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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

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  1. Zihan Zhou
    Zihan Zhou
    5/5,
    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.
  2. lychee_woo
    lychee_woo
    5/5,
    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.
  3. ShuyangDu
    ShuyangDu
    5/5,
    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).
  4. Calvin Zhu
    Calvin Zhu
    5/5,
    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.
  5. JohnPaul Kotyla
    JohnPaul Kotyla
    5/5,
    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.
  6. Claudia P
    Claudia P
    5/5,
    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.
  7. Nanda Kishore
    Nanda Kishore
    5/5,
    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.

    -Nanda
  8. Akram Ayyash
    Akram Ayyash
    5/5,
    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!
  9. Saiprasad Munagala
    Saiprasad Munagala
    5/5,
    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.
  10. Nicholas Palko
    Nicholas Palko
    5/5,
    As an alum, I don't think I could have asked for more out of a quant finance program. The mathematics, statistics, and simulation courses truly stand out as some of the best I have ever attended.
  11. eric_chen
    eric_chen
    5/5,
    I studied in MSCF from 2009 to 2010 in Pittsburgh. This is definitely most rewarding experience for me professionally.

    I joined the program right after undergrad in China, was targeting sales & trading positions upon graduation. The MSCF program helped me achieve that goal step by step. I would point out 3 highlights of the program.

    Practical and rigorous courses. Design of the course and delivery of the material by the faculty members are second to none. It incorporates both necessary theoretical foundation and practical elements, which I value highly. Not everything you learn in class will be used in work, however, it definitely build up the framework and foundation for you to understand and learn something new if needed.

    Supportive and experienced career services. Tepper career centre staff usually have first hand experience in banks or funds in front office functions, so they are providing perspectives from "the other side". Jackies has been extremely helpful enhancing my resume/cover letters and interview skills. The information session/career talks organized are very useful as well.

    Fun networks. Tepper people are interesting and love to interact. MSCF and MBA students mingles together, which provided very fun 18 months for me. And many of us stay in touch after graduation, which is extremely valuable network for me, both professionally and personally.
  12. Carlo
    Carlo
    5/5,
    I attended CMU’s MSCF program from August 2011-December 2012 full time. I joined immediately after graduating from Undergrad, where I studied Economics, Math, and Operations Research. Upon graduating this December, I was able to join the research team in risk of a BB bank. In a nutshell, I would describe this program as the most challenging and most rewarding academic endeavor of my life to this point, and would recommend it to anyone with a passion for learning more about the computational side of finance.
    The program covers a wide array of topics, and the key word here is wide. You will not be an expert in a specific product type by the time you leave this program; neither will you be a financial mathematics wizard, nor a star algorithmic trading developer. However, and most importantly, you will have been exposed to (and will most likely have a good understanding of) virtually every facet of the quantitative finance field. If you attend MSCF, you will study all the important models that lay the groundwork for pricing frameworks in banks everywhere. You will earn a great amount of practical experience, whether working with data statistically or calibrating models. You will use C++, R, Matlab, and several other programs/languages, to accomplish these tasks. You will meet key people in the industry, either through the program's extensive networking events, or through the weekly speaker series. On a daily basis you will interact with some brilliant classmates and professors - and you will find that your classmates are a valuable resource in surviving this program and learning as much as you can. Lastly, you *will* work hard. This program requires a large time commitment and dedication, and exhibits little tolerance for slacking or laziness. Homeworks are long, exams are tough, and professors are demanding. But in the end, you will get a great job, learn a ton, and I guarantee you will not regret your decision to join the program.
  13. Sudhanshu Ladha
    Sudhanshu Ladha
    5/5,
    I graduated from the MSCF program in December 2011. The time I spent at CMU in Pittsburgh was definitely the most satisfying in my academic life.

    The MSCF program is rigorous, practical and provides you with an extremely solid foundation for any job related to financial engineering, trading or quantitative analysis. The subjects taught are extensive and cover the complete gamut of quantitative finance - from stochastic calculus to options trading and from statistical analysis to programming - and all of that from some of the best teachers in the world.

