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Quant programs as a US citizen

I think it's cuz foreign students use MS programs as a gateway to US jobs. As you know, getting a job with a foreign degree is neigh impossible in the US. Plus, I think most Americans don't do a Masters, they go straight into the workforce unless you want to work in a field that requires a specialized degree like law or medicine. Only one of my American friends decided to do a Master's (I know, terrible sample size, but still.) He is doing it for a job change.
 
I would somewhat agree. You'll feel out of place and it could be hard to reach out and talk to all your classmates. You might have different cultural backgrounds, life experiences, etc, but you all share the love for the subject you're studying and going through the same experiences as grad students. That's common ground enough to engage with your peers and learn a thing or two from everyone. You might even share similar interests, hobbies with someone halfway across the globe.

I know not everyone thinks like this, but this would be my take on it.
 
Why are quant programs so filled with international students? Is it even worth to go in a quant program as a US citizen? I would have preferred a MS in Stats/CS but it is too late to apply to those programs, so I am applying to MFEs instead.

Just look at BU's students, I only see 3 not from China. I feel like I would be very out of place if I went there.
Before you dig up the diversity, the bigger red flag is that you are applying to MFE programs because you are late in applying to other programs. I am not here to argue MFE is better than CS/Stats, just find your approach toward MFE a bit messy.
 
Why are quant programs so filled with international students? Is it even worth to go in a quant program as a US citizen? I would have preferred a MS in Stats/CS but it is too late to apply to those programs, so I am applying to MFEs instead.
I think the top MFE programs, including MIT MFin (not ranked this year), are still worth it. I met Americans as well as my fellow Canadians when I was at Columbia IEOR. Also, the international students in the top MFE programs are generally smart af and much, much more open to American culture, e.g., watch sports...
Just look at BU's students, I only see 3 not from China. I feel like I would be very out of place if I went there.
I know the feeling...
As you know, getting a job with a foreign degree is neigh impossible in the US.
Unless you're Canadian--there's plenty of Canadians working in the Bay Area with just a Canadian bachelor's degree. I unfortunately didn't follow this path cuz I screwed around way too much in undergrad lol.
Plus, I think most Americans don't do a Masters, they go straight into the workforce unless you want to work in a field that requires a specialized degree like law or medicine. Only one of my American friends decided to do a Master's (I know, terrible sample size, but still.) He is doing it for a job change.
Same with my Canadian friends working in the US and my American friends working in Canada lol. Most of my Canadian friends who did a Master's/PhD in the US went to pretty much the top programs/schools in their respective fields, otherwise they stayed in Canada to finish their graduate education.
 
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Before you dig up the diversity, the bigger red flag is that you are applying to MFE programs because you are late in applying to other programs. I am not here to argue MFE is better than CS/Stats, just find your approach toward MFE a bit messy.
TBH I'm applying to masters in case I don't get a job after graduating lmao, also some places I'm applying to have really long processes aka government roles
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Why are quant programs so filled with international students? Is it even worth to go in a quant program as a US citizen? I would have preferred a MS in Stats/CS but it is too late to apply to those programs, so I am applying to MFEs instead.
Answer: because not enough US citizens are!

It's a more general trend that started in the 80s in Europe and I suppose USA. Many European graduates wanted to become managers.
Countries like China, Morocco, France and etc. love maths.

It's like decline of the West in a sense, Germany seems to have made a U-turn before it is too late,
 
For background, I'm a US Citizen, mid-career at CMU.

I agree with your assessment about the distribution on student backgrounds - mostly international for certain.

I think the same holds true for industry; most all of the quants I know < 50 yrs old are international, or 1st generation US citizens.

It's not clear to me the absence of US Citizens in these programs is because 'they don't need the MFE.'

Another possible cause is the lack of quantitative and technical training in US primary and secondary schools. There are maybe a lot of students who would like to be in these programs but lack the foundation. I certainly count myself in this group (at least until I completed a mountain of pre-req coursework).

It's definitely true many can go right into the field out of undergrad. As a rule, these individuals are from top schools with extensive quantitative training. There's also a pipeline for folks in adjacent fields - engineers, stats, etc.

If you have concerns about connecting with international students, it's likely you might have challenges in industry as well. Again, I think the distribution is quite similar.

In my own experience, the biggest shock to me was the first day of classes when most of the class had ordered lunch from local restaurants on WeChat. There were a bunch of regular cars lined up distributing take out boxes from the trunks. I had never seen anything like that, and I totally got in on it the next day.

I'm about 15-20 years older than my entire class, and the only student there with a family. So definitely even more of a demographic outlier. Even so, I formed some great friendships with students, which frankly helped me finish the program (currently in the home stretch). There's something to be said for the camaraderie that develops from the shared suffering of an MFE program.
 
I'm about 15-20 years older than my entire class, and the only student there with a family. So definitely even more of a demographic outlier. Even so, I formed some great friendships with students, which frankly helped me finish the program (currently in the home stretch). There's something to be said for the camaraderie that develops from the shared suffering of an MFE program.
I definitely second the point about collective suffering. Some of my best friends from college were from this omega difficult course we took.
 
TBH I'm applying to masters in case I don't get a job after graduating lmao, also some places I'm applying to have really long processes aka government roles
Not really sure what you’re getting at — no way around it man, you left it late. A half-assed plan B will always be exactly that.

