- 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
The MSCF program is an outstanding learning experience which I cannot recommend enough. I studied at the NY campus and thoroughly enjoyed the challenging academic environment and gained an invaluable beginning to my career in the financial services industry. I had previously worked for a year as a software engineer and the program was the perfect launching point for me to move into finance.
The staff and faculty have created a truly world class program. The classes are created and run just for the MSCF program, creating a tailored experience with highly relevant projects and homework. The faculty and staff are highly receptive to feedback and genuinely want to improve the classes and program. I was particularly happy with the guest lecturers and speakers who brought real world experience to the classroom.
The career opportunities from being part of the MSCF program are outstanding. There is nowhere with a better reputation in the financial services industry. The career services office works hard to give students the tools, information, and opportunities needed to find their ideal role. I am 100% happy with the job I found due to the tools given to me by the MSCF program.
With the dedicated classes, everyone takes the same classes. Studying with the same set of students creates a small and tight-knit network of classmates, which forms the foundation of a highly engaging learning environment. Perhaps one of the best aspects of the program are the ridiculously smart students that join. I constantly felt pushed to study harder while being able to learn from peers who knew more than me. Many peers become friends forged through the experience of struggling through the challenging coursework together.
Carnegie Mellon’s MSCF is a phenomenal program that I would recommend to anyone that is pursuing a career in quantitative finance. The curriculum, faculty, and professors cohesively work together to create a program that equips students with the education and tools that are needed to excel in the financial industry. The students in the program are a group of carefully selected, diverse, and brilliant minds that make the program all the more rewarding.
Prior to joining MSCF, I worked in New York at a financial services company in a programming role. In an effort to sharpen my mathematical and statistical knowledge, I joined the MSCF program with a very specific dream job in mind. A year and a half later, I can happily say that I obtained the exact position that I set out to acquire, in addition to developing new connections and learning new skill sets that will benefit me far into the future. I graduated from the program in December 2017.
The fact that CMU offers the program in New York is an impressive benefit of the program. Situated in the heart of the Financial District in downtown Manhattan, the campus’s proximity to industry is of great value. The campus itself hosts convenient technologies that affords students added convenience and flexibility in their learning styles, such as immediate lecture recording and uploading, conferences rooms equipped with large televisions and teleconferencing equipment, and classrooms with video cameras and microphones for real-time communication with the Pittsburgh campus during lectures (all of the same are also at the Pittsburgh campus).
Professors in the program are selected from the mathematics, statistics, and computer science departments, as well as from CMU’s business school. The professors write customized courses for the MSCF program, and all work together to create a cohesive program that advances in a systematic way across the four disciplines. Additionally, guest speakers from the industry are frequently invited to give presentations that complement the education in a practical way that is hard to find elsewhere in a rigorous academic curriculum. The net result is a seamless communication of ideas across disciplines, making complex ideas much easier to understand and creating a knowledge base that will serve your career for years to come.
Graduated from MSCF Dec 2017
Background: Finance and CS undergrad from a non top tier US school. I worked for 2 years at a small Asset Management Firm (1.5 Billion AUM) as a developer/FI trader/Research. Since it was a small firm, I had a diverse set of responsibilities.
Goals: I decided to go to the program(and leave my well-paid job in a front office position) to broaden the scope of my knowledge of the quant side of the industry and to increase my statistics & probability knowledge.
Overall, I am very pleased with my experience with the MSCF program. The knowledge I gained from my the program has given me a strong, reputable foundation from which to begin my career. It also helped me get an internship and eventually a full-time offer to a top tier bulge bracket bank on a trading desk coding/researching all day. In the end, I decided I wanted to be back on the buy side and accepted a research position.
Curriculum: The most important feature is the fact that the program is always evolving to fit the needs of the industry. Even though Quant Finance is a niche field it covers a broad array of topics, the MSCF program does an amazing job of developing and tying together every body of knowledge(CS, Finance, Statistics, Math) especially Statistics.
The professors are world class and make complex topics easy to digest. Professor Max G'Sell, Chad Schafer, Javier Pena, and Bill Hrusa were particularly outstanding.
The administration was helpful from the first day to the last and is focused on helping the students achieve their goals.
The friendships that were made during the long hours spent studying will be lifelong.
I graduated from MSCF Dec 2017. I came from an economics background and wanted to switch to quant finance. I came, studied, graduated, and got hired in New York. Best decision ever!
Career: The MSCF brand and network goes a long way. It is very feasible to get interviews with the top firms. The career services are extremely helpful and really help with guidance. However, once you have your foot in the door, it is all up to you. You have to work very hard to pass all interview rounds. The program gives you all the opportunities to succeed but you have to hustle, network, be prepared, and have some luck.
Curriculum: I came to this program because of the curriculum. They are always adapting to the employers' needs and very receptive to feedback from students. Machine learning and data science courses have been added to meet the demand. The faculty is amazing! Having access to the different CMU departments gives MSCF the best professors. Courses are intense and short. You get a good overview of the field, know what is important and practical. If you need to apply something or solve a problem later at work you will know where to dig deeper.
As it has been mentioned, the quality of students is amazing. If you want to be around the best this is the place. A couple of students will find the program not too bad, easy and will get As everywhere. However, even at this level there is a distribution, I can tell you that the majority of us found this to be a very intense and difficult program. What makes it insane is the simultaneous recruiting you have to be doing at the same time as the coursework.
MSCF is a top quant fin program perfect for students from non-target schools to start a career in high finance. A factory or rather a refinery of brain machines, the program admits and graduates an intelligent, selective, and diverse pool of students each year. The student body has become more diverse and better year over year, which is great. The program places a huge emphasis on the trading side of the business and data analytics. If you fancy jobs in banking side of the business, forget about it. 16 months of intense studying could be tedious and it is inevitable that you will gain a few pounds. However, the degree could lead to some highly coveted jobs in the industry around the world. The average compensation of jobs that graduates get is commensurate with the cost of the program with extras.
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.