MSF: Illinois vs. U Rochester

GuerreroZaragoza's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,626

Trying to decide which MSF would help out most with my quest into LevFin/DCM/PB.

Illinois (UIUC) vs. University of Rochester (Simon)

Which one of these schools is better regarded on the street?

Who has the better alumni network?

Which would help me out most when it comes to recruiting/ocr/etc.?

Which has the best environment?

Comments (33)

Jan 11, 2013

You will struggle to get a high-powered entry level wall street job from UIUC's MSF, based on personal experience. However, you will have a very good chance at F500, Big4, and lower tier consulting gigs.

If you want to work in banking from UIUC, I suggest you try to bag a banking internship/volunteer experience this summer before you start the MSF.

The alumni network is gigantic and very helpful; will be easy to network in Chicago & pop up there for visits.

OCR was largely useless for IB.

I believe UIUC will definitely take you further than Rochester. You will meet people on a daily basis who are alumni once you start working FT.

Disclaimer: All based on my experience from 2yrs ago

    • 1
Jan 11, 2013

Good stuff Cries, thanks for the advice

Jan 11, 2013

This is Chicago vs New York.

If you want Wall Street, go with Rochester.

If you want to land a job as a trader at a prop shop, go with Chicago.

In both cases, it will be a tough uphill climb if you really want more of a banking role, though some middle-market firms may be within reach for an exceptional graduate of these programs.

Unfortunately, IBD and PE roles are all about prestige. In all likelihood it's because they worry their clients and investors are foolish enough to think Harvard is some indication of intellect.

If you REALLY want IBD or PE, I would suggest you wait a year, brush up on your calculus and linear algebra, and try again with The University of Chicago's FinMath program. It's not well known, but they admit almost everyone who passes their preparation course, and it's a hard-earned math-heavy graduate degree that says "The University of Chicago" on it. That still won't come anywhere as close as it really needs to for you to get your foot in the door, but it's a superset of the opportunities UIUC will give you access to and makes you more marketable to banks. (I say this as a blue and orange bleeding Illinois alumn.)

If you can be just as happy with trading, go for UIUC and land a spot at a trading firm on LaSalle Street.

Jan 11, 2013

Neither: OSU, Villanova, Duke all would be better choices, UIUC had their former academic director defect, they're like 80% international, expensive.

Jan 11, 2013
futurectdoc:

Neither: OSU, Villanova, Duke all would be better choices, UIUC had their former academic director defect, they're like 80% international, expensive.

Let's cut to the chase. If OP is comfortable with calculus and linear algebra, he can probably gain admission to UChicago's FinMath program. It costs $55K in tuition, it takes 10 months, and he has a degree that says "The University of Chicago" and "Mathematics" on it.

It's not quite an M7 MBA, but I think it's halfway there on the prestige front and it gives OP a CLEAR shot at the Midwestern middle-market firms (RW Baird, William Blair, Piper Jaffray), and maybe one or two toes in the door at the BBs.

The big question for OP is "How comfortable am I with calculus, probability, and matrices? Do I multiply across and down or down and across? Am I going to freeze when they throw a cumulative density function at us? Will I be comfortable dealing with all of the ?'s, ?'s and p's they shove in our faces? Or am I going to choke?

The University of Chicago takes just about anybody who they think can pull it off. They don't let just anybody graduate, though.

Jan 12, 2013
IlliniProgrammer:
futurectdoc:

Neither: OSU, Villanova, Duke all would be better choices, UIUC had their former academic director defect, they're like 80% international, expensive.

Let's cut to the chase. If OP is comfortable with calculus and linear algebra, he can probably gain admission to UChicago's FinMath program. It costs $55K in tuition, it takes 10 months, and he has a degree that says "The University of Chicago" and "Mathematics" on it.

It's not quite an M7 MBA, but I think it's halfway there on the prestige front and it gives OP a CLEAR shot at the Midwestern middle-market firms (RW Baird, William Blair, Piper Jaffray), and maybe one or two toes in the door at the BBs.

The big question for OP is "How comfortable am I with calculus, probability, and matrices? Do I multiply across and down or down and across? Am I going to freeze when they throw a cumulative density function at us? Will I be comfortable dealing with all of the ?'s, ?'s and p's they shove in our faces? Or am I going to choke?

The University of Chicago takes just about anybody who they think can pull it off. They don't let just anybody graduate, though.

Can't thank you enough for the advice IP.

