Quant Guide 2021: University of Washington

Seattle, US

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Like many US programmes, students of the MS Computational Finance and Risk Management (CFRM) programme at the University of Washington have felt the impact of Covid-19 this year. However, while some courses have struggled with the switch to remote teaching, Washington had a unique advantage up its sleeve: the programme has an established online option, designed for professionals studying part-time, which long predates Covid-19.

As such, says programme director Tim Leung, the programme was able to adapt “fairly easily” when virtual teaching became the norm.

While candidates found fewer internship placements overall – 75% of students in 2020, compared with usual numbers of 95–100%, Leung says – those that did ranged far and wide over the US, thanks to the internet.

“Internships were based in 11 cities – an increase over 2019,” says Leung, professor of applied mathematics.

“Placements included: a data scientist at Amazon Forecasting; a risk analyst at Western Asset Management; a capital markets intern at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Iowa; and a data support intern at Parametric Portfolio Associates.”

Other students, he adds, took positions at companies such as QuantConnect, AJO Partners, and took part in Google’s yearly ‘Summer of Code’ programme.

Popular courses this year, he tells Risk.net, included a class in machine learning for finance and a class in credit risk management. The programme also incorporated a new advanced computational finance journal club, and a new module on portfolio performance analysis and benchmarking.

Despite being well prepared, the CFRM didn’t escape 2020 totally unscathed. Applications fell relative to last year’s figure of 428, to 332. A greater proportion of successful applicants accepted their offers – 44% this year versus 37% in the previous guide – but fewer students enrolled overall, with 41 in the latest cohort against 54 in the previous intake.

View this institution’s entry in the 2020 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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