Master's Program in Quantitative Finance

fraser24gt's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 253

I go to Georgia Tech where I am studying Mechanical Engineering...which I found out is not for me. I have one year left in that and I am considering a Master's program also offered at Georgia Tech called Quantitative and Computational Finance. It is one of the few Master's programs that focuses exclusively on finance from a quant. POV. I think Columbia has one too? Anyways, would this practically guarantee a spot on a trading desk or even just some kind of I-Banking job (maybe valuation for M&A or PE firm) in general? Or is my thinking a bit too ambitious? Thanks!

Comments (24)

Jan 21, 2007
fraser24gt:

I go to Georgia Tech where I am studying Mechanical Engineering...which I found out is not for me. I have one year left in that and I am considering a Master's program also offered at Georgia Tech called Quantitative and Computational Finance. It is one of the few Master's programs that focuses exclusively on finance from a quant. POV. I think Columbia has one too? Anyways, would this practically guarantee a spot on a trading desk or even just some kind of I-Banking job (maybe valuation for M&A or PE firm) in general? Or is my thinking a bit too ambitious? Thanks!

Your thinking is too ambitious. There is a vast difference in the career placement at a place like Columbia or Berkeley and Gtech(edit). I'm sure Gtech(edit) would teach you the right stuff, but more important than that is caliber of recruiting for that program.

Jan 21, 2007

I'm guessing you just mistyped, but this is at Georgia Tech(which is a decidedly more left-brained school) rather than UGA. I'm not sure about the recruitment for the program, but in reading the literature online they make it sound like there is decent interest from bigger names. Would I be able to leverage my math background from engineering and the MS program despite the fact that I have about a 3.2 from a non-target, state school like Georgia Tech?

Jan 21, 2007
fraser24gt:

I'm guessing you just mistyped, but this is at Georgia Tech(which is a decidedly more left-brained school) rather than UGA. I'm not sure about the recruitment for the program, but in reading the literature online they make it sound like there is decent interest from bigger names. Would I be able to leverage my math background from engineering and the MS program despite the fact that I have about a 3.2 from a non-target, state school like Georgia Tech?

Sorry you are right, I mistyped. Georgia Tech is good school (esp. in engineering) but it might be tough coming from a school that's not really known for finance. I'd advise to think long and hard about your interest in finance (is it in trading or banking, they are VERY different) and go from there. If you are into trading, a quantitative master's program and a smaller trading shop may be a realistic route.

If you want to do investment banking, I'd suggest finding a route that leads to a good b-school and going from there, because I think you'd have a tough time trying to get into a bank without some connections.

If you really think about it and think your finance interest is only lukewarm, I'd highly suggest just going into engineering. You should be able to get some good jobs coming from GTech and engineering is a very respectable, sane path that pays well.

Jan 21, 2007

Thanks for the advice. I have to say though, my interest in finance is pretty intense. I just finished Barbarians at the Gate and I'm getting ready to read Big Deal by Bruce Wasserstein. My extracurriculars here at Tech include running a $770,000 endowment. I am taking some finance courses as well (Security Valuation, Derivative Securities, Corp. Restructuring). I'm just worried that my GPA wont stand up to the ones that come out of the target schools. When you say connections, do you mean with fellow students or alumni or even professors?

Jan 21, 2007

Also, any suggestions for smaller trading shops?

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Jan 21, 2007

Alumni

There are a lot of smaller trading firms (DRW Trading Group, Group One Trading) that tend to focus less on pedigree and more on what you know. Another thing to look at is Private Wealth Management or Private Banking at BBs and other banks. Those can be a great start and you experience in managing an endowment would map nicely there, the key is getting an "in" for the interview.

Jan 21, 2007

I'm doing an internship this summer at a UBS Private Wealth office here in Atlanta, so it sounds like that will help me out. Thanks for all your help with this!

Jan 21, 2007

Can you retake the gmat?

Jan 21, 2007

Some schools don't accept GMAT so you might have to take the GRE. Also, perfect score on the math section should be a given. Good schools include Berkely, NYU, Columbia, and Carnegie Mellon. While they may not offer a degree in "quantitative finance", the degrees are virtually the same (ie: mathematical finance, financial engineering, computational finance). Some schools have prerequisites such as calculus based probability classes, differential equations, and some programming classes.

Jan 21, 2007

What was your major? When you are asking about Quant Finance, I'm assuming you're talking about MFE/Financial Mathematics programs? If so, markhobbus listed a good number of schools. Without knowing what major you are or what classes you have taken (they will matter for those MFE/Fin Math programs), on the surface your GPA is great. The internships sound good. GMAT is competitive but for top programs like Princeton you may want to retake just in case. Also, some schools prefer the GRE over the GMAT for these type of programs (Princeton and CMU prefer the GRE, just something to consider).

Jan 21, 2007

Seriously it's hard to believe someone would score a 680 on the GMAT and have done the rigorous coursework required for mfe. Linear Algebra, comp sci level programming ability, @Berkeley most hold Cfa L1, many have taken at least topology 1. And yes it's about GRE as well where only an 800Q score will suffice for the top schools.

Jan 21, 2007

You'll be fine

Jan 21, 2007

You'll be fine

Jan 21, 2007

Get a PhD.

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Jan 21, 2007

I think "your friend" (wink wink) will be very well placed for a top program.

Jan 21, 2007

i think the chance is good, both for jobs and Quant finance Master, but maybe not so helpful with a master in Finance if your undergrad (school AND scores) are that high.

unless he could do a master part-time while working, it is usually more useful to be working meaningfully, than in school for masters, than working meaninglessly.

if he does well within the GMAT expiration and applies for MBAs, he could be a hot shot. but doing a Finance master may be overkill.

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Jan 21, 2007

He wanted to earn a master in order to solidify his chances for employment. UMD isn't a target, so he's skeptical about his chances at entering a top firm. He also isn't in their business school, which I think he believes hurts him.

Jan 21, 2007

I think this is way better than my undergrad. and he had internships at BB. for whatever MSF he wants to apply, he'll be doing himself a favor if he goes out, network and try to land a FT offer at the same time.

Jan 21, 2007

Great ! Thanks for the comments

Jan 21, 2007
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