Strong Math & Programming background

lmak

New Member
I've heard a million times that applicants to MSFE must have strong Math & Programming background. I'm currently a senior undergraduate student (major Finance) taking my last semester. I've tried my best to register classes in calculus & probability now. But it's too late for me to register additional Math/ programming classes.

I wonder what should applicants do if they've already completed undergraduate school when applying MSFE. It's obviously too late to go back college & take additional Math class. How should we show that we are strong in Math background (besides using the GRE score)? Provided that I have no work experience related to FE, but would like to apply MSFE right after undergradute school.

Thank you.
 

Bastian Gross

German Mathquant
Hey Imak,
FE (financial engineering) is a technical discipline and so applicants to FE need some good mathematical and computing skills.
Do you have another chance to get an additional math class or some programming courses?
I would rather do it.
 

lmak

New Member
In case I cannot register more classes in my last semester, I'm thinking of sitting in one additional class for the whole semester. Hopefully, I can do that great & ask the professor to write a recommendation letter for me. Even though I wasn't officially registered in that class, but if I take every class & exam with good grades. Given the approval from the professor, will that work? Hmm...
 

Christian

New Member
What makes you suddenly interested in quantitative finance if you have never taken any math or programming classes?

I'm not trying to be combative, I am just wondering what draws people with little background to undertake the huge amount of coursework and studying for mathematical finance opposed to something like an MBA which would draw more on one's more qualitative/managerial skills.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
What makes you suddenly interested in quantitative finance if you have never taken any math or programming classes?

I'm not trying to be combative, I am just wondering what draws people with little background to undertake the huge amount of coursework and studying for mathematical finance opposed to something like an MBA which would draw more on one's more qualitative/managerial skills.
Indeed, it might be more efficient to follow managerial route.
Quant finance is more for people with quantitative skills who want to work in the area of finance.
 

Ashish Tare

New Member
yuiry, i think it is only fair that even with low profile background in math/programming. people still want to get into quant finance.
One can say it is the aura of this field that draws the curious mind.
Yes indeed an MBA is an easier route, but -
1. not the cheapest
2. will not lead one to the core part of finance
3. and finally, it is easier only in the sense of course work. The final question remains, which one of the route is easier to get one into the industry.
 

barbara

New Member
The University of Chicago and Columbia both have probability classes that you can take without being accepted into their schools. The University of Chicago's is online and Columbia's is in person in NYC. You could probably register for it in the summer, take temp jobs for half year, study up, and then apply. Also, I would find a C++ course that you could take along with it. These schools may also have that. Unfortunately, I do not have the specific information on the classes, but if you Google them, or speak with their admissions, then hopefully you can find the specific classes and how to register.

What really matters is if you have an ability in math and programming, so it's a gamble as you do not know yet. If you cannot do it, then it does become difficult to get into these programs. My recommendation is that you take the GRE and if you cannot do very well on the Math GRE, then maybe it's not the right fit for you.

I actually decided to double major in math between sophomore and junior year, so I understand how you can realize these things later than expected. I was an economics major initially then the mathematical side really interested me. Good luck!!
 

quantma

New Member
Can anyone give me an opinion on the following program...

Calculus and Mathematica at UIUC

I am looking at these courses to refresh on my Math skills that I did 10 years back. Would these courses give me the prerequisites needed for entry in any FE program?

Thanks
quantma
 

lmak

New Member
What makes you suddenly interested in quantitative finance if you have never taken any math or programming classes?

I'm not trying to be combative, I am just wondering what draws people with little background to undertake the huge amount of coursework and studying for mathematical finance opposed to something like an MBA which would draw more on one's more qualitative/managerial skills.
My major is Finance & I've taken courses in options theory which interested me a lot. I look at the course outline of FE and really eager to learn more about Monte Carlo, interest rate theory...etc. Also, comparing to the managerial skills in MBA, I think quantitative side is more suitable for me.

I learned basic Pascal, FoxPro & Excel Macros when I was in high school. At least I have some basic ideas about programming & believe that I can handle it. But definitely still need more classes to strengthen my skills!
 

QuantNeeds

Member
Imak, it's still possible to take courses. You can walk and still finish off some classes or even take courses at another university as a "non-seeking degree student". I think you could have these transferred to your university and/or get the additional transcript in.

My personal situation - I was about to graduate with finance when I transferred but I found out about Operations Research :D which my school conveniently had. Through the program and their math requirements I have learned a lot and last fall was when I heard of Financial Engineering. Through finals and winter break I realized it would be hectic to get all the additional courses in, take the GRE, apply to all the programs of my interest and apply on time, finish my degree, etc. I'm not in a rush and I want to do it right. So I will apply for the Fall 2009 program and do all the additional and some extra things in between :o)

If you're serious and this is what you want to do, then nothing will stop you. :smt024

 

EricFleming

New Member
MBAs are not as marketable for Quant roles

the harder the science or the math the better. When you drift into MBAs, it's just not what quants on Wall Street are looking for.

So, if you want to be a quant, then veering into those maths classes are necessary.

That's not to say that a BA from a top school in Physics etc and a MBA could not be marketable (there are no hard and fast rules).
 
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