Review of SUNY Buffalo Master of Finance program


Staff member

This review was submitted on 12/22/2009 by a student who studied full-time in the program from 9/2007-9/2008

Can you tell us a bit about your background?
PhD in Management Science and Information Systems - University of Texas at Austin. Lots of Economics and Finance and Operations Management courses. GPA 3.8. GMAT 760 - 99 percentile in 2006. Previously I had done my BTech in Computer Science from IIT-Mumbai and MBA from IIM-Bangalore.
5 years programming experience as a developer (SQL, Oracle, C++, OO). Life sucked. Got bored of programming. Some of my classmates from PhD program were earning $400K+ on Wall Street.
Did you get admitted to other programs?
Yes. Got admitted to others. Would prefer not to list.
Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
Liked the course content. Nice set of courses offered. Subjects which I wanted to cover. $10K tuition seemed to be a real bargain.
Tell us about the application process at this program
Applied. 6 weeks later got an email to pay $500 admission deposit.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you grade the accessibility of the faculty and staff?
Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
Math Finance I & II (Hull + Luenberger).
Numerical Analysis I & II (Matlab).
Portfolio Theory.
Fixed Income Securities.
Complex Financial Instruments (Wilmott).
Financial Modeling (EViews).
Investments (Bodie).
International Finance.
Supervised Research - Citibank Yield Book.
Other courses which were available but which I did not take:
Management of Financial Institutions.
Financial Policies and Strategy.
Mergeres & Acquisitions.
Financial Statement Analysis
On a scale of 1-10, how would you grade the flexibility of the curriculum?
Tell us about the quality of teaching
Quality of teaching was very good. Did not bother to contact the TA for anything. Most of the students study in groups, so you really need to find 3 or 4 people whom you feel comfortable studying with.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you grade the quality of teaching?
Materials used in the program
Investments, by Zvi Bodies, Alex Kane, and Alan Marcus
Investment Science, by D. G. Luenberger
Analysis of Econometric Data, Second Edition, by Gary Koop
“Wilmott introduces quantitative finance” by Paul Wilmott
Lots of Course Packets - I think there was a course packet of 200-300 pages for each and every course.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you grade the practicality of the curriculum?
Programming component of the program
Citibank Yield Book.
One individual project in Supervised Research (Yield Book).
Group projects were there in every course.
Career service
Few companies come to campus. Most of the students move to New York City after graduating and start interviewing. They normally get jobs within 3 months of graduation.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you grade the career service for internship and full-time job?
What do you like about the program?
Liked the course content and quality of teaching. The $10K tuition was fantastic.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you grade the value of the program for the price tag?
What DON’T you like about the program?
The placement assistance could have been better. Citibank hires a few people every year in their Buffalo office. M&T Bank hires a few. BoA has got the Mortgage division in Buffalo. Most students have to move to NYC to find jobs.
Suggestions for the program to make it better
Not much really. The program as such was great. The placement is the only thing that sucks.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you grade your experience in the program?
What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Still spend most of my time programming. Some of my PhD classmates are now earning $600K+. Can't figure out how or why. Want to do quant work and earn big $.
On a scale of 1-10, would you recommend this program to others?
Other comments
The students are really smart and very cooperative. Really liked the program. Unfortunately my GPA dropped from 3.8 in PhD to 3.6 in MFE. Don't know why. Put in my best effort.
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I have applied to SUNY Buffalo's MS Finance program - Financial Management track. I am currently pursuing my MS Operations Research at SUNY Buffalo. How would you rate the Financial Management track? Do they allow us to take courses from the Financial Engineering track?

I am strongly considering changing tracks to MFE.
The Financial Management Track is quite good. You will not have to take the two courses in Numerical Analysis and the two courses in Math Finance which are taught in the Math Department. Instead you will take four more Finance courses which are taught in the Business School. You should try to get a Teaching Assistantship. Many of the Indian students get a Teaching Assistantship and then they get the degree for free. But for job, you have to be prepared to move to New York City. Only Citibank will hire for Buffalo jobs and there are very few jobs in Buffalo. Everyone has to move to New York City after getting the degree. Even in the Career office, they will tell you to move to New York City to find jobs.
I got my PhD in comp sci from SUNY Buffalo, and that hasn't opened any doors for me.  The top tiers in academia and government jobs are closed to people with UB PhDs.  Is it any different for this program?  I find it hard to believe a UB graduate could be making $600K.  Most quant job ads say, "Applicant must be from a top school such as Princeton, Stanford, UPenn, Berkeley, or UMich."  The entire finance world is infamous for its extreme prejudice against people who went to affordable colleges.