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Webinar Recap: Program Experience Shared by Current Students
April 10, 2020
Written by NYU Shanghai Graduate Admissions
On March 30th, a webinar themed "Webinar for Current Students" was held by the Office of Graduate Admissions online, where two current students, Xuanwei (Wayne) Qiu from MS in Data Analytics and Business Computing(MSDABC) and Yimeng Li from MS in Quantitative Finance(MSQF), were invited to talk about their learning and living experiences in New York and Shanghai.
During the 40-minute panel discussion, Wayne and Yimeng shared with the audience about their reasons to choose the program, coursework, career plan, and students' experience. The following Q&A session has opened up for the audience to ask questions.
Reasons to choose the current program
When I was selecting the programs, I focused on how these programs could contribute to my future career. I first evaluated the reputation and ranking of the program. According to the latest ranking released by US NEWS, Stern is one of the Top 10 business schools. But after further research and study, I noticed that the title of a school could be helpful for the CV screening round of the job-hunting process. It was the internships and project experiences that mattered to further interviews. MSDABC program is practice-driven and would profoundly enrich my working experience and techniques, so I finally made the decision to join the DABC 2020 cohort.
Apart from the reputation of the program, I put the location on my priority list, as I was sure that I would be working in China. MSQF program allows me to have exposure in New York, while NYU Shanghai' Asia/China focus gives me opportunities to familiarize with the workplaces and build up connections in China.
My favorite course is Network Analytics taught by Professor Bruno Abrahao because it is technical and emphasizes practices. Besides, Professor Bruno often invites guest speakers, some of whom are head of top consulting companies, to the classroom and demonstrate how the content in the textbook is applied in real-life situations. I felt so thankful that Professor Bruno has been so supportive during the job-hunting process, for example, by referring students to internships or full-time positions. Not only Professor Bruno, but the faculty in both Stern and NYU Shanghai is also trying their best to guarantee the best learning experience for all students.
I suggest that students who are admitted to the DABC program start to learn about the basic Python package like Pandas or Nompy if not familiar with them because those basic data analysis packages would be largely used in almost all of the program courses.
For the Capstone project, mine is to work as a consultant together with a team and to improve a client's marketing campaigns using data science tools like predicting models of machine learning and natural language processing. By managing the data in the real business setting, we practiced not only his technical skills but also soft skills such as communication and negotiation skills with clients.
While in the MSQF Program, I love most of the courses. Among them, Professor Menachem Brenner's Futures & Options is my favorite because of the combination of theories and real-life situations taught in class. Professor Brenner is experienced in the financial field. His personal experiences and stories make the class interesting. Also, professors in the MSQF program will assign various difficulty levels of tasks for students to match with their previous financial knowledge background so that both students at different knowledge levels feel challenged while manageable.
My suggestion to future students who study in the QF Program is that studying the R language in advance, as it will be commonly used in the coursework, and it is always good to know about Python as well.
In my Capstone project, I worked with a financial service institution to identify potential customers by conducting credit risk analysis. The process is exciting and meaningful, because we used real-world data, and dealt with a real client who is the head of a bank. I practiced soft skills in my project as well, like presentation and teamwork. Capstone projects not only allow us to have hands-on experience, but are also a way to build our connection with clients.
I found the Fall term on-campus Career Fair very helpful, which invited 50 to 60 companies, contained numerous internship and full-time positions for less than 1000 graduates in NYU Shanghai only. Also, Company Visits are beneficial for me, companies including Bloomberg, ByteDance, American Express, and Amazon. Company Visits and Career Talks are most likely having recruiting sections, two of my classmates received a full-time offer from a fin-tech company by attending Company Visits. The DABC program is flexible in terms of working in various industries. I suggest that making sure what kinds of positions to work as a career is more important than choosing the industry.
I also think that the Career Development Center (CDC) provided tremendous help, even currently, CDC provides virtual working hours to conduct counseling sessions for students. I got my first finance-related internship from the CDC event, which means a lot to my resume, as I didn't have a rich background in the field of finance. I recommend that students who just get admitted should prepare for the CFA exam in advance so that they can be less stressful when managing coursework and job-hunting together.
Study experience and cohort
I lived 10 minutes walk away from Stern in New York, in the center of Manhattan, the location is very convenient. Diverse food selection and shopping zones are accessible in the SOHO area.
For the cohort, my program has a class size of around 30, with students from diverse backgrounds. Instead of competition, classmates are helping each other during the job-hunting process, to conduct mock interviews and work on online tests. I think the cohort relationship and network are precious since students all have a similar career goal.
In New York, I enjoyed watching Yankee's baseball game and picnic in Central Park. While in Shanghai, being in the Lujiazui financial center, students are convenient to find internships and jobs.I think it's lucky to meet such talented classmates, and some of them are the best people I ever met.
Due to the updated timeline that was affected by COVID-19, applying for summer internship programs would be helpful for further study in the program.
Think ahead and begin to find internships and prepare for CFA exams while also preparing to enjoy your time in New York and Shanghai.
Which companies that students have already got an offer from?
Because of the virus outbreak, we didn't get a chance to meet and talk about offers that they have already received, but as far as they know, Students in the DABC cohort got the full-time offer from a wide range of industry, from Tencent, P&G, to multinational IBD.
Some of my classmates got offers in Investment bankings, top five banks in China, big four accounting firms, Guotai Junan Securities and other top tier security firms.
What about the course load? How to balance course load with internships?
The course load of DABC is flexible. Students can learn a lot from professors, some of them even have chances to become teachers' assistants if pursuing academically. While professors are also understandable about the stressful job-hunting process, so the course load allows you to take internships while studying.
I think that the QF program course work is not as flexible as DABC. In New York, the course work is heavier than it is in Shanghai, and it's doable to have an internship in Shanghai while studying.
Both programs are industry-focused and have a rigorous requirement in Math, any suggestion for better preparation for the program?
For the DABC program, courses like Machine Learning are based on Statistics and Linear Algebra. Prepared well beforehand would be significantly helpful for beginning the program.
In the QF program, statistical knowledge and basic programming languages like R and Python would be useful in the program.