I currently am considering offers from UCLA MFE and UW CFRM. I've also had an interview for Columbia MFE and will hear from them soon. I personally am looking to get into asset management later on in my career. From what I see, UCLA has a clear edge over Washington's CFRM program when it comes to getting a career in this area. California has plenty of buy-side opportunities, and being from a school in the area surely has some advantages. The placement rates also look very strong.
However, I'm having a little bit more difficulty deciding between Columbia MFE(if I were to get the offer) and UCLA MFE. I know that the Columbia MFE program is a top tier school, but I would much prefer to work in California vs New York. I've heard some generally negative things about the work culture in New York. Couple that with the slightly higher living expenses and California seems much more appealing to me long-term. The Columbia MFE program however has an "Asset Allocation" concentration which I am very interested in. From what I see the UCLA MFE program has less flexibility.
My question is, is it worth going to Columbia MFE over UCLA MFE even though my goal is to work in California for a buy-side firm? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts!