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UCB MFE UC Berkeley MFE Q&A (ask current students)

Discussion in 'Quant Programs' started by Brodie, 9/14/15.

  1. Brodie

    Brodie New Member

    Dear Quantnet community:

    My name is Brodie and I'm a current MFE student at UC Berkeley. Joining me in this thread are my fellow colleagues Yifang, Zhiping and Olivier to answer all questions relating to the UCB MFE.

    Given that we arrived from a variety of different academic, geographic and professional backgrounds, we hope to be able to provide insight towards a wide range of inquiries.

    Ask away!

    *Please direct those questions relating strictly to admissions to our admissions staff.
    RedL, Eric Cui, okmijn and 1 other person like this.
  2. Olivier H

    Olivier H New Member

    Dear Quantnet community,
    Let me introduce myself. My name is Olivier and I am also a current MFE student at UC Berkeley. Prior to the MFE, I had some experience in a hedge fund and a Masters in Applied Mathematics from Ecole Centrale Paris.
    I will be glad to answer your questions and shed some light on this amazing MFE program.
    RedL and Andy Nguyen like this.
  3. Zhiping

    Zhiping New Member

    Dear Quantnet community,

    My name is Zhiping and I am also the current student at Berkeley MFE program. Prior joining in the program, I have a PhD in physics from UCLA, specialized in computational neuroscience. I would love to answering all the questions regarding our program.
    Andy Nguyen likes this.
  4. zyz

    zyz Active Member

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for doing this. Hope you all enjoying your time at UCB and I'd be greatful if you could answer the following:

    1) Why UCB? What scools and/or programs would you put above UCB MFE?
    2) Is it still worth doing MFE?
    3) Where are you heading after graduation (FT job, academia, etc.)?
    4) What is the best single advice for future applicants?
  5. Isabelle Yifang Liu

    Isabelle Yifang Liu New Member

    Dear Quantnet community,

    My name is Isabelle, a current Berkeley MFE candidate.

    I completed my undergraduate degree in mathematics in Hong Kong, and became passionate about big data and machine learning. Therefore I started my Master in Operations Research at University of Toronto, and had one-year internship playing with big data in a hospital. I then enrolled in the PhD program at the Rotman School of Management. I like doing research but I enjoy financial application more.

    I am very happy that I made the decision joining the Berkeley MFE program and please feel free to ask any questions.
  6. Isabelle Yifang Liu

    Isabelle Yifang Liu New Member

    Hello, below are my answers.

    1) There are many good MFE programs around the world and it really depends on your background to choose the one that most suits you.

    For me, I would always put Berkeley MFE at the top of my choice since Berkeley MFE embodies a student group with most diversified background and most experience (on average my colleagues have 2-3 years working experience prior to this program, or a master/PhD degree). That being said, if you are an undergraduate student without any experience, it is a fantastic place to learn from others.

    2) Could you please specify your question? Are you concerned about the market trend or the placement or what?

    3) In general, students will pursue FT job and a detailed industry sector distribution can be found on our website. There may be one student going for a PhD program afterward.

    4) If you haven't yet made up your mind which program to apply for, do some research and check the placement on the program's official website. The statistics should be there for most programs.

    For Berkeley MFE in particular, we have all past internship and FT statistics online, and the students profile. Please take a look if you are interested.
  7. Jae Sang Shim

    Jae Sang Shim Member
      C++ Certified

    Hey guys,

    I have been admitted to UCB MFE 2016 class, and if possible, I would like to work in the U.S. But I saw that the OPT extension for STEM is currently vacated.. so if it doesn't come back, int. students would only have 1 chance for H1B Visa.

    I wanted to find out whether DHS is going to do anything about it (and I hope they do so) but I wasn't able to find anything meaningful. I know this issue is not UCB-specific, but are there any good news on this matter?
  8. Isabelle Yifang Liu

    Isabelle Yifang Liu New Member

    Hello Jae Sang,

    I consulted the Berkeley MFE office and here is how they address the issue you brought up:

    First, it's important to understand that there is no final decision on the matter. Our International Office is, of course, aware of and on top of the issue, and they summarize their stance here:
    "Berkeley International Office is aware of the WashTech Lawsuit August 12, 2015 OPT STEM Extension Summary Judgement and is monitoring the situation as more information becomes available. Since the ruling does not go into effect until February 2016, BIO is continuing OPT STEM Extension processing as usual until further notice. We will keep our clients up-to-date regarding the impact of the WashTech ruling and anticipated new DHS STEM OPT rule via the BIO website and email notifications." (OPT STEM Extensions | Berkeley International Office)

    Please note that Berkeley MFE students were on the 12-month OPT for several years and the staff are well aware of how to work within these boundaries. For example, in some cases, students who have offers before graduating have applied for H1-B before the deadline in the year that they graduated, so that they had potentially two chances to apply for H1-B. Also, the H1-B process is a process that students work on with the firm; there may be other visa types that a particular student can continue working under.

