"In short it is an excellent program featured by both rigorous coursework and hands-on projects. Compared with other similar programs, Stanford's MSFM program is more intensive on mathematical and statistical theories and therefore prepared me well to work in and contribute to high-end quant funds from day one. I would recommend this program to anyone who aspires to a professional or academic career in quantitative finance without any reservation. Plus, it is definitely a pleasure to meet and learn with the smart people in the program!”
Yijia Joe Zhou, Class of 2011
"The Stanford Financial Mathematics program is ideal for quantitative analysis, trading, and management positions in financial firms. The program can also serve as a great foundation for those interested in pursuing a PhD in a variety of subject areas. It does more than just prepare students to work as traders or quantitative analysts, although many graduates successfully pursue such careers. The program gives a broad overview of finance with plenty of opportunities to study topics in depth in the required and elective courses. The required courses cover both the traditional mathematical frameworks for pricing instruments and the more modern empirical statistical analyses that serve as the basis for many quantitative trading firms. Thus, the program prepares students for virtually any job in the modern financial world, particularly on the quantitative side. By understanding the quantitative analysis that has become the backbone for pricing and assessing risk, students are prepared to lead groups of “quants” at investment banks, trading firms, and hedge funds.
I was fortunate to enroll in the Financial Mathematics program while concurrently pursuing my undergraduate degree at Stanford. The program is interdisciplinary, spanning the Statistics, Mathematics, Management Science and Engineering, and Economics departments, as well as the Graduate School of Business. The broad base of knowledge makes the program unique, and allows students to shape their own education through their choice of electives, which are in many other departments, such as Computer Science. My best experience was in the Investment Practice course (MS&E 444), in which teams worked on original projects in quantitative finance. I interacted heavily with PhD students in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and MS&E.
I found all of my professors extremely approachable and helpful while pursuing my own research and interests. The Stanford community in general is excellent. I have found professors in all departments, as well as the Graduate School of Business, accessible, even if I never had them for class.
I was able to leverage my Stanford FinMath education and become a regular contributor to TIME Magazine on topics in finance, while still a student. I would have never been prepared to analyze the financial industry without the broad education I received in the classroom and through interaction with my professors and peers.
I recommend the Financial Mathematics program to anyone with a quantitative mind interested in finance."
Ari Officer, Class of 2009
Trader and Director of Technology, Traditum Group, Chicago
"The Stanford Financial Mathematics program was a terrific experience,
both academically and socially. One of the program's
unique attractions is its flexibility versus similar programs
elsewhere, which allows students to take advantage of the tremendous
resources of the university, while tailoring a course of study to fit
their specific academic and professional goals.
Particular highlights for me were classes in the CS department and
the GSB, along with getting to grips with the rigors of the course's
high-level mathematics content in core classes. In my experience, the
Stanford program facilitated an early-career transition from
quantitative research into quantitative trading that I feel would
have been more difficult had I not attended the program.
Finally, the Stanford program also gives students the opportunity to
gain exposure to leading figures in various fields, both academics
and practitioners, through efforts such as the Financial Mathematics
I would recommend the program to anyone interested and qualified,
without any reservations."
Russell Cummer, Class of 2005
Trader, Convertible Bonds and Credit Derivatives
Desk, Goldman Sachs Tokyo
"The strongest asset of this program is the quality of its core faculty. In Business, Computer Science, Economics, Probability and Statistics for example, Stanford professors are among the most renowned and prolific in the country. Students benefit tremendously from their cutting-edge knowledge, dedication to teaching and ties with the finance industry. I also found most of them are very approachable and happy to provide assistance and advice. Another aspect I really enjoyed is the large number of elective classes. It allows each student (with the help of a faculty member) to design her/his own curriculum based on her/his career goals and personal tastes. Finally, the weekly financial math seminar is also a major strength of the program. It is a great opportunity to put to practice our knowledge, meet well known researchers as well as managers from major financial institutions, and hunt for internships or full time jobs."
Olivier Daviaud, Class of 2004
Morgan Stanley NY, Analytic Research in Credit Derivatives
"My Financial Mathematics experience was unforgettable both in and out of the classroom. Most importantly, the tools and networks I have obtained are invaluable. In addition, the professors as well as fellow students are both knowledgeable and approachable which makes the learning process more effective and enjoyable. I highly recommend the program to all those interested in quantitative finance."
Bobak Robert Shoraka, Class of 2004
Morgan Stanley Technology Investment Banking Analyst
"Mathematical modeling of financial problems is crucial in today's academic and professional finance profession. The program helped me develop such important basics such as dynamic programming, option pricing, as well as mathematical tools underlying the theory (e.g. partial and stochastic differential equations)."
Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, Class of 2001
Associate Professor of Finance, New York University Stern School of Business