COMPARE UCLA MFE vs Columbia MSOR

shadefaliam
As a current student in the MSOR program, would you help the future applicants by asking the program's admin to publish placement data? Do you know the person in charge of career service for the program that I can contact?
The department this year has been doing much more than it has done the previous years, like getting feedback from students on job finding process and collecting a record of the students' placement/ internship status. They might release some sort of quantitative data this year but nothing is not official yet.

As a current student of MSOR I can provide unofficial /rough names for a very small sample. (Disclaimer: These names are not official and have been obtained through casual talk though 1st or 2nd person and are confined to group of students from a particular nationality only. Any mistake is unintentional and the data should not be necessarily taken as a measure to judge between programs.) Among the recently graduated students, two have obtained positions in JP Morgan, 1 in CitiGroup, 1 as a derivatives analyst in Maryland, quant trader at Optiver, Chicago and another at Goldman Sachs Quantitative Strategies. For internships, the current count is offers from Bank of America, Facebook, PayPal, AIG, American Express, Morgan Stanley, AOL.

Again these are people whom I know personally. If I do get more information, I shall try to update it.
 

Lyosha

Psychic in Training
The department this year has been doing much more than it has done the previous years, like getting feedback from students on job finding process and collecting a record of the students' placement/ internship status. They might release some sort of quantitative data this year but nothing is not official yet.

As a current student of MSOR I can provide unofficial /rough names for a very small sample. (Disclaimer: These names are not official and have been obtained through casual talk though 1st or 2nd person and are confined to group of students from a particular nationality only. Any mistake is unintentional and the data should not be necessarily taken as a measure to judge between programs.) Among the recently graduated students, two have obtained positions in JP Morgan, 1 in CitiGroup, 1 as a derivatives analyst in Maryland, quant trader at Optiver, Chicago and another at Goldman Sachs Quantitative Strategies. For internships, the current count is offers from Bank of America, Facebook, PayPal, AIG, American Express, Morgan Stanley, AOL.

Again these are people whom I know personally. If I do get more information, I shall try to update it.

... you mean to tell me that there isn't even an actual person Andy can contact?!?!??
 
Correct me if I am wrong.

What I understand is, traditionally Great Engineering Programs (Such as one in Columbia) have focused on Research. Placement stats were/are considered secondary in those dept. Columbia added a separate placement officer for Quant programs only recently I guess. On the other hand, B-Schools take pride in placing their students with very high salary, hence they have to maintain a good placement stats.

But courses like MFE are found both in B-Schools and Engineering dept. For B-Schools it is business as usual, but the engineering departments are just getting aware of the fact that for these Quant Programs, it is very important to give a good career support in addition to strong academics/research.

So it is unfair to disregard some reputed schools like Columbia(MSOR) solely because they don't publish placement stats. All efforts should be made by applicants and students in convincing the schools to make the placement stats transparent. But until then it is just unfair to say that School X has not published placement stats so it is below par...
 

Jose T

Rutgers MSMF
It should be obvious that the point of these threads is to get feedback from people who actually have first hand knowledge of the programs, not to provide a forum for someone to prove they know how to use Google.
 
AshokKumarMuthusamy Member Correct me if I am wrong. What I understand is, traditionally Great Engineering Programs (Such as one in Columbia) have focused on Research. Placement stats were/are considered secondary in those dept. Columbia added a separate placement officer for Quant programs only recently I guess. On the other hand, B-Schools take pride in placing their students with very high salary, hence they have to maintain a good placement stats. But courses like MFE are found both in B-Schools and Engineering dept. For B-Schools it is business as usual, but the engineering departments are just getting aware of the fact that for these Quant Programs, it is very important to give a good career support in addition to strong academics/research. So it is unfair to disregard some reputed schools like Columbia(MSOR) solely because they don't publish placement stats. All efforts should be made by applicants and students in convincing the schools to make the placement stats transparent. But until then it is just unfair to say that School X has not published placement stats so it is below par...

While this may be true, this is actually illogical and wrong of the Engineering schools to do so! If an Engineering school is running a Master's program be it in any major, it is apparent that majority of the students who enroll are doing so not because they want to further their research experience and skills in the hopes of enrolling into a stellar PhD program but are doing so to get a good job after graduation. If they fail to recognize this or choose to ignore it, the program is rightfully branded as a "cash cow" program. In today's market, students regardless of the prestige of the school significantly improve their chances of getting a good job (alternatively a job profile that they specifically desire) if the program is served by a dedicated Career Services team that maintains healthy relations with employers and endures to build upon new ones continuously.
 

Jose T

Rutgers MSMF
A lot of these unnecessary debate can be avoidable had the applicants have placement data to rely on, instead of anecdote from a handful of graduates. It's unclear about the career prospect of the rest.
Columbia MFE has only started to publish some placement stats very recently. The reason is due to the constant inquiry about it from applicants every year. If MSOR students demand to know detailed stats, it will happen. After all, it is under the same department.
Until then, applicants would bet their future on hope and second hand information. It shouldn't come to this. No MBA program would remain in business if they don't publish any placement stats.

Placement stats self-published by the school will never be a reliable marker for a discerning assessment of the career risk of undertaking a debt-financed degree. Especially for an international student.

These statistics are not subject to auditors; just ask the law school graduates suing their alma maters how their schools with stellar stats worked out for them.
 
Placement stats self-published by the school will never be a reliable marker for a discerning assessment of the career risk of undertaking a debt-financed degree. Especially for an international student.

These statistics are not subject to auditors; just ask the law school graduates suing their alma maters how their schools with stellar stats worked out for them.
Your arguement is why placement stats itself is imperfect. But you didn't argue why we shouldn't need them.
I have a more elaborate response on another discussion.
 

