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The cheap course that will get you a $1m job in a hedge fund

What’s the best master’s course in the world if you want to work at a hedge fund? It’s not in the Ivy League, and it certainly not at MIT.

What you’re looking for is the master’s in financial engineering (MFE) offered by Baruch College, a small and selective public college in New York. Why? Because it topped QuantNet’s 2024 global ranking of American MFE programs. As it did in 2023, 2022, and 2021, when QuantNet’s rankings began.

The average salary of Baruch’s MFE grads was an astronomical $220k, behind second place Princeton, where graduates had an average salary of $240k. 


Fees for Baruch’s MFE are just $29k for New York state residents and $42k for out of state and international students. At second-place Princeton and third-place Carnegie Mellon, the comparable fees for master’s in financial engineering courses are $126k and $97k, respectively.

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A cheap price tag doesn’t mean a cheap experience, however.  Last year's students interned at funds including Balyasny, Millennium, Verition, and Point72, as well as at banks like Goldman Sachs and trading firms like Virtu Financial.

Last year, we spoke to Dan Stefanica, the MFE’s course director since its inception in 2002. He said that an increasing number of Baruch MFEs were choosing hedge funds, although it’s not just because of the compensation offered there. Hedge funds have been turning up on campus before investment banks, Stefanica said. "Hedge funds began interviewing our students in August this year," he said. "Banks stayed on their typical schedule of interviewing in October and November."

A pretty huge 75% of the class of ’23 went to work at a hedge fund, prop trader, or asset manager after graduation (the rest went to investment banks). It’s a big number, and it’s also a pretty substantial increase on last year’s 50% in those three industries, or the year before that’s 32%.


What makes Baruch so special? Stefanica says it's a combination of excellent alumni links and the presence of full-time professors drawn from the industry, including Jim Gatheral, a former equity derivatives trader at Merrill Lynch, and Andrew Lesniewski, who developed the SABR volatility model.

How do you get in? Stefanica said that student numbers weren’t fixed, and that the course took all the students who met their standards - but last year’s class had only 24 people. Many who apply don't make the grade. Baruch interviews "a considerable number" of students in a two-stage process focused on technical questions, Stefanica said.

The majority of those who succeed are international students, and in particular students from China: "Chinese students come to us because they want to start their careers in the U.S. financial markets," Stefanica said. "But one of our best ever students was American," he added.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • ab
    abdul shakir khan
    17 February 2022

    Such a funny article, it's not a course it's a degree, also you have nothing to add to one's information in this article,
    You would have just said , Do MFE from bharuch and earn 1M after 5 years.

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