UC Berkeley Master of Financial Engineering Program

UCB MFE Review of UC Berkeley MFE program

physEcon

Member
I wonder how much to discount the review of someone who attends UCB and has no full time offers. They're placement is usually well above 90%?
 

kwlmy

Member
Sounds pretty bad for an expensive and well-known program.
 

rakeshpilania

New Member
This review is just from one student..so there is an element of doubt here...

Comp_math: its not as bad, if you look at placements and compensation out of Berkeley MFE

Career service is definitely one of the best..i would say one of the top 5 ..definitely better than columbia, cornell and may be better than NYU

As for me, I am a current student at Berkeley MFE..
 

atreides

Graduate Student
RAKESHPILANIA maybe you should write a review to give people a more balanced view.
 

berkeley quant

New Member
Im a curr berk mfe student. There is a contingent of approx 10% of our class who has grown very bitter toward the program bc they couldn’t handle the workload & are now bitter that they don’t have jobs.

I’ll be honest: the program is VERY intensive. Most of the great programs are. If you can’t hack it, don’t come! You will get out of this program what you put into it. If you’re expecting to only work 40 hrs/wk, you won’t learn much & you won’t have a job coming out. if you’re ready for the 80 hrs/wk commitment, you’ll learn a LOT & will have great likelihood of having a great job!

Biggest selling points of berk mfe:
1) berk has WORLDWIDE reputation as being a leader in scientific & engineering disciplines, 2) program is housed in a top 10 bus school so after you graduate you’re part of a worldwide network of Haas bus school alumni,
3) BEST career services on the planet! Linda doesn’t ever sleep. She’s working 24/7 to find students positions. Think I’m kidding? Enroll & find out. you get emails from her with job openings at 3 am on Sunday mornings. Everyone who’s been here knows it’s true!,
4) diversity of curriculum: exposure to almost every asset class,
5) AMAZING professors. Seriously, rubinstein, tavella, leland, cox, kahn, stanton, wallace, jaffee. These are the names you read about in OTHERS’ textbooks, & the names the govt comes calling to help them in the current crisis! (sorry, previous reviewer, if the fact that our profs are constantly flying all over the globe to help domestic & foreign govts with the subprime crisis; I suppose that does make them slightly inaccessible. You’d rather have a group of classroom-bound professors??)

And re: this reviewer’s comments about textbooks: perhaps if he/she had bothered to open any of them, they would see that the texts were often nice additions to the lecture notes, that provided more in-depth discussions of certain topics (and, yes, we did use a pre-print edition for 1 text, in order to stay on the cutting edge. Yes, there were some typos. Sorry, you’d rather be at a school where courses are taught from 5 yr old texts??)

1 final comment: something to beware of, in both the Berkeley mfe AND any OTHER mfe program: if you go to a quant program expecting to be guaranteed a trading position... that’s risky. Everyone graduating from the berk MFE can get a QUANT position. that’s not a problem. There are a finite # of trading positions, however. Most people are fine with that. but if it’s gonna make you jealous to see some of your classmates get trading positions while you’re "stuck" in a quant role for a couple yrs, then you probably shouldn’t attend ANY mfe program.
 
Hello aspiring MFE students,

My name is Munish and I am a current Berkeley MFE student. I worked in the investment modeling group of D.E. Shaw before coming to Berkeley. I had a CFA background, but did not have quantitative exposure. The MFE program at Berkeley was then the best choice because it combined my finance skills with quant skills and allow me to prepare me for a more responsible front office role. My experience in this program has been great. I learnt a lot of things ranging from stochastic math to interest rate modeling to common trading strategies. I was able to successfully design a new currency strategy in my econometrics course, which combined with my good GPA and finance background gave me opportunities to interview with Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Sun Trading, Morgan Stanley, Moody’s KMV and PG&E for my internship.

I will say that it is only through Berkeley’s MFE reputation, outstanding high level contacts, constant availability and extreme hard work of our executive director that it made it possible for me to get exposure to high frequency trading strategies during my internship. Not only this, but for full time search I was interviewed by the best high frequency trading firms on wall street: GETCO LLC, Citadel Investments, Jump Trading, Citi’s automated trading desk, Goldman Sachs, Socgen. I had offers lined up but I have accepted a full time offer with Sun Trading as I worked with them for 3 months and the prospects to learn, grow and perform are unparalleled.

I will rate Berkeley MFE 10/10 in all the aspects. My many thanks to our executive director Linda, our MFE office, admission committee and MFE faculty for giving me this opportunity to add so much value in myself in just 1 year. In the end I will say that I salute the Berkeley MFE program.

Bottom line: don't trust what is said on chat rooms, interview alumni and current students and you will realize the many strengths of this program.
 

shalie

New Member
I think this guy is reviewing berkeley too harshly. I dont attend that university but I bet is a good program.
 

nmbrcrnch

New Member
There is trouble brewing at UCB MFE. 2019 placement is way down this year - currently at 65% one month after graduation! The 2020 cohort has increased by almost 20% above 2019, so how will UCB MFE find jobs for so many additional people? My sense is that Haas sees the MFE as a cash cow. Has Linda lost her touch?
 
Do you have any evidence of the 65% placement rate? Not that I'm saying what you're saying is suspicious or that I don't trust you.
 
.... so you're not citing statistics for the program as a whole, it's just unverifiable anecdotal evidence with a small sample size being extrapolated to the entire program?

I don't see how any reasonable person can conclude that placement rate is materially deteriorating based solely on this anecdotal evidence
 

nmbrcrnch

New Member
Speaking with friends who graduated from the program in March.
Of course, this is anecdotal because we are literally speaking with one another and we know who is placed and who is not placed. You seem eager to disregard my statement, but I know 6-8 UCB MFE grads who are telling me this. Here is the thing, UCB has a reputation for placing students but this year they are behind and the 2020 class has 20% more students than 2019. Maybe Linda cannot do it alone. Just consider that. That is all I am saying. Are they others reading this blog who can offer their opinion?
 
I agree with the sentiment that a larger cohort size means likely lower placement rates, and that it is in general a bad sign, if all other things remain equal. I'm not discrediting the possibility that placement rates for 2019 may be lower than previous years.

What I am saying is that you destroy your own credibility when you write

There is trouble brewing at UCB MFE. 2019 placement is way down this year - currently at 65% one month after graduation!
and then clarify it's just an extrapolation based on a very small, not necessarily representative sample size.

Based on your impression, and YOUR personal anecdotal evidence, you may feel that placement rates this year are lower. How do you know if your anecdotal evidence matches up with the program as a whole? YOU DON'T!
 

nmbrcrnch

New Member
I agree with the sentiment that a larger cohort size means likely lower placement rates, and that it is in general a bad sign, if all other things remain equal. I'm not discrediting the possibility that placement rates for 2019 may be lower than previous years.

What I am saying is that you destroy your own credibility when you write



and then clarify it's just an extrapolation based on a very small, not necessarily representative sample size.
I disagree with your use of the term "sample size". I am not extrapolating a value based on a small sample. I am telling you the actual percentage of placed students vs. unplaced students based on the entire 2019 cohort. Over the weekend, 6-8 people have validated that 65% of 2019 students are placed and that 35% are unplaced. We are all talking and these students are keenly aware of the problem because their OPT date is set and the clock is ticking. You may derive your own conclusions. Clearly, time will tell. Have a nice day.
 
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