Quant Guide 2020: Cornell University

Ithaca and New York City, New York, US

Cornell University

Cornell University’s Master in Engineering with Financial Engineering Concentration was a trailblazer in specialist quant finance degrees; the programme took shape formally at the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering in 1995. Now in its twenty-fifth year, it remains among the best performing, again making the top 10 with its high graduate employment rate and strong average salary of $104,000 – an increase of over $10,000 on the previous year’s figure. That outstrips a rise in tuition fees from $78,900 to $84,825.

The degree structure is the same as last year – the programme still runs for three semesters, and professor of practice Victoria Averbukh remains programme director. Candidates enrol in the autumn and spend their first two semesters studying foundational topics at Cornell’s Ithaca campus in the Finger Lakes district of upstate New York. Following a summer internship, they move south for a final semester at the school’s Manhattan campus. Compulsory modules include classes in stochastic modelling, optimisation modelling, data science and statistical modelling, and financial applications.

After arriving in Manhattan, students are required to complete a financial engineering project. Candidates choose from among a pool of 10 topics, designed to provide experience of tackling real-world problems. Previous years’ projects have included modelling corporate bonds, strategies in oil options and financial text mining in Chinese.

In the past year, Marcos López de Prado has become a professor of practice. He teaches financial machine learning and advises on machine learning-related project work. The programme has also hired another career development counsellor, Averbukh says, bringing its total to two dedicated professional development staff.

View this institution’s entry in the 2019 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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