# Columbia MSORsome truth about the Columbia MSOR

#### roni

##### Cornell FE
@roni, you may find the answer to your question by looking at financeguy's words on page 1.
I read his post but it was in 2008. I don't know if something changed, but by looking at the courses, MSOR students just can't take many MSFE courses because the most basic courses are offered in the summer semester and the MSOR students start the program in the fall semester. So, they miss all the basic courses which are also the prerequisites for other more advanced MSFE courses.

#### coolharvard

##### Member
4106 is the OR version of 4701. And 4404 is the OR version of 4703. There are also IEOR 4700/4602/4620/4630/4500...

#### financeguy

##### Active Member
Everything looks the same as it did back then. You do not have to take prerequisites to take elective courses. As a masters student you're just expected to be mature enough to take on what you can handle. From my experience generally you don't need the listed prerequisites to do well in any course of your choosing.

#### Ycohen

##### Member
I am not sure why anyone who didn't get into the MFE program would go to the MSOR and specialize in Financial Engineering. Do you really think a recruiter would take the MSOR student for the same job when he can take people who actually got accepted to the real Financial Engineering program?

#### financeguy

##### Active Member
Yep. For two reasons. First because you can't distinguish between those that got referred to MSOR and those who chose it over MSFE in the first place, and second because it's more important what and how you do in your masters program than in whatever academic program you were in before.

#### roni

##### Cornell FE
I am not sure why anyone who didn't get into the MFE program would go to the MSOR and specialize in Financial Engineering. Do you really think a recruiter would take the MSOR student for the same job when he can take people who actually got accepted to the real Financial Engineering program?
What if the MSOR student has 10 years of experience, excellent communication skills(!!!) , low undergrad GPA and bad GRE score, but he/she did really well during the MSOR program at Columbia and learned a lot, you still think the MFE students are always preferable ? btw, I wasn't talking about myself...
According to financeguy and others, you can take lots of MSFE courses...

#### Ycohen

##### Member
What if the MSOR student has 10 years of experience, excellent communication skills(!!!) , low undergrad GPA and bad GRE score, but he/she did really well during the MSOR program at Columbia and learned a lot, you still think the MFE students are always preferable ? btw, I wasn't talking about myself...
According to financeguy and others, you can take lots of MSFE courses...
By your argument, a guy who doesn't go to any school but has all those qualities is also better than the one who got into MFE. My point was only that all things being equal, the firms are smart enough (hopefully) to know that anyone intersted in financial engineering would gone to the MFE in the first place. I could be wrong, but it makes sense to me.
To be honest, I would take the MSOR too, but to say it's equal to the MFE program makes little sense to me.

#### financeguy

##### Active Member
By your argument, a guy who doesn't go to any school but has all those qualities is also better than the one who got into MFE. My point was only that all things being equal, the firms are smart enough (hopefully) to know that anyone intersted in financial engineering would gone to the MFE in the first place. I could be wrong, but it makes sense to me.
To be honest, I would take the MSOR too, but to say it's equal to the MFE program makes little sense to me.
Right ok I see your point (though I disagree) but the purpose of this thread as you might guess from its title is to inform readers beyond what is available on Columbia's website and what is simply deduced from personal logic as your thoughts are. What I and other posters are sharing are our actual experiences going through these programs and are not conjectures.

#### Ycohen

##### Member
Sure but that assumes that we are talking about recruitment specifically for financial engineering

Right ok I see your point (though I disagree) but the purpose of this thread as you might guess from its title is to inform readers beyond what is available on Columbia's website and what is simply deduced from personal logic as your thoughts are. What I and other posters are sharing are our actual experiences going through these programs and are not conjectures.
Point taken. I did not realize you had gone through the program. Would you be able to shed some light on why Columbia doesn't give the salary range for the graduates of MSOR like they do for MFSE? I was seriously considering the program but that scared me off enough to just go with the MFE application.

#### financeguy

##### Active Member
That I do not know. They didn't bother asking me my salary so my best guess is that they don't know what the salary range is for graduates. Another thing to keep in mind is that a majority of students in the program are not pursuing careers in finance, as many students choose to concentrate in other areas of operations research.

#### zimingsk

##### New Member
Numerous facts show that in order to be a SUCCESSFUL TRADER, an MFE degree is not required! You can go ask traders or anyone in S/T and they will tell you the only thing matters is your SCHOOL NAME. If both guys come from Columbia, then the one with more work experience and better soft skills will win. I have to say that, the game is not only for MSOR and MSFE students. MAFN, STAT, ECON, APPLIED MATH...etc., they will all show up in the competition. So Ycohen, I think in this case, you think too much or you think too little...lol...

