# University of Manchester MSc. Quantitative Finance Review

#### agrthr

Hi,
I just admit from the University of Manchester for MSc. Quantitative Finance.
How would you rate the course? The University has a whole is good as per my understanding.
Is it worth the investment? How is the career service and job prospect?

#### ApolloChariot

Let's see, I pulled up their page on "graduate career destinations", it's a glossy report which lacks job placement percentages. Big red flag.

Their entry requirements are sort of a joke, on the face of it; another not so good sign.

Perhaps because I had an extremely bad experience with my program (so bad that I can't imagine any program can be worse), but my base case assumption is that graduate finance/financial engineering programs are likely treated as cash cows by their respective universities unless evidence suggests otherwise.

#### agrthr

Let's see, I pulled up their page on "graduate career destinations", it's a glossy report which lacks job placement percentages. Big red flag.

Their entry requirements are sort of a joke, on the face of it; another not so good sign.

Perhaps because I had an extremely bad experience with my program (so bad that I can't imagine any program can be worse), but my base case assumption is that graduate finance/financial engineering programs are likely treated as cash cows by their respective universities unless evidence suggests otherwise.
This is exactly what I feel about most universities. I am looking at other options. As an international student, an MS degree gives you a visa to work. That is the most considerable positive I see.

#### AppliedMath

This is exactly what I feel about most universities. I am looking at other options. As an international student, an MS degree gives you a visa to work. That is the most considerable positive I see.

They charge a pretty penny. However, it's a finishing school. This is my name for 1-year programs, such as Berkeley's MFE. You need to come in with the prior degree in X, Y, or Z because it would otherwise be impossible to squeeze the MFE into 12 months.

Placement statistics suffer from bias, that good placement breeds good placement. Most schools don't care about placement and don't track it. That's normal, not a red flag! Tracking your placement and salaries is also a "cash cow" tactic to attract applicants. Most graduates don't go back to their school as say "Look how much I made". It's chiefly a thing where the school probes into this info a while after each class moves on.

No to belabor the point, but do Computer Science departments publish detailed salary info about where their graduate went? No. Does that mean a CS grad doesn't get a well-paying job, or that the coding bootcamps which publish estimated salaries and testimonials are better? No.

Examples of recent dissertation project topics include:
• Approximation of CVA/DVA/FVA
• FVA and MM - quantitative analysis/illustration Continuous rainbow options on commodity outputs
• Investigating dynamics and determinants of risk-neutral PDs
• Using hazard models to forecast corporate bankruptcy
• Analysing asset pricing implications from real options models
• Pricing sovereign CDS contracts
• Estimating liquidation probabilities of hedge funds

They also seem to have the bulk of MFE courses you would take anywhere. Clearly they don't teach you programming, so you'd better know what already, and improve upon it yourself. The CFA thing seems like a dangling carrot. However, even if you don't get the free CFA materials, the likelihood that a handful of your classmates would study and sit for it is high. Even if you pay for the CFA, joining those people would improve your chances of passing. That said I think CFA and quant are things in two different directions. The trading bootcamp sounds nice, but 1-week is short.

An M.S. in most countries would give you full worth authorization with sponsorship. Meaning, earning the degree gives the legal authorization. Unless you need that auth to be for UK/GB, then it's not really an added benefit.

#### agrthr

They charge a pretty penny. However, it's a finishing school. This is my name for 1-year programs, such as Berkeley's MFE. You need to come in with the prior degree in X, Y, or Z because it would otherwise be impossible to squeeze the MFE into 12 months.

Placement statistics suffer from bias, that good placement breeds good placement. Most schools don't care about placement and don't track it. That's normal, not a red flag! Tracking your placement and salaries is also a "cash cow" tactic to attract applicants. Most graduates don't go back to their school as say "Look how much I made". It's chiefly a thing where the school probes into this info a while after each class moves on.

No to belabor the point, but do Computer Science departments publish detailed salary info about where their graduate went? No. Does that mean a CS grad doesn't get a well-paying job, or that the coding bootcamps which publish estimated salaries and testimonials are better? No.

Examples of recent dissertation project topics include:
• Approximation of CVA/DVA/FVA
• FVA and MM - quantitative analysis/illustration Continuous rainbow options on commodity outputs
• Investigating dynamics and determinants of risk-neutral PDs
• Using hazard models to forecast corporate bankruptcy
• Analysing asset pricing implications from real options models
• Pricing sovereign CDS contracts
• Estimating liquidation probabilities of hedge funds

They also seem to have the bulk of MFE courses you would take anywhere. Clearly they don't teach you programming, so you'd better know what already, and improve upon it yourself. The CFA thing seems like a dangling carrot. However, even if you don't get the free CFA materials, the likelihood that a handful of your classmates would study and sit for it is high. Even if you pay for the CFA, joining those people would improve your chances of passing. That said I think CFA and quant are things in two different directions. The trading bootcamp sounds nice, but 1-week is short.

