University of Illinois MSFE

Lyosha

Psychic in Training
according to prof. tai ho's notes, yes... :P

Piyapong

I'm waiting for the explanation of internship placements. Why both of you guys in the same program give out different perspective toward this ?

I think it is common that different people have different perspective toward particular things. Especially non-quantified thing would be very subjective.

We have the same fact , but how we look at things only.

For example, you failed on some 'X' exams.
1. You may think that the exam is too hard and it is not for you and surrender.
2. Otherwise you may think that you did not put enough effort on exam and try harder. Never give up.

So just only simple scenario you still can translate the result into different motivation. Same as program evaluation.

Besides, this program may be terrible , crap or the worst program in the world, but I like it.

descendents

PS: Ppl might think I'm bitter cause I don't have an internship. As a fact of fact I do have an internship and thankfully it has to do with Fin Engg

How do you get that internship ? Isn't it because of UIUC brand or their career service ? or is it your personal connection or something ? since I didn't see you give credit to the program. Do you have any stat, bro ? how many students cannot find internship or something ? Thanks for the information.

Piyapong

I would say partially because of UIUC brand that attract big firms to careers fair: GS , Morgan Stanley, Citadel,CTC
And I believe most of student will find internship too but how they can get it, what the job would be, it is different story.

descendents

It is understandable about the part of the program structure that he might not like what you like.
But for the internship part both of you said differently.
Piyapong you said that most of you guys get internship in you first comment.
On the contrary, nothing_is_fair said "the internship placements have been horrible and searching for them has been a nightmare".

Piyapong

Both of us are correct. He said 'it is horrible until now.'
I said 'we are getting'
Mean that, in the past is horrible. But now become better and better. I think this is what I mean.

Jason Berkenpas

Both of us are correct. He said 'it is horrible until now.'
I said 'we are getting'
Mean that, in the past is horrible. But now become better and better. I think this is what I mean.

I'm going to echo "descendents" and ask for some stats on internships. I think it would be much more helpful if someone could give us some actual statistics (as of right now). X students out of X in the program have gotten internships. We have no idea what your definition of "horrible" or "becoming better and better" actually means. If you don't have an exact amont, please estimate, but actually give numbers rather than describe it. That would be much more helpful I think.

Also, I have been accepted at UIUC and UofM and I'm trying to decide between the two. I was leaning towards UIUC, but being a new program, I would like more info. Piyapong and "Nothing_is_fair", can both of you ask more of the current students at UIUC to get on here and describe their experiences? Also, if they are willing, have them fill out the reviews that Andy has so we can get more of an insight. Right now we have one person's word against anothers and it would be helpful if we had more people's opinions of the program. Since this is a new program, a lot of us want to know exactly what it is that we are going to pay $51,000. I would think that being a new program, they would encourage their students to be more transparent with what they are about and disadvantages/advantages. Your help is appreciated. Andy Nguyen If you want to get some sort of official number on internship, you can contact Sabria Kushad, assistant to the director. She should be able to give you some color on the current state of affair. Her contact can be found here http://www.grad.illinois.edu/admissions/depts/contact.asp?id=218 Current students giving conflicting numbers illustrates the very fact that they know as much as their peers are willing to tell them. Give Sabria a call. Jason Berkenpas If you want to get some sort of official number on internship, you can contact Sabria Kushad, assistant to the director. She should be able to give you some color on the current state of affair. Her contact can be found here http://www.grad.illinois.edu/admissions/depts/contact.asp?id=218 Current students giving conflicting numbers illustrates the very fact that they know as much as their peers are willing to tell them. Give Sabria a call. Thanks. I will do that. fardream Was the placement at ITG a developer role as well? Well... Applied to a Developer Role, but unfornately went to a quant position in Algo Trading... fardream I'm going to echo "descendents" and ask for some stats on internships. I think it would be much more helpful if someone could give us some actual statistics (as of right now). X students out of X in the program have gotten internships. We have no idea what your definition of "horrible" or "becoming better and better" actually means. If you don't have an exact amont, please estimate, but actually give numbers rather than describe it. That would be much more helpful I think. Also, I have been accepted at UIUC and UofM and I'm trying to decide between the two. I was leaning towards UIUC, but being a new program, I would like more info. Piyapong and "Nothing_is_fair", can both of you ask more of the current students at UIUC to get on here and describe their experiences? Also, if they are willing, have them fill out the reviews that Andy has so we can get more of an insight. Right now we have one person's word against anothers and it would be helpful if we had more people's opinions of the program. Since this is a new program, a lot of us want to know exactly what it is that we are going to pay$51,000.

I would think that being a new program, they would encourage their students to be more transparent with what they are about and disadvantages/advantages.

It's five in the morning and... I know most of my fellow students have already finished their homework for tomorrow's class... I had so many coffees today to fight with that homework... Unfortunately I cannot fall asleep now... So bear with me...

It seemed you mostly concerned about interns...

