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Baruch MFE Why Baruch MFE ?

Hien

Well-Known Member
I promised that I'd write something about my experience of how and why I got to Baruch's MFE program. Of course if others can jump in and share theirs, that'll be great, as I think it'll be useful to other prospective students.

I started the program in Fall 2005 but I started my search process about a year before that. Most of my research was mostly done on-line. I ended up attending 2 information sessions: Baruch's MFE's and NYU's. The course loads and pre-reqs were essentially the same. However, there's something about Baruch's MFE's program that stood out. I immediately felt very comfortable with the people and right there was seeing myself taking classes here. I recalled a very welcoming meeting with the program director (Professor Dan Stefanica) right after the information session, where we each had a one-on-one talk with him about what we wanted to get out of the program. I had a few more meetings with Professor Dan Stefanica where we talked in details about the program before I got accepted. In a way, we each was "hand-picked" into a very unique program. The other factor is the cost, which you all already know. It's one of the most cost effective programs around.

Now, in my third semester this Fall and I'm enjoying it. The courses that I took so far actually helped with my work as well. I'm looking forward to learning new topics this coming semester.

What about you? Do you have a story to share?
 

Yan He

Well-Known Member
I really couldn't forget when Dan told me that I was admitted and lead me to the office, then asked Cathy to make a copy of my admission letter. I was so excited.
I've been working in law firms and government agents for years before applying to the MFE program, none of my experiences has directly connection with finance, math or programming. For career change, I began the research about MFE programs in New York City.
I sent my application in March 2005, yes, 2005, with my outdated GRE scores (which was took in 1996) :mrgreen: ....even after that, I did not feel ready at all. Then I contacted the admission office for deferral. Then I quit my job.
I began to take Calculus I, II, and III and Linear Algebra, Object-Oriented Programming in CUNY colleges which ever fit my schedule. It's really challenging to me, since I haven't took any math class after 1997.
Then in March 2006, I brought a new GRE score and transcripts of math, statistics and programming with all A's to Dan......

That's my story.
 

Eddie

Well-Known Member
My story... ... I'd start my story with re-telling the story that I sold Dan in my personal statement. It's my childhood dream to one day become a professional on Wall street, and I'm still living with that dream today, it's just that I'm edging ever closer to it in reality since I got into the program, and moved to the Big Apple. So... ... I'm only 20 or so blocks away from the dream that seemed so remote just a while ago.

My first college degree was in finance as what people would assumed if they wanted a career in the money world... ... after I delved into this realm more and more through learning in classrooms, reading books like <Liars Poker> and <The reminiscences of a stock operator> and also hearing anecdotes, I realized that I lack something in my education to get me there. Well, things just happened with such a coincidence, I had a friend who transferred to Stony Brook, and it was through him I first time heard the term 'financial engineering', and after some thorough research into the subject, I made my first step towards it by taking another degree in mathematics, that was quite a commitment.

Now let me take a leap in the time-line before I bored you with my personal column. I took my GRE in late March 2006, I delayed it so long because I never got comfortable with my mock test verbal scores, and actual test proved the case, even though I personally doubt it's good gauge of how well I can express myself in real life. So, it was kind of a confidence breaker while I looked pretty decent in every other aspect as a candidate. But do you remember the paragraph on the program's website where it says quote "We hesitated for a long time before deciding to make public the average test scores. The reason is that prospective students might be inherently tempted to assume that, unless they have a score close to the average scores of the students admitted the previous year, they do not stand a chance to be accepted into the program." So, what shall I say, everything says on that, is very very true.

And I submitted my application virtually less than an hour before the deadline, had it been an hour late, it would have become a very regretful mistake. People may wonder how did I leave things to the last minute, yes, the answer is I had put some genuine effort into my application... ...I spent almost 2 weeks alone on writing up the personal statement and had it proofread by my peers and professors for 3 times and with subsequent editing... ...just to show you a glimpse of how dedicate you should treat, and in the end, it paid off.

The reason I chose this program was because... ... if you have looked at the program structure and course offerings, it's got everything what I believe is essential for a good quant. And that's just the 'outside', once you got in the program, there's a whole lot more other goodies to enjoy, I'll leave this to my classmates to expand, maybe.

So I got an email soon after I filed my application, from the program director-as you may already know, Dan, saying that he wanted a phone conversation with me. It was a mixture of delightful and nervous feeling, as I intuitively felt I might have one foot in the door already. But I didn't take a chance on things, I further prepared myself with some self-invented phone interview questions, even though the word 'interview' was no where mentioned in the email.

