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Question about MFE Prerequisites

michaelk

Member
This question is probably relevant to folks who been out of school for a while.

I took some time to review the list of prerequisites.

I took Calculus I/II and Linear Algebra more than 10 years ago. Needless to say, my knowledge is more than a bit stale. Is this going to be a factor during the admissions process?

I am more than willing to review my math and intend to do so because obviously that is a must to survive in the program. But if it is a factor in the admissions criteria, do I need to retake these courses prior to applying and have a documented proof that I'm up to speed, as opposed to simply reviewing them on my own?

Also, looking through my old undergrad transcripts, I see that I have not explicitly taken any courses in Probability. But I have implicitly studied probability as part of my core engineering courses such as Communications and Linear Systems. How will the admissions people view this?

If it's simply a matter of brushing up on math prior to formally entering the program I am willing to do so. But if it is an admissions criteria, then is it advisable to enroll in formal classes and retake these subjects?
 

Uncle Max

Well-Known Member
I took Calculus I/II and Linear Algebra more than 10 years ago. Needless to say, my knowledge is more than a bit stale. Is this going to be a factor during the admissions process?
Don't worry about that. Refresher courses are the answer to your worries. They help a lot to get ready to the program.

Also, looking through my old undergrad transcripts, I see that I have not explicitly taken any courses in Probability. But I have implicitly studied probability as part of my core engineering courses such as Communications and Linear Systems. How will the admissions people view this?
In this kind of situation you will need to explain those things in your admission essay and your resume. It will count ;)
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
Don't worry about that. Refresher courses are the answer to your worries. They help a lot to get ready to the program.
I have a slightly different approach. Prerequisite (or refresher courses as they are officially called) are open only for admitted students. It's highly likely that you will take those courses once admitted.

The name of the game right now is to get admitted so you can take those prerequisites. There is one instance where one didn't get admitted last year, took the required courses elsewhere, got all A, applied again and got accepted.

So I would highly recommend that you take the courses at any colleges as a non-degree student. If you are applying for 2007, make sure you state on your SOP that you are taking the courses. This will show you are serious.

I took those same undergrad courses 8,9 years ago and I thought reviewing the materials myself in my free time would suffice but it never works out like that if you know what i mean ;)

Again, whatever once deemed enough to gain admission to Baruch MFE 2006 maybe no longer enough for Baruch MFE 2007. This is true in other programs as well.
 

michaelk

Member
Columbia Univ has a link of a PDF file that contains problem sets representative of the math knowledge (in probability, calculus, and linear algebra) that is needed for an MS in Financial Engineering. Inspecting this document is probably a good way to gauge one's math knowledge and identify possible weaknesses.
 

michaelk

Member
Thanks for your feedbacks, maxrum and Andy.

I think it's great that Baruch offers these refresher courses. However, judging by the schedule and time frame allocated for these courses, it appears to me that these courses are highly compressed and are meant only to jog one's memory and not as substitutes for comprehensive courses which should have been undertaken in the past.

I think it is in my best interest to (re)take some of these prerequisite math courses sometime this year. Not just for the sake of looking pretty for the admissions committee but also to genuinely solidify the math foundation that I'll need to survive in the program. Also, having been out of school for a while, it'll be a good way to get accustomed to being in "student mode" again.

I think what I'll do is take Probability and re-take Linear Algebra during a summer session at a local university. I'll also take an introductory course in Financial Management, since that is something I never took during my undergraduate years either. All this is in addition to the C++ training that I'll be doing at NYU SCPS.

As for Calculus, I think I'll leave that for the refresher courses if I get accepted.
 

Uncle Max

Well-Known Member
I think it is in my best interest to (re)take some of these prerequisite math courses sometime this year. Not just for the sake of looking pretty for the admissions committee but also to genuinely solidify the math foundation that I'll need to survive in the program. Also, having been out of school for a while, it'll be a good way to get accustomed to being in "student mode" again.
Refresher courses are designed to sharpen your knowledge from the practical prospect of you. So if you took Calculus, Probability, etc. you'd better just go a "refresher" way. Indeed, it will never hurt to retake some of those classes, but on the other hand you will lose a year retaking them. It will be hard, but everything is manageable if put work in studying.

You can do it, we can help (C)
I think this should be a slogan for the refresher courses :)
 
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