MIT MFin Q&A

Dr Joe's picture
Rank: Senior Gorilla | 956

Application season is coming up, so I figured I would provide some unofficial info via Q&A on the program to those interested. Anything goes from admissions (chances, essays, interviews) to curriculum to class profile to quality of instruction to industry connections to job placement to anything else.

The program plans to expand significantly for next year so more spots will be available than in the past (up to 50% more).

(I am not an official representative of the program - visit http://mitsloan.mit.edu/academic/mfin/ for official info. Some good data here as well: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/mba/pdf/MITSloan_MFin.pdf)

Comments (45)

Nov 4, 2011

I think you should write an in depth review that covers all the topics you mentioned because I guarantee that they will all be asked about. You should then send the review to ANT so he can post it on msfhq.com

Nov 4, 2011

Gekko - The reason I posted on here is that this site has been very helpful to me over the past few years, so I figured I should give back to the WSO community. As for MSFHQ, I have previously mentioned to ANT that I would be happy to do a review of the program - get in touch if interested.

Nov 4, 2011

What's the typical GRE quantitative score for MIT's MFin program?

Nov 4, 2011
cityandcolour:

What's the typical GRE quantitative score for MIT's MFin program?

According to the class profile (http://sloan.mit.edu/academic/mfin/profile.php)
Average GRE Quant 795
Middle 80% GRE Quant 740-800*
Average GRE Verbal 592
Middle 80% GRE Verbal 460-750*

I don't know the exact number but seems about 60% (30-75% would be my 95% confidence interval) took the GRE, which I found surprising.

Nov 4, 2011

What was the full-time job placement like? Did most mfin students go into quant and trading roles at banks? Any buyside placements?

Nov 4, 2011
Brady4MVP:

What was the full-time job placement like? Did most mfin students go into quant and trading roles at banks? Any buyside placements?

Most students seem interested in quant/trading - perhaps 60-80%. Buyside placement is decent if you include investment management/hedge funds, but if you are only referring to VCPE, then ~0 would be right. That being said, lots of good opportunities for it exist - but most are not interested in such opportunities. But Boston has a phenomenal network of MIT alums at VC (less so PE) shops, so if you are a competitive candidate (prior experience, know what VCPE is, etc) then your chances are not bad.

Prop shop placement is quite good as well - several Citadel/DE Shaw/DRW offers already made to the class. But I assume this is not what you are referring to.

Nov 4, 2011
Dr Joe:
Brady4MVP:

What was the full-time job placement like? Did most mfin students go into quant and trading roles at banks? Any buyside placements?

Most students seem interested in quant/trading - perhaps 60-80%. Buyside placement is decent if you include investment management/hedge funds, but if you are only referring to VCPE, then ~0 would be right. That being said, lots of good opportunities for it exist - but most are not interested in such opportunities. But Boston has a phenomenal network of MIT alums at VC (less so PE) shops, so if you are a competitive candidate (prior experience, know what VCPE is, etc) then your chances are not bad.

Prop shop placement is quite good as well - several Citadel/DE Shaw/DRW offers already made to the class. But I assume this is not what you are referring to.

Thanks for the response. Let me clarify my previous question. By buyside, I was referring to hedge funds and investment management firms. I'm considering applying to sloan mba next year, mostly because of its strong recruiting from the boston IM shops such as fidelity, wellington, state street, putnam. And then there's hedge funds like convexity, bracebridge, tudor, grantham mayo, etc., that students may have access to. I'm just curious to know whether MFin students have similar access and if so, how successful they are in terms of getting those types of jobs.

It's VERY impressive that the mfin students have landed offers from citadel and de shaw, given how tough those are.

Nov 4, 2011
Brady4MVP:

What was the full-time job placement like? Did most mfin students go into quant and trading roles at banks? Any buyside placements?

To add on to above, I would say the current class is looking somewhat like 2010 class placement stats (http://sloan.mit.edu/pdf/Class_of_2010_Master_of_F...) (2011 to be released shortly), but there are serious de-averaging biases involved. Conditional on being a US citizen, stats would change a lot, as well as based on your level of fluency in English. Also, as for the consulting placements - they seem to be a back-up for ~60% that take them - very few are genuinely interested. Though the class of 2012 will have some impressive consulting stats - I think all of MBB will be represented, as well as numerous OWFS/Monitor level hires.

Also, when reviewing 2010 stats, keep in mind that 5.3% means exactly 1 person, so not very significant. 2011 stats will be much more relevant.

Nov 4, 2011

Might want to actually look at the links he put up instead of asking redundant questions.

