Why do you want to become a MFE?

Sam Harris

Space Systems Engineer
Why do I do MFE? Because it's fun! I'm a total math nerd since birth (took calculus at 6yrs old) and got lost along the way because the public education system in the US completely abandons those who are below or above average. I found myself in a decent but boring job as an Engineer and one day said, "Wait, I'm not having any fun. Why?" The reason is the problems I solve at work are too easy. When I go looking for harder problems to solve, the bureaucracy and stagnation of my coworkers prevents it. Everyone wants to maintain the status quo and just survive for another day.

Well, I aced the GRE, submitted my horrible undergrad GPA and low and behold got accepted to Columbia's online MFE. I am 4 classes into the degree now and having the absolute time of my life! The problems are the most challenging I've ever faced, but at the end of each day when I turn off the computer and go to bed, I feel like I've accomplished something.

As for money, I make more than enough now ($85k/yr). Living in a low cost of living location like New Mexico allows me a very handsome 1800sqft 3br/2bath house, a 2 car garage, a BMW, a Porsche, and a wicked home theater. I'll take a hefty quality of life cut to move to NYC at $100k/yr, but I expect to solve more challenging problems and feel better about myself.

All you need to live comfortably is patience and discipline. IMHO, Creating major wealth in one lifetime is too stochastic. Entrepreneurs have no understanding of the survivorship bias.
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
^^ now that's what I call a nice post ;)
Welcome to QN, Sam !
I'm sure when you say wicked home theater, you don't mean HTIB right ? You must be AVS member and have a front projector or at least some LCD, HTPC to drive it :)

How do you like the online Columbia program ? I've seen a few queries here about it.

For me, the job would afford me to pay bill, toys that I love. At the end of the day, I'm able to do what I am good at, interact with the smartest people in business, work in an environment that fits my personality. It's a rewarding thing to do.

Everyone works on WS makes a very good salary compared to the US average scale but some feel absolutely miserable about their job. Money is not even important then. So if you are willing, able and can stand the stress, then go for it.
 

Sam Harris

Space Systems Engineer
You're right, it's called MS Operations Research, Methods in Finance, not MFE. However, there are 10 classes in the program, and 9 of them are the same as Columbia's MSFE program. Two of the MSFE classes are combined into one class that makes the 10th class. So, despite a different name, it's the same stuff (and 30hrs vs 36hrs).

A review of the program? Brilliant! I tried doing night school for an MBA and hated it. It's bad enough having your work week dictated to you, but to lose specific nights for specified amounts of time... ugh. IMHO, online is the way to go for a working professional. In my undergrad, my mind used to wander in class and then when it refocused I realized I didn't catch anything the professor just said. With online, just rewind him and play again. Need to use the restroom? Pause. Need to go over a particular subject that I'm weak on before the exam? Watch the lecture again! And with the prof's notes already printed, I don't even have to take notes. Just sit back and enjoy the show (in pajamas).

Regrets? Absolutely. I'm missing out on all the networking, all the after-class seminars, and the "environment of academia." Honestly, I'm hoping that joining an online forum of FEs will make up for the lack of inter-specialty interaction. On the up side, I'm making $85k/yr while going to school and saving the opportunity cost of living in NYC. Add to that my education is fully funded by my employer. If for some reason I do not get a job in finance, I haven't left my current one (and will be due a raise and promotion to accompany the new degree) so I am not taking any financial risk whatsoever.

The other thing I like about the MSOR distinction is that it can place me in management, engineering, or finance. I really don't care which field I end up in, so long as the problems are difficult enough to make work interesting.

I'm sure when you say wicked home theater, you don't mean HTIB right ? You must be AVS member and have a front projector or at least some LCD, HTPC to drive it :)
I have more money in that theater than both my cars... but it is the number one thing my wife and I most enjoy, so money well spent indeed.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
You're right, it's called MS Operations Research, Methods in Finance, not MFE. However, there are 10 classes in the program, and 9 of them are the same as Columbia's MSFE program. Two of the MSFE classes are combined into one class that makes the 10th class. So, despite a different name, it's the same stuff (and 30hrs vs 36hrs).
Very cool :) I was doing something similar at CMU. In addition to class time, they also have online lectures so that you don't really need to come to class. At that time I was enrolled at Baruch and CMU simultaneously, and online lectures helped me to concentrate more on Baruch during the week.

The only negative side is that you don't get to know the people in the program. I'm not sure whether Columbia will help you find a job. So there is probably a feeling of being left out :) However, if you don't mind that, then it great place to study.
 

rockefeller

New Member
MFE without E

How is the chances of getting a good job at Wall Street if you go for a masters in Finance, a softer version of MFE with easier math and without programming? Do you know which US-schools got a decent Masters in Finance?
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
How is the chances of getting a good job at Wall Street if you go for a masters in Finance, a softer version of MFE with easier math and without programming? Do you know which US-schools got a decent Masters in Finance?
Good question. I don't know the answer but can give my opinion.
MS in Finance is not much different from BS in Finance. You need to take courses like Intro to Finance, Corporate Finance, Investment Analysis, International Finance, etc. Also, Finance MBA take almost all courses that MS in Finance take. I think traders and brokers are the ones who might benefit from MS in Finance.
 

pardasani

Member
I think traders and brokers are the ones who might benefit from MS in Finance.
well would say that if you want to be a derivatives trader (index vol/ equity/ fx/ swaps/ exotics) -- and a lot of trading is derivatives based -- a mfe is really relevant... and then there are the whole quantitative traders and quant focussed hedge fudns... with models getting more and more complex, I think a MFE is getting more and more relevant to being a trader...
 

kean

Mathematics Student
trader

Strategies are more important for Trader. If you become trader, you get quants to work on your strategies, you just need to understand the models. Trader and quant is getting blur into one area but MF and MFE will co-exist.

I think most people who study MFE have some kind of prides, and they believe MFE is the only way to become a trader in the future. Frankly speaking, IBs hire different types of people to be trader. A great trader has killer instinct and not everyone possesses that instinct. Not a Phd, not a MFE or MBA...it is the ONE.

well would say that if you want to be a derivatives trader (index vol/ equity/ fx/ swaps/ exotics) -- and a lot of trading is derivatives based -- a mfe is really relevant... and then there are the whole quantitative traders and quant focussed hedge fudns... with models getting more and more complex, I think a MFE is getting more and more relevant to being a trader...
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
well would say that if you want to be a derivatives trader (index vol/ equity/ fx/ swaps/ exotics) -- and a lot of trading is derivatives based -- a mfe is really relevant... and then there are the whole quantitative traders and quant focussed hedge fudns... with models getting more and more complex, I think a MFE is getting more and more relevant to being a trader...
Yes, for certain "trading positions" you definitely need an MFE. :)

My post was addressing the question "what can you do with MF?", and one of the things you can do is being a trader.
How is the chances of getting a good job at Wall Street if you go for a masters in Finance, a softer version of MFE with easier math and without programming? Do you know which US-schools got a decent Masters in Finance?
In addition, there are many positions in various organizations that require financial skills. So if you have an MF degree, you might look for a job in an office of management and budget of an organization. The best thing to do is to go to a job website and search for "masters finance" requirements.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
A great trader has killer instinct and not everyone possesses that instinct. Not a Phd, not a MFE or MBA...it is the ONE.
This is very true. First of all, it is personality that matters. You can be whoever you are or not be :) and become a trader just because you have the skills.
 

alain

Older and Wiser
Yes, for certain "trading positions" you definitely need an MFE. :)
I don't think this is totally true. Having an MFE helps but, as prof. Neftci says, you need to have the right way of thinking.
 
Top