Quant Guide 2021: University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management)

Los Angeles, US

University of California, Los Angeles


Despite the impact of the coronavirus on every aspect of academic life in 2020, UCLA Anderson’s Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) is in reliably strong shape. The course, led by professor of finance and faculty director Mikhail Chernov, ranks 13th in this year’s Quant Guide, helped along by a strong average graduate salary and employment rate.

Over the past 12 months, average salaries have fallen very slightly – from $97,644 to $97,500 – but the programme’s average employment rate six months after graduation has risen, from 94% to 96%.

The size of the intake has fallen somewhat this year, likely a result of a high number of deferrals – something many programmes have experienced. Last year, the programme reported hosting 81 full-time students: this year, it has 48. The MFE still received a high volume of applications – 724 – and extended 171 offers, 71 of which were accepted.

The 15-month programme concludes with an applied finance project, conducted in partnership with an industry sponsor. Back in August, the MFE said traditional summer internship placements were proving challenging for students to secure. The result was a larger emphasis on the projects, as well as virtual internships with banks such as JP Morgan and Citi. The MFE reports that 100% of the internships that did go ahead ending up being conducted remotely, along with 100% of exams for the autumn quarter.

“We have always recorded courses, and continue to do so for on-demand access,” says the MFE’s interim executive director, Sheila Benko.

Earlier this year, Risk.net reported on UCLA’s plans for an entirely new financial engineering programme – in collaboration with China’s Peking University. Another consequence of the coronavirus, the plans have stalled – but the university has not given up on them entirely.

View this institution’s entry in the 2020 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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