SUNY Stony Brook Quantitative Finance

wegged

New Member
#4
Hi here is a link to an updated page if anyone is interested.

It is still not a Quant Finance program perse, it is a specialization in quant finance your degree will be in Applied Math and Statistics. They also offer an advanced certificate in Quant Finance and you can get a Phd.
It looks like the program has a very academic slant and I hardly see programming mentioned on the pages at all. I emailed the director of the program about this.

They claim to have alot of connections as far as internships and I believe them. When I was a student @ stony brook (BS in Applied Math) I had a teacher for probability that had retired from a hedge fund. He is one of the people that got me interested in applied math and quant finance in the first place.

Stony Brook University - Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Its definitely looks like a fledgling program though. However, I am still considering it because I would like to have the option of going for a Phd afterwards. And the graduate program in Applied Math over there is considered to be a top notch program.
 
#5
In all honesty, I don't think spending one year does you any justice there.

Tell me, does Stony Brook ring a bell for you? As in, its math department was formerly chaired by a certain hedge fund manager? You know, Jim Simons himself?

The director of the program is Dr. Robert Frey, a former MD of RenTec himself. If you can get in (I applied a month late before and got rejected--I'm *re*applying this year), I'd say it'd be a massive boon.
 
#9
I want to apply for the SUNY Stony Brook Quantitative Finance program. Can you please update some new information about the faculty, courses, internship and employment rate ?
 

ygmwy

Active Member
#10
I did not graduate from the Graduate program, but I studied there as an undergrad and got to know the students and the program quite well. I took a few of the masters level courses as well. The program is good because it has a few really smart hedge fund people working there. Take a look at the profiles of the professors. Everyone knows James (Jim) Simons, and they also have other really great practitioners, and are hiring more, so the program is developing.

However, most of the good news ends there. I studied with the masters students there, and they sadly, don't get jobs. Half of the PhD students have a good internship, and there are an abnormally large amount of PhDs for a program of its size. (About 12 last time I checked). Career services is no help, and Stony Brook isn't really a target school, so you will have to go find your own internship, or start your own hedge fund/prop firm (which is almost a culture at Stony Brook QF). That being said, Stony Brook's program is quite different from the programs of others. The courses it offers are not that demanding, but there are a few interesting ones such as "Important Papers in Quantitative Finance", and "Case Studies in Quantitative Finance" what you won't really see elsewhere.

The courses themselves are foolishly easy. However, this will be to your detriment when seeking jobs and going on quant interviews as the program lacks rigor when compared with the top quant programs, and the culture there isn't extremely motivated. You can see many of the alumni have tried to work for startups, or went in completely different directions (other than quant finance). You will however, be getting a bargain as Stony Brook tuition is extremely cheap.

The program is not selective at all. I know a stock broker who had no math background at all that got in. 99% of the masters students are Chinese, and don't speak English well enough to pass an interview. I spoke with the director of the program about this one day in his office, and he said "Honestly, I feel sorry for them. They won't really get anywhere."

That being said, the top 3 or 4 PhD students are doing really really well. If you can become one of those people, then you have a chance to do something with your life. I also know one Masters student who is currently interning at CME in New York. That's it. After graduating from undergrad, I felt like I really needed to get out, so I went to a different quant program, and my oh my, there are leagues and leagues of difference between the program I am in now, and what Stony Brook offered me.
 
#11
I did not graduate from the Graduate program, but I studied there as an undergrad and got to know the students and the program quite well. I took a few of the masters level courses as well. The program is good because it has a few really smart hedge fund people working there. Take a look at the profiles of the professors. Everyone knows James (Jim) Simons, and they also have other really great practitioners, and are hiring more, so the program is developing.

However, most of the good news ends there. I studied with the masters students there, and they sadly, don't get jobs. Half of the PhD students have a good internship, and there are an abnormally large amount of PhDs for a program of its size. (About 12 last time I checked). Career services is no help, and Stony Brook isn't really a target school, so you will have to go find your own internship, or start your own hedge fund/prop firm (which is almost a culture at Stony Brook QF). That being said, Stony Brook's program is quite different from the programs of others. The courses it offers are not that demanding, but there are a few interesting ones such as "Important Papers in Quantitative Finance", and "Case Studies in Quantitative Finance" what you won't really see elsewhere.

The courses themselves are foolishly easy. However, this will be to your detriment when seeking jobs and going on quant interviews as the program lacks rigor when compared with the top quant programs, and the culture there isn't extremely motivated. You can see many of the alumni have tried to work for startups, or went in completely different directions (other than quant finance). You will however, be getting a bargain as Stony Brook tuition is extremely cheap.

The program is not selective at all. I know a stock broker who had no math background at all that got in. 99% of the masters students are Chinese, and don't speak English well enough to pass an interview. I spoke with the director of the program about this one day in his office, and he said "Honestly, I feel sorry for them. They won't really get anywhere."

That being said, the top 3 or 4 PhD students are doing really really well. If you can become one of those people, then you have a chance to do something with your life. I also know one Masters student who is currently interning at CME in New York. That's it. After graduating from undergrad, I felt like I really needed to get out, so I went to a different quant program, and my oh my, there are leagues and leagues of difference between the program I am in now, and what Stony Brook offered me.
Useful information! It seems that I should reconsider whether applying for the QF program in SUNY. BTW, do you know something about the Master's program in Statistics in SUNY? Maybe that's a backup plan for me.
 

ygmwy

Active Member
#12
Useful information! It seems that I should reconsider whether applying for the QF program in SUNY. BTW, do you know something about the Master's program in Statistics in SUNY? Maybe that's a backup plan for me.
As with all MS Stats programs out there, you are really only getting a quantitative liberal arts education. Make sure that when you enter these program, you begin looking for a job from day one. I know many MS Stat students that still did not know what they wanted to do after the graduated, and ended up with no job. Since Stats is extremely broad, you have to specialize, and market yourself in that way to employers. Not all students are capable of this, and many just go into masters programs because all they know how to do is be a student.

