MFE to Trading? Input Appreciated

Having realized that it's going to be almost impossible for me to get into trading (in any capacity - S&T, HF, Prop) with my current resume, I've been doing lots of thinking and prepping in hopes of perhaps going back to school.

I've been speaking to the head of one of the MFE programs in the midwest about possibly looking to get into the program. He seems to think it's very possible, given enough prep.

I've read in a few places that this might not actually be the best thing if you're actually looking to break into trading, quant or otherwise. However, at this point I feel it's the most viable option given successful entry and completion of a program.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I know this type of thing isn't covered too much here, but just looking to get as wide a view as possible from as many people as possible.

Thanks in advance.

Comments (7)

Jan 25, 2015 - 8:01pm
Spencerrr, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Most of the top MFE have great placement in Trading Structuring/Algo Trading. Some of these have ppl going to financial services area like IB. For prop trading, they would probably prefer undergrad from top institutes in quantitative majors. But it's still possible to get into like Optiver they have bunch of Cornell and Columbia MFE guys. Personally don't think MFE is not enough for Quant role but it's possible to get a job.

Talking about Midwest, U Chicago is great. UIUC is ok imo.

Jan 27, 2015 - 9:35pm
CAPM Arbitrage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I work for a reasonably selective prop firm. The MFEs we have interviewed have been wholly unimpressive, to the point they're almost an auto-ding. They're great for getting into bank trading and Asset Management roles, but prop firms are usually looking for 1) bright, hungry undergraduates or 2) actual PhDs.

Having been allowed to sample MFE courses myself as an undergrad, they are a complete joke for anyone with an actual math background beyond calculus.

Best Response
Jan 27, 2015 - 9:42pm
PeterMullersKeyboard, what's your opinion? Comment below:
<span class=keyword_link><a href=/finance-dictionary/what-is-the-capital-asset-pricing-model-capm><abbr title=capital asset pricing model&#10;>CAPM</abbr></a></span> Arbitrage:

I work for a reasonably selective prop firm. The MFEs we have interviewed have been wholly unimpressive, to the point they're almost an auto-ding. They're great for getting into bank trading and Asset Management roles, but prop firms are usually looking for 1) bright, hungry undergraduates or 2) actual PhDs.

Having been allowed to sample MFE courses myself as an undergrad, they are a complete joke for anyone with an actual math background beyond calculus.

Thanks for the input. Do you mind saying which schools you've seen most of these applicants from? Quality seems to vary a lot given what I've read so far. Some programs definitely seem to do a better job prepping people than others, and also there seems to be a "bias" that each program has towards a certain skill set.

I guess when I'm speaking about potential exit ops, I'm not just thinking of prop firms but also banks, HFs. Seems like you have a pretty strong background, would you mind speaking a bit about what you thought the MFE grads you've interviewed were lacking, in terms of skills or knowledge?

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."
  • 2
Jan 27, 2015 - 10:57pm
CAPM Arbitrage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

UChicago and Columbia have been awful at interviews, especially if their backgrounds weren't particularly technical to begin with. Acceptable mental math but terrible probability. You /can/ end up at places like Two Sigma and Citadel from an MFE program, but from what I've seen those candidates tend have CS and math backgrounds anyway so the MFE was more or less for professional development/indication of interest.

MFEs do place reasonably well into banks and asset managers and such, where interviews are a little less about raw intelligence and more about general concepts.

Jan 27, 2015 - 11:16pm
PeterMullersKeyboard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks. I had a feeling you'd mention those two, as I've heard similar things from others. According to what I've seen, UChicago has been making some massive change in the last year to really improve themselves. This is actually the program I'm looking at currently.

I feel like someone who is motivated enough to not only cover the course material but go above & beyond to learn the other concepts related to quant trading and quant finance could do well enough. That's my plan going forward at least, since I've already made somewhat of a start on it.

The largest criticism I've heard of most MFE candidates is that they're narrowly focused and don't really have a good understanding of anything other than a very specific set of finance math, and are hard to put into trading roles or really any "revenue generation" roles. They're good for grunt work, but not necessarily for thinking. I'd like to think I could sidestep this if I was able to get down this path.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."
  • 2
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Jan 27, 2015 - 11:17pm
Brian Fantana, what's your opinion? Comment below:

MFE and Traders (Originally Posted: 10/11/2009)

Do many traders get an MFE? Is it even worth the time for someone who works as a trader?

Thanks

Jan 27, 2015 - 11:18pm
NuK85, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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