Quant Guide 2021: Princeton University (Bendheim Center for Finance)

Princeton, New Jersey, US

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Photo: © Princeton University, Office of Communications


Princeton University’s Master in Finance has dominated the Risk.net Quant Guide rankings to date, achieving first place in both the 2019, 2020 and 2021 leader boards – a grip it maintains thanks to its excellent research score, high ratio of lecturers to students, and stellar employment prospects for its graduates.

The course, led by professor of engineering and mathematics René Carmona, reports consistently high starting salary and employment figures, which have so far edged out those of the competition.

This year’s cohort is on the smaller side, compared with those in the 2019 and 2020 Risk.net Quant Guides, when they comprised 25 and 26 new students respectively, while this year’s contains 20. The programme saw a higher number of applicants compared with the last edition of the guide, with 597 graduates applying for the latest academic year versus 522 in 2020. The programme also made fewer offers, giving just 33 of those 597 applicants the thumbs up.

Two new modules have been incorporated over the last year, says the Bendheim Center’s Lindsay Bracken, who oversees career development and alumni relations. One is an autumn course devoted to financial technology, exploring the uses of big data in designing digital tokens, smart contracts, credit rating systems and more. Peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrency valuation and micro-credit are also studied, Bracken tells Risk.net.

The second new module focuses on financial crises, and is taught by Bill Dudley, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Students investigate the 2007–09 crisis and the ongoing disruptions caused by the coronavirus, says Bracken, and evaluate the efficacy of policy responses.

Like its peers, the programme has not been immune to Covid disruptions. Classes are being conducted remotely, and Bracken says that precepts – small, seminar-style discussion groups – have had tighter size limits imposed, with the goal of ensuring each student receives individual attention from instructors. One-on-one career coaching sessions, she adds, are favoured over group placement meetings as a way to reduce student screen time.

View this institution’s entry in the 2020 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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