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The Top 10 Quant Schools, According to the Street

The Top 10 Quant Schools, According to the Street

[These are Advanced Trading's 2008 Quant School Rankings. Click here to jump to our 2012 Quant School rankings.]

Quantitative analysts are in high demand on Wall Street as electronic trading and the use of complex algorithms to access liquidity continue to proliferate. While in the past quants often have been Ph.D.s in the academic world before crossing over to the Street, today there are more and more programs geared specifically toward preparing quants for financial services jobs. These programs typically offer a Master in Financial Engineering (M.F.E.) degree, but many offer similar degrees, including a Master of Science in Financial Engineering (M.S.F.E.), a Master of Science in Financial Math (M.S.F.M.), a Master of Science of Mathematics in Finance (M.S.M.F.) and a Master in Mathematical Finance (M.M.F.).

While the degrees may not be uniform from university to university, the programs, or "quant schools," typically run one to two years long, are heavily focused on math and have a programming element. Students usually enter these programs either right out of college or after a year or two in the workplace.

These programs are not aimed at typical M.B.A. candidates, and generally require a heavy math focus in undergrad work. But with so many programs now available, which ones best prepare quants for the rigors of Wall Street, and which are most likely to land graduates a job at a top firm? For the first time ever, Advanced Trading has assembled a board of esteemed Wall Street veterans, each with an academic background that eventually led him down the quant road. The board was charged with selecting the top 10 quant schools, based on Wall Street recruitability -- the programs from which Wall Street firms recruit and the programs that produce the best quants (and why).

Our board comprised Robert Almgren, cofounder of Quantitative Brokers, adjunct faculty member at New York University Courant Institute's Mathematics in Finance program and former director of the Mathematical Finance program at the University of Toronto; Ian Domowitz, managing director of networking and analytical and research products at ITG; Steven Janowsky, head of financial engineering at FX Solutions; and Leo Murphy, manager of Trading Technologies' University Relations Program. (For more on our board members, see the Quant School Selection Board Member Bios, page 35.)

The 10 board-selected schools are Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago and University of Michigan. While they vary in course requirements and curriculum, our board agrees that these are the top schools for candidates looking for quant jobs on the Street. Following, in no particular order, is a brief description of each program. The information was culled from our board as well as the programs' Web sites.

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