- New York, NY or Pittsburgh, PA
The Master of Science in Computational Finance (MSCF) program at Carnegie Mellon University is a 16-month financial engineering degree developed through the joint venture of four Carnegie Mellon colleges - Department of Mathematical Sciences, Department of Statistics, Heinz College and the Tepper School of Business.
Recognized as the first financial engineering program of its kind, we offer an integrated curriculum that will prepare you with the skills necessary for the evolving financial industry. MSCF alumni attribute their success to our commitment to dedicated faculty, relevant curriculum and a full-service career center. Our staff is committed to helping you succeed by responding to inquiries, enhancing the student community and making you feel at home during your time in our program.
Careers – December 2015 Graduates
· $95,851 mean base salary (excludes bonuses)
· 98% of full-time MSCF students obtained summer 2016 internships
· 79% of full-time MSCF students accepted full-time positions within three months of graduation
· 1,281 alumni working in the quantitative finance industry
For more information, visit MSCF Careers.
Fall 2016 Entering Class Profile
· Total Full-Time Students: New York campus – 55; Pittsburgh campus – 44
· Selectivity/Acceptance Rate: 14.7%
· Average GMAT: 732
· Average Math GRE: 169
· Average Verbal GRE: 157
· Average GPA: 3.78
· Female: 37%
For more information, view the profile of matriculated Fall 2016 students.
Apply to MSCF
The MSCF program offers 2 application deadlines for the Fall 2017 entering class: January 4 and March 15, 2017. Applications are reviewed in batches and released in accordance with our posted application dates.
For more information on the application process, required materials and deadlines, visit the MSCF admissions page.
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Master of Science in Computational Finance (MSCF) at Carnegie Mellon University
Providing the skills you need to succeed in the financial industry
I graduated from CMU MSCF NYC Capus Dec 2016 and am currently working as a strats in a Bulge Bracket base in NYC. My background: undergraduate major in financial engineering in Wuhan University, China. Personally, CMU MSCF is undoubtedly the best MFE program. I'd like to eleborate from three different perspectives:
1. career service and faculty: Without reservation, MSCF provides world-class career service especially in NYC campus. With tens of years experience in Bulge Bracket like Goldman Sachs, our career advisor Sondi tries to leverage her expertise to help us match suitable jobs. She CARES every student and knows almost all the recent year graduates' placements in her mind. Besides, both she and Rick have a VERY broad practical relationship with almost all the BB on the street. In addition to their personal "powerfulness", MSCF organize helpful On-Campus Recruiting on a regular yearly basis, which will direct most of MSCF students to their desired companies. Last but not least, we have very supportive academic and administrative advisor like Diffy, who has dedicated herself for MSCF for over TEN years. Together with many responsive and responsible professors like Shreve. I can even wrote a paper to depict how best our professors are.
2. classmates quality: In MSCF, it is almost guaranteed that you will work with the top-tier student around the world and especially for Chinese students. It's pretty common to see your classmates who used to be the gold medal holder of National Mathematic/Computer Science Competition. It's also pretty common to see your classmates with a lot of fancy internships or fancy experiences. I'd say many of them had already been capable to be a Quant/Trader before they came to the program. Still, they came here to become better and stronger. Usually, ideas might spark even on your way home with classmates.
3. curriculum: Our courses are not the most difficult but are the most practical and useful for your future career. We invite the practitioner from time to time to bring the up-to-date info on the Street. Besides, our BOARD Committee will study our curriculum every year to see whether we need to adjust. For example, starting from our year, we had a new Machine Learning II course compared with previous graduates, which covers a lot of hot interview topics.
In the end, I'd say, if you're seeking a career in general finance industry like IBD or Equity research, MSCF might not be a good fit for your, but if you dream to be a Quant/Trader/Risk Manager, MSCF is definitely the Best and you'll not regret coming here.
I graduated from MSCF in December 2016. Prior to this program, I did my undergrad in Canada, majoring in Math Finance and Stats, and worked in Toronto for one year. I chose this program out of other MFE programs because of its curriculum focus on Stochastic Calculus and Programming and its reputation in the quantitative finance industry.
The faculty and professors care about every student, listen to students’ voice, and are always willing to help. Professors will ask students about their job applications, offer advice on interviews, and even adjust the workload for students if there are too many stressful interviews going on. The program is also very flexible and adapts itself to the evolving quant finance industry. For example, after recognizing the trend of machine learning in the industry, the program implemented two machine learning courses in the curriculum.
The program is indeed intense, fast-paced and requires good time management skills to handle course work, job applications, and interviews at the same time, but after going through all the pressure and hard work, you will realize how much you have learned and grown during the 16 months.
I graduated from MSCF in December 2016. I entered this program directly after my college where I majored in mathematics and economics.
