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juniormember

Msc of FE has any edge?

June 28th, 2002, 1:26 pm

After I review many web sites for job positions, many positions prefer a Ph.D in math/physics. I will finish a Msc of FE next year from a ivy school's FE program. My previous background is computer programming in IT. So compared to the requirement of many positions, can this Msc of FE give me some edge in the career ladder?Appreciate your valuable insights. dan.
 
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sehrlichman

Msc of FE has any edge?

June 28th, 2002, 6:02 pm

a ivy school's FE program >>Columbia, Cornell, or Princeton?
 
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juniormember

Msc of FE has any edge?

June 28th, 2002, 9:35 pm

Columbia. So any advice?Dan.
 
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J
Posts: 1798
Joined: November 1st, 2001, 12:53 am

Msc of FE has any edge?

June 30th, 2002, 4:24 pm

did Columbia U give you funding? Could you tell me all programs at Columbia U which are assoicated with math finance or financial math or financial engineering or finance? It seems all of those programs mentioned aboved are managed by different departments e.g OR, math, business school, industrial engineering, economics........ sam, did you work for Prof. Jarrow?
Last edited by J on June 29th, 2002, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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MathFinance
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Msc of FE has any edge?

July 2nd, 2002, 12:06 am

Columbia master's in financial engineering:http://www.ieor.columbia.edu/finance.htmlColumbia master's in mathematical finance:http://www.math.columbia.edu/department ... mlColumbia doesn't fund master's students in these disciplines (unless there's some strange scenario that I haven't heard of); generally, US graduate schools do not fund master's students. I think maybe some engineering departments might (thought not for financial engineering), and maybe some other specific departments do this as a practice (but once again, not that I'm aware of).Different departments want to host such programs because they are cash cows that help them fund their PhD programs, etc. Conceptually, math and operations research departments are fairly well suited to provide such coursework, and that's where you generally find them. Some schools have actually set up inter-departmental programs in which a number of departments co-run a single program (Carnegie Mellon is well known for this, and Princeton has done it as well), but for the most part the individual departments compete with one another.Columbia also obviously offers a PhD in finance, through the business school. That's a completely different story - while the above two programs have competitive admissions, the finance PhD program enrolls about 5 out of 350 applicants per year (and their yield is probably very high, so they may not be admitting more than 10-12).
 
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Nanook
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Msc of FE has any edge?

July 2nd, 2002, 12:24 am

Hi MathFinance, Can you throw more light on the merits/demerits about the two Columbia programs? The math dept program appears to be more impressive but I might be wrong.Do you have any idea about the acceptance rate for these programs?You mentioned that the phed program accepts 5 out of 350!!!. Do these masters programs also have such figures?thanksnAnooK
 
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J
Posts: 1798
Joined: November 1st, 2001, 12:53 am

Msc of FE has any edge?

July 2nd, 2002, 1:35 am

MathFinance,Could you list top 20 phd in finance programs in US?How to get in those top 20 phd in finance programs?Do people from top 20 phd in finance school still have trouble on get a facculty job or a good job (salary at least US120,000 plus bonus in Street)?
 
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MathFinance
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Msc of FE has any edge?

