COMPARE Toronto MMF vs Waterloo MQF and future prospects

J-R

New Member
#1
There are many posts about Toronto MMF and Waterloo MQF, and I thought it could be useful to make a short summary of what I found and see if people agree with it. I also have a follow up question concerning the importance of "brand" and future prospects...

My main conclusion is that the difference between the two programs is of order epsilon. The tuition at Waterloo is cheaper (3 X $3,605) vs $41,300 at Toronto, but Toronto is 3 terms vs 4 terms at Waterloo, so your extra 4 months income working probably make up the difference. Both include a one term internship (pretty much a guarantee... on Bay Street) which should give you back around $16,000-$20,000. Toronto seems to be more applied with a focus on risk management while Waterloo is more theoretical. People that intend to pursue a PhD tend to prefer Waterloo. I am also under the impression that Waterloo is more diverse in what it teaches and covers more given that it has an extra term to do so. Both have an excellent reputation in Canada. The main reason Toronto seems to be preferred by most students is its international reputation. Waterloo really doesn't seem to resonate much on Wall Street versus Toronto (which is ranked 14 in the 2011 QuantNet ranking).

Here is my question now. How important is the last point: international recognition? My goal is to work on Bay Street initially, so it should not matter too much a priori. However, I am scared that if I desire to move to Wall Street in the future, a lesser known program as Waterloo might hurt me. Is it fair to say that the "brand" of your MFE program doesn't matter after few years of experience?

I got accepted at Waterloo this morning and I am still waiting the hear from Toronto. I tend to favor Waterloo, but this last point is bugging me a bit.
 
#2
Here is my 2cent, once you already have experience, where you studied for your MFE doesn't matter any more. I have a friend who study from University of Regina, however he still can be head hunted to work in Wall Street after he got a few years of experience in his bag and build a good reputation among his network. People went to "brand" school because they may easier get a first step into quant, if you really want to work in Bay Street first, Waterloo or Toronto reputation seems to be equal
 
#3
If your goal is quant research then Waterloo is probably a better choice. As you already noted Uoft's MMF is more applied and oriented towards risk management. If you go to UofT and intend to do a phD later on then you will need to follow up on more Math courses ( these are the words from a phD student at UofT who graduated from the MMF program.)
 

J-R

New Member
#4
jondan: Thank for confirming what I thought with an example... very reassuring.

Dismantler: No, I don't plan to do a PhD in quant research. I already have a PhD in Physics and I feel that is enough academic research for me. I am not completely set on what kind of quant work I want to do later, but I'd like something that involves a fair share of analysis and programing. Right now, with limited knowledge, I feel that I would prefer to do something around quantitative asset management/portfolio optimization (without necessarily being a trader). But again, I am completely open, and I think that this goal might change as I learn more about the positions that are out there. In this respect, I feel Waterloo will do a better job at letting me know what is out there versus being rushed into risk management. Not that I despise risk management, but I like having options and choices.
 

viv_d

New Member
#5
I, too, am considering between these two programs, but probably I'm going to take the Toronto one. I'm from UW, some of my graduate friends in the program told me that the courses (STAT 901, 902) are just too theoretical, and unless you plan to be a quant, these courses won't be too useful. But again, if you want to be a quant, probably you should choose a phd program instead the MQF or MMF. Also, in the US, UT has a much better reputation than UW because of its history and faculty (John Hull!!!). I'm not sure if I will go to the US after graduate, but I definitely don't want to lose the chance... Another disadvantage of UW is the location. UT is right there in downtown Toronto, and it's so convenient for interviewing, networking, conferences and etc and UW can't really compete. I'd say Waterloo is a pretty good city if you want to do IT work, but not financial...
 
#6
actually both Waterloo and Toronto are regional programs, I do not think there is much difference if you plan to work in Canada and later move to US if possible at all, US employers do not care where you studied in Canada when you are already an experienced one, they care about your achievement and your communication skills and reputation among your peers. But if you want to immediately enter the financial industry in US, then better take a good US MFE program since that will open door for you to network with employers and get the foot into the industry
 

eclipseYan

New Member
#7
Hi J-R so have you got the interview invitation from UT? and when do you plan to reply to UW whether you'll take it or not?
 

viv_d

New Member
#8
Hi J-R so have you got the interview invitation from UT? and when do you plan to reply to UW whether you'll take it or not?
Did you get an interview with UT or the offer from UW? My UT interview is on Mar 13th.
 

J-R

New Member
#10
Good point about highlighting the advantages of living downtown Toronto versus Waterloo. I should have mentioned that in the summary. I just realized that it might be a pain to move for 4 months in the summer to do the internship in Toronto and then move back to Waterloo for the last 4 months...