Why are quant programs so filled with international students? Is it even worth to go in a quant program as a US citizen? I would have preferred a MS in Stats/CS but it is too late to apply to those programs, so I am applying to MFEs instead.

Just look at BU's students, I only see 3 not from China. I feel like I would be very out of place if I went there.

By just citing BU you are inherently cherry picking. Look at CMU MSCF, NYU Courant — far more representative of what demographics are like program-to-program, at least for top ones — and you’ll see many US undergrads. Sure, many are international students that came to the US for undergrad, but if this still bothers you than I think you’re choosing the wrong field. If you go to a top US school for undergrad, and are not pursing law/medicine/PhD, why in the world would you do a professional masters, it’s simply not necessary for the well-trained student coming from a good institution planning to pursue a career sufficiently related to their undergrad major. You can find plenty of US citizens that are quants and did not pursue an MFE-type degree, however, note where they went for undergrad. If you go to a lower tier school, you likely are only going to be exposed to quantitative finance if you go sniffing on your own because (i) career services are nonexistent and (ii) less likely you have available courses related to quant finance to spark your interest. Thus, most students end up pursuing something more generic and widely known, such as data science. I think both of these things, combined with the fact that MFEs are a popular way for international students with non US undergrad to move to the US quant job market, are two primary factors leading to not many US citizens in MFEs.
 
Not really sure what you’re getting at — no way around it man, you left it late. A half-assed plan B will always be exactly that.



By just citing BU you are inherently cherry picking. Look at CMU MSCF, NYU Courant — far more representative of what demographics are like program-to-program, at least for top ones — and you’ll see many US undergrads. Sure, many are international students that came to the US for undergrad, but if this still bothers you than I think you’re choosing the wrong field. If you go to a top US school for undergrad, and are not pursing law/medicine/PhD, why in the world would you do a professional masters, it’s simply not necessary for the well-trained student coming from a good institution planning to pursue a career sufficiently related to their undergrad major. You can find plenty of US citizens that are quants and did not pursue an MFE-type degree, however, note where they went for undergrad. If you go to a lower tier school, you likely are only going to be exposed to quantitative finance if you go sniffing on your own because (i) career services are nonexistent and (ii) less likely you have available courses related to quant finance to spark your interest. Thus, most students end up pursuing something more generic and widely known, such as data science. I think both of these things, combined with the fact that MFEs are a popular way for international students with non US undergrad to move to the US quant job market, are two primary factors leading to not many US citizens in MFEs.
I do agree my plan B was pretty half assed, mostly because I thought I would be able to get a quant job out of a non target (0 people in my school got into quant careers out of undergrad) because of my decent performance at trading competitions, but the reality is majority of new grad hires are from MIT and the likes (like half the staff at Traders@MIT interned at Jane Street alone). I feel like I just wasn't prepared for the interviews, looking back at them they seemed very possible to pass.

On another note, are quant trading careers at prop shops/hedge funds even remotely stable? I rarely see people that are over 3 years of experience on LinkedIn, tons of them are 0-2 years.
 
It depends how well you preform, how important the quant role is to the firm, and how well you deal with burnout. Most of the time most people don’t think the money is worth the work / stress and leave. From my firm most people who leave go to Instagram/ fb or other places as data scientists or software engineers
 
Not really sure what you’re getting at — no way around it man, you left it late. A half-assed plan B will always be exactly that.



By just citing BU you are inherently cherry picking. Look at CMU MSCF, NYU Courant — far more representative of what demographics are like program-to-program, at least for top ones — and you’ll see many US undergrads. Sure, many are international students that came to the US for undergrad, but if this still bothers you than I think you’re choosing the wrong field. If you go to a top US school for undergrad, and are not pursing law/medicine/PhD, why in the world would you do a professional masters, it’s simply not necessary for the well-trained student coming from a good institution planning to pursue a career sufficiently related to their undergrad major. You can find plenty of US citizens that are quants and did not pursue an MFE-type degree, however, note where they went for undergrad. If you go to a lower tier school, you likely are only going to be exposed to quantitative finance if you go sniffing on your own because (i) career services are nonexistent and (ii) less likely you have available courses related to quant finance to spark your interest. Thus, most students end up pursuing something more generic and widely known, such as data science. I think both of these things, combined with the fact that MFEs are a popular way for international students with non US undergrad to move to the US quant job market, are two primary factors leading to not many US citizens in MFEs.
Actually I just looked at Courant's resume books, look like all Chinese international students.
 
why are you so concerned about a program having so many international students? I wouldn't be surprised if the same was true with cs or stat programs. Chances are that you will find friends in the program, then there's a good chance you won't speak to any/most of them after 5 or 10 years once your career starts.
 
why are you so concerned about a program having so many international students? I wouldn't be surprised if the same was true with cs or stat programs. Chances are that you will find friends in the program, then there's a good chance you won't speak to any/most of them after 5 or 10 years once your career starts.
tbh just need reassurance that a mfe is worth all that tuition for a us citizen, 80k is alot
 
tbh just need reassurance that a mfe is worth all that tuition for a us citizen, 80k is alot
Go for only top MFE programs then. In those programs, there's some Americans and the international students there are generally very smart and much more open to American culture so you can hang out with them at socials, drinking.
 
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