The program is really well designed and has great career service. This is absolutely a good news for international students like me. The curriculum is comprehensive and adjusted based on the hot topics in the industry. The program committee responses quickly to our feedback (they even opened a totally new course Machine Learning 2 just because we recommended it).
Other than the curriculum, the career advisor (thank you Sondi!) is extremely helpful. Here you will learn how to behave professionally, which is valuable for fresh grads.
With the great CS reputation of CMU and MSCF's reputation on the street, your career choices would be broader than you think (Investment banks, hedge fund, algo-trading firms and even technology firms in Silicon Valley).
Like the below posters JohnPaul and Claudia, I also graduated MSCF in December 2015. My background was straight out of NYU undergrad, majoring in Mathematics. I chose the program because I thought it would provide the best complement to my theoretical math major so that I could obtain a reputable job in the quantitative finance industry.
All the previous posters have already pointed out the amazing things going on in this program, so I'm trying to keep this post as least redundant as possible. To judge how effective the program was for me, I simply need to ask myself: "Would I be able to get to where I am now if I committed my tuition and 1.5 years of time elsewhere?" And I'm very confident the answer to that is no. MSCF was certainly a big life-changer for me and, without doubt in my mind, a great investment.
I graduated from MSCF in December 2015. I entered the program with a BS in Physics and an MA in Mathematics. Even with a quantitative background, the program was a good challenge. Over that year and a half the program helped me to grow professionally, and gave me the opportunities I was looking to obtain.
I think the strongest point of this program is how invested the school is in each of its students' success. The program constantly evolves in order to meet the skills demanded by the dynamic quant finance industry. As an example, in recent years more and more firms have been leveraging machine learning in their investment process. The programs response to this demand was to implement two courses in that field.
The career services prepare you for interviews and put you in position to get the jobs you want. I wanted to get a position in research at a hedge fund or prop shop and this program helped me get there.
I completed the MSCF program in December 2015. I had a BA in Economics and worked at a brokerage for a couple years before I decided that I wanted something more challenging, hence my decision to apply for CMU. I attended the Pittsburgh campus and we had great student activities over there.
You will hear this over and over again. This program is intense, very fast-paced and at many instances very stressful. You have to make sure you have superb time management skills to juggle between lectures, assignments and recruiting. Most people in the program are very friendly and be sure to ask for help if you need it.
The program and career opportunities center are always very helpful and they all want you to succeed. One thing that people need to leverage more is the Alumni network. Networking is an important aspect in your career and the Tepper Alumni Network is a great start for that.
My goal for this program was to get into S&T, which this program did help me achieve. As you start your career, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much the MSCF name stands out.
I graduated from the MSCF program in Dec 2013 from the Pittsburgh program. I had an undergrad degree in Electrical Engg from IIT Madras and did work at Morgan Stanley, India for 3 years. I had a very tough decision to make between the top MBA schools in India and the MSCF program. In hindsight I feel, it was the best decision of my life.
The 16 months I spent in Pittsburgh were amazing with a number of memorable moments to relish for the rest of my life. I made great friends, endured a lot of stress, had a a lot of fun and most importantly learnt a lot. In all, the program exceeded all expectations I had when I walked in on the first day.
I totally agree with all the reviews here about how friendly everyone around is. CMU has undoubtedly the best career services who are willing to go the extra mile, to listen to you and to understand your specific career objectives. I did receive a lot of help with my career search from them, second years and the broad Alumni network that CMU has built over the past decade.
The education here is top class. Faculty here are very friendly and are willing to help you if you are struggling in a particular area/subject. The help you get from the student services is amazing too. They listen to every complaint you can possibly make and take prompt action. Also, not to mention the amount of work that goes behind the scenes to organise social events and to make every moment of the MSCF journey fun and memorable.
The homework is very tedious and do expect to be spending 6-10 hrs (depending on your background) everyday on the homework. It does get a little out of hand sometimes with all the recruiting and networking one has to do to get a great job in Finance. Personally, I felt I was learning twice as much doing the homework. In most of the cases it was a great value add to the amazing lectures we have.
To add to all this, the program is housed inside the Tepper School of Business. There are a lot of opportunities to interact with the more experienced MBA class, take up leadership positions in clubs and develop your soft skills. One can develop an all round personality which is very crucial for a successful career.
The only drawback:
There is a lot to be learnt and experienced in the MSCF program. But there is very little time at hand. The program being only 16 months adds to additional pressure finding a job in your last semester and also doing the advanced course work. This has in the past brought a lot of criticism and negative reviews to this program. But, at the end of the day, you would feel a sense of achievement having been through this tough patch. Year on year many students have done it in the toughest of times and I don't see a reason why it can't be done. On the bright side, you will be prepped up for the tough careers you will be getting into.
