UCB MFE UCB MFE numbers for 2010 - Fake and Unethical?

What should UCB MFE do about this fake stats claim?

  • Respond publicly and quickly to clarify/explain/refute all points in this allegation.

    Votes: 26 60.5%
  • Ignore. Who gives a damn about some unhappy students.

    Votes: 15 34.9%
  • Ask Fordham MSQF what they did to make "it" go away

    Votes: 3 7.0%
  • Prohibit their students from any forum posting in the future. Put it in the contract.

    Votes: 2 4.7%

  • Total voters
    43
Well it sounds right to some people, not so right to others. 50% bonus in the first year is out of the ordinary. Of course it happens in a hedge-fund or some "special" position. Most graduates work for large banks, at the start of the career there is a clear compensation evolution.
The income can be high however you have to prove yourself first and produce results. This is very difficult in the first year. You may have a bit too high expectations.

Stefan, 50% is not out of the ordinary in FO for a first year associate and is perhaps even a little on the low side from my experience. The vast majority of people from the UCB MFE end up in front office (at least this year), and a not insignificant proportion of those are traders or structurers.

P.S. my bonus when I was a year 1 associate was >> 50%.
 
Stefan, 50% is not out of the ordinary in FO for a first year associate and is perhaps even a little on the low side from my experience. The vast majority of people from the UCB MFE end up in front office (at least this year), and a not insignificant proportion of those are traders or structurers.

P.S. my bonus when I was a year 1 associate was >> 50%.

Good that you were one of the "special cases". Same way, 40% is on the high-end for model validation, but anything is possible.
In general, a person from career services with NY schools I mentioned can deny/confirm my statements. Unless income is skewed towards the Pacific, this is a good indication for a graduate of UCB as well.
Personally (also from a small sample size as ThinkDifferent said) I have a different view. In other conditions (e.g. market booming, front-office structuring roles etc) >>50% can be an average ...
 
You are all forgetting an important point when looking at the first year bonus numbers I think.

The published first year bonus figured include the sign-on bonus which accounts for typically as much as the 1st year merit based bonus.

Therefore the actual merit based bonus as a percentage of base pay is 25% and the otehr 25% comes from the sign-on which will not be repeated.

The UCB MFE numbers were lower in a previous year mainly because (i think) firms were no longer offering a sign on bonus - so that year the avg 1st compensation dropped by 25k (the value of the sign on).
 
You are all forgetting an important point when looking at the first year bonus numbers I think.

The published first year bonus figured include the sign-on bonus which accounts for typically as much as the 1st year merit based bonus.

Therefore the actual merit based bonus as a percentage of base pay is 25% and the otehr 25% comes from the sign-on which will not be repeated.

The UCB MFE numbers were lower in a previous year mainly because (i think) firms were no longer offering a sign on bonus - so that year the avg 1st compensation dropped by 25k (the value of the sign on).

how often do you see a sign-on bonus for an entry level position? i've never seen it.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
I don't believe anyone's grad outcome numbers. *But* I'm an old cynical headhunter, I know better, as do most people here, but we are not the target audience. When I was a newbie there were vast arrays of shit I didn't know, and I might have been fooled by this randomnness.

That being said, I can't say for a fact that UCB's numbers are right or wrong, but being a quant headhunter I have an oblique take on it....

The mean and median seem remarkably close to each other, enough that it caught my eye.

But what I don't understand at all, is how the bonus numbers for 2010 grads can be known ?
Yes, some have bonus guarantees, but these are rare at entry level, so how is that number derived ?

The letter mentions the "A+" issue, sadly grade inflation is so rampant across American academia that now I never even think of looking at GPAs, only noting them if they are very bad. So it would not shock me if UCB went the same way as others.

One thing that it doesn't share is what people were doing before, and it's quite clear this affects the first jobs.

In 2009, one became a junior quant developer, another took a job as a "Director, FICC(Fixed Income, Credit and Commodities)"

Seems to me that's it's very unlikely that an MFE would get you a director level role unless you had some experience first.
So what were these two people before ?
If you were a QD before and landed in a director level role, that would be impressive, but was the QD a QD before ?

The point here is value added, which no program shares really.

On top of this, I wonder what their response rate is ?
I'd be surprised if all grads replied, personally I'd assume 75%

Looking at the 2009 report, it does challenge my credulity, but does not break it.
A 100% placement rate is of course possible, but out of 64 people, I'd expect one or two to have personal characteristics that would make their employment 'challenging' in a way that neither UCB nor anyone else could fix.

Although the letter is a data point, it does not put UCB in the same pit of despair that Fordham inhabits, with it's claims over Moliere and Alfred Hitchcock.
 
how often do you see a sign-on bonus for an entry level position? i've never seen it.

In the past berkeley used to report the sign on bonus distinctly from the first year merit based bonus.

Check a 2004 placement report here: http://mfe.haas.berkeley.edu/careers/placement2004.html

it may not always be the case that all graduates get a sign-on but here you have the figures that speak for the fact that they exist and make up a considerable chunk of teh first year total bonus compensation.
 
But what I don't understand at all, is how the bonus numbers for 2010 grads can be known ?
Yes, some have bonus guarantees, but these are rare at entry level, so how is that number derived ?

