Is this the PhD or MS in MS&E?
hi people, i found this board through google and it seems to be a supportive group here so i thought i could try and ask a question. i just got an admit to stanford ms&e today andalso was admitted to columbia's master in financial engineering a while back. does anyone have a recommendation on which school they would go to? i want to do operations research type studies with a focus on finance problems. which degree do you think is more employable on wall street or in consulting?
also am waiting for response from m.i.t. operations research but not too hopeful about that since i hear the only admit ~10 people per year.
This is a no brainer: Columbia.Originally Posted by bluejei
A) Columbia's MSFE program is very well regarded in the academic and professional world. You will be the cream of the crop
B) New York City is THE premiere city to study finance, as Wall Street is just around the corner.
C) Renowned faculty, extensive networking, and essentially greater employment opportunity.
D) Unless you are doing Stanford's MS in FinMath, there is no point to study math finance at Stanford. It's in California, where financial jobs are limited, and those available are typically secured for UC-Berkeley MFE and Stanford MS FinMath grads.
I agree more or less with mindcraft's diagnosis, but let me elaborate more.
1. The MS from MS&E is not the best way to enter finance. The reason being that the department is comprised of a large number of subdiciplines, ranging from the very soft (policy analysis) to the very technical (stochastics, operations). Therefore, an MS from MS&E provides too little differentiation to the recruiter about your quantitative abilities. The PhD, however, is another story altogether because the recruiting process is entirely different.
2. If you're going to do any MS at all at Stanford, the better bets are MS in Financial Mathematics, Statistics, or Computational & Mathematical Engineering. These are either geared specifically towards finance or can be customized that way. In particular, MS in Statistics and CME are very popular among recruiters as they have an "implementation/numerics" element that supplements their PhD recruits well.
3. When choosing a financial math/engineering degree, it's important to plan your path early. MS and PhDs are placed very differently. For the MS, the best way is to focus on the implementation (programming/development) skills rather than hardcore math because the PhD will always be preferred for the latter. MS who aren't well versed in programming will have a tougher time as they will compete head on with the PhDs.
4. Recruiters do come out west (or they fly you east). I see a lot of banks and hedge funds to recruit on campus. However, I can imagine being in NYC must be advantageous, especially for MS hires. On the other hand, a very significant portion of the money managers in the nation are right in the SF Bay Area. I find the curriculum of Berkeley's and CMU's programs to be very suitable for money manager jobs because of its greater focus on financial economics rather than mathematics.
5. I've found that to have the most useful education in financial math the student must be allowed to take courses in multiple departments (finance, econ, math, statistics, operations research, CS etc.). Do find out if this is allowed with the department you're interested in.
6. Also you should find out whether the MS program will allow you to move up to the PhD level. Over the years I've seen many students who began as MS eventually wanted to do a PhD. (This could be purely due to interest, or because they wanted to break into the PhD job market.) The finance job market is becoming more and more competitive every year, and where an MS used to suffice nowadays it takes a PhD. While there still is a sizable demand for MS holders, the ability to move to the PhD level can be very advantageous.
thanks so much to both mindcraft and stanfordian for the advice. i really appreciate the time. to answer stanfordian, it's the MS in MS&E only. i was leaning towards columbia so thanks for vindicating my choice.
also, though unlikely, what if i do receive admissions to MIT operations research? i believe they have a financial technology option. how do you think this would compare with columbia MFE for the same reason?
MIT's FTO has lost funding from Merril Lynch, and so I'm not sure how active the program is anymore (check with Ms. Luchanan). Basically, once you are already enrolled in MIT (under a PhD or S.M., NOT M.Eng), then you have the option of applying to the FTO which allows you to take courses at Sloan and perhaps do research in the LFE. You do realize that at MIT, the burdon of setting up the curriculum will be on you, as opposed to the formal structure you will see at MSFE Columbia. MIT is an amazing school, and I think the job market will respect Financial Engineering degrees equally from MIT or Columbia. Thus, in terms of job prospects, nothing changes. The difference is that Columbia's curriculum will be designed according to current market demands, and so you will be in a better position in terms of cutting edge knowledge. It will take more effort on your part to gear an MIT curriculum to match that of Columbia's.Originally Posted by bluejei
So, in essence, Columbia wins again. Must I remind you once more that Columbia's MSFE was ranked #2, under UC-Berkeley's infamous MFE!!!
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