However, I tend to agree with jondan, that after you get some work experience in Canada, Toronto or Waterloo makes no difference long term. Also, it seems to be very hard to get something in the US right after completing either program. So if you go for one of these programs, I think you should assume that you will start your career on Bay Street.

viv_d, I am very curious about your comment on Waterloo being "too theoretical" if you don't want to be a quant. If I do MMF or MQF, of course I want to become a quant! What other kind of work are you expecting to get that is not quant after these programs (let say we include risk management in quant)? Maybe we just have a different definition of what quant means?

eclipseYan: I didn't get any interview at UofT yet, but that seems to be the case of everybody outside the Toronto area (https://www.quantnet.com/forum/thre...nto-2012-entrance-exam.8803/page-2#post-83463). The more I think about it, the less I know where I want to go between the two (assuming Toronto makes an offer). I have up to the end of March to give my answer at Waterloo.
 
#12
I think MQF is a great program. Also professors at UW is very nice and helpful. students in that program spend most of the time working together and willing to help with one another. Also being theoretical isn't a drawback, it just means you have to spend more extra hours on the course materials. I don't know much about the UT's MMF. the location is definately an advantage so is the international reputation. I won't bother worrying about the choice before UT gives me their decision. I may just pray they reject me so that I can go to UW without regret lol ...well I'm kidding..
 

J-R

New Member
#13
I think MQF is a great program. Also professors at UW is very nice and helpful. students in that program spend most of the time working together and willing to help with one another. Also being theoretical isn't a drawback, it just means you have to spend more extra hours on the course materials. I don't know much about the UT's MMF. the location is definately an advantage so is the international reputation. I won't bother worrying about the choice before UT gives me their decision. I may just pray they reject me so that I can go to UW without regret lol ...well I'm kidding..
So you didn't get accepted at UW yet, just got an interview offer? Also, how come do you know so much about UW? Did you go there for your undergrad? In any case, any extra info you have about the program, please share. It is very useful.

I also agree that being more theoritical isn't a draw back at all!
 
#14
So you didn't get accepted at UW yet, just got an interview offer? Also, how come do you know so much about UW? Did you go there for your undergrad? In any case, any extra info you have about the program, please share. It is very useful.

I also agree that being more theoritical isn't a draw back at all!
UW has given me ad , and UT gives me the interview invitation. I know these because I am currently in UW and having a course taught by Adam :) Also I have graduate friends in Master of Actsc who are having several courses together with MQF students. I also went to the reception and talked to the current MQF students. I personally love UWaterloo very much. Have a lot of friends here and people in this city is reeeally nice. Maybe a little boring after staying for several months but since you are doing MQF you won't have much time playing. lol This year MQF only accept 15 students compared to 25 last year. they seem to select students with different background so that they can learn from others.

Actually I think both programs are great. Program itself doesn't promise our future. it is us that makes the difference. Focus on the course materials, establishing a good network and most of all, enjoy the process, you would get what you want:)

Good luck on your MMF.
 

J-R

New Member
#15
Thanks eclipseYan! This is really useful information. If only the MQF was located in Toronto, that would make my choice so easy!

Since we are at it, google map says Waterloo-Toronto is 1:30 hours by car. Does that sounds right to you? I guess I add 1 hour around rush hour?
 
#16
Hey guys, it seems like we all applied to the same programs :) , I also have the offer from UW MQF and some US programs but not heard anything from Toronto yet. Given the current economy I don't know if it is wise to go to US and spend a fortune there, if I am not able to get a decent job offer after the program, I will be in deep **** with undergrad loan and a new huge loan for MFE, my parents have no savings so I can't get any support from them. Any of you guys have offers in US too? What is your decision?
 

J-R

New Member
#17
No US for me. That will sound lazy, but I didn't want to study for the GRE. I figured that I'd rather spend this time studying quant related topics.

This decision was also related to the fact that I came to the conclusion that working in the US (at least starting position) was not worthwhile financially. When rent in Manhattan is $3000-5000 a month, the extra money you could potentially make is eaten away by the cost of living quite quickly.
 
#18
Thanks eclipseYan! This is really useful information. If only the MQF was located in Toronto, that would make my choice so easy!

Since we are at it, google map says Waterloo-Toronto is 1:30 hours by car. Does that sounds right to you? I guess I add 1 hour around rush hour?
googlemap did a pretty good job. you can take greyhound to toronto,roundway trip cost is CAD25,it takes approximately 2 hours. if you drive a car 1.5 should be enough.

Living in NY is unbelievably expensive... I'd rather stay in Gta lol
 

J-R

New Member
#19
In case people are interested, I accepted Waterloo MQF offer in the end. I still have not heard back from Toronto MMF, but I came to the conclusion that Waterloo was better suited for me anyway.

I hope to see some of you there.
 
#20
hey J-R, Waterloo is an excellent program and they are cheaper too, heard that their placement is always 100%! Thanks for sharing your decision, wish you all the best!
 
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