An M.S. in most countries would give you full worth authorization with sponsorship. Meaning, earning the degree gives the legal authorization. Unless you need that auth to be for UK/GB, then it's not really an added benefit.
Thanks for the valuable input. What do you think about the cost factor? On comparison to US universities. Good thing is I will have CFA 2 when classes commence. Having a Msc Qf and Cfa + frm at the time of graduation will surely open doors to wide range of courses. My background is in computer science so coding should not be a major issue.

Other than this UK work laws are lenient on comparison to USA.

#### AppliedMath

Thanks for the valuable input. What do you think about the cost factor? On comparison to US universities. Good thing is I will have CFA 2 when classes commence. Having a Msc Qf and Cfa + frm at the time of graduation will surely open doors to wide range of courses. My background is in computer science so coding should not be a major issue.

Other than this UK work laws are lenient on comparison to USA.

Haha! You've just filled-in the best blanks. So you already passed CFA Level 2, or you can sit for Level 2 during the program? Either way, it's a better indicator than just sitting for Level 1. It sounds like you're planning to take the FRM. Also a good indicator (along with PRM) - and moreso than CFA. when it comes to the quant space. Your background in computer science will be your key both to jobs and to this program. You would be able to turn all the theory into non-trivial code and mini-projects for your Github. CS-level programming skill and knowledge is appreciated in a lot of the modeling teams. Don't get rusty. As far as work auth, don't the other EU countries have similar things in place? With this degree, you might have good job prospects in other countries too, like Germany.

Go full force. I think your background is a good compliment to what the program will give. Try to hack the system a bit, and if your school doesn't do a lot of fairs, and events with Banks/Quant professionals, just go to the club events of other schools. You should find the type of job you want early and then figure out a project/portfolio that shows you can do it. For example, you wouldn't want to delve into a CVA/DVA project if your job target is being a trader.

In the USA, even in the middle of nowhere, unless you are a resident of that state, people will pay $30K+ for an MFE: 1 or 2 years. UC Berkeley and Stanford charge 65K+ for their variants of the MFE degree. I think your cost is quite typical, There are lower cost places in the world, but sometimes you also pay for the geographic location and the school name. #### agrthr Haha! You've just filled-in the best blanks. So you already passed CFA Level 2, or you can sit for Level 2 during the program? Either way, it's a better indicator than just sitting for Level 1. It sounds like you're planning to take the FRM. Also a good indicator (along with PRM) - and moreso than CFA. when it comes to the quant space. Your background in computer science will be your key both to jobs and to this program. You would be able to turn all the theory into non-trivial code and mini-projects for your Github. CS-level programming skill and knowledge is appreciated in a lot of the modeling teams. Don't get rusty. As far as work auth, don't the other EU countries have similar things in place? With this degree, you might have good job prospects in other countries too, like Germany. Go full force. I think your background is a good compliment to what the program will give. Try to hack the system a bit, and if your school doesn't do a lot of fairs, and events with Banks/Quant professionals, just go to the club events of other schools. You should find the type of job you want early and then figure out a project/portfolio that shows you can do it. For example, you wouldn't want to delve into a CVA/DVA project if your job target is being a trader. In the USA, even in the middle of nowhere, unless you are a resident of that state, people will pay$30K+ for an MFE: 1 or 2 years. UC Berkeley and Stanford charge 65K+ for their variants of the MFE degree. I think your cost is quite typical, There are lower cost places in the world, but sometimes you also pay for the geographic location and the school name.
I will sit for cfa l2 on june 2020 and frm on may.
The reason I prefer uk is because of English being the first language. Schools in uk have half or even lower cost to those of USA. I do agree usa is a biiger market but with higher number of applicants.

After comparing various factors I will probably choose uk over usa.
Manchester, ucl , warwick and imperial are the ones I am looking at. I also think my cfa 2 which i am likely to pass will be added bonus when I sit for a job placement.

Thanks for the compliments.

#### Daniel Duffy

##### C++ author, trainer
[...]
Examples of recent dissertation project topics include:
• Approximation of CVA/DVA/FVA
• FVA and MM - quantitative analysis/illustration Continuous rainbow options on commodity outputs
• Investigating dynamics and determinants of risk-neutral PDs
• Using hazard models to forecast corporate bankruptcy
• Analysing asset pricing implications from real options models
• Pricing sovereign CDS contracts
• Estimating liquidation probabilities of hedge funds
They also seem to have the bulk of MFE courses you would take anywhere. Clearly they don't teach you programming[...]
These days I would assume that theses would have a mix of finance, (numerical) maths and programming (ideally C++).
Models on paper never crash, but the point is that they run in a computer?

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