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Old 03-17-2008, 09:32 PM   #1
mirramax
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Default Quantitative Finance

as some of you might know, QF is a pretty hot field now and both SMU and NUS offer this course.

NUS offers it under FOS and admission is provisional after the 1st year. At smu u can choose to major in QF as long as u get a A- for Stats101.

I was wondering if any of you know how they measure up against each other? Im very much for SMU but im worried their course will not be as rigorous as the NUS one and thus might not prepare us sufficiently for the job of a Quant.

any opinions by those studying QF at smu?
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by mirramax View Post
as some of you might know, QF is a pretty hot field now and both SMU and NUS offer this course.

NUS offers it under FOS and admission is provisional after the 1st year. At smu u can choose to major in QF as long as u get a A- for Stats101.

I was wondering if any of you know how they measure up against each other? Im very much for SMU but im worried their course will not be as rigorous as the NUS one and thus might not prepare us sufficiently for the job of a Quant.

any opinions by those studying QF at smu?
The QF is just a joke, seriously. Most of the people working in proper quantative finance requires a PhD. You only start to learn about GARCH and others in your third -fourth year of university.

For NUS, the QF is under the maths school, so it may be quite good.

For SMU, you cannot get into any good quant masters programs (i.e., quant farms), because the maths there is a joke.

You should google "quant farm" and check out the entrance requirements of the quant masters programs. usual requirement is traditional basis in Maths/Stats/Physics and very good with C++ MATLAB and other programming languages. SMU gives you none of this.

Those people who entered SMU made the most horrible decision in their lives.
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Old 03-13-2009, 09:24 PM   #3
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thanks for replying to my question. i think it has been there for the longest time without anyone else replying.

i understand where you're coming from about the rigor of the QF program at SMU. i have done my own research as well. engaging current students and sussing out details of their employment post SMU and it does not seem that dire. a few of them managed to secure MFE places at Columbia and CMU (out of a small group of about 20) but they did mention that they did some learning outside of the syllabus.

EDIT: with respect to the QF portion, i do intend to do my exchange at Carnegie Mellon and take hard science modules there to strengthen my application to a MFE program later on.

personally, i'm curious as to why you said people who chose SMU made the worst decision of their lives? from a local perspective, quite a few top students from the A levels choose SMU. (they have low cutoffs but the stats don't reveal the proportion of straight A students who choose it) and their star graduates do earn more than the star grads of NUS & NTU(up to 2007 at least)

i have chosen to go to SMU as i have been offer their top tier scholarship. even without that, from a business perspective i believe SMU to be superior to NTU and NUS's program because of the training and opportunities. Ideally, i would do my bachelor's at an Ivy but my family can't afford that and being bonded just defeats the purpose of getting that brand name degree.

Last edited by mirramax; 03-13-2009 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mirramax View Post
thanks for replying to my question. i think it has been there for the longest time without anyone else replying.

i understand where you're coming from about the rigor of the QF program at SMU. i have done my own research as well. engaging current students and sussing out details of their employment post SMU and it does not seem that dire. a few of them managed to secure MFE places at Columbia and CMU (out of a small group of about 20) but they did mention that they did some learning outside of the syllabus.

EDIT: with respect to the QF portion, i do intend to do my exchange at Carnegie Mellon and take hard science modules there to strengthen my application to a MFE program later on.

personally, i'm curious as to why you said people who chose SMU made the worst decision of their lives? from a local perspective, quite a few top students from the A levels choose SMU. (they have low cutoffs but the stats don't reveal the proportion of straight A students who choose it) and their star graduates do earn more than the star grads of NUS & NTU(up to 2007 at least)

i have chosen to go to SMU as i have been offer their top tier scholarship. even without that, from a business perspective i believe SMU to be superior to NTU and NUS's program because of the training and opportunities. Ideally, i would do my bachelor's at an Ivy but my family can't afford that and being bonded just defeats the purpose of getting that brand name degree.
Are you currently a first yr at SMU?

1. You really trust what SMU says? They are some of the best "statisticians" in the world, better than the U.S. government and even better than our own dear Labour government.

2. For many of those "star" A-levelers who entered SMU, their degree choice (and future) are effectively a leveraged bet on the financial industry. Now that the bubble has popped, the chickens are coming home to roost.

3. Seems like herd mentality to me. The four most expensive words in the English lanuage are This time it s different. Whenever people say it is a New Paradigm!!, be very careful.

To be honest, there is a lot of similarities between this bubble and the dot com. There are absolutely zero reasons why, after adjusting for education, gender and age, people in finance earn more than those in other industries. For the volume effect (i.e., the work can be copied many times over), the software industry have it. If moving expensive stuff (i.e., paper money) means people in finance will earn more, then why not become gold miners, oil producers and jewellery dealers? The only reason is that the area is new. When there is a new area, there will be a profitable margin, before competition start coming into to push the margin down.

