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The 20 top Masters in Financial Engineering courses, ranked by pay and employability

As we've reported here before, straight-up Masters in Finance courses are becoming kind of old-fashioned. Now that banks want people who can code and do data science as well as understanding financial markets, the new hottest students are those who've studied masters courses in financial engineering.

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Earlier this year, Risk Magazine launched its ranking of the best MFE courses globally. Now has followed suit, releasing its own rankings for the US. There's a consensus at the very top: Public college Baruch ranks number one, while private university Princeton comes second. The newer ranking also reveals that graduates of these two courses are earning much more than initially thought, with Princeton graduates earning the most in their first year, $240k on average.

While Princeton has historically been the heaviest hitter for Risk, QuantNet has had Baruch ranked first in multiple years since it started measuring in 2011. It's further down the list where these two ranking significantly differ, however, with one of Risk's top four not cracking QuantNet's top 10...

The most notable difference is the placing of NC State University, another public school. While it's ranked fourth at Risk, QuantNet has it in a three-way tie for 12th. Pay figures are similar for both rankings, although QuantNet's pay is significantly higher across most other universities, making NC State pale in comparison. 

Risk's rankings are also global. The city with the most courses in its top 20 is, unsurprisingly, Paris, home to many of the most prestigious Grande Écoles. Chief among them is Paris-Sorbonne University; though French quants proclaim themselves as the best in the world, its course narrowly snuck into the top 10. Perhaps this might be because the best French quants are applying their skills elsewhere.

Baruch's feat is all the more impressive given how affordable its tuition fees are. Its non-resident tuition fees are the cheapest of QuantNet's entire top 20, and for residents it's even cheaper, costing $28.7k per year. Only the Georgia Institute of Technology, ranked 12th, is cheaper, but that's only for native Georgians.

The UK might be home to some of the top universities for finance graduates, but its MFE offerings appear less impressive. QuantNet provides separate ranking for UK universities, with the maximum average salary being £75k (95.5k).

It may simply be the case that MFEs haven't taken off in the UK yet. QuantNet's ranking lacks universities like Cambridge and LSE, and includes multiple courses from the same school. UCL, for example, has both a 'computational finance' masters and a 'financial risk management' one. The former out-earns the latter by over £15k on average.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Reporter

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