Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Electronics engineer from a premier institute in India. Plenty of experience as a trader in financial markets.
Current student at Columbia MSFE program(03/13/2017)
Did you get admitted to other programs?
Yes. Columbia was the top on my list though. Had offers from GaTech and a few others.
Tell us about the application process at this program
Smooth interview process. Focuses more on the GRE Quant score compared to other programs.
Does this program offer refresher courses for incoming students? How useful was it?
There was a 15 day refresher course, but it was quite basic really. Not sure what would have helped though, because in my case I was coming back to academics after a large break. Professional Development course to cover basic resume writing/Linkedin profile etc. which every other program has as well.
Tell us about the courses selection in this program. Any special courses you like?
ML, Optimization, Stochastic Calculus, Data Analysis - standard courses. There are a few good buy side courses as well, where you get a little hands on experience with some good projects - Asset Allocation and Algo Trading.
Tell us about the quality of teaching
Some professors here are quite brilliant I think. Some are alright when it comes to teaching. As said before - all do good work.
Materials used in the program
Presentations, recorded videos, class notes, some reference books.
Programming component of the program
Matlab/Python/C++ - Mostly you can choose any programming language to do your assignments and projects. Programming I thought was the easiest skill to pick up here.
I have taken some good projects in Asset Allocation and algorithmic trading classes so far. Plan to do a few more in machine learning.
Got a few calls from the resume book - even without applying for the positions, but I think it depends on the past experience you have as well. There are plenty of networking events, plus you will be in New York. You will definitely get interviews from top firms if you are here, but to convert them will be up to you.
Can you comment on the social interaction between students of different ethnics, nationalities in the program?
I think this could be better.
What do you like about the program?
Standard courses which cover all the basics needed in Quantitative finance. Enough flexibility to choose from whatever add on skill you want to acquire.
What DON’T you like about the program?
Not enough focus on the buy side. Also, I wish I knew how important statistics were before coming here. Some earlier interviews would have gone much more smoothly.
Suggestions for the program to make it better
Better refresher course. Add a few really good programming courses as well.
What are your current job status? What are you looking for?
Will be doing my internship at a buy side firm in the summer. Looking for full time opportunities later on.