    It's important to remember as well that the Berkeley MFE program has strong connections in financial centers all over the world: London, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Toronto are just a few as well as, of course, New York and the other major US cities. As you probably know already, Executive Director & Assistant Dean Linda Kreitzman has 14 years experience placing international students in the US and other parts of the world. She is uniquely qualified to help our students. These connections give students broad options when searching for full-time positions.
    liu-yunpeng and Jae Sang Shim like this.
  9. Jae Sang Shim

    Jae Sang Shim Member
      C++ Certified

    Thank you for the detailed answer Isabelle !

    I guess I should focus on the studies, trust the MFE program, and not worry about such issues :)

    By the way will you be joining in 2016 class? :)

  10. KUATE

    KUATE New Member

    Hi Olivier,

    I live in Paris and i am interrested about the MFE programm. Can talk in private please? i need some information before sending my application.

  11. Isabelle Yifang Liu

    Isabelle Yifang Liu New Member

    You are welcome!
    I'll complete the MFE program in March and if I stay in SF for full-time, I will come back to visit our legendary MFE team: Linda, Amy, Christina, Diane, Aaron and Charles. You'll know how amazingly supportive they are when you arrive.
    Jae Sang Shim likes this.
  12. Olivier H

    Olivier H New Member

    I just answered to your private message Pierre!
  13. Seung yup Yang

    Seung yup Yang New Member


    Thank you guys for doing Q&A. First, let me introduce myself. I'm undergraduate student in South Korea and i major in economics.

    I am interested in financial engineering and i got to know about UCB MFE program by consulting with my professor. Actually, she was a student of UCB MFE. Nowadays i'm studying Python, international monetary economics and mathematics for fulfilling prerequisite courses that MFE requiring. This is my brief situation.

    I have some questions and i'm really appreciated if you could answer my questions following.

    1) I want to work in Banking field later on. After UCB MFE program, exactly which position i can get in the banking field?

    2) Is there any student without master/Ph.d or work experience? I mean, is there any student who enroll this course right after graduating university?

    3) If work experience or higher degree is essential for this course, which one do you want to recommend? i'm considering both studying financial engineering at KAIST(Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) graduate school and just getting a job before applying this course.

    4) What is most important factor do you think in terms of admitting this course?
  14. Jae Sang Shim

    Jae Sang Shim Member
      C++ Certified

    I got admitted with only 4 month of work exp :)

  15. Isabelle Yifang Liu

    Isabelle Yifang Liu New Member

    Hello Seung yup,

    It's good to hear that your professor is our alumnus. You must have heard a lot good things about Berkeley MFE already. Based on what you listed here, it seems that you are on the right track preparing for a MFE program. Have you already applied? Or do you plan to apply next year?

    Here are some brief answers to your questions:
    1) Positions vary by their function and seniority.
    In terms of function, generally speaking you can choose whatever you want. You have a wide spectrum, just to name a few, portfolio manager, risk analyst, strategist, trader, etc. It really depends on your interest. You can always talk to Linda or Amy when you are here, they are very helpful!
    In terms of seniority, you generally start with entry level, either analyst or associate depending on the firms. This is because you don't have any work experience, like me.

    2) Yes, there are a few students with outstanding academic record directly come in with their undergraduate degree. Brodie (the guy at the top) is one of those smart guys :)

    3) It's not essential so don't worry about it.

    4) The MFE program doesn't look at any ONE factor. They look at (and appreciate) ALL aspects of you! The admission criteria can be found here: Admissions Criteria, MFE Program, Berkeley-Haas
    This may sound cliche but trust me, the MFE office will go through all the items on the list provided above and check whether you have them, and you will be asked question about them during your interview.

    Good luck on your application :)
  16. Seung yup Yang

    Seung yup Yang New Member

    I'm really appreciated with your sincere advises. Thank you Isabelle!

    Actually, i'm sophomore now, so my applying will be on the year after next. As you said, i think i have to contact MFE office right away haha.

    In fact, i have an another acquaintance who is already finish this course and he said "Frankly speaking, you have to get some work experience if you have only undergraduate degree or get higher degree. It is reality." This is why i asked question number 2 and 3. Of course i know that every people have different opinion their own. But at that time that i heard his consult, i felt pretty anxious about it.

    However i can understand what you said about my questions.

    If you don't mind, can i ask another questions about the life of MFE or whatever i want to know later on?

    I feel thank you for your kindness once again. Then, have a nice day Isabelle!
  17. Seung yup Yang

    Seung yup Yang New Member

    Hi, Jae sang !

    It is good to hear about status before your admission. umm... You might be a Korean i think. Am i right? If you don't mind, can i contact you personally by e-mail?
  18. Isabelle Yifang Liu

    Isabelle Yifang Liu New Member

    Ask anything you want. You are very welcome!
    Life is busy busy busy here, but you've got company.
    We are having fun and we enjoy it a lot :)
    You too enjoy your day.
  19. Jae Sang Shim

    Jae Sang Shim Member
      C++ Certified

    Yes you can or you can just message me here :)

  20. Sahil Puri

    Sahil Puri New Member

    I everyone. I had my 2nd interview with Linda yesterday. I have been offered conditional admission ( pre-program courses )

    My questions is related to the pre C++ course. What OS is the most useful to have ? I have an old mac and relatively new Linux laptop. I know I can run dual boot and get windows on either machine. Just wanted to know if it is used in the program extensively.
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