July 2nd, 2002, 4:55 am

I've copied some threads below which I wrote in a different forum which addresses some of the questions regarding these programs. Keep in mind that the other forum in which these comments were posted does not have a nearly as quantitatively oriented audience as this one........For example, Columbia's math finance degree is a one year program. But it assumes a lot of prior mathematical preparation (ode and pde, real analysis, etc.), and the required courses are fairly advanced (basically phd-level stochastics the first semester, etc.). Columbia's financial engineering is also one year, but the required courses are definitely all master's level. So they are designed for somewhat different students. You have to review the specifics of the course offerings (not just the course titles) to help determine what would be best for you. If you select high-level electives, Columbia's math finance would easily be the equivalent to the 2nd year in a 2 year program. Chicago is also a one year program, but you should probably be strong enough in math to be comfortable with all phd level math courses........Since the different programs cater to somewhat different students, the amount of work experience of the "average" student will vary across the programs. Using Columbia again as an example (since it has 2 different programs), the math finance degree will have students with more work experience, on average, than the financial engineering (which will have a lot of people with little or no experience)..........The programs are pretty competitive. Princeton apparently is accepting under 10% this year (I think closer to 6-7% actually); NYU has accepted 12% so far (although they'll probably accept a few more as they figure out their final numbers); Columbia's financial engineering is somewhere between 20-25% this year I think; Columbia's math finance is more competitive (accepting about 10%) than the financial engineering; not sure about Chicago (although I'm sure it's 'competitive') or the other places (CMU, etc.).........Columbia's programs can be what you want to make them be, to a large extent. One could, without too much difficulty, construct the same sequence of coursework within either program. However, the intent of the financial engineering program is to teach more applied material (and the required courses are focused on this), while the financial mathematics program is more theoretical. But Columbia is flexible enough, and offers so many electives across math, stats, engineering, and the business school that you can customize either program fairly well.....Anyways, the math department program is more theoretical than the engineering program, and the coursework is at a higher level. It's also significantly more difficult to get into.Regarding the PhD in finance program, I was trying to be specific about the admissions statistics: either one or two years ago (can't recall which) they had 336 applicants, accepted an unknown (to me) number, and enrolled 6 students. So they accepted more than 6, but many (if not most) people who were accepted would choose to enroll, so I'm guessing they accepted maybe 10-12.Also, try looking around the forums for more information on such programs - a ton has been posted (look around January-March, when people were making decisions regarding where to attend).
 
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MathFinance
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Msc of FE has any edge?

July 2nd, 2002, 5:08 am

J,Too big of a question for me! Strong PhD in finance (or financial economics) programs (in no particular order): Stanford, Columbia, Wharton, NYU, MIT, Chicago, Berkeley, Rochester.For a top 20-type listing, you might want to try usnews or princeton review or some similar rating program; I'm not endorsing their merits, but they do make lots of lists.To get into the top programs (especially the first 6 I listed) you need to have a spectacular gpa, almost perfect gre's, very strong recommendation letters, a ton of luck, etc. They are very, very competitive.I don't know many specifics regarding placement from these programs, but graduating from one of them would give you a big bat to swing going forward. Some of their websites list placements - and remember, some schools may cater more to future professors, whereas others aim for aspiring professionals.Also, don't forget the PhD in mathematical finance offered by Carnegie Mellon.....
 
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JabairuStork
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Msc of FE has any edge?

July 2nd, 2002, 12:13 pm

A note on quant finance master's programs in general -I think these programs are a great idea, but the perception in the industry is mostly that people don't know what to do with the graduates. MBAs have a well defined set of skills, and PhDs in certain disciplines have become fairly "known" quantities, but the master's programs are still fairly new. In my experience, I have come across graduates from these programs ranging from people who are basically interchangeable with PhDs to people who don't have much more knowledge than someone who did an undergrad in math or economics.The implication for anyone who is considering enrolling in one of these programs (or is currently enrolled) is that you will have to work harder to get interviews and "sell" yourself than people in more established programs. I think in about 10 years the situation will be different, but for now there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the degree means.I hope this doesn't discourage anyone. I think the master's programs are a great development and I hope they take off.
 
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RET79
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Msc of FE has any edge?

July 2nd, 2002, 8:09 pm

Hi,I did an MSc Finanicial maths at Edinburgh and found this question interesting. I left the course thinking I certainly knew more about financial maths than when I came in (I had an applied/engineering maths background) but still I didn't quite have the confidence after one year of understanding certain things like I would have wished. I sometimes felt that I was in a half way house when looking for jobs, I didn't know enough to compete for PHd/MSc jobs but then again felt I wsa underselling myself to a graduate scheme. So then I took an actuarial job which seemed like a half way house - ish job but I have found that it is not the sort of job I want so am off to do a PHd in finanical maths/computing. Basically I feel the general consensus is you need a PHd for these quant jobs but I agree with the original poster when he says that a lot of these employers don't really know what these MSc's are about, tis a shame but I feel that a year is a very short amount of time to learn a lot of stuff and perhaps it takes a bit longer for some ideas to sink properly.RET79
 
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J
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Joined: November 1st, 2001, 12:53 am

Msc of FE has any edge?

