Quant Guide 2020: Boston University (Questrom School of Business)

Boston, Massachusetts, US

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Boston University’s Master of Science in Mathematical Finance, delivered at the Questrom School of Business, runs for three semesters over 17 months. An optional fourth semester, which was introduced last year, is also available. Students who complete the fourth semester receive a graduate certificate in financial technology in addition to the master’s degree. The programme’s executive director is finance lecturer Anton Theunissen.

The courses on computational methods have been revamped and are increasingly devoted to topics like modern methods of statistical learning, neural networks and natural language processing. For the extra semester, students must select at least four modules from a list including programming, algorithmic trading, big data analytics, cloud computing, digital currencies and distributed ledgers.

Theunissen says the programme has recently welcomed a number of guest lecturers from the industry as well as new visiting staff. The master’s programme also expanded its tenured staff in 2018: Steven Kou joined from the National University of Singapore and Hao Xing joined from the London School of Economics.

Like most programmes, Boston uses industry practitioners to help plan future course content. Theunissen says discussions with finance professionals are important for anticipating demand for interdisciplinary skills – for example, a combined knowledge of data science and asset pricing. Faculty recruitment, he adds, is guided by similar advice and forecasts from practitioners.

Graduates of the programme continue to find employment in more traditional finance roles, but increasing numbers are taking jobs in data analysis fields – “in the financial services sector and beyond”, Theunissen says. He cites one recent graduate who now works as a data scientist at Google as a sign of the competition finance faces in keeping and retaining quant grads.

View this institution’s entry in the 2019 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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