Need Your Advices for my MSF plan please

Hi, that is my first post after reading hundreds of posts here, and I want to say I really learned a lot. I am writing this because I have few questions regarding to which MSF programs I should apply and what is the chance for me to get into one of them. Here is my profile:

I am graduating in May 2014 from a non-target state University (San Jose State Unversity) with business administration major with concentration in finance.

Status: a domestic student (I am Chinese and hold a green card)

My GPA: Overall GPA = 3.494, but I feel I am in an awkward position. I transferred from a community college to my current school with a GPA of 3.226 and then I worked extremely hard once I made my transfer. The GPA for my last two years, all of which are upper divisional courses, is 3.941. When I apply MSF, will I be competing with other candidates based on my overall GPA or the GPA of my last two years?
And is my GPA competitive at all since I come from a non-target school?

GMAT: I have not taken yet, but I do plan to study for GMAT after graduation and take it on November so that I can apply MSF this December. And I am aiming 700.

Work Experience: In 2007, I worked in a Japanese restaurant for a year as a waiter. As far as related work experience is concerned, I do not have any formal one. But, I am currently enrolled in the second semester of Gary J. Sbona Honors Programs in my school, where I work together in a team on a real world business project. In this project, we meet our project sponsor, a company in Silicon Valley, regularly meet with them and present our findings to their panel at the end of the semester. But, I do not get paid. I understand that it is not FT or internship, but do you think the administration would regard this as work related experience? And what is the best way for me to highlight this in the interview when I am asked about my work experience?

Extracurricular and achievements: I have been a member in an invest club for two years and 2X Dean's schorlar, and I won a finance department scholarship. And I will graduate with an honor from the college of business and Cum laude from the school.

Weakness: English is my second language so that I speak with a Chinese accent. Also, my math is not that strong. I have not taken Calculus I, but I got A- on elemental statistics & probability, B on Finite Math, A on pre-calculus, A+ on quantitative business analysis (Linear programing). And I plan to take Calculus I, if possible, during winter or spring 2015 before I enter a MSF program. But what is my chance if I don't take calculus I?

Goals: I am mainly aiming for IBD as my first choice, but I am willing to compromise for VC or PE. Although I am living in San Jose CA, I would like to work in NYC – Hopefully Wall Street. But, if I can't make to NYC, I am willing to settle for San Francisco or Palo Alto as an alternative.

Schools to apply: USC, MIT ( Do I really stand a chance for this one?), Boston College ( Do I need calculus I completed when I apply or before I enter the program?), Vanderbilt, WUSTL (Do I need calculus I completed when I apply or before I enter the program?), Vanderbilt, UTA, and Villanova. As far as these schools are concerned, I am really concerned about their placement and prestige.

Questions: Again, my first choice is to work in IBD in NYC – Wall Street. If I cannot make, I am willing to settle for IBD, VC, or PE in SF or Palo Alto. So which school has a better placement for NYC? And which one has the best reputation in Asian (Hong Kong or China)? And what is my chance for these schools given my unique situation? And do I really need Calculus I? Do I need an internship?
Thanks. I really appreciate your time and efforts.

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Comments (9)

May 1, 2014 - 12:29am

Ok, so how are you at math?

I would encourage you to take an MFE program rather than MSF if you can do:

-Calculus I, Calculus II, Calculus III (Multivariable)
-Linear Algebra
-Calculus-Based Probability

Your English may need some work for the non-quant jobs, at least in the US. "need your advice" "I have been a member in an investment club".

Most people with MSFs who are placed successfully (along with nearly all English speakers) would use the above phrases in a post or in a business situation.

May 1, 2014 - 1:31am

IlliniProgrammer:

Ok, so how are you at math?

I would encourage you to take an MFE program rather than MSF if you can do:

-Calculus I, Calculus II, Calculus III (Multivariable)

-Linear Algebra

-Calculus-Based Probability

Your English may need some work for the non-quant jobs, at least in the US. "need your advice" "I have been a member in an investment club".

Most people with MSFs who are placed successfully (along with nearly all English speakers) would use the above phrases in a post or in a business situation.

I am sorry for my poor English, and I agree with you. As far as MFE programs are concerned, I am graduating in this May and can't spend an extra year on the courses you listed. As that being said, should I just work on my English when I study for GMAT?

May 1, 2014 - 9:38am

English is a hard language to learn quickly. Honestly, if you do an MSF make sure you pick one with prominence back home in China. You can give it a shot to find work in the US, but make sure you have a fall back if you cannot land a job.

May 1, 2014 - 5:33pm

My guess is that you stand a reasonable chance at many of the schools listed but probably not MIT. I will defer to ANT on the the details.

My concern is that you need to really network and have exceptional English communication skills to land most front-office roles- most finance-related roles in general. The exception is the roles that require a strong math or coding background.

The green card helps big time- it will also give you more bargaining power to ask for a raise during your career, but your problem is going to be that for the roles that don't require a quantitative graduate degree, there will be a native-born person who speaks perfect English competing for the same job.

Given your background, you might be a good candidate for equity research on East Asia. However, many of those jobs will be in Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, or Singapore. That said, your US-based education would serve you well when competing for a job there.

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May 5, 2014 - 2:22am

My long term goal is actually to work in Shanghai or Hong Kong after I have worked in the US for few years. As I understand that I might be less qualified for a front-office position, what is my chance of getting a back-office job in NYC?

May 5, 2014 - 11:02am

Dashuai-Li:

My long term goal is actually to work in Shanghai or Hong Kong after I have worked in the US for few years. As I understand that I might be less qualified for a front-office position, what is my chance of getting a back-office job in NYC?


Not so hot. Speaking English well is a given here unless you're a programmer or work in a quantitative role.
May 5, 2014 - 11:11am

Your GPA is fine. You get a 700 GMAT and you'll be competitive at a lot of places. I think your weak quant scores will hurt you for MIT. You could try and bolster these grades/classes through a local school, but not sure if that will get you into MIT.

With your career goals you might be interested in that WUSTL-Singapore program. Check that out.

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