Unique Backround

Lurked around here for a while and finally decided to post in order to solicit feedback about the chances of me getting accepted into the Chicago MSFM program.

About me

36 years old.
B.A. History 3.02 GPA from Indiana University - Bloomington (1998)
11+ Years of work experience in Software Architecture. Eight of those years were spent employed as a senior software Architect for Microsoft. I then went to work on the execution desk of a Chicago Hedge fund. I have extensive real world experience in trading US equity options both as an employee and in my own prop trading. Interested in MFE program as I would like to be able to develop my own pricing models around the products I trade rather than relying on paying someone (with an MFE) to do it for me and not understanding the nuts and bolt inside the model. In preparation for the possibility of applying I have enrolled in the University of Chicago prep-class.

So my question is does my "unique" profile help or hurt me? The story of how I went from a history major to a Senior Software Architect at Microsoft proves my ability to learn somewhat unconventionally.

Thoughts? Opnions?

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
It sounds like you have a a pretty strong resume already. Also, I'm not sure for your purposes that you would need a full blown MFE program to accomplish what you want to accomplish.
Thanks for the response... If not a full blown MFE something like the CQF then? My thought expressed above that my getting my MFE from Chicago I would have a very solid foundation to which I would be able to leverage for the purposes or hope of finding alpha. Additionally the Chicago brand holds (I think) a decent amount of value and as such could be of help when I look to raise additional funds. Finally should I ever need to go back to working for someone else my background from MSFT plus the MFE would hopefully insure I land on my feet. What I am worried about is admissions if I chose to go down this path. Hoping for someone to say yeah you are right you have no shot or say your work experience is at least a differentiation when compared to other candidates.
May be it would be wiser to contact Chicago MSFM program directly to speak with director or someone else who can give you more reasonable advice ?

Yike Lu

Finder of biased coins.
My impression is that your work background could in no way detract from your application. As far as looking for alpha, MFE can only teach you parts of the process and tools, but in the end those who know don't say, those who say don't know.
Your background is not that unique so you don't have to worry that you will stand out in a bad light. Any established program attracts a good number of people with years of working experience in tech/software/finance. Chicago is an old program and in the second largest financial market so you will find plenty of people with similar background and goal.

You should investigate if Chicago offers what you need. Do they have practitioners who will share real world practices/tools/knowledge? What products these practitioners specialize in? And so on.
Chicago MSFM program has gone through several personnel changes the last two years so you should take into account that as well.
you have a good background. sounds like you are doing the right thing. jobs in chicago will still be around as many hedge funds and prop firms won't be affected by volcker rule that much.