Nov 4, 2011

I've been doing more and more research about grad school and you were right, the MBA is more of a fit for me.

How was meeting Robert Merton?

Nov 4, 2011
Unforseen:

I've been doing more and more research about grad school and you were right, the MBA is more of a fit for me.

How was meeting Robert Merton?

Glad to hear you have figured out which degree suits you better.

Merton is of course an interesting guy, but I am not sure I would say meeting him was much more impressive than some of the other professors, even though he is far more famous.

Nov 4, 2011

Is it possible to do this part time if you work in Boston and have a reasonably flexible schedule?

Nov 4, 2011
DRX:

Is it possible to do this part time if you work in Boston and have a reasonably flexible schedule?

Absolutely not - program is 1.5x full-time.

Nov 4, 2011

MIT's tuition cost is really high. Is it worth paying
extra for the MIT name as opposed to a program like Claremont Mckenna?

Nov 4, 2011
notaspammer:

MIT's tuition cost is really high. Is it worth paying
extra for the MIT name as opposed to a program like Claremont Mckenna?

Clearly depends on the person. I thought it was worth it.

When you take opportunity cost into account in computing total cost, the difference in price diminishes in percentage terms - quite significantly.

Nov 4, 2011
Dr Joe:
notaspammer:

MIT's tuition cost is really high. Is it worth paying
extra for the MIT name as opposed to a program like Claremont Mckenna?

Clearly depends on the person. I thought it was worth it.

When you take opportunity cost into account in computing total cost, the difference in price diminishes in percentage terms - quite significantly.

Also, I would argue you are paying for a lot more than the name. The resources and quality of the program are somewhat incredible.

Nov 4, 2011

General question, probably relevant to all schools not just MIT though for the sake of asking.... the admissions deadline is Jan. 4th for Round II if I take my GMAT on Dec 23 I clearly won't have my official scores, but can I still apply and be considered given the fact that I've taken the exam?

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Nov 4, 2011
BepBep12:

General question, probably relevant to all schools not just MIT though for the sake of asking.... the admissions deadline is Jan. 4th for Round II if I take my GMAT on Dec 23 I clearly won't have my official scores, but can I still apply and be considered given the fact that I've taken the exam?

Yes, this is generally acceptable (but always check with admissions to make sure).

Nov 4, 2011

Great thread! Just posting here to better find it later.

+1 SB to Doc Joe.

Nov 5, 2011
Nouveau Richie:

Great thread! Just posting here to better find it later.

+1 SB to Doc Joe.

NR, you know you can bookmark a thread, right? You just click the little bookmark icon in OP.

...just an FYI (this bookmark tab is under Recent as well)

Nov 4, 2011

I really think MIT's mfin is just a money maker. As a course that is clearly leaned towards a quant program, where is the course on programming or algo trading? How does a one year course come to a total of 75k excluding living expenses?

Nov 4, 2011
jktecon:

I really think MIT's mfin is just a money maker. As a course that is clearly leaned towards a quant program, where is the course on programming or algo trading? How does a one year course come to a total of 75k excluding living expenses?

Few comments:

First of all, basic programming skills are a pre-req to entry, and most have them. Secondly, in the summer session, there is an intense math bootcamp class is optional and covers the basics of MatLab coding as well as a basic review of probability/estimation topics. Furthermore, simulation is used extensively in one of the required courses, 15.450, and you will need to learn a substantial amount of programming to complete the course if you don't already know how to code.

Regarding the 75K, I admit that is expensive. Does the school make money off the program? Probably, but not 100% sure. I know there are about 10 employees dedicated to the program, plus additional support that it requires in the admissions/registration/IT departments, not to mention the physical assets. How much? I have no idea, and I don't think you do either. Add in the incremental faculty required and you might not be as much of a money-maker as you think. Of course, I don't really know, and I don't rule out that the school does make money. I guess the point is best summarized by the comment of the head of analytics at PIMCO at a recent presentation: "The price tag of the program strongly signals to the employer market that the students are serious about entering finance, and are willing to pay for it", which they see as a good thing.

Furthermore, extensive financial support is provided (loans are virtually guaranteed to all, though scholarships are tough to come by) and if you think that you belong in the program, then you would be willing to take on the debt to reap the rewards in the future.

Nov 4, 2011
jktecon:

I really think MIT's mfin is just a money maker. As a course that is clearly leaned towards a quant program, where is the course on programming or algo trading? How does a one year course come to a total of 75k excluding living expenses?

75k of tuition for one year? That's just crazy.