A fair few have guaranteed bonuses, and pretty much nobody is entry level (I know of only 3 out of over 50 people placed at anything like entry-level). Of the others, some are reported by the student, and most of those are what is "expected" as defined by the employer. In addition, the program director plays a significant role in placement from start to finish, and that includes salary negotiation, meaning she has a good handle on what many people will get.

The letter mentions the "A+" issue, sadly grade inflation is so rampant across American academia that now I never even think of looking at GPAs, only noting them if they are very bad. So it would not shock me if UCB went the same way as others.

I guess there is some inflation (though I can't know for sure as I don't know how grading worked in the past!). However my feeling is that it is not as significant an issue as in other places. I personally took 2 courses at Columbia before going to Berkeley and got 1 A+. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I got 0 A+ grades at Berkeley out of the 16 courses I took.

The situation with the new stochastic calculus professor is interesting. His strategy (in my year) was to give an A grade to people who scored on the mean. This of course meant a number of A+ grades to those who scored way above average (and in a mathematical class there are plenty of those who get perfect scores having studied it before etc etc). These guys raise the mean score a lot, meaning that a number of people came out of this class with terrible grades, and a number came out with A+. Newgraduate will probably find things very different in the second term, where Rubinstein, Tavella and co. almost never give anyone A+. Maybe things changed this year - if someone knows better then feel free to correct me.

One thing that it doesn't share is what people were doing before, and it's quite clear this affects the first jobs.

I believe students average over 4 years of work experience. You wouldn't expect those guys to go into entry-level (or even analyst level) roles even if this was not experience in finance.

A 100% placement rate is of course possible, but out of 64 people, I'd expect one or two to have personal characteristics that would make their employment 'challenging' in a way that neither UCB nor anyone else could fix.

I think I'm one of them ... unless you fancy trying to fix that, Dominic? Thanks!
 
So you get A+ easily at Cal? I am surprised that half of classes can get easy A+.

I know some professors curve really generously (at many top schools), but that generosity usually borders at B+ to A-. You still have to work hard to earn an A+ at most schools.

---------- Post added at 12:28 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:08 AM ----------

Where did you do your MFE?



Where did you do your PhD?

If TraderJoe has no gut to drop the names of his MFE and PhD schools, then he is a coward, and has no right to call other posters "idiots."

Maybe TraderJoe made up his phantom MFE and PhD... LOL.
 
---------- Post added at 12:28 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:08 AM ----------



If TraderJoe has no gut to drop the names of his MFE and PhD schools, then he is a coward, and has no right to call other posters "idiots."

Maybe TraderJoe made up his phantom MFE and PhD... LOL.

I say, TraderJoe got his PhD from one of the Top 20 Business Schools in USA.
 
Calling people "idiots" is definitely not cool. This is not Wilmott forum.
Also, we don't need to beat up on what school TJ went to. Read post #23 on page 1.
The topic is about what UCB said or did not say about employment numbers so please stay on topic.

Thanks.. I skipped post #23.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Being a verbose person, I won't tick the boxes above but talk about the options:

Respond publicly and quickly to clarify/explain/refute all points in this allegation.
I have met the person who would do that, but would be shocked if they did. I don;t believe UCB has people who can engage in the nose to nose arguments this would require. They'd turn a small fight into a big lost battle, and they are too smart to do that. My conclusion is independent of whether the allegations are true.
.
Ignore. Who gives a damn about some unhappy students.
Colleges are collegiate, some of the staff will be saying that, and to be fair, you can't please every single person you teach. My oldest enemy is a guy I tried to help understand something in 1983, he came to believe that I had him removed from the course, when in fact I was apparently his last shot at staying on it. He still goes into one, if my name comes up.
Ask Fordham MSQF what they did to make "it" go away
Yes, that affair didn't help them at all. I have no clear picture of the damage they did to themselves in this. I suspect I made it worse, I hope so.

Prohibit their students from any forum posting in the future. Put it in the contract.
Some universities do have such things in their statutes, though phrased in language that pre-dates the Internet. Although I'm the oldest person on this site and probably older than a course director who might do it, I keep thinking of such people as dinosaurs when they try this.

That's not an just Internet thing, but started with the invention of the printing press, google on McLibel for what happens when evangelical management unleash lawyers to defend their image.

Quantnet doesn't display names, nor does Wilmott.com, and many other sites. So enforcement is really tough. They might try snooping on your web traffic, or using legal crowbars to force a site to release your name. This would be a mistake. People like me would ensure that a small spat became a major headache, The technology web sites love stories like this, and I'd do what I could to spread the big ugly story of academic bullying. Bankers, and by extension those who train them are not popular.
If you are at a school thinking of doing this, please treat that as a threat.
We eat our own dog food on this...
Paul owns Wilmott.com, by far the largest web site for quants, and you will find criticism not only of his CQF, but his books, his views on finance, and his personal attributes as well as P&D. I have the largest social network of quants through my LinkedIn.com group and the same discipline is followed. We don't delete criticism, partly because of free speech, but also because it only makes things worse.

Economists use the term "reputational capital", in the context of the audit process.

A third party looks at the data, performs checks, and applies publicly disclosed rules to produce a result that can be trusted. The idea is that the third party values their reputation more than the audited organisation can outbid.

That doesn't always work of course, but is usually does, and no one has a better mechanism.

So the way forward is to find a firm or person who enjoys great public trust, understands the system, and whose reputation for integrity has real value for them.

...that's not me.
You may or my not trust me, but anyway I'm an interested party, I teach on the CQF.
 
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