MFE, MS Applied Math, MS Stats, or MS Computer Science?

B-Rock89's picture
Rank: Monkey | 32

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 major BB's quant trading/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?

Comments (5)

Jun 8, 2011

Don't have advice on which Masters' would be best, but I would say to take the offer if you can get it (or look for a different job offer if you want). You can always go back to school later.

Jun 8, 2011

you can go back to school later.
in fact, having some real world finance experience will definitely put things into perspective when you do your master's degree. for example in one of our classes we had to come up with a automated trading strategy, and one of the groups' strategy involved traded millions of far out of the money option contracts on a daily basis. a person with previous finance experience would have realized the impracticality of the strategy given lack of liquidity as you go more OTM and the bid-ask spreads...
these are the sorts of nuances that will enhance your education after work experience

Jun 8, 2011

Exactly. Take the offer; you're getting a job many people get an MFE for straight out of school. You can always worry about an MFE later on.

Jun 8, 2011

Fully agree, take the offer. People usually (often) go to MFEs to get an offer to do something like what you are doing.

Jun 8, 2011
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