The university and the program can get you interviews from GS or JP or MS or CS for quants (I didn't get all of these...), and I guess you would not be surpised that you can always get interviews for developers in UIUC, say Citi or MS or JP or GS or BofA or Wolfram Mathematica or another MS called Micosoft or what so ever... The program has connections with two small small small prop trading firms, CTC and Wolverine LLC that can get you interviews for traders/fin engineers/developers... and If you insist, even Bloomberg will consider you for their developer interns (they don't usually hire from non-cs people so beg them for an opportunity if you are so keen to be a developer or you love their terminals so much)... There are a lot of trader positions, but they asked for Green Cards and I don't have one... oh Citadel... I forgot... The interview experience with them is not so happy for me... anyway it happened. There are also other firms giving out quant interviews, but I forgot the names (Bxxxxxx in somewhere? xxxxxxx in NY?)... Sorry I am dumb and nerdy and old now...

There are opportunities... Always... but I say I wasted so many of them... The program cannot throw me into a job that doesn't need a few interviews... If I got another chance for these, I would suggest the program to move all the courses this spring to last fall and - either we die because we could not learn fast enough, or we succeed and shine...
I know somebody proved some fancy equations and the equation is printed in a book costs ~$100... But JP asked and I knew nothing about these not-so-sophisticated details... Yes, I believe in Merton and Scholes even after their LTCM failed spectacularly, but JP didn't think that Merton knowing it equals me knowing it... And what if MS asked about binomial models... should I say it's too simple that I don't think i should know it... Also somebody in CTC simply threw out an AR(1) process and asked for its lag-1 ACF... This is super naive problem and if we could work it out fast, we got another round of interviews for their financial engineers... Prepare to calculate implied volatility... and another chance to tour the trading floor (I am not fan of marketplace filled with yelling males) I know... After hiring me, they could hire 1) a quant to build models 2) a trader to use models 3) a software developer to implement models 4) an IT techinician to maintain the infrastructure 5) a lawyer to fight SEC 6) a hr to hire more people like me... By the way, jpberk, did you consider other factors? Like Urbana Champaign v.s. that city of U of M... For example, a direct flight to New York will make your interview life much much easier, except that the company is as gorgeous as Microsoft who would provide you 2 nights stay in Seattle... But even if it's a companly like Microsoft, you will feel miserable because you are in Urbana Champaign and have 4 on-site interviews on the east/west coast in a single month... Even worse, I heard somebody is talking about shutting the our tiny but lovely airport down... And what about weather...? and... Alumni? and... food? and... tax? and... housing? and... building style? It's a$51,000 choice, right? The price went up dramatically (and Fed says there is no inflation...) But this is life...

PS: L.R., if you see this... This is MY style of writing... and I don't use "in fact"!

Jason Berkenpas

Thanks for taking the time to post information about internship prospects. That is very helpful. Yes I have considered other factors like weather. I have heard weather is much better in Champaign. I have lived in Michigan all my life, so I am well aware of the "wonderful" weather here...

Could you give your opinion of the classes? The professors?

Thanks

pruse

<offtopic> Is that a real word? :D

doesn't matter... we have the technology to make it real.

Alexander Krosky

Well... Applied to a Developer Role, but unfornately went to a quant position in Algo Trading...

Upgrading from a developer role to an algo trading role is "unfortunate"?

HuanPeng

Hi, my name is Huan Peng, also in this program. The two students commenting our program is beyond two sigma in our program, I think me, a normal student who do not have an internship now but still hold the hope and belief to find one, should comment the program in my view, hope you guys interested in and help you make the decision.
1. Maybe internships and jobs are you guys most interested in. We are the first class, so I can just comment on the internships. 1) To be a coder or algo trader. I think you have plenty of opportunity here. A lot of companies come here, like Citadel, MS, GS, CTC and so on. If you are strong in coding, like ‘fardream’, you can definitely find a very good job. 2) To be a trader. I think a green card can help you a lot, I think it’s true for the whole American. A lot of trading company comes here, you can have good opportunity if you are good at mental calculating. We have special training from Wolverine, they are so kind that they come to Champaign every month, we have basic trader training and algo training, which requires write our own IPA and strategies, which is good. 3) To be a quant, maybe a Phd helps you a lot, to be honest. We have opportunity for MS, GS, CS and UBS. If you are good enough, you can have opportunity. I got interview from GS, I failed because myself. BTW, I think Morton try his best to help us, we got some special opportunities, hope he can make more connections. What’s more, Morton is an expert in catastrophe reinsurance, it’s your paradise if you are interested in it, you can definitely learn a lot from him.
2. For the course. All teachers are the best in both Business and Engineering school, all graduate from best Universities. The course is hard and endless projects, but I did learn a lot. The first semester suffering Time Series, C++ projects, Finance and Econ. This semester suffering PDEs, Monte Carlo, Stochastic, derivative in cases which is good. Hard as they are, it’s the most basic requirement for Financial Engineering. The workload is heavy; at least I did not sleep well. Maybe it’s the first time for some teacher to teach this course, it will gain more experience later. We also have a lot of lectures from outstanding people in the market to expanse our knowledge in the market.
3. Environment. Students here are all very good and excellent; all students in the program are from top universities in their counties. Peoples in our program are very nice, we always play Texas Poker, drink, happy hour, watching Basketball game, BBQ together, because the class is small, NOT just Chinese hang out themselves as somebody commented, what a fuck stupid people insult us! I love the program, no one can hurt him.
I just comment in my view, probably some thoughts differ from others, different people hold different view, I respect everyone and do not mean to hurt anyone.

