Quant Guide 2022: University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, US



The University of Minnesota’s Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) is co-led by academic director Rina Ashkenazi – professor of mathematics – and executive director Laurie Derechin. The programme is a popular destination for part-time students, who outnumber full-time students for the latest intake.

This year, Derechin says, the MFM has increased its focus on programming languages including Python and SQL, and a new course, dedicated to data science and machine learning, has been incorporated.

Two new instructors – Jing Wang, a portfolio manager at Minneapolis-based Thrivent, and Hartmut Durchschlag, a quantitative researcher at Cargill – have joined the programme. Both Wang and Durchschlag earned their PhDs at the University of Minnesota. 

Derechin says that the course encountered some challenges during the last year, as teaching was taken online. Students were accustomed to some remote elements, she notes, with staff already providing one hour of teaching per week in a virtual format for flexibility purposes. In-person tuition is, unsurprisingly, far more popular, however. 

“It was definitely more difficult to keep people engaged,” she says of the MFM’s stint as a remote-only programme. “Students are much happier back in the classroom.”

Employment outcomes, Derechin says, have been strong despite the pandemic, with graduates receiving more offers than usual for remote positions. 

“For those students with whom we are in contact, we’ve seen a better employment rate than in past years,” she says. “Our market here in the US for quant finance and data science is very hot. We continue to get requests from employers about openings for MFM students and recent graduates, so the pandemic has not slowed that element down at all.” 

View this institution’s entry in the 2021 guide

View other universities and a guide to the metrics tables

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