COMPARE UCB MFE vs. Princeton MFin vs. CMU MSCF w scholarship

just go to princeton. the graduates of their program are generally very successful. let's run large and say you take 200k loans to cover tuition and living costs for the entire 2-year duration. that's a formidable amount for most people indeed. but you should be able to pay it all back well within 5 years after you obtained your degree. just ask the admin to refer you to some alums. i bet they will all say the same
Would your recommendation stay the same in the case of an international student? (You are completely depending on being able to find and keep a job that pays in dollars though all the market cycles)
@quanttrader - maybe the CMU scholarship is a signal; you're the first I've heard getting 75% - I've heard 25% max in the past for a top candidate. That means they've identified you as a top priority for the program, which puts you at the head of the queue for the networking, professor connections. When their top industry contacts call and ask for the best student, most schools have 1-2 "go-to" candidates. At least, this was my experience when I went to a low/unranked MBA but was the top student and ended up doing quite well after. CMU is not a low ranked program, but it sounds like you'd be "a big fish" there. There's something to that.

UCB MFE has a solid reputation, as you know. I like that they've increased their pre-req requirements, which means their data science offerings will be more serious. Adjuncts there are pioneers in quant equity investing - think blackrock, Axa Rosenberg, Barclays out of the San Francisco office.

Princeton more theoretical - the program was started by Ben Bernanke when he was there and I kind of think of it as central banker training school. The princeton network, and ivy league prestige are no joke, to @Soccent 's point. CMU was my top choice, then I read more about the Princeton program and found an unbelievable amount of cool stuff there. If you know exactly what area you want to specialize in, or consider a future PhD, or really like macro forecasting Princeton is tough to beat.

CMU has a more focused course plan, one that seems closely aligned w/ industry. If you're not sure what area you want to get into, then CMU might be the better approach because you'll get a broad, solid foundation in quantitative finance. I can say those interns I worked w/ from CMU, both grad and undergrad, were several standard deviations above other schools. The computational training seems top notch.

Another way to think about this - technical skills are more important earlier in your career, so the initial "bang for your buck" might be more out of CMU. Princeton may prepare you more for the long game, when you'll need to formulate the investment thesis rather than implement it. But it could be challenging out of the gates if you don't have the programming skills to implement.

Alumni interviews are probably your best source of information. More important even might be defining what you want after the program.
This is nice! Thank you very much!
Would your recommendation stay the same in the case of an international student? (You are completely depending on being able to find and keep a job that pays in dollars though all the market cycles)
I think if you stay ambitious, you can turn any quant job from this program into a solid buyside quant job and make enough soon
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Thanks so much for the detailed response. I’ll definitely take this all into account.

My initial thoughts are that I genuinely do want a more well-rounded finance education and am not as interested in becoming a full time developer - I want to be a part of both idea generation and implementation. That being said, I know that both programs have their major advantages, and I’m planning on speaking with some students and alumni in the upcoming weeks.
Just so you know, almost no one in MSCF becomes a developer. In the current class there is 0 student who will be working this summer as a developer. Most of students ends up with full time/internship in the front desk of a BB, and that will most definitely involve idea generation. In fact, almost all Princeton student will see some mscf student in during his/her internship and most mscf student will find some mfin student in his/her internship class. If you take away the ibanking/consulting roles that some Princeton students have, both programs place most of their students in very similar roles. CMU has a well-rounded program; it wouldn't prepare you for consulting or banking, but the classes there covers just about everything else in finance.
I would like to add a point - If you're the smartest in the room, you're in the wrong room.

Having said that, it looks like you're on CMU's priority list, thereby putting you in the crest of their cohort. Purely for that reason, I believe Princeton might be a better choice.
I think this might be flawed a bit .... Since Princeton doesn't give scholarships, how do we know he isn't a top candidate at Princeton as well? There is the probability (which I think is pretty high) that he would do well in either program.