#### Ycohen

##### Member
Numerous facts show that in order to be a SUCCESSFUL TRADER, an MFE degree is not required! You can go ask traders or anyone in S/T and they will tell you the only thing matters is your SCHOOL NAME. If both guys come from Columbia, then the one with more work experience and better soft skills will win. I have to say that, the game is not only for MSOR and MSFE students. MAFN, STAT, ECON, APPLIED MATH...etc., they will all show up in the competition. So Ycohen, I think in this case, you think too much or you think too little...lol...
Haha. You are probably right. Like most posters here, I say whatever the most optimistic scenario is to me. I hope I am not about to pay $60000 for something I can do right now with my math degree. I'm probably a little naive but I still think there is some value to a degree from a good school. The easiest proof is how many VERY QUALIFIED candidates did not get into the same schools. This could be something that down the line helps. Here's hoping at least.... #### DominiConnor ##### Quant Headhunter zimingski has a good point. Most of what you need to be a good trader is not taught on an MFE, and most of what you learn on an MFE is not geared towards trading. Most successful traders don't have an MFE That sounds like a clear case for not doing an MFE if your only goal is to be a trader... But... You have to get to be a trader before you get to be a good trader... That means beating the literally millions of people who want to be traders. Good qualifications can get that. The past is a flawed predictor of the future of jobs in this market. We have been through a period of high inflation in qualifications in banking, and especially in trading. Also the nature of the job has changed. When I first wandered into a bank on London, the single most common qualification for traders was graduaation from Sandhurst, the British military academy for army officers, and it was not very different in NY. Thus to start a career as a trader in 2012, you need skills that did not even exist half a career ago, and you need more of them. #### zimingsk ##### New Member zimingski has a good point. Most of what you need to be a good trader is not taught on an MFE, and most of what you learn on an MFE is not geared towards trading. Most successful traders don't have an MFE That sounds like a clear case for not doing an MFE if your only goal is to be a trader... But... You have to get to be a trader before you get to be a good trader... That means beating the literally millions of people who want to be traders. Good qualifications can get that. The past is a flawed predictor of the future of jobs in this market. We have been through a period of high inflation in qualifications in banking, and especially in trading. Also the nature of the job has changed. When I first wandered into a bank on London, the single most common qualification for traders was graduaation from Sandhurst, the British military academy for army officers, and it was not very different in NY. Thus to start a career as a trader in 2012, you need skills that did not even exist half a career ago, and you need more of them. I really appreciate your comments DominiConnor, I have learnt a lot. I agree with you that the job market has changed tremendously these days, however trading seems not a very tough topic if you come from a quant subject. (personal idea). I come from actuarial science, and I am very comfortable to learn trading strategies and coding when I had my intern. In my mind, you can learn or experience a lot in an undergraduate program at a ivy school or a phd study...however, I don't think the 1 year MFE can really teach you much. It should be like a wrap-up or transformation of your knowledge to the finance field. I don't expect the knowledge will be very deep as we have those PHD finance guys right? I never had a MFE degree and the above is just my guessing. But I did consult with many traders and MDs, they seem like not really care about what your major is as long as you had some math #### DominiConnor ##### Quant Headhunter MFEs are for most people either a conversion or as you say, a sort of finishing school. There are three key factor in choosing education that helps your career: 1) Are you playing the game where you are clearly better than most other people ? 2) Are you patching over some holes in your skills ? 3) Are you looking for a badge that says you can do useful stuff ? Be aware that (2) requires you to be wholly honest with yourself and be clear about your motivations. People on this forum are both smarter than the average and we know it. Thus being smart is part of our identity and it requires discipline to say "I'm shit at applied probability, I need to fix that". Most people with physics or CompSci background have only had the most basic education in that area, some have had almost none past the age of 16, even if they've attained excellence in their fields. Yet it's critical in being a competent trader, and any decent firm will test you quite hard before they let you even train with them. Prob is by far not the only skill, but it's a good example and a common failing. I've toyed with a curriculum that could be fitted into the 'space' of an MFE that would give you the best chance, and realised that it's not viable... The reason is that trading requires talents that you haven't been tested for before you do the course. That means one would either take in people who you have to flunk, or pass people who should flunk. That's both cruel and commercially awkward for a course that must pay it's way. Would you pay$40K for a course that had a 30% drop out rate ?

Doing 'quite well' on a standard MFE isn't too bad, and if part of your education is that you are in the middle of the distribution of poeple in this line of work, that unpleasant result is at least useful, and with a standard MFE you can still get a career, not true of a good trading course, which w0uld be more like being an apprentice sportsman. Most don't make it, and their career options are quite unattractive.

Some people just don't "get" probabililty, some don't get programming, we all have stuff like that (I can't do music), and you need to pick the path based upon solid self appraisal.
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#### FrankW

##### New Member
I compared the courses offered by MSOR and MSFE program in Columbia. I found substantial differences.
Can someone tell me what are essential courses that one would need to take to have the adequate qualification for financial engineering. I would like to find out whether it is present in MSOR program.
I used to have an EE degree. I thought it could allow me to land a decent CS related job. However, when I tried to find a CS job, boy, it was hard. I was missing quite a few CS fundamentals. And, the decent CS companies wouldn't even consider. Don't want to go through this again.
Thanks

#### Ben B

##### New Member
I am very much interested in FrankW's question. If anyone had an answer that would be great, as most information on the subject is rather outdated.

#### murts

##### New Member
So, do the MS IE students have the same flexibility as MS OR. I want to explore into analytics and FE. Can I do this as an MS IE student?