July 2nd, 2002, 10:30 pm

RET79,could you list some PhD in math finance or financial math programs which you are interested in?
 
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MathFinance
Posts: 110
Joined: March 19th, 2002, 4:00 am

Msc of FE has any edge?

July 3rd, 2002, 12:23 am

I think there are a number of jobs which don't require a PhD, but they might not be the types of jobs that most of the audience within this forum are aiming for (or considering). I agree that for quantitative research with regard to derivative pricing, credit modeling, and risk management, supervision of the production of pricing systems, etc. a PhD is quite valuable in that it goes the furthest towards ensuring that the person has a rigorous understanding of quantitative material and an ability to implement the necessary concepts.But if, for example, one was interested in trading derivatives on more of a flow-based desk (where you are not trying to gain an edge primarily through modeling), then I don't think it's always necessary. From my experience, we had PhD's who were mixed within the rest of the group - maybe about 1/3rd PhD, 1/3rd random quantitative master's, and 1/3rd undergrads who somehow made their way into the positions. We definitely needed some PhD-caliber people to tackle more complex and one-off deals, theoretical pricing and risk issues for our system's models, etc. But for much of the daily trading and position management routine, the primary people had master's in quant disciplines (engineering, math, statistics). There was a consistent need to recruit new people into the global group on a yearly basis, and the undergraduate and MBA's within the general yearly class that was hired by the bank didn't have the necessary quant skills to be of much use. We'd either grab an undergrad who seemed to be quite strong relative to the rest of the class, or sometimes an MBA if they had an additional quant degree. It was more attractive to us to take people out of the incoming training classes at the bank (that were at least somewhat integrated within the institution, etc.), rather than pounding the pavement ourselves for candidates every year. The PhD's we hired formed a part of the overall picture - they were not the focus of all recruiting.If we had access to people such as those produced by these master's programs (the time period I'm talking about are the 90's), we would have definitely gone that route. And someone in an HR department at another bank once told me that they found the graduates of these master's programs very attractive.This is all probably obvious to a lot of people, but I just get the impression that some people think it's a pre-requisite to possess a PhD in order to work in finance in general. There are a lot of jobs which require the ability to understand and apply theories, sometimes review new literature and get useful results, and use the financial concepts as tools - without requiring the ability to generate new ideas in the field.And regarding RET79's comment about it taking potentially a bit longer than a year for some ideas to sink in properly - well I definitely agree with that, especially as you ascend the complexity ladder. But when we recruited people at a lower level (as opposed to experienced hires), our primary focus was upon finding people that we felt had the ability to learn the business and necessary concepts, not necessarily only those who already knew them. A lot of functions require one to become master of a small area within the overall universe of the firm.
 
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sehrlichman

Msc of FE has any edge?

July 3rd, 2002, 2:32 am

did you work for Prof. Jarrow? >>J, in answer to your question, I have not attended grad school yet - I'm starting this September. So I don't have an advisor yet! But I did obsessive research about many of the programs everyone here is tossing about, so I have lots of opinions.In my case, I was picking between a small number of very good programs and ultimately made a decision based on where I thought I would have the most positive experience. That involved many factors, including cost of living, the funding situations, family priorities - all sorts of things that are personal and can of course have nothing to do with any ranking of schools or departments. Graduate school can be a stressful experience (I know - I dropped out once years ago). Better to make sure you are as happy as possible during that time, or you may not survive it.One piece of advice that a Cornell alum (now at a big New York IBank) gave me rang very true, and I will repeat it here. If you want to be a PhD quant on the street, get a PhD in a strong math, physics, or engineering program, and make sure you have the programming skills you'll need. Having done a thesis specifically in finance or with a particularly well-known professor may be very important if you want to stay in the academe, but in industry they don't care. Of course, the job market was much stronger once upon a time...
 
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J
Posts: 1798
Joined: November 1st, 2001, 12:53 am

Msc of FE has any edge?

July 3rd, 2002, 7:07 pm

Sam,What does "get a PhD in a strong math program" mean? Does you mean big name schools? As I know, some big name schools do not have strong faculty in stochastic analysis. However, some un-well known schools have very strong faculty in stochastic analysis.