
That's a good question. Here's my thoughts, BUT please get more opinions. Did the lower grades occur early (freshmen courses) or later (upper year courses)? If early, then did you take courses that required the lower grade course as a prerequisite and do well in those? If so, you don't really need to address it since your long term grade improvements will speak for themselves. Now, if the lower grades occurred later on, it might be a good idea to address it--but make it short and don't make it sound (too) negative. This sounds very general because I think the specific situation differs by person. I would get a friend who's really good with writing to check over the draft.
But for education, although most of the master's programs have the same underlying objective, they have slight differences in coursework that you may like or dislike. I would find the jobs that you want and look at the typical background of the employee and preferred qualifications. Try to match programs that spend the most time on topics relevant to this position.
LinkedIn is your BFF here. Also, resume books would help. Though you'll honestly only find resume books from some of the top-tier MFE programs. The lower tier MFE programs have too much to hide for pretty obvious reasons 😛 Also, when looking at topics/coursework, be very careful! I would take a look at the green book (A Practical Guide to Quantitative Finance Interviews) as well as interview books written by Dr. Stefanica and his Baruch colleagues, and see which programs' coursework covers most of the contents. It'll shed some light that simply looking at coursework won't tell you. Also, Leetcode and Hackerrank are your BFFs too--whether in QF or tech.
Each program kind of has a forte, for example, Carnegie Mellon emphasized computational finance, where Boston focuses on financial technology. Some programs have more flexibility in electives, whereas others had rigid course structure. Also look at the difference in length, some are 1 year and others are 1.5. Are you interested in research? How much math/stats do you want to learn?
@Michsund and @Onegin might be helpful here to talk about CMU MSCF. I believe they've incorporated a lot of data science/machine learning since CMU does have one of the best computer science/machine learning departments in the world.
 
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Side note, are you sure you need to continue education to get into this field? Are there rotational programs or internships that you are eligible to apply for?

But for education, although most of the master's programs have the same underlying objective, they have slight differences in coursework that you may like or dislike. I would find the jobs that you want and look at the typical background of the employee and preferred qualifications. Try to match programs that spend the most time on topics relevant to this position.

Each program kind of has a forte, for example, Carnegie Mellon emphasized computational finance, where Boston focuses on financial technology. Some programs have more flexibility in electives, whereas others had rigid course structure. Also look at the difference in length, some are 1 year and others are 1.5. Are you interested in research? How much math/stats do you want to learn? Some of these programs are offered by the business department and will not be as mathematically rigorous as programs offered by the math departments.

Also money. I have not heard a lot of discussion surrounding the financial repercussions of attending graduate school. See if any schools are able to give you scholarships or assistantships to lower cost of attendance.
Thanks @jarryds for the response. Currently there are two paths for me.
1. Get a job in quant role in India, work for 2-3 years and then move to US or work in India & later develop my own trading firm. Currently I don't have any professional experience of quant but I can crack the quant role in India with efforts.
2. Get a quant masters degree from USA or Canada, Then work in quant role, As I have some inclination to later move to my self trading firm. I may prefer to choose Canada if given admission as equivalent to USA school. But will apply to both the countries.
Beside getting an education, I want to move to USA or Canada and that's one of the reason to go for masters.

Yes for the matching part of the programs, I will look onto programs which can give me more practical experience of trading and quant concepts. I will explore ideas suggested by @Andy Zhang. As I have more experience on data science, so I am looking for courses which provide more focus on Quant finance subjects. If I can work on more quant projects with classes, that will be best.

Those programs whom have data science major parts, Are those program will accept me more as I have good data science experience and papers?

Yes upon getting scholarship I can go for lower ranked university, if difference will be not that much and it suits my interests.

That's a good question. Here's my thoughts, BUT please get more opinions. Did the lower grades occur early (freshmen courses) or later (upper year courses)? If early, then did you take courses that required the lower grade course as a prerequisite and do well in those? If so, you don't really need to address it since your long term grade improvements will speak for themselves. Now, if the lower grades occurred later on, it might be a good idea to address it--but make it short and don't make it sound (too) negative. This sounds very general because I think the specific situation differs by person. I would get a friend who's really good with writing to check over the draft.
Thanks again @Andy Zhang for responding to the queries. The lower grades occur at the end of third and fourth semester (I got new girlfriend that time and forgot all the study part 😂then I tried to improve it further from next year. In laters years my grades improved. I was in mechanical, I don't have any interest in mechanical subjects, Thats why I explored Finance and given FRM that time to see my interests. I also build my career in data Science, done data science projects myself, at my time data science was just started evolving, I myself got into an internship. I have also guided many batch-mates who also converted job in Data Science).

With handling the job responsibilities here at Infoedge (my current company), I collaborated with a researcher, who was working in Microsoft and we published three paper, all three NAACL, AAAI, EACL papers are outside of office. In the same way I collaborated with a friend and run a startup for full last year. From October last year I am working on Investment and Trading by self and want to move into the quant field. From last few years I was trying to figure out what interests me and what not. So done that many stuffs. I see pretty much hinged myself on the quant role as I like maths and my father is in stocks, so may be i got some finance genes from there 😅 I find work in quant more interesting and inclined to my interests.

The ideas suggested by you is very interesting. It will very much help in getting better choices among lower ranked university. I will fully utilise the linkedin network to connect with students and alumni. Yes checking the draft will be very generous and of great help.
 
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Thanks for the article. It somewhat say that try to showcase that even if the grade is negative, you end up as positive note. Which I can say I tried to put efforts at the later half of the course. May be giving gre maths will help here ?
 
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