Program Review - Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Hao Lin

New Member
I graduated in May 2017 and later in October, I got a full-time position at U.S. Bank's headquarter here in Minneapolis. My role is Credit Allowance Analyst. Generally, I develop benchmark models to evaluate loss outputs from the bank’s champion models. Based on risk factors that are not yet captured by the models, I perform analysis to support additional qualitative adjustments. Allowance for Credit Loss (ACL) Reserves are then determined by adding qualitative allocations to the quantitative model outputs.

Looking back the whole process from grad school to employment, I would really like to share my thoughts on the program.

1)During orientation, if you pass the placement exam, you can waive two fundamental calculus/algebra courses, FM5001 and FM5002. That will give you time to do a graduate-level minor study. Based on your interests, you can select courses related to Management, Computer Science, Applied Economics, Statistics, etc. I took database, python, and machine learning at that time and that really expanded my skillsets.

2)Resources are there for you to get practical project experience beyond coursework and polish your resume. Course instructors and seminar lecturers here are nice. Just introduce yourself and network with them. They would like to help you come up with a project to work on and give you suggestions whenever you get stuck. Also, the program offers modeling workshop in winter break and Bloomberg workshop in summer break. Alumni in the industry are always there as mentors. Moreover, students are encouraged to team up to participate in the trading competitions like CME and Rotman. Looking beyond the math department, I saw students successfully get in the Funds Enterprise in the Calson School of Management and invest with real money. Last but not the lease, the Economic Development Fellows (EDF) Consulting Program from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is also a good opportunity. Students teams will work with companies to identify a set of project goals and develop strategies for addressing their unique business challenges.

3)As a public university, tuition here is relatively low. Living expense in the Twin Cities area is also affordable. Less financial stress will let you focus more on study.

Hope this help you decide your grad school. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

Hao
 
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I graduated in May 2017 and later in October, I got a full-time position at U.S. Bank's headquarter here in Minneapolis. My role is Credit Allowance Analyst. Generally, I develop benchmark models to evaluate loss outputs from the bank’s champion models. Based on risk factors that are not yet captured by the models, I perform analysis to support additional qualitative adjustments. Allowance for Credit Loss (ACL) Reserves are then determined by adding qualitative allocations to the quantitative model outputs.

Looking back the whole process from grad school to employment, I would really like to share my thoughts on the program.

1)During orientation, if you pass the placement exam, you can waive two fundamental calculus/algebra courses, FM5091 and FM5092. That will give you time to do a graduate-level minor study. Based on your interests, you can select courses related to Management, Computer Science, Applied Economics, Statistics, etc. I took database, python, and machine learning at that time and that really expanded my skillsets.

2)Resources are there for you to get practical project experience beyond coursework and polish your resume. Course instructors and seminar lecturers here are nice. Just introduce yourself and network with them. They would like to help you come up with a project to work on and give you suggestions whenever you get stuck. Also, the program offers modeling workshop in winter break and Bloomberg workshop in summer break. Alumni in the industry are always there as mentors. Moreover, students are encouraged to team up to participate in the trading competitions like CME and Rotman. Looking beyond the math department, I saw students successfully get in the Funds Enterprise in the Calson School of Management and invest with real money. Last but not the lease, the Economic Development Fellows (EDF) Consulting Program from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is also a good opportunity. Students teams will work with companies to identify a set of project goals and develop strategies for addressing their unique business challenges.

3)As a public university, tuition here is relatively low. Living expense in the Twin Cities area is also affordable. Less financial stress will let you focus more on study.

Hope this help you decide your grad school. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

Hao
Hi,
What is the probability of Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance (FQF) students to get transfered to MFM? Is it wrthy for international students to take up the offer of joining FQF hoping that we would get transferred to MFM?
 

Hao Lin

New Member
Hi,
What is the probability of Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance (FQF) students to get transfered to MFM? Is it wrthy for international students to take up the offer of joining FQF hoping that we would get transferred to MFM?
Hi, I'm pretty sure you can get transferred to MFM. FQF is a 1-year program. For MFM students, if they do not pass the placement exam during orientation, they won't be able to waive FM 5091 and FM 5092. In this case, year 1 of MFM is exactly the same as FQF. Students from both programs are attending the same courses together. I think the downside of taking up the offer of FQF is that you won't have the chance to waive FM 5091 and FM 5092 because they are required for FQF.
 

Hao Lin

New Member
Hi,
What is the probability of Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance (FQF) students to get transfered to MFM? Is it wrthy for international students to take up the offer of joining FQF hoping that we would get transferred to MFM?
Sorry I made a mistake - I should have said FM 5001 and FM 5002 instead of FM 5091 and FM 5092. Also, FM 5001-5002 sequence is actually important if you are not waived out so that you are fully ready for the advance coursework. With FQF, you get all the same academic and career support and graduate with incoming class if you do well - only difference is you need to take the prep course which helps later in the coursework. Hope that you find this information helpful.
 

Zekun Deng

New Member
Thank you Hao for posting a nice review.
I also graduated from the Master of Financial Math at UMN, in 2011. I accepted a job of trading assistant at Cargill when I graduated, and I am now a senior trader. I didn't take any minor courses, but with a few years of work experience now, I wish I have taken the courses Hao Lin mentioned. Database, Python, ML are all very useful skills in the industry.
The courses here are nicely setup for people with various background, and the program can be flexible on how soon each student wants to graduate. The standard is 2 years. For me, I joined the program after getting my PhD and I wanted to take a fast track. The courses are setup such that I could take all of them within one year and graduate. As for tuition and financial aid, if you have a similar background like mine, you can try to get teaching assistant opportunities in other departments. The courses are all taught in the evening so regular work is not affected much. Many of my classmates are already working locally and taking the program at the same time. Minneapolis is actually a strong financial hub . I got two job offers in the middle of the program, both through networking with my classmates. Opportunities are good in Minneapolis.
 

yykkk

New Member
Hi,
What is the probability of Fundamentals of Quantitative Finance (FQF) students to get transfered to MFM? Is it wrthy for international students to take up the offer of joining FQF hoping that we would get transferred to MFM?
I would say the FQF is for sure worth considering as it won't be hard for you to transfer. You will have the 5001/5002, 5091/5092 in the first year which is similar to what many MFM students do who don‘t get a waiver for 5011/5012. They just want to make sure you have a strong enough math background to handle the advanced courses well. As far as I know, there are FQF students every year who transfer from the FQF successfully, graduate with their incoming class and get great jobs.

In addition to that, our strong network also helps when you want to look for something in the job market. Actually, I’m one of the people who landed in Chicago from our strong network there. I also agree with Hao’s response to you earlier, but please feel free to let me know if you have more questions.
 
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