Andy Nguyen

In the interest of time, I'm attaching here the first review of the UIUC MFE program I received yesterday.

UIUC MSFE

Degree type *
Full-time

When did you start and finish the program *
Started Fall 2010 / will complete Dec 2011

- Math / CS major
- System Engineer experience
- Risk Management consulting experience

Why did you choose this program over others if you were admitted into several program? *
This is the only FE program I applied since I belived in their Engineering Department having completed undergraduate also in UIUC. Faculty members are great and Champaign is great place to live especially with family.

Before its launching director and other faculties were actively marketing this program over industry and within UIUC community.

Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? What do they offer and how much it costs? *
Basic Finance related course / Stat courses / Computing courses

Tell us about the courses selection in this program *
[1st semester]
Econ / Finance / Time series analysis / Computing
[2nd semester]
Numerical Method / Derivatives / Stochastic Calc / Optimization
[3rd semester]
Indepemdent research / electives.... (7-8 choices)

Tell us about the quality of teaching *
Of course, not all faculties are holding strong finance related knowledge - some are very very competitive in teaching others are not. However, in overall the quality is satisfying in terms of engineering academic curriculums and related teaching skills.

Programming component of the program *
C++ / Real industry API implementation experience through Trading workshop

Projects *
Optimization Class / Stochastic Calculus classes hold project assignments.
Derivative classes introduce many many real world cases such as HBS cases and others from different sources.

Career service *
Career Services department is Okay.
The best part is that professors and directors running around really diligently to contact employers and get students at much interview opportunities as possible. For example, even though as an international student I had 8 interview opportunities and got 2 offers for internship.

What do you like about the program? *
In overall I'm satisfied so far. However since it's in first year there are also lots of things to improve such as getting a bit better faculties with more financial industry experience and practical knowledge.

What DON'T you like about the program? What kind of changes would you make if you were in charge? *
A bit too expensive and somewhat can be bored if you're very outgoing person looking for decent amount of party. Also, student demographic is not diversified. Heavy portion of student is from one single country.

What are your current job status? What are you looking for? What would you prefer to work in? *
Got an internship. Will look for fulltime during next semester.

Other comments. What would you advise prospective students interested in this program? *
One word: UIUC MSFE provides (at least tries to provide) if you're involved and actively ask what you want. If not there will be nothing you can get out of this as other programs in other schools.

On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), how would you grade this program? (Please be objective) *
9

Joy Pathak

Swaptionz
This is a very promising review.

Andy Nguyen

We have a large number of current UIUC MFE students who are members here (or just signed up the past 2 days) so hopefully prospective students interested in the program can hear from both side of the opinion spectrum and make an informed decision.

Joy Pathak

Swaptionz
We have a large number of current UIUC MFE students who are members here (or just signed up the past 2 days) so hopefully prospective students interested in the program can hear from both side of the opinion spectrum and make an informed decision.

I had expected UIUC to have a good program given their reputation as a university in general. I was very surprised to hear some of the comments but this review and hopefully more to come will give us a better picture.

nnb

Firstly I would like to thank Andy and the others for providing this forum. It certainly is very helpful.
Secondly I would like to thank HuanPeng and Piyapong for their reviews.
Even I am deciding between Boston MSMF and UIUC MFE. I am slightly biased towards UIUC because of the overall reputation of the school.

I would like to share with all of you, some firsthand info which I collected from a current MFE student at UIUC.( I spoke to him personally for about an hour). His general demeanor towards the program was not very enthusiastic. When I questioned him about it, he said that he was kind of turned off because - few of the courses were very theoretical(he mentioned Stochastic Calulus). He said that, since this is a course in Applied Math, he does not really care about how to prove a theorem. He is more interested in applying the theorem. I kind of agree with him, for theoretical math, is not really my cup of tea. Are all the MFE programs similar? Are theoretical proofs a major part of the curriculum( I am fine with it as long as its not too much). People who have finished their FE degree, please answer this question, its very important personally.

Regarding the courses, he said that it was generally good, though he did mention that it could be improved and made a bit more practical. Most of the professors in his view, were excellent. And finally, the most important issue, the placements/internships. He obviously started off by stressing that a New York based college would be better because the networking would be better. But UIUC being one of the best colleges in the Chicago region(which is considered the 2nd financial hub of US), there would be opportunities for a job. He gave the following stats: 8-10 people out of the 25 people had internships. The rest were going back to their home countries for an internship. Indeed what the other reviewers said is true: They had interviews from Goldman Sachs, JP but they were not converted.
Summarily, UIUC being close to Chicago, provides opportunities for jobs in trading, development but not of any other kind.

Lastly my own views: I think I am still biased towards UIUC. Jobs will be difficult to get everywhere, but if you are good in your field, with good networking and a bit of luck, its manageable.

PS: Boston, located in the state of Massachusetts, is kind of overshadowed by Harvard(though it does not have a FE course) and MIT. What do you guys think?

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