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Program Chances

I really hate to post this here and not in the program evaluation thread, but I feel like I will get a more timely response this way. Again, I apologize. Basically, I'm a sophomore at Eastern Michigan University (non-target, i repeat non-target) and am a math major/cs minor. By the time I graduate I will have taken calc 1-3, differential equations, linear algebra, modeling with linear algebra, calculus-based probability and statistics I, applied statistics, math proofs, real analysis, and numerical analysis. I will have taken a fair amount of cs classes too (intro to programming, programming data structures, programming languages which includes C++, computer organization, discrete structures, internet-based computing, and algorithms/data structures). As far as classes relating to finance I am quite barren (micro/macro econ, financial/managerial accounting, and a class on financial economics). These are the only classes I have time for. As i mentioned before I am only a sophomore, but I've done well (4.0 GPA so far) with calc 1-3/intro to programming. I am in math club, plan to participate in a university co-operative education program (1 year total experience) applying math to work at an industrial firm, plan to participate in my university's undergraduate research program as a junior/senior. The time the co-op program will give me off from school I plan to pass the CFA L1 exam as well. My question is (i know i'm really early in this whole process) if i maintain a high enough GPA and get a good GRE score am I setting myself up to get into one of the TOP MFE programs? Is there anything else I should do? I come from a public university with a not so great reputation (transferring is not an option) so I know this puts me at a great disadvantage. I'm a domestic student by the way. I was thinking about staying at my university and getting my masters in combined math/cs (special program they have here, 18ish credit hours in each subject) to strengthen my application. Any feedback on the multiple questions I asked would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the longggg post. :)
 
I like it when I see prospective applicants who are very young (high school, college junior, etc) but already trying to map out their future study. Preparation is key to success.
As far as domestic applicants are concerned, take a look at this http://www.quantnet.com/forum/threads/do-domestic-students-have-an-advantage.6630/
Try to be a good student and do well on all your classes. Demonstrate a genuine interest in the field. Read and talk to many people as you can to have a better sense of orientation (career and personally).
Even if you come from a little known college, try to excel in that environment. Admission people always appreciate over-achievers.

Develop some interest outside of finance so you can have a plan B career. Math/CS master degree can be a good choice if that happens.
 
Thanks for your reply Andy. I can say I have built great respect for you (been lurking this forum for 6ish months). It just really pains me to see myself at such a disadvantage coming from the school I'm at. I had no knowledge of what is a target school and what isn't when I was applying for college. But I plan to make the best of it!
 
Sure - why not switch to another school? I'm not saying you have to but if you feel you are at a disadvantage then you should do it for yourself.
 
Problem is I already have 62 credits. Most really good schools won't let me transfer. Plus my financial situation right now won't let me exactly choose any school I want. And if some of my credits don't transfer I'm not trying to spend 6 years as an undergrad
 
In NY switching to a CUNY school accepts up to 75 transfer credits. Why not switch to Baruch Undergrad? ;)

It not expensive at all - especially after financial aid...
 
It just really pains me to see myself at such a disadvantage coming from the school I'm at. I had no knowledge of what is a target school and what isn't when I was applying for college. But I plan to make the best of it!

Don't dwell on this.

Great people have come from non-target schools, many for financial or personal reasons were unable to attend a target or ivy. Admissions staff are well aware of this and, as Andy indicated, will credit you for being the big fish in the little pond (and those programs that think otherwise would likely be a poor fit anyhow).

It may take a bit more perseverance to get your foot in the door but stay focused and be thankful that people have heard of your college. To date, I've met only three New Yorkers who have heard of mine ;)
 
Thanks everyone. I'm sticking to my plan of staying here. I'm going to work my ass off and who knows maybe the admissions staff at one of these great schools will give me a chance. All I want is a chance. After that they won't be disappointed!
 

atreides

Graduate Student
Problem is I already have 62 credits. Most really good schools won't let me transfer. Plus my financial situation right now won't let me exactly choose any school I want. And if some of my credits don't transfer I'm not trying to spend 6 years as an undergrad

If you can transfer into a top 10-15 MATH / CS Dept .. do it. If it costs you no more an extra year in College...in the grand scheme of things this will not really matter. If you're really thinking of transferring, inter-state / region transfers are probably easier. Have you looked at Univ. of Michigan, U Minnesota Twin Cities, U Wisconsin Madison, Georgia Tech, U Illinois UC.

