COMPARE UCB MFE vs MIT MFin

Berkeley MFE or MIT MFIN?

  • Berkeley MFE

  • MIT MFin


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Hapway

New Member
I have been admitted to MIT (12 month) and Berkeley.

So far I haven't made a decision.

In terms of experience -- I am fresh out of undergrad without full-time experience (I have a BB internship experience in non-quant S&T/Research). Undergrad majors were in Business and Engineering (think Mechanical, Material, Chemical) from a state-school like Berkeley/UCLA.

I'm being imprecise here due to privacy issues.

The problem is that I lack undergrad coursework in math and CS. This would make it hard to follow Berkeley's curriculum especially since many incoming students have higher degrees and undergrad coursework in math/CS.

Besides the standard Calculus - Linear Algebra - Diff Eq series, programming courses in Python and C++, Econometrics, and an intermediate Statistics (calculus based) course is what I finished. My undergrad curriculum in engineering was not particularly quantitative, heavy with design and project based courses.

That said, I want to work in a quantitative role, perhaps in quant trading/research etc. But I am fully aware that with a weak quantitative background, I may be placed in risk management positions which I do not prefer. I am open for regular S&T type positions which are awesome in my view.

My heart speaks for Berkeley. Though I am weak in quant studies, I truly believe that only through intense hard work and overcoming challenges that you can advance. I see myself struggling at Berkeley with coursework that is beyond my undergrad-preparation. Yes I can survive and follow the curriculum, but I see a risk of myself becoming "mediocre" relative to my colleagues.

On the other hand, MIT would be a more reasonable choice since most incoming students are young, and the brand will help more for S&T and non-quant positions. Since my undergrad is from Berkeley, going to MIT will have greater impact in terms of experience, network, and brand.

Overall, I see myself fairly competent for a sellside BB role with MIT on my resume, but I am not sure how Berkeley will change my game (since quant abilities are from yourself, not the brand).

But still, I think there is more to learn at Berkeley (MIT's 12-month curriculum overlaps with CFA and FRM which I passed several levels) and I believe that "financial engineers" will become even more valuable as newer data technology integrates with finance (ML, AI etc) so I recognize a pressing need in quantitative studies.

I would deeply appreciate anyone's advice. Apologies for the wordiness.
 
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Hapway

New Member
Also forgot to mention -- in case I go to MIT, I secured an internship (trading) at a BB bank in Asia that ends before July.
 

Qysnp

New Member
There's no free options in any cases. If you truly "want to work in a quantitative role, perhaps in quant trading/research" and believe that you have "a weak quantitative background", then you should go to Berkeley and fight for a quant job...You never get it if you don't try...
 

Hapway

New Member
There's no free options in any cases. If you truly "want to work in a quantitative role, perhaps in quant trading/research" and believe that you have "a weak quantitative background", then you should go to Berkeley and fight for a quant job...You never get it if you don't try...
Thank you so much.

To me Berkeley will be a big challenge with great potential return.

Otherwise I can go to MIT and pursue self study in CS/Math through electives and online courses (3rd party).

Wish I could be wiser.
 

volmacro

Member
I think Berkeley is a better program and would provide more career support services. The only benefit that I see for you to go to MIT is just adding the name to your resume since you already have Berkeley for undergrad, and the MIT name recognition is slightly better. The MIT curriculum does seem like it overlaps a lot with the CFA and FRM programs, so you may not get as much challenge out of it. Between the 2, I would pick Berkeley. After you land your first job (and it sounds like you have success with landing internships), the difference between the MIT and Berkeley name would matter far less than what you do on the job and your skills. Your skillset will likely be stronger going through Berkeley's MFE program than MIT's program.
 

Hapway

New Member
I think Berkeley is a better program and would provide more career support services. The only benefit that I see for you to go to MIT is just adding the name to your resume since you already have Berkeley for undergrad, and the MIT name recognition is slightly better. The MIT curriculum does seem like it overlaps a lot with the CFA and FRM programs, so you may not get as much challenge out of it. Between the 2, I would pick Berkeley. After you land your first job (and it sounds like you have success with landing internships), the difference between the MIT and Berkeley name would matter far less than what you do on the job and your skills. Your skillset will likely be stronger going through Berkeley's MFE program than MIT's program.
My concern came from the possibility of being marginalized by experienced colleagues and recruiters favoring the experienced.

But I can admit that it is useless pessimism -- in the end I'm sure I can advance.
 

Hapway

New Member
My concern came from the possibility of being marginalized by experienced colleagues and recruiters favoring the experienced.

But I can admit that it is useless pessimism -- in the end I'm sure I can advance.
I think Berkeley is a better program and would provide more career support services. The only benefit that I see for you to go to MIT is just adding the name to your resume since you already have Berkeley for undergrad, and the MIT name recognition is slightly better. The MIT curriculum does seem like it overlaps a lot with the CFA and FRM programs, so you may not get as much challenge out of it. Between the 2, I would pick Berkeley. After you land your first job (and it sounds like you have success with landing internships), the difference between the MIT and Berkeley name would matter far less than what you do on the job and your skills. Your skillset will likely be stronger going through Berkeley's MFE program than MIT's program.
I think Berkeley is a better program and would provide more career support services. The only benefit that I see for you to go to MIT is just adding the name to your resume since you already have Berkeley for undergrad, and the MIT name recognition is slightly better. The MIT curriculum does seem like it overlaps a lot with the CFA and FRM programs, so you may not get as much challenge out of it. Between the 2, I would pick Berkeley. After you land your first job (and it sounds like you have success with landing internships), the difference between the MIT and Berkeley name would matter far less than what you do on the job and your skills. Your skillset will likely be stronger going through Berkeley's MFE program than MIT's program.
Thanks for the view. I was forgetting that I have nothing to lose. I will take the bigger challenge and make a bigger leap. Will be going to Berkeley -- certainly not just from your advice but from what I confirmed over the past few weeks. Thanks.

P.S : typo for "undergrad from Berkeley" => "undergrad from state school like Berkeley".
 
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