Thinking about when Windows 95 and 98 came out, and how badly you needed it. The Black Scholes Merton formula, the CDO paper by David Li and the improvement in technology for clearing have fueled the finance boom.

There are actually loads of people out on the street with MBAs and no jobs. MBA itself is another big bubble.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:35 AM   #5
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no i am currently yr 0. i will begin school in august this year.

1. most of their top earners came from investment banking with a starting pay of more than 8k but there were also those who got into Management Consulting that received similar starting pay or became management associates at banks(4k and above starting pay). so finance is not the only option. i also have a 2nd degree in accountancy which will be my safety net. if all else fails, i'll look to join the big 4 as an accountant.

2. i too see the parallels between this bust and the dot com bust and yes "this time is different" is indeed a costly notion. i do not subscribe to this idea of course and have hedged with my accountancy degree. also, even after the dot com bust, software engineers were still in demand although they were never payed ludicrous salaries or became millionaires with stock options ala Google.

3. i am also wary of the MBA. for my masters i'm actually eying a MFE because of the lower supply buy i'm keeping an open mind too. 4 yrs is a long time. the MFE pool might have become very large by then and i'll have to source for something else.

4. my key concern is actually the flood of talent in the industry from the retrenched wallstreeters. and with the new "advised" caps on executive pay across ALL financial firms in the US, i'm concerned many of them will leave for Asia too.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mirramax View Post
no i am currently yr 0. i will begin school in august this year.

1. most of their top earners came from investment banking with a starting pay of more than 8k but there were also those who got into Management Consulting that received similar starting pay or became management associates at banks(4k and above starting pay). so finance is not the only option. i also have a 2nd degree in accountancy which will be my safety net. if all else fails, i'll look to join the big 4 as an accountant.

2. i too see the parallels between this bust and the dot com bust and yes "this time is different" is indeed a costly notion. i do not subscribe to this idea of course and have hedged with my accountancy degree. also, even after the dot com bust, software engineers were still in demand although they were never payed ludicrous salaries or became millionaires with stock options ala Google.

3. i am also wary of the MBA. for my masters i'm actually eying a MFE because of the lower supply buy i'm keeping an open mind too. 4 yrs is a long time. the MFE pool might have become very large by then and i'll have to source for something else.

4. my key concern is actually the flood of talent in the industry from the retrenched wallstreeters. and with the new "advised" caps on executive pay across ALL financial firms in the US, i'm concerned many of them will leave for Asia too.
According to "When Markets Collide by Mohamed A. El-Erian", the area to go for in finance is structured finance, even though it bears the blunt of the job cuts. Can read that part of the book.

Those "retrenched wallstreeters" will be making cup cakes or driving cabs four years from now. Don't care about them.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:38 PM   #7
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thanks for the advice. i'll add that book to my book list.
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by spencer View Post
The QF is just a joke, seriously. Most of the people working in proper quantative finance requires a PhD. You only start to learn about GARCH and others in your third -fourth year of university.

For NUS, the QF is under the maths school, so it may be quite good.

For SMU, you cannot get into any good quant masters programs (i.e., quant farms), because the maths there is a joke.

You should google "quant farm" and check out the entrance requirements of the quant masters programs. usual requirement is traditional basis in Maths/Stats/Physics and very good with C++ MATLAB and other programming languages. SMU gives you none of this.

Those people who entered SMU made the most horrible decision in their lives.
I don't think its right for you to pass such a sweeping statement. 1stly, u are not even a student of SMU..not even a local I reckon.

Plus, SMU is a recognised uni. You have absolutely NO right in saying that go SMU = horrible decision made in lives UNLESS you are a student in there b4 and regretted gg in.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:06 PM   #9
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toodles i absolutely agree with you although im not smu..
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:40 AM   #10
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i think spencer is just giving his opinion as a recruiter though it might sound a little harsh. the main issue is the employability of an SMU grad overseas.

there's some logic to it as well if you think about it. to an international recruiter who does not know much about SMU, they would think NUS business school is superior. this won't bother you too much if you're looking to work locally though because the consensus among local employers (as far as i can gather) is that biz grads from all 3 unis are about the same in terms of employability. choose the school that you think best fits you.

also, he is also providing some valuable contrary opinion. if you're looking to study biz, you will probably learn the importance of differing perspectives. at the end of the day, you make up your own mind ya. its your future afterall.

Last edited by mirramax; 03-27-2009 at 03:06 AM.
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