• 2023 QUANTNET RANKINGS OF TOP MFE PROGRAMS is now available.

  • C++ Programming for Financial Engineering
    Highly recommended by thousands of MFE students. Covers essential C++ topics with applications to financial engineering. Learn more Join!
    Python for Finance with Intro to Data Science
    Gain practical understanding of Python to read, understand, and write professional Python code for your first day on the job. Learn more Join!
    An Intuition-Based Options Primer for FE
    Ideal for entry level positions interviews and graduate studies, specializing in options trading arbitrage and options valuation models. Learn more Join!

UCB vs. Columbia vs. Others

Hi,

I am a 4th year undergrad at UCB studying Applied Math and Econ. I got offers from UCB and Columbia's MFE programs, had my interview with MIT rescheduled for this week, and have not gotten interview requests from CMU or Princeton yet, so I assume the latter two I am not getting into. I have interests in ML and algo trading so I would prefer to end up on the buy-side as a quant trader/researcher at a top prop shop or hedge fund (Two Sigma, Citadel, HRT, Jane Street, Optiver, etc.) rather than quant work at a big bank. I am trying to decide between my above options and am heavily leaning toward UCB at the moment due to the small cohort, emphasis on tech that can allow me to do DS in case quant doesn't work out, and the top-notch career services provided (I hear considerably better than Columbia, Princeton, MIT, and CMU). My only reservations are that I spent 4 years at Berkeley and it might be best to explore another environment, perhaps one closer to NYC to help with recruitment due to proximity. Also, the start date being in March means I would likely take on a part-time job or internship in the fall and then enter the workforce later than other programs. In examining Columbia's program, my initial takeaway was that it had a more flexible curriculum w/ more ML and DL than UCB but far worse placement in my desired industry (prop trading). I would love to know what you all think about my options given my desire to go into quant trading at a big shop. And despite it being a long shot given I haven't gotten an interview yet, would Princeton or CMU offer better career placement in this industry or even MIT? I've heard bad things about MIT's program due to shoddy career services but the prestige of the school is undeniable. Thanks!
 
Hi Omd,

I am not too familiar with the US prop trading scene so pls take my opinion with a grain of salt.
I think both programs are pretty strong academically. Given that you already have a degree from UCB, I'd suggest Columbia for the masters since it improves your educational diversity and gives you access to a large pool of Columbia alumni networks.
I think UCB undergrad + master would open up the same prop trading opportunities as the UCB + Columbia combo. Once the interview starts, it's your own intellect, knowledge, and experiences that matter.

Disclaimer: i'm a quant dev from a regional prop trading shop in APAC region, I find getting interviews from top firms aren't difficult.
 
Go to Berkeley. The culture Linda has set up is unmistakable (even though she is leaving, the culture isn’t going to go away). Watch this interview (if you haven’t already): An interview with Linda Kreitzman and Dan Stefanica

Columbia and Berkeley’s MFEs are on par with one another in terms of coursework and reputation, but honestly, the culture of Berkeley’s program makes me a bit upset I did not apply there.

Congratulations on your admits.
 
Go to Berkeley. The culture Linda has set up is unmistakable (even though she is leaving, the culture isn’t going to go away). Watch this interview (if you haven’t already): An interview with Linda Kreitzman and Dan Stefanica

Columbia and Berkeley’s MFEs are on par with one another in terms of coursework and reputation, but honestly, the culture of Berkeley’s program makes me a bit upset I did not apply there.

Congratulations on your admits.
Hi Qui-Gon,

Would you mind sharing some insights regarding Linda leaving the UCB MFE program?

Thanks in advance :)
 
Hi Qui-Gon,

Would you mind sharing some insights regarding Linda leaving the UCB MFE program?

Thanks in advance :)
I think she already left, what an amazing person, I was just talkin about how amazing she is to a friend yesterday.
 
Top