Jose T

Rutgers MSMF
Your arguement is why placement stats itself is imperfect. But you didn't argue why we shouldn't need them.
I have a more elaborate response on another discussion.
The grammar of this post is a little unclear. I'm not sure what you're saying.

I'll respond to this:

"Stats is often not the whole (or even accurate) indication but without it, how would one based their life time investment on? Dream, hope?"

This is exactly the danger of telling people to 'look at the stats'. As you mention yourself in your 'elaborate response', schools in general in the US have a tendency to quote misleading stats; this is true of PhD programs, law schools, business schools and MFEs. The problem with the stats is that they give the person willing to bet his life (or at least a small fortune) a false sense of comfort. Sometimes no information is better than wrong information.

The other problem with the 'stats' is that they are not comprehensive nor could they be. Having a 'sexy' first job is probably less important to potential candidates than the long-term ROI of their degree. Most people change industries and roles multiple times within their lifetime. Your degree will be on resume for the rest of your career and employers, in my experience, will be looking at the signal it sends beyond your first job. You can say that it only matters for the first job, but that's not what I've seen as a Cornell graduate whose old enough to have done multiple job hunts.

What should they base their lifetime investment on? First of all nothing should cloud the fact that they are making risky gamble with their lifetime investment. Second of all, they should realize that there's not much too base it on. It may very well be that transparency and audited information on higher education just doesn't exist, especially for international students, and they should stop kidding themselves that it does.

There is nothing wrong with taking risks like an MFE. I did and I do not regret it. But I don't think it's proper for people to use their post-hoc rationalizations of their risky choices to convince the next generation. Of course there is a place for sharing experiences and that is the primary purpose of a 'forum'. But I am highly dubious of attempts to prove things with numbers (we're quants, yippie!) without the facility to critically assess who is publishing those numbers.

How someone chooses their grad school will depend on the person. Honestly, I think it's a crap shoot any way you do it. But we shouldn't pretend there are objective metrics when there just aren't.
 
Jose,
You sound like a guy with a lot of common sense and I often agree with lot of your posts but just can't see why you would prefer a status quo system especially in the field of MFE education where info is severely lacking.
Sometimes no information is better than wrong information.
You are working on the assumption that programs will intentionally put out wrong information. I'm sure you are aware of the legal issues that law schools face when they did this. And I'm sure programs will well know this when they try to cook the numbers.
What they end up with is either not publishing or answering question about them at all. Or using some non-standard reporting format that make the numbers more favorable.

My argument is let's just first get some numbers published first and then worry about their validity later. The market has an interesting way to look at the numbers. I'm very confident with the rise of LinkedIn and social media and info sharing site like this, it is a lot harder for programs to put out wrong information. People are not object you can just hide. They exist somewhere and members here are smart enough to see through the numbers.

Then we can work on having a standard reporting format for MFE programs.

Are you in favor of that at least?
 

Jose T

Rutgers MSMF
Andy,

My post is more out of concern out of how things will be perceived by the next generation. It's wasn't meant to offend or be personal.

I actually admire your intentions in pushing transparency. I spent some years studying academic and applied statistics as well as Math Finance and currently I am in the stat domain professionally. From my experience, something that is misleading but technically true might as well be false when consumed by an unsophisticated audience (sorry, but most young kids going for MFE, as much as I love them, are very unworldly).

I said what I wanted to say in my last post (it was broader than the point you quoted); it was only to make the point in case it gets forgotten. I am not against anything you personally do (at least that I know of ;) ). I'm just deeply cynical about transparency in higher education and think that people need to be more aware of the status quo. You may be able to change things with LinkedIn, social media, this site, but I am not sure you will be able to.

I wish you well though.

Best,
Jose
 
There are arguments on both sides. If you don't publish any stats, some will call you opaque, others will just be intrigued and seek out reviews from alumni. And if there's a forum like this where there are enough people willing to give accurate reviews, then there really is no need for stats. Stats cause fights because they give the illusion of precision, and people are wary of precision.

When stats are published, on one side is that group of people -- naysayers, prospective students, etc. -- that will jump on them and try to beat out the truth, and on the other side the people -- the ignoramuses (unworldly people, as Jose Thomas calls them) who believe everything they're told and the die-hard loyal followers and alumni -- who will defend them. The resulting melee on forums like this one can leave prospective applicants even more confused.
 

Lyosha

Psychic in Training
There is always a need for stats. You need a way to compare programs, and talking to subjective views on them from alumni is not better than employment statistics, which at least are supposedly impartial rather than deliberately partial (most people are biased towards their schools after all - see: the recent efforts by MSOR students to paint their program in the best colors...)

Alumni should be there to say if the stats are or are not reasonable. And the top programs have all had their published statistics come into question here, which is good in my opinion. It flushes people who don't deliver on promises from people who play with graduation dates from people who make up their placement stats altogether, or even publish nothing, claim to be amazing, say they place 100% when half of their graduates are unemployed come May.
 
I should disagree with this. According to the website,
In 2009, 87%.
In 2010, 86%.
In 2011, 92%.

And, somewhat agree with your opinion about MSOR because it is not really dedicated to MSOR even though you can make your curriculum a lot like MFE one.

Thank you. Would B school lie about their placement record? I want a job upon graduation.
 

Lyosha

Psychic in Training
I'm sorry, were you expecting names and phone numbers?
... is it unreasonable for there to be someone at Columbia who oversees the MSOR program that would have access to this data? I mean, there's someone at CMU, NYU, MIT, Baruch, Berkeley, Princeton, etc... even Columbia MFE? ... but not MSOR? Sounds mega sketchy if that is the case.
 
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