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Risk.net’s inaugural guide to the world’s leading quantitative finance master’s programmes is the first comprehensive work of its kind. It is aimed at students who want to become the quants of the future – as well as those who create the jobs they’ll end up doing.
The project also seeks to capture the changing nature of the quantitative finance industry, and the evolving skill set required to join it. On the sell side, the profession has fragmented almost beyond recognition, testing the definition of ‘quant’ for most banks; others now see the buy side as the place to be.
Our survey highlights common trends in the introduction of new courses, consistent with changing market requirements. But it also seeks to highlight how programmes develop their own distinctive features. As well as reporting metrics on students, their lecturers, and employability, we interviewed programme directors and alumni to provide the reader with comments and opinions that statistics alone could not communicate.
Collecting data has been facilitated by the helpfulness of faculty administrators and programme directors, for which we are grateful. In some cases, certain figures were not available, or those contacted – notably the London School of Economics, King's College London and the National University of Singapore – were unwilling or unable to provide metrics.
We initially sought to consider metrics on graduates’ salaries before and after completing a master’s, but ultimately decided not to due to the difficulty in verifying statistics and achieving a meaningful comparison between different countries and markets – and because some countries’ privacy laws impede their collection outright.
The guide is not intended to be read as a ranking of the various programmes on offer; Risk.net bears no responsibility for exceptions, oversights or omissions. The guide should not be relied on for advice – but at the very least, we hope it proves helpful to would-be master’s students, their teachers, and their future employers.
Research and reports: Sebastian Day and Alina Haritonova
Baruch College, City University of New York
University of California, Berkeley
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Chicago
Columbia School of Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
NYU Courant Institute
NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Stony Brook University
University of Washington
University of Toronto
University of Waterloo
City, University of London
Imperial College London
Imperial College Business School
King’s College London
University of Oxford
University of Warwick
University of York
University of Bologna
University of Florence
University of Turin
Paris Diderot University
Pierre and Marie Curie University
University of Amsterdam
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ETH Zurich/University of Zurich
WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business)
University of Leuven
University of Copenhagen
Technical University of Munich
This guide is the third part of a series on the future of quantitative finance, part of Risk’s 30th anniversary coverage. The first part, an opinion piece from UBS’s Gordon Lee, is available here. The second part, a feature on the changing role of the quant, is available here.