    The professors and staff are extremely motivated and stretch the extra mile to help. I also made some really good friends while we all worked hard together - memories I will cherish throughout my life.

    The MSCF program also helped me get exactly the job that I was aiming for and I don't think I could have been better prepared by any other course. There is no doubt in my mind about the 5 stars that I'm giving the program.
  14. Ramza
    Ramza
    5/5,
    I graduated from MSCF in 2010, attending the program is one of best decision I ever made. MSCF has very practical course compare to other well-known programs, based in Business School it provide a great career service support, above all I've made a lot of great friends.

    And yes workload is tough, but hey so the finance industry. I can assure you that if you spend some efforts there is nothing to be worry (there is a lot of help out there, your smart friends, TA, and Professor). One good thing about having 2 campus is that it help when it's come to job searching/interview, I was in Pittsburgh campus but from time to time when I had interview in NYC I attended class there. Professors understand it and they are very flexible about this (there is one time I had to take the final exam later because my interview got late).

    Overall MSCF is a great program, it got me my dream job that I don't think I'll get otherwise, well deserved my 5-star.
  15. Matt Jones
    Matt Jones
    5/5,
    I was a student at CMU in the satellite NYC campus from 2006-2007. I chose CMU over NYU and Chicago because of the reputation of the professors and the multi-disciplinarian approach. I was not disappointed.

    The coursework was rigorous but the career opportunities were plentiful. In the process I built a foundation in math, statistics, and computer science that had been crucial for my career.

    After graduation, CMU placed me at a large bank where I have been a credit trader for the past 5 years. The network is strong, the people are smart, and the opportunities are there for those who are willing to make the effort.
  16. Guest
    Guest
    4/5,
    Great reputation among employers

    What is unique about the program
    The curriculum is well structured and there are plenty of employment opportunities.

    Worst things about the program
    The workload is a bit excessive especially while students are stressed out to find internship/full-time jobs.

    Career services
    Good career services. Both investment banks and top-tier prop firms come to campus for recruitment.

    Student body
    Half are Chinese and Indians. Have very diverse background. Some of them are really smart. Great networks to be built from this program as students are from all around the world.
  17. anonymous
    anonymous
    4/5,
    Can you tell us a bit about your background?
    Prior Academic work: Economics & Math
    2+ years in Financial Services: Technical Programming & Data Analysis
    I studied full-time in the program from 8/2008-12/2009

    Did you get admitted to other programs?
    No

    Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
    Reputation and Course Work Listed

    Tell us about the application process at this program
    2 Essays, GRE score report & transcripts w/ 1 Phone interview. I hear though they now do video chat.

    Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? What do they offer and how much it costs?
    They offer a Math Prep Course that was about $250 for admitted students. It was mainly calculus-based probability, so not entirely useful given my background and it was eventually covered again in future coursework.

    Courses selection
    Initial Coursework can be consider Foundation courses where they cover the math, stat, and Comp Sci theories over applications with emphasis to Finance.

    Later coursework got into detail to specific use to finance. The later more specific coursework was more interesting and enjoyable
    Foundation Courses: Stochastic Calculus I-II, Probability & Stat Inference, Regression Analysis & Time Series Analysis, Financial Computing I-III, Basic Finance (Corp Finance & Economics)
    Applied Courses: Multi Period Asset Pricing,Financial Computing IV, Stat Arbitrage, Monte-Carlo Simulation, Quant Asset Mgmt, Studies in FE, Credit Derivatives.

    Again the applied course where the more fun and built upon the knowledge gained from the foundation coursework.
    Sadly there was little flexibility in the program. You had the option to opt out of foundation courses with the instructors permission. Otherwise, you do the listed course sequence. It wasn't until the last session did they allow the students to choose 4 out 5 available classes.

    Quality of teaching
    Mostly the teachers came from Academic backgrounds. Though a few had industrial experience via directly working in the Investment Banking sector or indirectly by doing projects with Industry.
    The program is supported mainly via each academic department, so TA are available to help from the Math, Stat, CS & Finance/Econ Departments. They held TA sessions & office hours and responded to e-mails.
    Most professors have a few years experience teaching their specific courses, so are well versed on the subject matter.