So my advice is to make sure you are thinking about what kind of statistician you want to be, who employs those kinds of statisticians, what kinds of pay they get (and if you are comfortable with that), where these employers are, and how your MS degree will help you market yourself to those employers.

As for Stony Brook specifically, it is not the best program out there, but it has decent faculty. Like the QF program, 99% of these students are from China, and don't speak good enough English to pass an interview. Stony Brook is well-known in China because it is the flagship SUNY school, and Stony Brook sends many delegations to China (when I was an undergraduate there, I worked in the Chinese office that organized these missions). But the truth is, the closer are to the school, the worse the reputation is. ie. If you grew up in California, and Stony Brook is somewhat of a mystery to you, it will appear better than it is. All in all however, it is a good backup for students that are proactive, and really want to learn. (In terms of getting a job, and advancing your career, you had better do that yourself. Stony Brook is not going to help you at all. I also used to work in the Career Center.)
 
#13
Thanks a lot for your kind and detailed reply. I reread your words about QF program and stop by the sentence where you said the director of the program felt sorry for masters there. But as the director, why not do something to improve the career service and help those Chinese students to find jobs ? Does he have a plan to make the program better in future?
 

ygmwy

Active Member
#14
Thanks a lot for your kind and detailed reply. I reread your words about QF program and stop by the sentence where you said the director of the program felt sorry for masters there. But as the director, why not do something to improve the career service and help those Chinese students to find jobs ? Does he have a plan to make the program better in future?
Zari Rachev is an academic more interested in his own research and his day job to care about improving the program itself. Robert Frey has been largely unable to teach until this year due to his morbid obesity (like seriously, no joke). They are both amazing people on their own, but very bad teachers in my opinion. You're not going to work for Renaissance by getting accepted into the program.

Rachev explicitly said to me that the Chinese students are in trouble because they are unable to communicate effectively in English. The Career Center can't really do much about that, since it can't convince employers that they want Stony Brook's QF students. This is also because Stony Brook is extremely unselective, doesn't do interviews, and will take any person off the street that applies regardless of their English ability, or even their mathematical ability. The top quant programs by contrast care very much about both, and quants from China in Columbia (the program that I think has one of the largest Chinese student populations) can speak rapid, idiomatic English.

Your English, while not perfect, is probably much better than the average Stony Brook QF student's, so I don't think there will be much of a problem there, but just remember that your success will come from yourself--not the school. You will have to make your own connections to New York, and find your own job. Stony Brook was virtually no help to me, mostly because it is a school that most quant employers don't take seriously--and I don't blame them. Just take a look at Linked In, and you'll see that Masters from Stony Brook QF don't really get those jobs that you are thinking about in bulge bracket banks.

So, tell me. Why are you thinking of applying to Stony Brook QF in the first place?
 
#15
Zari Rachev is an academic more interested in his own research and his day job to care about improving the program itself. Robert Frey has been largely unable to teach until this year due to his morbid obesity (like seriously, no joke). They are both amazing people on their own, but very bad teachers in my opinion. You're not going to work for Renaissance by getting accepted into the program.

Rachev explicitly said to me that the Chinese students are in trouble because they are unable to communicate effectively in English. The Career Center can't really do much about that, since it can't convince employers that they want Stony Brook's QF students. This is also because Stony Brook is extremely unselective, doesn't do interviews, and will take any person off the street that applies regardless of their English ability, or even their mathematical ability. The top quant programs by contrast care very much about both, and quants from China in Columbia (the program that I think has one of the largest Chinese student populations) can speak rapid, idiomatic English.

Your English, while not perfect, is probably much better than the average Stony Brook QF student's, so I don't think there will be much of a problem there, but just remember that your success will come from yourself--not the school. You will have to make your own connections to New York, and find your own job. Stony Brook was virtually no help to me, mostly because it is a school that most quant employers don't take seriously--and I don't blame them. Just take a look at Linked In, and you'll see that Masters from Stony Brook QF don't really get those jobs that you are thinking about in bulge bracket banks.

So, tell me. Why are you thinking of applying to Stony Brook QF in the first place?
Well, you are really informed. (y) Actually I applied for other quant programs like MFE in Baruch, NUY- Poly, etc. But I do consider for QF in SUNY just for safety's sake. Moreover, quite limited information about it is available so I'm not sure the faculties, reputation and placement match what they claim in the official website. To be honest, I heard before that students there can get easier access to working for Renaissance. So even if I get admitted, I may choose other programs as you said "Stony Brook is extremely unselective, doesn't do interviews, and will take any person off the street that applies regardless of their English ability, or even their mathematical ability". :)
 

ygmwy

Active Member
#16
MFE Baruch is very good, and is actively trying to build its reputation amongst the ivy leagues (which by comparison have become somewhat complacent). I don't really like NYU-Poly that much. It is a lesser version of NYU Courant, which has several hundred students compared to Courants's around 30. Many people get this mixed up, and Poly mostly just generates cash for NYU while many people mistakenly think that both NYU's have the same reputation. (They don't) Can't you apply for the ivy leagues? And no, going to Stony Brook does not help you get into Renaissance. Being a genius helps you get into Renaissance, and if you are a genius, go to Columbia or Princeton instead.
 
#17
Got it! I applied for Cornell but not Columbia or Princeton considering the fierce competition among applicants of these two. Anyway, thank you again and I've decided not to apply for QF in SUNY. :)
 

fastrack

New Member
#19
Who is the career placement/development direct for Stony Brook's MSQF program? I have a job opportunity that I would like to pass along.
 
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