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US News ranks mathematics within top-20 graduate programs

The University’s Master of Science in the mathematical finance program is among the top-20 mathematical graduate programs in the country, according to a U.S. News & World Report.

The program started in 2006 due to a demand for a finance program at the University that was tailored to current market needs, said Paul Feehan, director of the mathematical finance program.

“Many schools offer similar programs through their business departments,” Feehan said. “I think what makes ours so successful is that it’s offered though the mathematics department.”

He said employers are looking for people who have a strong background in mathematics. The program provides both a theoretical foundation and real-world knowledge.

“Many of the professors have industry experience so they know the practical applications of what they’re teaching,” said Feehan, who was previously vice president of quantitative research at J.P. Morgan.

About 450 students applied to the program last year, of whom only about 100 were accepted, he said. The 30-credit program generally takes three semesters to complete.

“There are a lot of one-year programs out there, but that’s not enough time,” Feehan said. “The extra semester allows us to better prepare our students and delve deeper into the material.”

Carla Visser, director of Career Management Services, said upon graduation, about 100 percent of students find jobs in a relevant field.

“Approximately 15 percent of the January graduating class already have job offers,” Visser said. “Our students are very well prepared and our alumni often tell us that they can hit the floor running as soon as they start work.”

She said math is a field very much in demand as graduates of the program are able to find jobs in not only finance, but in the treasury department, engineering and research.

“It’s amazing how many major institutions come to directly recruit our students,” Visser said.

Institutions such as J.P. Morgan, Citibank, Wolfram Alpha, Ernst & Young and Black Rock are all among those that come to recruit graduates of the MSMF program, she said.

Ana Mastrogiovanni, program administrator, said a great deal of the program’s success is due to the attention students receive from the moment they apply.

“We have a 24-hour response service for applying students, and I think that really influences a lot of people’s decisions when they’re trying to decide whether to go here or to NYU or one of the other schools with great programs,” Mastrogiovanni said.

Joseph Ross, a first semester student in the program, said the provided resources impressed him.

“There are more resources available at Rutgers than any of the previous programs of study I have had,” Ross said.

He said the University’s MSMF program is the only one he knows of that has its own Career Services director. This enables students to receive personalized advice, events and recruiting sessions specifically for the industry they wish to enter.

Ross said the individual guidance offered along with the University’s proximity to New York for networking opportunities, are what appealed to him most about the program.

Mastrogiovanni said because class sizes are so small, the staff is able to meet with each individual student to discuss any difficulties they may be having. Classes last year only held about 50 students.

Visser said the staff tries to stay in contact with the alumni after graduation as well, informing them about job opportunities and reviewing their résumés and cover letters. In turn, many of the alumni will return to give lectures or participate in mentoring programs.

“We manage to stay in contact with most of our alumni, but I would love if we could manage to stay in contact with 100 percent of them,” Feehan said.

He said he would also like to see more classes and more instructors with industry experience, but that overall the program does an excellent job of keeping up with changing market needs.

“Topics important three years ago are no longer relevant,” Feehan said. “We constantly change course material to keep up with what is actually happening in the industry.”

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