You'll loose nothing by applying to transfer to these places provided you can make the numbers work
 
If you can transfer into a top 10-15 MATH / CS Dept .. do it. If it costs you no more an extra year in College...in the grand scheme of things this will not really matter. If you're really thinking of transferring, inter-state / region transfers are probably easier. Have you looked at Univ. of Michigan, U Minnesota Twin Cities, U Wisconsin Madison, Georgia Tech, U Illinois UC.

You'll loose nothing by applying to transfer to these places provided you can make the numbers work

I've really considered transferring to Univ. of Michigan. It is about 15 minutes from the school I'm at right now. Would it make that much more of a difference?
 
If you can transfer into a top 10-15 MATH / CS Dept .. do it. You'll loose nothing by applying to transfer to these places provided you can make the numbers work

I would disagree.

EMU is a known entity - picking up and moving to another school (or city) can be disruptive.

Have you spoken with the admissions staff of the MFE programs you are interested in? Most programs will offer some sort of open house and/or online chat where you will have the opportunity to interact with the program director, professors, current students and alumni.

Your time would be better spent excelling where you are and familiarizing yourself with your target programs.
 
I would disagree.

EMU is a known entity - picking up and moving to another school (or city) can be disruptive.

Have you spoken with the admissions staff of the MFE programs you are interested in? Most programs will offer some sort of open house and/or online chat where you will have the opportunity to interact with the program director, professors, current students and alumni.

Your time would be better spent excelling where you are and familiarizing yourself with your target programs.

No i haven't. I've gotten all of my information from Quantnet browsing and the various university websites
 
I would suggest signing into some of the chats, even if you just lurk initially.

U of M is just down the street so it shouldn't be a problem to visit. You can often schedule additional ad-hoc visits if you happen to find yourself travelling through one of the cities of the other targets.

Beyond that, you have two (three?) years to prepare. The quant community is rather small. If you become an active member and are good it is likely that you will be noticed.

IlyaKEightSix should be able to give you some advice on joining an open source community.

Im of the firm belief that doing real world work is worth more than a brand name (tho I may be biased ;)). What you really want is to find a way to stand out. Homogeneity tends to seldom breed innovation.
 

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
Personally, I think the biggest and most reliable way to get a leg up is to get good at software/CS. I'm not sure how right this is, but I feel that software companies, even big ones, are less elitist than finance companies. So get yourself into one of those, then your experience at that place can give you a brand that carries you.

Also it's a good backup.
 
I would suggest signing into some of the chats, even if you just lurk initially.

U of M is just down the street so it shouldn't be a problem to visit. You can often schedule additional ad-hoc visits if you happen to find yourself travelling through one of the cities of the other targets.

Beyond that, you have two (three?) years to prepare. The quant community is rather small. If you become an active member and are good it is likely that you will be noticed.

IlyaKEightSix should be able to give you some advice on joining an open source community.

Im of the firm belief that doing real world work is worth more than a brand name (tho I may be biased ;)). What you really want is to find a way to stand out. Homogeneity tends to seldom breed innovation.

The way I joined it is that the quant who hired me is an avid open source coder. Long story short, if you're doing finance with R, you're probably using code he contributed to. So, since I wanted to improve my reputation, I just asked him for work. Just find someone you like working with =).
 
I've really considered transferring to Univ. of Michigan. It is about 15 minutes from the school I'm at right now. Would it make that much more of a difference?
Yes, Univ. of Michigan is one of the top public universities in the country, and carries a high profile. If you get your degree from there, no one will care that you transferred in.

Although the tuition at U of M is about 50% higher than your current school,

http://ro.umich.edu/tuition/full.php#Lower_Gen
http://www.emich.edu/sbs/calc.php

assuming you are a Michigan resident, the net difference is not that great.

As you have done very well at your current school, I would think that U of M should consider you a strong transfer candidate. Perhaps there would be scholarship opportunities to cover the additional tuition.

Best of luck!
 
Yes, Univ. of Michigan is one of the top public universities in the country, and carries a high profile. If you get your degree from there, no one will care that you transferred in.

Although the tuition at U of M is about 50% higher than your current school,

http://ro.umich.edu/tuition/full.php#Lower_Gen
http://www.emich.edu/sbs/calc.php

assuming you are a Michigan resident, the net difference is not that great.

As you have done very well at your current school, I would think that U of M should consider you a strong transfer candidate. Perhaps there would be scholarship opportunities to cover the additional tuition.

Best of luck!

Problem is...I'm a Ohio resident. EMU offers in-state tuition to all Ohio residents. That is one of the reasons I came here. But thank you myampol I will think about it. (have to discuss it with my parents too)
 
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