Things happen at a very fast pace in the MSCF program. It is so easy to get lost, not knowing what to do and just struggle to catch up with the homework. You have to be on your toes every single day for 3 semesters. If you think spending $100K on a program and then expect a pay of $100K at the end of 16 months without effort, think again. Such arbitrages don't exist in this world especially in Finance.
Over a period of time, CMU MSCF program has evolved into a great ecosystem where you get rewarded for all the efforts you put in as a student. The best way to make full use of the program, is to do your background work: understand the job market, identify your key skills, set realistic career goals and make full use of all the resources at CMU to achieve your dream.
I did just that and now I am very proud of being an MSCF alum.
I was a student in the Computational Finance program at CMU attending the New York Campus and graduating in December 2013. I earned my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering in the US and worked as an engineer for a little over a year before joining this program.
When I first starting looking at graduate quantitative finance programs I was hoping to switch careers into a front office role at a bank, however my experience at CMU has given me much much more, and every aspect of this program exceeded my expectations:
On the professional side, I did get the job that I wanted and CMU prepared me very well for that. The career service office is very dedicated and they spent so much time helping us with mock interviews and resume reviews. When I interned during the summer, I felt I was much more prepared than a lot of other students, this helped me a lot in getting a full time return offer.
On the academic side, I believe CMU has the most rigorous program out there. We boast top notch professors, who are in touch with the current developments in finance through their relationships with practitioners. We have had several interactions with practitioners ourselves, who were often invited as guest lecturers or to speak during our speaker series. The program does a good job in teaching students both the theory and the real world application of it. If you are a prospective student however, know that the curriculum is tough and time consuming, but also know that it is the best preparation you can get in a year and a half for a quant finance role.
The program’s administration is very dynamic and always asks the students’ opinion. I always felt I was part of a family when dealing with the program’s administration and staff, as they were always willing to listen. We have 2 town-hall meetings ever year and students fill multiple satisfaction and feedback surveys throughout the course of the program. Furthermore anything in the course evaluation is taken seriously, and the curriculum is dynamic making use of students’ feedback as well as feedback from the advisory board. This is not just talk, I was really impressed when I saw our suggestions being implemented in the coursework of the class after us.
The alumni network is big! There are over a thousand MSCF alums right now – the largest alumni base for any quant finance program. The Tepper Alumni network (MBA and MSCF) as well as the CMU Alumni network are both large enough to be effective and diverse while still feeling tight knit. My choice of attending the New York campus was largely so I can tap into these alumni networks, and indeed that turned up being a great asset for my career development.
In short, my experience in this program was incredibly positive, and I believe the 16 months I have spent as a CMU student taught me things that I will use for a lifetime!
I am a proud alum of the CMU MSCF program having graduated in December of 2013. I was a full-time student and I joined the program with two requirements in mind - to create a ladder for myself to advance in my career and to learn the mathematics behind finance, the knowledge of which is becoming increasingly important if one aspires to work in the finance industry. Given how the financial industry has shaped up after the recent crisis of 2008, technical know-how across multiple assets and facets is becoming increasingly central, making programs like the MSCF more relevant than ever. I was pleasantly surprised as the MSCF program exceeded all my expectations in preparing me to succeed in this ever-changing industry.
First and foremost positive of the CMU MSCF program is by far the quality of professors. Quality of teaching is excellent! There are some extremely respected names teaching us and they are very well integrated with the industry which reflects in the design of the curriculum that's updated regularly keeping in mind various industry developments. The assignments are extremely practical in nature and prepare you very well for your internships. We were taught courses from eminent industry people as well (who serve as part-time faculty) like Peter Cai of Morgan Stanley, Leif Anderson of Bank of America Merill Lynch and many other eminent people from very respected financial institutions and hedge funds.
Secondly, the administration of the program is extremely smooth. Students' feedback is implemented as soon as possible and they do get the best out of the program. The administration not only handles academic matters but works really hard to squeeze in social events around the extremely hectic CMU MSCF life.
Thirdly, CMU can boast of one of the best career services on offer amongst the financial engineering programs. I had access to a wide array of resources to help with my job and internship search. The Career Services staff and resources helped me a lot to prepare on the soft skills aspect of the interviews. CMU career office boasts of very well qualified people, some of whom have experience working in the industry.
A very important differentiator that's a cut above all of these criteria is that being the top-ranked program, CMU MSCF attracts the best quality students from around the world. If I have learned so much in the past sixteen months, I attribute it as much to my fellow students as I do to my professors.
To conclude, I couldn't have asked for anything better out of a quantitative finance program. I couldn't have gotten any better learning from any other program (technical or otherwise). I will be eternally grateful to CMU for having pioneered this program and I am extremely proud to be associated with it.