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Should I even bother applying?

Hello everybody,
I've been considering applying to a US school for a little over a year, but I'm afraid my profile is not competitive for most programs.
Here's a quick breakdown:
BS in Aerospace Engineering (GPA 3.8/4)
MS in Aeronautical Engineering (GPA 4/4 + honors), both from a good Italian university.
Good matlab, python and C++ (also Fortran but I don't think anybody cares lol)
Pretty decent knowledge of numerical methods for PDEs, I wrote a bunch of programs to solve Black-Scholes and Fokker-Plank/Backwards Kolmogorov eqs.
GRE: 167Q 159V 4.5 AW (not thrilled but hesitant to retake it).
I also taught myself some more advanced math (measure-theoretic probability theory, martingales, markov and diffusion processes), but don't have grades to prove it.

UNFORTUNATELY, the Italian education system is structured in such a way that students have no summer vacations, and as a result, I have no internship experience.
Internships themselves are very hard to come by in Italy and usually target fresh graduates.
This appears to be a really big problem.
The only work experience that I have is being a TA and working for the school library, I recently completed my master's and I'm looking for jobs in data science. Hopefully, by the time I apply, I will have secured one.

My profile pales in comparison to the many that I see posted on this forum, I'm not targeting any of the top 5 schools but it looks to me that I would struggle to make it in any of the top 20 ones.
Should I even apply given my lack of internships and work experience?

Thanks to anyone that will respond, it is much appreciated
 
Hello, First of all, let me tell you that I believe you are not adopting the right mentality, in fact, your profile is very good, you have all the skills to succeed in an MFE program and your GRE is very good. So, have confidence in yourself and if it is really what you want to do then go on and apply.
For the top 5 schools of course having a good profile is not guaranteed but you will have all your chances and for the top 20 you will get some good ones for sure.
I wrote these words because I really believe what I said.
I wish you good luck with your application, let me know if you may need other info.
 
Hello, First of all, let me tell you that I believe you are not adopting the right mentality, in fact, your profile is very good, you have all the skills to succeed in an MFE program and your GRE is very good. So, have confidence in yourself and if it is really what you want to do then go on and apply.
For the top 5 schools of course having a good profile is not guaranteed but you will have all your chances and for the top 20 you will get some good ones for sure.
I wrote these words because I really believe what I said.
I wish you good luck with your application, let me know if you may need other info.
Thank you for the kind words, they lifted my spirit. I'm just trying to gauge whether applying is worth it or not, since it takes a lot of time, effort and money, or if I should apply next year when I have more job experience. I also don't want to bother my professors for recommendations two years in a row if I apply and get rejected.
This is definitely what I want to do and I am very determined. Unfortunately I haven't had any luck in getting job offers in related fields. Do you think that an unrelated engineering job would be any good for my application? Deadlines are approaching and I would like to put some job on my resume.
Also do you know if there are any schools that value students with engineering backgrounds more than others? I was guessing probably GaTech, but maybe there's more.
Thank you and have a great day!
 
Hello, Sorry for the late answer.
It is great that you are determined and that you know that this is your calling.
I think that engineering jobs are great for mfe prep as they require you to use a lot of skills that are transferable to the quant industry.
You should apply whenever you feel comfortable and prepared to dedicate a lot of time to the application. Regarding the reference letter, I believe that given your outstanding academic achievement your teacher will be more than happy to write it even 10 years in a row haha.
Some schools definitely value engineering background, think about Chicago, Carnegie mellon, Cornell, NYU, UCLA and Illinois.

Hope you find this helpful.

I noticed that your GRE verbal score is amazing, one of the condition for converting my offer is to get a nice verbal score but I can't manage to go over 156,
do you have any advice for me?
 
Hello, Sorry for the late answer.
It is great that you are determined and that you know that this is your calling.
I think that engineering jobs are great for mfe prep as they require you to use a lot of skills that are transferable to the quant industry.
You should apply whenever you feel comfortable and prepared to dedicate a lot of time to the application. Regarding the reference letter, I believe that given your outstanding academic achievement your teacher will be more than happy to write it even 10 years in a row haha.
Some schools definitely value engineering background, think about Chicago, Carnegie mellon, Cornell, NYU, UCLA and Illinois.

Hope you find this helpful.

I noticed that your GRE verbal score is amazing, one of the condition for converting my offer is to get a nice verbal score but I can't manage to go over 156,
do you have any advice for me?
Hello, sorry for the late reply, thank you for the advice! Congratulations on your conditional offer, I'm sure you'll get the score you need! May I ask where you applied?

My advice for the verbal part would be the following:
I think the main difficulty of GRE verbal is the vocabulary. Of course the fill-in-the-blank kind of exercises are very hard if your vocabulary is poor, but I noticed that a better vocabulary also markedly improves your reading comprehension.
I personally find it very boring and daunting to memorize a long list of words, and I usually end up forgetting most of them after a few days anyways.
I think a more hands-on approach is much more effective. Try the following for fill in the blanks exercises.
Do a lot of practice sections and write down all the words you don't know. Most of the times you won't be able to solve an exercise because you don't know the meaning of one or two key words in the sentence (not in the answer choices!). GRE words look very complicated but they usually either have a positive or negative meaning. Try to infer if the meaning is positive or negative from other elements in the sentence like adverbs. I recommend to never look at the answer choices because they are misleading. Only once you made your guess and you think you understand what the sentence needs in order to be completed, look at the answer choices and select one that makes sense.
Now that you know the expected meaning of the sentence, if there are words that you don't know in the answer choices, you should be able to eliminate at least a few of them.

Once you answered look up the meaning of all the words you didn't know and check if your inference made sense. You will learn new words much better this way because you spent a long time thinking about the possible meaning, and you will also get much better in dealing with situations when you don't know a few words.
I don't think you can train your reading comprehension all that much. Reading lots of books can definitely be helpful.
Hope this was helpful, good luck and have a great week!
 
Thank you so much for your wonderful advice,
I started my preparation by making sure to follow them carefully,
I will try to combine your method with learning new words every day,
If you have other wonderful advice as to the previous one, I will take them with pleasure haha

I applied in 6 schools, Columbia, NYU, JohnHopkins, Carnegie, Georgiatech and UCLA.
I am currently preparing GRE for Georgia tech.

I really hope you will apply to MFE soon as this is the program tailored for your amazing profile.
Let me know if I can share with you any of my experience with the application.
I would be really happy to help you, share everything I know and answer any of your questions.

I wish you a great end of the week.
I hope I was helpful as well.
 
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