    Materials used in the program
    For the Math classes the main book was Stochastic Calculus I&II (Shreve). With the applied courses having their own course notes/internal textbooks.
    All of the Stat Courses mainly used their own internal course notes/reading materials. Optional readings from Probability and Statistics(Degroot), Glasserman's Monte Carlo Methods, Weisberg's Applied Linear Regression, Intro to Time Series and Forecasting (Brockwell&Davis)
    CS Classes mainly focused on course notes with a number of reference materials.

    Programming component of the program
    Financial Computing used C++, mainly to teach OOP. R/S+ was used in the stat/simulation courses, Matlab was also used in Simulation and applied course work. A small amount of VBA Excel & SQL was taught. Programing is over 25% of the program.

    Projects
    Group Projects were assigned in the applied coursework.
    The Studies of FE course is case-study style project.
    Other classes such as Stat Arb & Quant Asset Mgmt had group projects that applied the course content requiring technical programing and financial analysis.

    Career service
    Career services is helpful and its quite strong for a Quant Finance program. Each student has a dedicated member of the Career Services center help with their cover letters, resume & mock interviews for internships and Full-time offers.
    The career services is part of the Tepper Business School, so they are working to place both MBA & MSCF, using network contacts to bring recruiters on-campus. However, the unique nature of the MSCF can be challenge to a few in the Career Service Center.
    In conjunction, the MSCF program director works to place students by sending MSCF only resume books targeted at firms with quant hiring needs.

    What do you like about the program?
    I liked the design of the program. First they set the table with the foundation coursework. Then, they give the students an understanding of the applications using the foundation knowledge.
    The professors have vested a lot of time into the program and take pride in it. They are more than helpful to the students in terms of academic and professional advice.

    What DON’T you like about the program?
    I'd hope they could trim the amount of foundation coursework in favor of more applied coursework. This would be asking a lot since everyone's background is different, and they do their best to get every on the same solid ground before doing applied work.

    Suggestions for the program to make it better
    Add more flexibility to the program. If you opt out of a course, then you just have free time. It might be interesting to allow students to do independent self-study or group study on the topic (depending on how many students opt out). This might allow stronger professor-student relationships. As well, get to applied coursework faster. Might also be a feather in the cap for students for their resumes.
    Also, for the refresher courses. Maybe add classes on MatLab and R/S+.

    What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
    Took a job offer in Quant Asset Mgmt
  18. Feng
    Feng
    4/5,
    Can you tell us a bit about your background?
    I obtained dual degrees in Computer Science and Economics from my college in China. I did not have any full-time experience prior to coming to MSCF.
    I studied full-time in the program from 8/2008-12/2009

    Did you get admitted to other programs?
    I also got admissions to Cornell MFE, U Chicago MSFM, U Mich MFE, and WUSTL MSF.

    Why did you choose this program (over others, if applicable)?
    First, from the information I collected at the time, MSCF has the best reputation, placement record, and career service among all the programs that I got admission to. Second, MSCF is an 1.5 year program, which allows the time for a summer internship that I think is important for a student as me that had no prior working experience. Third, MSCF has a very well organized curriculum and all courses are specially tailored for the program, contrasting to many other programs that are composed of a set of selective courses shared by students from other majors. Fourth, MSCF is known for programming intensive comparing to other programs, which I think better matches my Computer Science background.

    Tell us about the application process at this program
    The application process is easy and smooth. I just submitted my application online, and mailed out the recommendation letters and transcripts. I have applied to the first round, and the decision arrives at the end of January. One little difference to other program is that MSCF asks for 2 essays dedicated to career plan and background respectively.

    Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? How useful was it?
    MSCF offers a math preparatory course in summer before the fall semester starts. The prep course reviews mainly the calculus and probability theories that are relevant to later courses. I think it is useful especially for those who has been out of school for several years. Though I came directly from my undergraduate school to MSCF, I still find it helpful for me to remember what I have learned in my fresh year in college.

    Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
    There are mainly four modules of courses, namely Mathematics, Programming, Statistics, and Finance. Personally, there are a few courses that I like most:
    Stochastic Calculus I, II & III, Monte-Carlo Simulation, Numerical Methods. I think these are the core courses for FE, and will be extremely useful in future works. They are also very interesting.
    I also like the course Studies in FE, which asks students to team up and work on two case projects that are simplified real world structuring problems.

    Tell us about the quality of teaching
    I would like to say almost all the professors are truly excellent. They are passionate, knowledgeable, and good at teaching. TA's are also very helpful. There are TA session every week for most courses, during which TA's explains some details that professors do not have time to cover in lectues, and are ready to answer your questions.
    Each week, MSCF will invite some practitioners to the MSCF Speaker Series to give a speech on recent trends and real practices in the industry.

    Materials used in the program
    Stochastic Calculus, Steven E. Shreve
    Fixed Income Securities, Bruce Tuckman
    Monte Carlo Methods in Financial Engineering, Paul Glasserman
    Credit Risk: Pricing, Measurement and Management, D. Duffie and K. Singleton

    Programming component of the program
    There are four courses namely Financial Computing I, II, III, IV for C++. VBA is also cover in Financial Computing III. Matlab is also used extensively in various course like Simulation, Credit Derivatives, Numerical Methods, etc. S-plus or R is used in statistics courses.

    Projects
    In the course Studies in FE, we have done two teamwork projects solving simplified real world structuring cases. For example, my team has done a structuring problem hedging a floating rate redeemable GNMA mortgage security with prepayment risk.
    There are also more homework like projects in many courses like Monte Carlo Simulation, Statistical Arbitrage, Quantitative Asset Management, Stochastic Calculus III, Financial Computing IV, etc.

    Career service
    MSCF shares with MBA students the career service website for Tepper School of Business (And other CMU students do not have access to this website). MSCF students also have access to the career service website of CMU. Both websites are very helpful, and most students can get at least several on-campus interviews from these sources. Most major banks come to campus recruit through these websites.

    MSCF also sends out resume books to a long list of firms, and these firm do give a lot of interviews in response to the resume book. These firms include many big names like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Nomura Securities, GETCO, etc.

    The career service consultants are very helpful in providing advice on resume and cover letter writing, job hunting and interview preparation, mock interviews, etc. Many consultants are CMU alumni that has many years experience in the industry. e.g. Sondi has worked at Goldman for 12 years, and Jack at Barclays for 8 years.

    Can you comment on the social interaction between students of different ethnics, nationalities in the program?
    It is true that to some extent, students tend to work more closely with those coming from the same country. This is more obvious for American, Chinese, Indian, and Korean students, because each of these forms a large portion of student population in class. For students coming from other countries like Columbia, Argentina, Japan, etc, they usually interact more with other students because there are only one or two from their own country.

    Having said so, if you want, you still have plenty of opportunities to reach out to students from other ethnic groups. Personally, I am Chinese, and I have cooperated with Indian and American students in several course projects, and I believe we all have learned a lot from each other.

    What do you like about the program?
    There are several things I like a lot. First, the curriculum is very well organized and courses are specially designed for the MSCF program, which form the basis of an excellent learning experience. Second, we have many famous professors teaching in the program including Steven Shreve, John Lehoczky, Duann Seppi, etc, and most professors are excellent in teaching. Third, staff at career services work really hard, and MSCF students do have a lot of on-campus interview opportunities with those big name firms. Last but not the least, the group of students in the program are extremely smart and hard working, and it is a great experience to spend the one and half year time with them.

    What DON’T you like about the program?
    Basically, I love the program, and don't have much to complain.

    Suggestions for the program to make it better
    I would provide some kind of flexibility to the program to fit the special needs for students coming from different backgrounds. For example, I would allow students with IT backgrounds to drop some of the basic programming courses, and insert more economic courses into their curriculum. On the other hand, students with business backgrounds should have more courses in basic programming to help them get through the remaining courses.

    What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
    I have got two offers from two major banks in NYC. One is an analyst position in the quantitative trading and analysis rotational program. The other is a second year analyst position in the IBD strategy group.

    Other comments
    It requires hard work to survive the program, but you will get rewarded handsomely if you can survive.