Financial Engineering programs in the elite universities in the US are often seen as a boarding pass to Wall Street. One of our clients, Kelvin, shares his own experience of the application process and hopes it could help other applicants in Australia to get into their dream programs. Kelvin applied to six MFE programs in the United States and has been admitted to Cornell University (Master of Engineering, FE concentration), Columbia University (Mathematics of Finance), NYU Tandon School of Engineering (Financial Engineering) and University of Chicago (Financial Mathematics).
1. Why do you want to go to the US for graduate education?
I choose to go to the US for graduate education because I believe that in the area that I am interested in there is no Australian institute that offers any program similar to the ones offered in the US. Furthermore, the opportunities of employment in the industry of financial engineering is much greater in the US. This idea has been discussed and matured between me and my family members for a long time, so it was not an on-the-spot idea. I also consulted my Finance Honours professors on their opinions of these programs, which has greatly strengthened my determination in pursing this path.
2. When did you start to prepare for it? What did you do?
I started preparing for it in November 2019. I researched the potential institutions and programs that I would like to apply for and contacted Ray at Elite Admission, whom my friends studying in the US highly recommended. The rest of the application process was mainly guided by Elite Admission. The preparation done by Elite Admission is comprehensive and well-sorted, and the communication was swift and responsive. There is not much trouble for me to follow instructions.
Specifically, our work started from restructuring my resume. After understanding my experiences in detail, we identified the highlights to be linked to the statement of purpose, where Elite Admission gave me a lot of assistance especially with their expertise in different programs.
The most difficult part is of course preparing for the video recording part of various applications. Such component of application is beyond my expectation. Nevertheless, Elite Admission swiftly responded to my concern and quickly arranged the venue and equipment. I was able to produce high level video material without much trouble. I think Elite Admission has been a vital part of my application process and I could not have done it without its help.
3. Your experience in preparing GRE?
I think taking the GRE is not particularly difficult for me. The mathematic part is self-explanatory and does not need much preparation. I think students should target full mark for the mathematic component. The English language part is mainly testing the depth of the students’ vocabulary. Students should spend the majority of time learning GRE specified vocabulary list. Lastly, the writing part has specific rules and structures. Following such rules and structures would allow students to achieve satisfactory results.
4. The reason why you think you were admitted to these top financial engineering programs?
I think a multitude of reasons contributed to the success. Firstly, Elite Admission has assisted me in producing exceptional personal statements that specifically targets admission offices in the US, which I could not have done it myself. Secondly, I think my personal academic history and qualification was also vital to my admission. Lastly, together with Elite Admission, it was less likely for me to submit an application without noticing the mistakes it contained. The contribution from Elite Admission is considerable in my success of being admitted.
5. Any advice for future applicants?
There are three main ones. Firstly, starting early so there is room for error. Secondly, communication is the key. Tell Elite Admission about the problem as soon as you face it. Thirdly, do your own part well in the process. Ultimately the future is in your hand so you are responsible for it personally.