So I'm having a bit of a dilemma: Deciding if I should go to a master's program or straight into the quant workforce and if so, which department.
A little background. I am a fairly competitive student, but attend a definite non-target state school. I am currently in an internship with a's quant /research internship program. This program has a great hiring rate, so the chances are fairly high that I'll receive a FT offer at the end. The problem, however, is that I go to a non-target state school. If I graduate and don't attend graduate school, that will be the only school on my resume. Ideally, I would like to end up at a quant hedge fund at some point, so obviously having a better school is advantageous to get noticed/be taken seriously as a candidate.
After talking with some of the other students in the program (including some in MFE programs), they seem to think that a job in the hand is worth two grad schools in the bush, but this seems a bit shortsighted to me. Additionally, I'm interested in a really niche quant trading area involved with time series prediction, some neural network/machine learning applications, and statistical modeling. Definitely not interested in asset pricing.
With all that said, my questions are:
1) Do the benefits of receiving a master's (better job prospects, higher pay, more targeted knowledge) outweigh the costs of not taking a full time offer?
2) Which master's would be the best to strategically position myself to take on the big hedge funds in a market prediction, statistical forecasting capacity?