It was an 'ordeal' trying to get hold of Dan on the phone especially I had to stay till 3am in the morning, sometimes till 6am given the time difference between New Zealand and New York, knowing how busy Dan is, I might have tried a different approach, that's just hindsight. Eventually I got the chance talk to him briefly on the phone after about 2 weeks, and he gave a verbal admission and asked some questions, call it a telephone interview if you wish. Questions I had not prepared for but managed to give spontaneous answers.

Always stick to your conviction, be dedicated and well prepared, and leave the rest to the faith! You'll be surprise.
 

Yusheng

Active Member
I was a Ph.D. student in physics prior to joining the current program. Why did I switch my major? I like the financial world. Actually, I had the chance to change my major from physics to finance while in college. But I didn't do so at that time because I thought that science would give me a better career foundation. Some years later, when I live in New York which is the most famous financial center of the world, I really can't help wanting to enter the financial field. At the beginning, I had no exact idea on what major I should choose. There are many subfields. After the consultation with my friends those who study at business school or work in financial institutions, I was very excited to say that I know what is the best for me, FINANCIAL ENGINEERING. It fits me very well: I am very interested in financial field and it requires people to have strong science background.

Which school should I choose? I began to do research on it via internet. There are so many useful topics there. I chose Baruch College because of the following four reasons: 1. The courses are balanced in math, finance and programming; 2. The director gets a highly positive ratings. Many people know that he puts his heart on this program; 3. Baruch College is located in New York City, the heart of financial world; 4. The tuition is much cheaper than other schools.

Now, let me say something about my application procedure. It is not complicated. I submitted my application at the end of February and was interviewed by our director, Prof. Dan Stefanica, at the end of March. My interview was very short. Dan was delayed by a meeting, so he had not enough time to talk more with me. He just asked me something like that how is my math background and programming skill. Then he had to meet another guest as scheduled. He told me the final decision would be made at the end of April. Though I had to wait for that, I was confident I could be admitted. Then I traveled in California and Las Vegas during the spring break in a cheerful mood. In the week after I got back from the west, I was told that I got in by Dan's phone call.
 

dstefan

Baruch MFE Director
These stories are interesting, indeed, and I remember those conversations, too! It would also be fun if other people shared their stories as well :)
 

SteveTownsend

Active Member
My background is in large distributed systems software engineering (Microsoft, Lava Trading, Credit Suisse). My math is from Cambridge, UK (undergrad, rusty, 1985).

Three years ago I made a decision to redirect my career into finance with the eventual goal of doing "something" quant-related. The idea was to leverage my skills in software and math in an industry that is new to me, interesting and well-remunerated - a new challenge and a pay rise, if things were to work out.

I do not want to be a pure quant - the math does not appeal to me THAT much, and I like writing code too much. Besides which, I see the modeling as something that can be easily outsourced, but leading-edge, mission-critical software implementation and support will always be colocated with the trading teams.

My decision to apply to Baruch was driven by a number of factors:
  • practicality of curriculum for me as a software engineer - my goal is not to be a pure quant, but to provide the best software in the area
  • welcoming and professional community of students and college staff, esp. Dan S as an evangelist inside and outside the college - I feel the program will be better known when I graduate in 3 yrs (fingers crossed) than it is now!
  • good flexibility for part-time students.
  • perceived cost/benefit better than "big name" programs in NYC (Columbia, NYU, CMU satellite). This is a consideration when I am in the twilight of my career (43 years old, as far as I remember).
  • location of campus (I work one block away - w family and FT job, reducing incremental time cost of Masters degree is important).
  • My alternative to Baruch was the Wilmott CQF via distance learning, to which I was accepted. I felt that the Certificate is not as well recognized in the USA, too intense given my job and family concerns, and I decided I really would like to have a proper graduate degree after all this work. I did not apply to any other Masters programs.
The only stressful part of the application was after I took the GRE. I doubt many successful applicants score higher on the Verbal than the Quant portion. It worked out in the end though.
 

sam chow

New Member
Inspirational

wow, what a great story! i don't have a background fit to pursue a MFE, but your story is truly inspirational should i decide to pursue this path... i am curious what you are presently challenging yourself with now as an MFE alum...

thanks



I really couldn't forget when Dan told me that I was admitted and lead me to the office, then asked Cathy to make a copy of my admission letter. I was so excited.
I've been working in law firms and government agents for years before applying to the MFE program, none of my experiences has directly connection with finance, math or programming. For career change, I began the research about MFE programs in New York City.
I sent my application in March 2005, yes, 2005, with my outdated GRE scores (which was took in 1996) :mrgreen: ....even after that, I did not feel ready at all. Then I contacted the admission office for deferral. Then I quit my job.
I began to take Calculus I, II, and III and Linear Algebra, Object-Oriented Programming in CUNY colleges which ever fit my schedule. It's really challenging to me, since I haven't took any math class after 1997.
Then in March 2006, I brought a new GRE score and transcripts of math, statistics and programming with all A's to Dan......