I had never heard of this FinMath program before you mentioned it just now. It sounds very interesting to me. I did my first two years of undergrad as an aerospace/physics major, so the calc and linear algebra wouldn't be much of a problem for me.
The tuition isn't really a concern for me, I'm financially stable, and more than willing to plow $100/200K to get my foot in the door.

Would you recommend doing an MSF at UIUC, brushing up on my calc and linear algebra, and make it into UC's FinMath program? I can't just do nothing for a year, and I would rather not get a job unrelated to finance just to kill some time.

Thanks again IP

Jan 12, 2013
futurectdoc:

Neither: OSU, Villanova, Duke all would be better choices, UIUC had their former academic director defect, they're like 80% international, expensive.

How are OSU's placements futurectdoc? Alumni network/etc.

Jan 12, 2013

http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/smf/career-resources... they put some into BB AM at Wells and JP I believe, F500 FLDP, IB, the usual mix, strong AM placement/focus. If you're looking at MSF programs in the Midwest definitely consider it, as well as WUSTL and Vandy. I disagree with IP about MFE/FinMat programs, they are more geared towards people who want to be quants, it sounds like you want to be a banker.

Jan 12, 2013
futurectdoc:

http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/smf/career-resources... they put some into BB AM at Wells and JP I believe, F500 FLDP, IB, the usual mix, strong AM placement/focus. If you're looking at MSF programs in the Midwest definitely consider it, as well as WUSTL and Vandy. I disagree with IP about MFE/FinMat programs, they are more geared towards people who want to be quants, it sounds like you want to be a banker.

Thanks futurectdoct.

You're right, I do want to start in more of a banker role as opposed to quant. I was trying to decide between Illinois and Rochester (as semi-safeties), but did not even consider OSU. I will have to think about this choice, but it seems OSU might take the cake. Thanks again

Jan 12, 2013

Would you recommend doing an MSF at UIUC, brushing up on my calc and linear algebra, and make it into UC's FinMath program? I can't just do nothing for a year, and I would rather not get a job unrelated to finance just to kill some time.

Thanks again IP

I'm not sure. I would go straight for the FinMath.

I should also warn you that I haven't met many FinMath graduates. I suspect people can go from FinMath into banking, but I don't know for sure.

Have a word with Andy Nguyen on QuantNet.com. He is an expert on this stuff. Anthony (TNA on WSO) can also give you some advice on this.

Jan 12, 2013

OSU is a great school with a number of brilliant people, but I think you can and should aim higher for grad school. I have seen a number of people go into banking from an MFE background- my summer analyst roommate several years ago was an MFE from Cornell working on a team doing IPOs.

Banks always need structurers and they tend to have moderately better hours than your typical banker. The IBD Strats guys at Goldman Sachs pull 70 hour weeks as opposed to the 90 hour weeks for traditional bankers. Of course, not every banker can put together a transition model for a Markov process.

If you survive an MFE at Chicago, you'll have a shot at those jobs. You'll also have a lot of opportunities for strategist and quant roles at the CBOT, and you still have the option of an MBA. The Chicago MFE will give you a foot in the door at Booth and a serious boost at the other schools.

When it comes to the Wall Street banks, prestige does matter a lot. We had more kids coming in with the University of Chicago (although generally undergrad) on their resumes than the entire Big Ten (excluding Northwestern) combined. (At the time, it infuriated me.) Moreover, it will give you a much broader network if your undergrad was at a state school.

If we were talking about cost-effective undergraduate degrees, I'd give you a much different answer (study engineering in-state). And OSU is a great school- particularly for undergrads. All of the Big Ten are good schools. But I think UChicago will open more doors in the long run than OSU. At the very least, if you hold a quantitative graduate degree from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, or Chicago, few people will wonder how smart or qualified you are.

OSU will probably have some doors open that UChicago won't have open. Particularly at some niche firms and boutiques. But if there's one situation where it's ok to be a little more prestige-focused, it would be someone trying to get into banking, who was applying to grad school.

Again, you should be taking a lot of data points on this. Two really helpful people to get advice from will be Anthony (TNA on WSO) and Andy Nguyen (on QuantNet.com).

Jan 12, 2013

UIUC will do well in Chicago with some networking. U Rochester, on their main campus in Rochester, is known for F500 recruiting. Banking is going to be tough from them.

So if you want to do banking, you are going to have to focus on Chicago and UIUC will be your best shot.

Now if you are interested in high level math and programming then do an MFE. But figure out what you want to do because both are very different degrees and with different career paths. And if all you want is brand go do some random masters at an Ivy League university.

