Quant Guide 2022: Columbia University

New York City, US

Photo of Columbia University
Photo: Eileen Barroso/Columbia University
 

 

Like many of its US peers, Columbia’s Master of Arts in Mathematics of Finance programme has felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the last academic year. Student numbers have fallen from 107 full-time participants in last year’s guide to 53 this year.

Considering the vast majority of students on the programme are foreign nationals, it’s no surprise that the pandemic, with its restrictions on international travel, should have had such an effect.

The fall in numbers has meant that average class sizes have dropped from 70 to 46 students.

While the programme has shrunk in size, applications have gone up, from 1,250 in the previous academic year to 1,353 this year. But the administrators have become more selective, only making 255 offers this year – a fall on last year’s 323.

Changes have also occurred among faculty, with the number of teaching staff declining from 95 to just 18.

In contrast to approximately 80% of teaching being conducted remotely last year, programme head Lars Tyge Nielsen says this year’s teaching will be 100% in person – except for an initial month of hybrid learning for students who arrive late. The department has confirmed that vaccination will be a requirement for all in-person teaching.

Modules include programming for quantitative and computational finance, focusing on C++ and Python, with other courses using Matlab, R and Excel-VBA. Some of the more popular elective courses are: ‘modelling and trading derivatives’, taught by Amal Moussa; ‘fixed income portfolio management’, taught by Rosanna Pezzo-Brizio; and ‘hedge fund strategies and risk’, taught by Eric Yeh.

Salaries post-graduation have experienced a decrease, from $102,335 to $99,794. A greater number of students who graduated in February 2021 “decided to look for employment outside of the US, mostly in the Asia-Pacific area”, Tyge Nielsen notes, or applied directly to schemes in their home countries because of travel limitations imposed by the pandemic.

At Columbia, students have access to a career development specialist, who provides one-to-one counselling sessions to work on cover letters, mock interviews and networking skills, as well as additional group workshops, networking events and a mentorship programme.

View this institution’s entry in the 2021 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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