Undergrad Major?

both

New Member
Hi, hopeful newbie here. I was admitted to Berkeley as a Chemical Engineering major and plan to attend this coming fall, but I've realized that working in a processing plant in Kansas for the rest of my life is not what I want to do. I can easily switch into CS (and double major in data science), and am wondering if that's a good combination for later MFE/ MMF admissions. My only qualm here is that both the CS and DS majors offered at Berkeley are BA's (Bachelors in Arts). Is that an issue I need to worry about? Should I stick with ChemE? Any replies are appreciated.

-- also, with Data Science, there are a few emphases that I can add on, including Applied Mathematics/ Modeling, Cognition, Economics, and Business Analytics. Which one of these would help the most for MFE admissions?

-- okay final question, does an undergrad at Berkeley boost my chances (even a little bit) for admission to Berkeley's MFE program? i'm just desperate at this point guys haha
 

Michsund

Active Member
C++ Student
Hi, hopeful newbie here. I was admitted to Berkeley as a Chemical Engineering major and plan to attend this coming fall, but I've realized that working in a processing plant in Kansas for the rest of my life is not what I want to do. I can easily switch into CS (and double major in data science), and am wondering if that's a good combination for later MFE/ MMF admissions. My only qualm here is that both the CS and DS majors offered at Berkeley are BA's (Bachelors in Arts). Is that an issue I need to worry about? Should I stick with ChemE? Any replies are appreciated.

-- also, with Data Science, there are a few emphases that I can add on, including Applied Mathematics/ Modeling, Cognition, Economics, and Business Analytics. Which one of these would help the most for MFE admissions?

-- okay final question, does an undergrad at Berkeley boost my chances (even a little bit) for admission to Berkeley's MFE program? i'm just desperate at this point guys haha
I would do stats and a comp sci minor. I had a stats major and a eco major but i would’ve changed that eco for a cs minor any day. I had a low gpa due to some problems but others at my state school went straight from undergrad to Goldman Sachs. So that would be my recommendation to you.
 

quantsmodelsbottles

Active Member
out of CS, math, stats, physics, EECS, etc just pick some kind of major/minor scheme based on what subjects you like. enjoying it will help you get a good Gpa. afaik those are the STEM majors quantitative enough for quant work
 

both

New Member
@IntoDarkness I know the traditional pathway of a berkeley CS major is SWE, and I probably plan to do that for two years-ish to make some money to pay for an MFE. I just don't want to get pigeonholed into the "only a code-monkey, can't understand business-side" frame of mind. In your opinion, do you think it makes more sense to just go into software development versus finance?

@Michsund I'm definitely thinking about Stats, but a CS minor is pretty much the same as a CS major at Berkeley (almost same number of required upper+lower divs). So now my decision comes down to Stats vs Data Science, and I'm not sure which one to go with, especially since Data Science is newer at Berkeley.

@quantsmodelsbottles thanks for the advice! :)
 

Michsund

Active Member
C++ Student
@IntoDarkness I know the traditional pathway of a berkeley CS major is SWE, and I probably plan to do that for two years-ish to make some money to pay for an MFE. I just don't want to get pigeonholed into the "only a code-monkey, can't understand business-side" frame of mind. In your opinion, do you think it makes more sense to just go into software development versus finance?

@Michsund I'm definitely thinking about Stats, but a CS minor is pretty much the same as a CS major at Berkeley (almost same number of required upper+lower divs). So now my decision comes down to Stats vs Data Science, and I'm not sure which one to go with, especially since Data Science is newer at Berkeley.

@quantsmodelsbottles thanks for the advice! :)
I don’t know what’s the curriculum like but take some high level stats and take classes where you learn c++ and or python. From my own experience many physics classes use python so that maybe a major you wanna pick up?
 

quantsmodelsbottles

Active Member
there’s a berkeley EECS undergrad who got into d.e. shaw as a quant, according to linkedin. in recent years they’ve been hiring almost always people with some kind of CS or software engineering background for their quant positions

(which makes me think quant is a glorified programming job there at this point...)
 
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travybel

New Member
I'm a rising senior at Berkeley right now and if you are serious about pursuing the MFE program, I would definitely suggest doing Data Science as one of your majors over CS as CS is better if you want to be a software engineer. If you want to keep your options open as a freshman and want to go into tech upon graduating, definitely do CS since CS won't harm your chances of admission into MFE. Otherwise, do DS since it is more widely applicable to more fields of study (Econ, Math, MCB etc).

Now as for the other major/minor, you should take something that you are interested in. Choose one of Econ or Maths since that will cover the core classes required to apply to MFE. For example if you choose to do Econ, then take the required math courses (find them on MFE Berkeley website) and do them during your time at Berkeley and vice versa. I wouldn't recommend doing stats as a major as if you do DS, many of the electives you take for the major will be stats classes. If you are interested in CS, then many of the electives for DS also have DS classes. If you have any questions, please DM me. Good luck!
 

IntoDarkness

Well-Known Member
talk to ur campus clubs and reach out to alums to find out what u can do with a quantitative berkeley degree... for ez starter, u can leverage ur undergrad for typical sde, startup, prop trading, etc. i recommend to stick to a traditional math/cs/stats sequence and throw in other useful topics. what the degree is called is not important. employers r looking for technical skills. they will hire u even if u graduate with ba in history.

the prop trading firm i interviewed in my junior year hired many berkeley and stanford undergrad for trading assistant internships which eventually lead to full time quant trader jobs. think jane street if you wonder what that firm competes with. you basically learn to trade, help backtest, formulate strategy, also daily chores including being the first at the firm to setup computers for the day, etc. most quant traders i know never went back to grad school. think about it, grad school teaches mostly stylized and simplified concepts. at work, u r practically doing and learning above-phd level things on a daily basis.
 
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