That's my story.
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
As a headhunter I note two things about Baruch which makes me think well of it.

1: It teaches C++, apparently to a respectable standard, which really helps get a job.
2: The staff have a genuine interest in getting their students placed in jobs, which sadly is not always the case elsewhere.

Ultimately the quality of a MFE program is the people that come out of it, and Baruch does well on that.
 

Sachin

Active Member
Well, I have been admitted for Fall 2008. My story is not as intriguing as some of the stories below but I'll share it nonetheless.So as the trend is I got a mail from Prof. Dan stating that he liked my profile and wanted to discuss my application with me( Prof Dan aptly refrained from using the dreaded word 'interview'). And I got a call from him at the scheduled time. We 'discussed' a bit about my profile and Prof Dan completely floored me. A brief excerpt of our discussion is given below:

Prof Dan: So what did you study in your course Mathematics-III?
Sachin: (#-othinks to himself 'so what did i study', comes up with some absurd topics and meanwhile hurriedly looks for the course content somewhere in his room but to no avail)
Prof Dan: Comment on your math background?
Sachin: (comes up with the most global answers like 'well I like math and I am very keen to learn new things )
Prof Dan: Well desire to learn finance can definitely help you learn finance but for math you need to know math
Sachin: (#-ohas no replies and thinks to himself-'this guy is quick-witted')
Prof Dan: So what went wrong with your GRE quant score?
note: my quant score was 770 and analytical score was 5.0
Sachin: (wishing he could say he fell sick, but that would have been a lie) tries to justify it was an accident (trust me guys it was:)),gives reasons that he thought his undergrad degree and work experience would have made up for it.
Prof Dan : (not convinced)Well I'll give you some math topics to study and will call you again in few days.
Sachin: (thinks to himself 'so near yet so far':cry:)

The following days were spent studying those topics.I bought math books like Kreyszig etc and studied to the hilt.In the meanwhile I cleared the "Probabilty and Mathematical Statistics' of The Institute of Actuaries of India and kept Prof Dan updated on my progress.The next scheduled discussion happened on 1st Feb.I got a call from Prof Dan and his opening statements were 'How are you Sachin'. I thought to myself 'Sachin-he never called me Sachin,I was always Mr.Pandey.He continued 'First, let me congratulate you on being admitted'. I thought to myself 'Admitted, dear God!' .Completely taken aback.But I did not pry too much as to why was I then asked to study those topics lest he started asking math questions;).So this is how I got in.
Moral of the story: All is well that ends well.
 

dstefan

Baruch MFE Director
he next scheduled discussion happened on 1st Feb.I got a call from Prof Dan and his opening statements were 'How are you Sachin'. I thought to myself 'Sachin-he never called me Sachin,I was always Mr.Pandey.He continued 'First, let me congratulate you on being admitted'. I thought to myself 'Admitted, dear God!' .Completely taken aback.But I did not pry too much as to why was I then asked to study those topics lest he started asking math questions;).So this is how I got in.

Of course, such a thing happens once in a blue moon, other people who will go through the math interview should not get their hopes too high ;)
 

Vadim

Well-Known Member
Well, I have been admitted for Fall 2008. My story is not as intriguing as some of the stories below but I'll share it nonetheless.

Hi Sachin,

Thank you for your story, I enjoy reading it. It is very important that you did not forget to share your experience with others. I am sure you will keep doing it when you have job interviews and other important events. At our MFE program it is really important, since all students are really willing to help each other and we have friendly atmosphere, which is just one of the factors that makes our program unique.

Welcome to the team!
 

Yan He

Well-Known Member
wow, what a great story! i don't have a background fit to pursue a MFE, but your story is truly inspirational should i decide to pursue this path... i am curious what you are presently challenging yourself with now as an MFE alum...

thanks
:) I've been working in Risk Management in one of hedge funds of Citigroup since June 2007. What I am doing on daily basis is actually what I learnt from our classroom. The old system used VBA to run Monte Carlo, while a small C++ code would change the running time from around 30 mins to 3 mins.

The challenges...I am trying to move close to Credit products structuring/modeling, which as far as I can see, all require modeling experience and PHD in math/stat. But as long as I am exposed to it, I will try my best. I think the challenge should be find the right job you really like and enjoy it....as alum!

Good luck!:)

--------------------
Don't know why this thread floats up again :)
Six months after the above post, I am still in Risk Mangement, but moved to Morgan Stanley market risk.
Challenge is it puts me in front of cross asset classess, and to truely understand all the sensitivities and the drivers of move. And to keep refreshed 10-11 hours a day.
 
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