Quant Guide 2021: Baruch College, City University of New York

New York City, US

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Baruch College’s Master of Science in Financial Engineering (MFE) is one of a number of perennially high-scoring programmes in the Risk.net Quant Guide. In both the 2019 and 2020 guides, the MFE achieved third place. This year, it rises to second, helped along by perfect employment scores for its graduates, and an intimidatingly low chance of acceptance for those applying.

When the MFE’s academic director, mathematics professor Dan Stefanica, spoke with Risk.net in August, he expressed concerns about the pandemic’s impact on the intake size for the programme. The latest class contains 26 full-time students, however – comfortably within the programme’s preferred 20–50 student range, and the same number as last year’s cohort. Applications did fall, but only slightly, from 506 to 490.

The right quantity of candidates has been reached despite the “tremendous difficulties” international students experienced getting visas, Stefanica says, praising the “resourcefulness” of the students who were able to make it into the country. Classes are currently delivered in a hybrid format, with both in-person and virtual teaching available.

Stefanica adds that some planned course content has been delayed as a result of the virus: a proposed module on artificial intelligence in finance, he points out, has been put on hold.

“We decided to postpone it for one year so as not to put an additional burden on a new instructor,” he says. That new member of staff is Yanghui Liu, who has joined the faculty of mathematics as an assistant professor, coming from Tufts University.

The rest of the course has gone ahead as normal, and Stefanica says that the online teaching – while undesirable long-term – has been received well by staff and students alike. Everybody misses in-person interaction, he says, but many are glad to save time and money on commuting.

The MFE’s graduate prospects remain encouraging, Stefanica says, adding that all of the programme’s partner firms are hiring as normal, despite some short delays, and that the course is on target to place all of its soon-to-be graduates before they qualify in December.

View this institution’s entry in the 2020 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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