With diplomas in hand, 86 percent of the December graduates from Carnegie Mellon’s Computational Finance Program have taken jobs at some of the world’s top investment banks. Having little to no downtime between the classroom desks and the trading desks, the first wave of the Class of 2008 is headed to such firms as - Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs in offices spanning the globe from New York to London to Singapore.
This placement success is par for the course for what many consider to be the top -program of its kind. A degree co-developed and co-taught by four Carnegie Mellon colleges including the Tepper School of Business, the MSCF program is well known in global financial markets for graduates who emerge with exceptionally deep skills in quantitative finance, financial management and computer technology. In 2006 and 2005, 93 percent and 98 percent of the program’s graduates had taken positions within three months of graduating, According to Rick Bryant, executive director of the Computational Finance Program, the demand for individuals with quantitative skills remains high despite the tumult in the credit markets over the last several months.
“The industry is changing,” said Bryant. “Jobs at sell-side banks now require more quantitative expertise. As more desks deal with complex derivative instruments, firms are now seeking graduates with quantitative finance degrees from programs like ours because the skill level and preparedness exceeds what is readily available among the top B-schools.”
Bryant also highlighted a trend in the financial services industry for firms to increasingly hire full-time employees from the ranks of their summer interns who have proven themselves on the job. “Many of our MSCF students receive offers from the companies where they completed their internships,” said Bryant. “Year after year, our graduates are stepping immediately into niche careers in derivatives sales and trading, structured products, risk management and quantitative portfolio management.”
Dimitar Velev (MSCF ’07), who gained experience on three different fixed income and equities desks while interning at Merrill Lynch in New York, will be joining the firm as an associate at the Exotic Latin American Currencies and Rates Trading Desk in the Global Markets department. “All of my rotations during my internship were on very quantitative desks, so I used everything I studied,” said Velev. “Because the MSCF program is small and close-knit, I also learned the value of close collaboration with fellow students. In a stressful field where the stakes are high, you truly realize the importance of the teamwork concepts that the university instills.”
After a summer spent covering a new trading desk that combines FX products and credit derivatives in emerging markets during her internship at Bear Stearns in New York, Rebecca Hu (MSCF ’07) accepted a full-time position with the firm as a Risk Analytics associate. “Analyzing trades across multiple products, from bonds to credit derivatives to multi-currency options, requires understanding the products, knowing how to model the prices and gaining insight into the company’s risk exposure for each trade,” said Hu. “Because of the MSCF program’s cohesive mixture of math, statistics, finance and programming, I have the necessary skills to do the job.”
“Two-thirds of our 2008 graduating class have accepted full-time positions in New York” said Ken Keeley, executive director of the Tepper School’s Career Opportunities Center. “The remainder are in London or in other major financial centers in the U.S and Asia. It’s been another strong year for our MSCF graduates.”