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Columbia MSOR Send Another App or Accept MSOR?

Ben B

New Member
Hello all,
I apologize if this is somewhat redundant but I wanted to get peoples opinions for a rather specific scenario. I recently received admission to Columbia's MSOR (after not getting into the MFE), and am currently planning to accept (decision date is 4/7). I wanted to get everyone's thoughts on this, and whether I should send out another app (likely to Columbia's Math Fin) or if that would be a waste of time.

I am an undergrad graduating with a BA in Comp Sci, and a BS in Finance, with a Math minor (though I haven't taken linear algebra or probability) and a 3.5 GPA. My GRE was 168Q, 166V, 6.0 AWA and I had one equity research internship at a bank, and one investment research internship at the IMF, though neither were particularly quantitative. I was turned down from the MFE, and have not heard back regarding the 2nd round interview from CMU (uh oh) which leads me to wonder whether I have a chance at Columbia's MathFin or if I should just take the MSOR (Would the MathFin program even be any better?)

The main focus of what I am asking is whether I should see about an expedited decision for a yet to be sent out application at another school or simply accept the MSOR offer?

Ideally I want to study quantitative trading strategies, and either become a front office quant or quantitative trader and am looking for the best path to do so.

Thanks for any information and/or direction,


Hey Ben B,

Have you been accepted into any other programs?

I'm in a very similar boat to you. I've got similar career goals, and have also been accepted into Columbia's MSOR. I've come to the conclusion though, that even though the MSOR would be a fantastic program and open many doors, there just isn't a strong enough focus in the program content to become a quantitative trader (would like to hear objections though with reasons if anyone disagrees). MSOR can definitely lead to solid financial services jobs in NYC and elsewhere... but becoming a quant?.. If you were to accept this program, I'd say it'd be wise to sit in on quant classes and build your knowledge so that you know the same, if not more than the MFE students (even if you don't carry the same degree). In fact, showing that you have the discipline and interest to learn quantitative trading methods outside of your degree can be impressive in itself. Plus the interviews will come with the Columbia brand name I think.

ANYWAY - went on a little rant there.

Back to my original question... there are other programs that'll not have the brand name but will have the education to put you on your career path. Rutgers, Georgia Tech, etc... have you gotten into anything else?


Ben B

New Member
I've ended up in a strange position to some extent, as two of my recommendation writers have sort of stopped sending recommendations. I tried to email them and showed up at their offices, however they are never there. In the end, I might be able to get them to send one or two more, but they didn't send them in time for GTech, Rutgers, or NYU.

Do you know how many Financial Engineering courses at Columbia can be taken by an MSOR student? I saw a post here which suggested that many could be, but the Columbia site is less clear.