The terms "quantitative finance," "computational finance," "mathematical finance," and "financial engineering" are often used interchangeably. But, there exist relevant, subtle differences in their meanings:
Financial Engineering programs often emphasize finance and financial markets at the expense of more rigorous computing and quantitative skills. Some Mathematical Finance programs focus on theoretical math at the expense of real-world application. Few programs embed programming into their curricula and fewer still have been able to replicate Carnegie Mellon's well-balanced and carefully coordinated mix of quant, applied finance and computation.
Not all Financial Engineering degrees deliver the same value! We often tell students to ask key questions and do their homework when comparing programs:
Is the program isolated in one department or top-heavy in math or finance?
Will you benefit from a customized curriculum that is designed specifically for the program?
Does the program offer dedicated career services support and work closely with the key recruiters that match your career goals and interests?
Will you enjoy a program with many years of experience in shaping its curriculum and career success of students?
Will you be participating in a program nationally recognized as an innovator within the industry?