Nov 4, 2011
Dick.Fuld:
jktecon:

I really think MIT's mfin is just a money maker. As a course that is clearly leaned towards a quant program, where is the course on programming or algo trading? How does a one year course come to a total of 75k excluding living expenses?

75k of tuition for one year? That's just crazy.

Berkeley Financial Engineering's tuition is 55k, also for one year.

Nov 4, 2011

Average GPA for admission? What about the diversity of undergraduate educations relative to both school and background?

Nov 4, 2011
STorIB:

Average GPA for admission? What about the diversity of undergraduate educations relative to both school and background?

If I recall correctly, the average GPA is roughly a 3.8, but you can look it up online. School and background diversity - the schools are very diverse, though the most frequent are probably the top schools in China. I would estimate 60% of the students to come from what WSO would call "targets", with 30% from semi-targets and 10% from non-targets. Backgrounds - I assume you mean majors/work experience - that is also available online. All have met the math requirements, which are fairly rigorous, so most have at least enough math for a minor.

Along the lines of math requirements, if anyone is planning on applying/attending this program, I strongly suggest taking a PDE course, a course in stochastic calc, analysis would be a nice thing to know, and familiarize yourself with the concept of state price densities before attending/applying. This is, of course, on top of the explicit pre-reqs. You will thank me later, and it might improve your chances as well.

In terms of work experience, there is a lot of diversity. About half the class has no full-time experience, but the second half has about 3 years on average, and some have much, much more (10-20+ years). Fields vary, but most are in finance, with some in CS and insurance industry mixed in. Good number of students also have progress towards CFA.

Nov 4, 2011

Wow 85% is international? Do you know how feasible it is to get financial aid or take out student loans, does the school helpful with that at all?

I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. ... If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud.

Nov 4, 2011
ah:

Wow 85% is international? Do you know how feasible it is to get financial aid or take out student loans, does the school helpful with that at all?

85% international sounds about right. Financial aid is readily available, but typically comes in the form of loans. I believe even international students are pretty much guaranteed a loan for the full amount of the program through MIT at decent rates. As far as scholarships, you have to find them on your own - not much available from MIT. A few students are funded by their home countries (typically Asian and S. American) and some are on full scholarships from external organizations. However, most pay for it themselves, either with cash reserves or with student loans.

Nov 9, 2011

Interesting development - it seems that the program is considering extending into a 1.5yr curriculum to allow for a summer internship, like many other programs have done. What do you guys think? Would that make it more (or less) attractive to you?

Nov 11, 2011
Dr Joe:

Interesting development - it seems that the program is considering extending into a 1.5yr curriculum to allow for a summer internship, like many other programs have done. What do you guys think? Would that make it more (or less) attractive to you?

Is this just rumor or do you have more official link on this?

Nov 13, 2011
baraider:
Dr Joe:

Interesting development - it seems that the program is considering extending into a 1.5yr curriculum to allow for a summer internship, like many other programs have done. What do you guys think? Would that make it more (or less) attractive to you?

Is this just rumor or do you have more official link on this?

Official link to what exactly? Such deliberations are not really announced until a decision has been made. I suppose it may be called a rumor at this stage.

Sep 16, 2013

Is the program extended to 1.5 years? I heard it's 9-month long though...Also, how is the placement result for international students? I came from statistics in UG, yet I actually do not want to do quant roles...So, how is the placement for non-quant roles?

Nov 9, 2011

I think it is a smart move. Internships make a huge difference when it comes to placements.

Dr Joe -- I PM"d you. Realize you are buys, but just wanted to remind you.

Thanks for doing this. I literally just recommended the MIT MSF to someone.

Nov 9, 2011

Hey ANT - I saw your PM, I will get to it shortly - sorry for delay.

As to the topic at hand, I realize internships are important, but I see some downsides as well. For those who don't need it (are able to secure FT), having to stay in school for an extra 6m is a serious problem - if it is mandatory, then MFins will be ineligible for traditional June start dates - that's a serious sacrifice. On the other hand, if it is made optional, then selection bias will have a serious and negative impact - only those who are unable to find jobs will stay around, reducing average quality of that pool, making recruiting that much more difficult for those that stick around. Furthermore, recruiting for both FT and SA positions at the same time seems dangerous and very time consuming, but would be necessary to hedge risk of not getting FT -> the act of hedging will reduce FT job incidence, which is certainly a problem.

So I guess while I agree with the idea, I am not sure there is a practical way to implement it. Thoughts?

Aug 25, 2012
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Aug 27, 2012