I am an Actuarial Sciences student from Latin America, 4 years of experience in strategy consulting, aiming to shift into quantitative research, portfolio management, risk management roles. Plan B is data science.
To complement my formation at consulting, I believe it is better for me to pursue the program with the higher technical demand within its coursework.
I do not know a lot about UCLA to be honest. Hence I would not be the best judge to compare both the courses.
But, I have been admitted to BU and have done significant research regarding the course. My sole goal has always been to enter the domain of Financial Technology, so after a good look at the coursework at BU, I would say that it does contain a good set of courses that enhance your technical skillsets.
Courses like advanced programming, advanced ML, algorithmic trading, data analysis, and financial econometrics; are a few of the courses that will boost your technical knowledge.
Last but not the least, the Graduate Certificate in Adv Financial Technology is something amazing that BU offers, it does teach you a great set of technical subjects, at the same time lets you pursue a course from a set of schools in BU(mentioned in the excel sheet).
Talking about your plans A and B. Looking at the placement statistics, Boston is a Financial and a FinTech hub, so getting into the roles your mention would be possible. At the same time since it's a Fintech hub, it is very much possible to get into the field of data science as well.
I have also attached a file of the curriculum at BU, with the different concentrations that they offer.
As a disclaimer, I did not apply to UCLA's MFE, but I did do some reading on the program. I did apply to BU's program and was accepted. Though I already declined their offer.
I'm going to have to give my vote to BU this time. First of all, UCLA's QN rankings is dropping year over year and their 3 - month post graduation employment rate is kinda bad and BU's is significantly better (if BU's is to be believed.) A cursory search on linkedin also tells me that not many of them work in quant finance. Furthermore, the curriculum doesn't excite me as they don't seem rigorous enough. On the other hand, BU's program has a Research track which seems really mathematical and rigorous.
I don't know if you care about this, but, Steven Kou, an ex-Columbia IEOR professor who is apparently a legend in the Q-Finance world now teaches at BU.