Jan 12, 2013

Well I'm applying to 6 more schools total, sent out all but (UIUC/OSU/Rochester), got 2 admissions already

In At:
Pepperdine
Case Western

Applying to:

Austin
Vanderbilt

Duke
Villanova

Tulane
UIUC/OSU or Rochester (trying to choose one)

So in a nutshell, this topic was posted to help me figure out whether I should choose UIUC, Rochester, or OSU as that final school. I do not want to do a quant-type role, but if it has to be done to get into banking, then so be it. IP, TNA, as always thanks for the advice.

Jan 12, 2013
lasampdoria:

Well I'm applying to 6 more schools total, sent out all but (UIUC/OSU/Rochester), got 2 admissions already

In At:
Pepperdine
Case Western

Applying to:

Austin
Vanderbilt

Duke
Villanova

Tulane
UIUC/OSU or Rochester (trying to choose one)

So in a nutshell, this topic was posted to help me figure out whether I should choose UIUC, Rochester, or OSU as that final school. I do not want to do a quant-type role, but if it has to be done to get into banking, then so be it. IP, TNA, as always thanks for the advice.

Only go to Pepperdine if you want to simply crush ass. Pepp and Case aren;t going to help you do anything career wise.

PM me your stats and stuff, ill see where you stand with some of those schools.

IMO, I'd probably apply to UIUC as your final school simply for the Chicago exposure. Austin will cover Texas. Nova Philly/NYC. Duke is a solid brand and Vandy will do well down south/NYC.

Jan 12, 2013

Well Pepp/CWRU are super safeties for me. The only reason I'd even consider Pepperdine is because it's local and I could network like crazy to get anything. Also, they're pretty much paying 100% of it. The Pepperdine talent is pretty outstanding though, I'll give them that.

Mar 26, 2014

so where did you go finally? I guess you went for illinois

Jan 4, 2015

hey lasampdoria, where did you go for MSF?

Jan 4, 2015

hey lasampdoria, where did you go for MSF?

Jan 4, 2015

Have a friend who graduated from the MSF program at UIUC and is now doing the MSA program at the same institution. PM me if you have any q's and I'll be happy to forward.

Jan 4, 2015

If it is between the 2 pick UIUC. No question.

Jan 4, 2015

^ I agree,

OP, I have no idea why you're so hung up on Rochester

Jan 4, 2015

I love ROC as a city, lot of fun, but U of R's MBA program isn't known for finance placement. It is more of a F500 type MBA path. Xerox, Kodak, Paychex, all large companies in ROC. The MSF program is a MBA add on.

Jan 4, 2015

UIUC's placements last year were very very bad though.
Anyway I got into U of R, Duke and claremont mckenna, I am leaning Duke (it feels funny saying leaning towards Duke) But the MMS program is very new and well I dont have enough Info on it. Having talked to a lot of Students and faculty at U of R, as opposed to the general opinion here I quite like the program. Almost every American citizen I talked to from the '10 MSF and MBA class already have jobs lined up so that was very encouraging. Also they just had a complete overhaul of the Career services department, which was something a lot of people here said they did not like. My major (only) problem with Simon is the large number of International Students. That said they did give me a 25k scholarship therefore i'd be stupid not to consider it.

Anyway I know almost everyone here doesn't like Simon what do you guys have to say about Mckenna and the MMS program at Duke?

Jan 4, 2015

for everyone who got into rochester, what were your stats/internship experience?

Jan 4, 2015

Past internship experience LPL Financial, MetLife, GPA 3.1 GMAT 730. I got accepted with close to 20k in scholarship.

Jan 4, 2015

Damn, 3.1 got you in?

I hear many of the people are foreign, do yoiu think being american citizen got you in?

Jan 4, 2015

It may be easier to get in as a citizen, i am not really sure to be honest.

Jan 4, 2015

how'd recruitment go? i hear they have a dedicated MS consultant.

Good placement on the street?

Jan 4, 2015

which one did you end up choosing?

Jan 4, 2015

For your sake, I hope you chose Duke.

Anyone that tells you an MSF will further your career is dead wrong (note this is for non-quant careers).
1) It will help you in interviews! No. Everything you need to know is in vault / wso guides.
2) It will help you succeed on the job! No. Everything you need to know you will learn whether through formal training program, or on the job.

What an MSF WILL DO is give you another shot at recruiting. The better the brand name and alumni network, the easier recruiting is. Thus, pick Duke.

Goal of school = getting a job. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by passing on Duke's program because it new or MBA lite. Have a reason for going there and network.

Mods, don't delete cuz u don't agree wit the wisdom i be spittin.

if you ain't first, you last

Jan 4, 2015
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Jan 4, 2015