Quant Guide 2021: University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, US



When the University of Minnesota’s Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) programme made its debut in last year’s Risk.net Quant Guide, co-director Laurie Derechin made much of the utility offered by its popular evening classes, for students and faculty alike. Plenty in both groups, Derechin explained, had day jobs, and appreciated the opportunity to study after clocking off.

For 2020, the night courses have gained a new appeal: some students on the two-year programme haven’t been able to reach the US because of coronavirus restrictions, with many taking classes from their homes in China. That works well from a timing perspective, Derechin tells Risk.net, given that China is a full 14 hours ahead of Minneapolis. It’s less ideal for one Indian student, she notes, who currently has to wake up rather early.

At the time of writing, the programme projects the recommencement of campus-based courses when the spring semester begins on January 18, 2021.

Since the last Quant Guide, the programme has also seen a rise in average incomes for graduates: last year, it reported salaries of $50,000–70,000. This year, the mean base salary has risen to $76,480.

The MFM, which Derechin leads alongside co-director and mathematics professor Rina Ashkenazi, is straightforward in structure. There are four course sequences across the whole degree, with two sections each – mathematical theory applied in finance I and II, for example.

Besides traditional classes, students also tackle ‘practicum sequences’, which comprise a series of mini-courses led by instructors from the financial industry. Other topics include: quantitative risk management, where students learn applied probability and statistics for financial risk; a topic exploring Bayesian statistical models, Monte Carlo methods and copula models; and volatility data analysis, where students conduct a data analysis project focused on equity volatility and explore industry white papers.

View this institution’s entry in the 2020 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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