Advice needed about pursuing MS in financial engineering

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by ash_the_ace, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. I am a Caltech electrical engineering graduate who wants to pursue a MS in financial engineering. I wanted some information/advice from anyone who can help. Answers to any of the questions will be appreciated:

    1. How to find out about good part time financial engg programs

    2. Realistic job placement % these days with hedge funds

    3. Whether recruiters look differently at someone who did MSFE full time vs part time

    4. Whether my GRE scores from my masters in elec engg can be used to apply for a masters in fin engg too. I took GRE 2 .5 years back.

    Thank You for reading.
  2. drjmpc


    There is no such thing as a real, top teir "part-time" Financial Engineering program.

    of the Full time programs worth talking about:
    UCLA has a decent program as does Claremount Graduate, and of course Haas & Standford have excellent programs.

    Washington U just started offering an Applied Mathematics in Mathematical Finance online.

    But the online Master of Science in Financial Engineering @ Stevens Institute of Technology is the only thing that I know that is remotely a "part-time" program. I would started there if you're looking for a such a program, but you should already be strong in math if headed there.

    per, these are the Top 10 Quant schools from which Quantitative Analysts & Financial Engineers will be recruiter first:

    Carnegie Mellon University
    Columbia University
    Cornell University
    New York University
    Princeton University
    Rutgers University
    Stanford University
    University of California at Berkeley
    University of Chicago
    University of Michigan

    Honorable mentions:
    Baruch College
    Boston University
    Georgia Institute of Technology
    University of Toronto

    Believe it or Not, Rutgers is getting the big nod, followed by Carnegie, NYU... etc. Rutgers -- Like NYU & Carnegie actually has two separate programs so you can pick your poison.

    From what I have seen though, Baruch may be the best program though it may also be the hardest to get into because it is cheap, high quality, and in NYC they can turn away hundreds of applicants.

    Finally, if you're serious you would be best served by visiting the following sites frequently:
  3. drjmpc


    1. see first post

    2. Seriously, Plan on starting your own micro fund to establish a track record in your second year. It will speak volumes. If your extraordinary, you won't need job because your fledgling firm will be a newly minted hedge fund, and if not, you can at least say you understand what traders face on a day to day basis which in turn will make you a better financial engineer.

    3. Only recruiter could answer that - which my sense is that the response would be yes, though I think if ever there was a time that they may be a bit lax on such a opinion, it would be in times like these.

    4. Last I heard, GRE and GMAT scores are both good for a 4-5 year window. Obviously confirm that with the admissions office of your chosen school.
  4. R1234


    With a Caltech undergrad and MSFE from a decent school I think you will have no problem landing a job in a quant role. Just make sure your C/C++ skills are top quintile.

    As for part time vs full time - I think if you're a full time student you're more motivated/hungrier to land a jobin the business as your graduation date approaches.
  5. jtnet


    worthless. schools don't teach u how to make money from the market. since when? howw can a school teach u trade?
  6. Financial Engineering? LOL.

    This is why things are fucked up. Too many financial engineers and not enough civil engineers.

    As a result, our economy is shit and our infrastructure is shit.

    Oh well.
  7. drjmpc


    While I agree that there are too many Financial Engineers [or should I say aspiring FE's/Quants] and not enough Civil Engineers, until we start rewarding the people that actually build things instead of brokering them, it will remain that way. Being Traders, that doesn't give ANY OF US room to talk -- at least without pointing the finger out ourselves.

    That said, if you want to tout experience vs. schooling, I think it does really belong in this conversation.

    But being that I too do believe that experience is a great country:

    While you may not have any organizational leadership classes as a FE student, you will touch on the other areas along with a heavy does of math and C++. I highly recommend trying to find the time to hang out here, along with the sites mentioned in the quote. A quant trader is better if he understands trading -- before programming the math.

    The whole screen jockey vs. code monkey is the digital vs. analog argument all over again. You'd think that someone would remember that scientists have proven that everything is better when we use both....

    So go to school, but don't stop trading... you will be richer [figuratively and literally] for it.
  8. Fwiw, good friend of mine graduated valedictorian in a european MFE program this past spring, magna cum laude MIT undergrad in math/CS, 5 years programming experience with patents and industry awards in his name, couldn't find a job to save his life. Applied to every firm & HF in the world, multiple headhunters, interviews on both sides of the Atlantic, nothing. This is was before the massive unwind this past fall, I can only imagine how much worse off it is now. Months later he finally landed a trainee prop role at an options desk, no thrills, and no real use of his skills either.

    I think he would have fared better with a PhD, as most of the positions I've seen typically say 'PhD preferred'. Also, I think the MFE ranks are getting a bit overpopulated lately (relative to the number of open positions), and the days of a freshly minted MFE grad making sizable pay at a HF 3 years out are likely few and far between (compared to years past).

    Good luck in whatever you pursue!
  9. There's a lot of truth to this. I have a grad degree in statistics (ivy league) and an undergrad degree in ece (top 5 engineering school). It's anyone's guess what these hedge funds want. They're full of fickle, cocky people who love to talk about themselves.

    I somehow lucked out and landed a business role in a derivatives group. I'm learning about options, but I tell you, my heart is in straight up stocks. I love CAPM, market microstructure, statistical arbitrage. Derivatives pricing seems like fancy math, but no one pays you to tinker with the math. They just look for applications to improve things here and there.

    What I plan to do is save up 100-150k, move into the sticks, and just trade on my own.
  10. Schools can teach you how to mathematically construct portfolios to minimize exposure to various risk factors, though. The making money part depends on the motivation of the person.
    #10     Dec 24, 2008