NYU Tandon’s master’s program in Finance and Risk Engineering continues its steady climb in the rankings

FRE student studying with Prof. Carr at desk

Professor Peter Carr (right), chair of NYU Tandon's Department of Finance and Risk Engineering, works with a student

When Peter Carr arrived at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering to become chair of the Department of Finance and Risk Engineering (FRE) in 2016, it made headlines that the former Morgan Stanley managing director and head of market modeling was leaving the heady environs of Wall Street to help train a new generation of financial professionals — people ready to meet the burgeoning global demand for machine learning expertise and the ability to work with sophisticated modeling and information technology.  

Carr’s arrival marked a new era for the financial engineering program — launched in 1995 as the second such program in the country and the first to be certified by the International Association of Financial Engineers (IAFE). While the program had long bridged theory and practice and attracted a roster of internationally recognized financial practitioners as faculty members, Carr began focusing on preparing students for careers that barely existed in 1995, such as high-speed trading, and for risk engineering careers that increased in complexity and demand with the Dodd-Frank law that arose from the financial crisis of 2007-2008. Among the changes implemented after conducting focus groups with stakeholders were replacing accounting as a core course with machine learning for finance and adding flexibility to the core requirements — and more developments followed from there.

Those efforts have had tangible results: each year since Carr’s arrival, the FRE program has risen in rankings compiled by multiple organizations. Among the most respected and authoritative of these organizations is QuantNet, which evaluates financial engineering programs across the country on the basis of employment rate, starting salary, and academic rigor, among other factors. (QuantNet.com is the largest online community of master’s of financial engineering applicants, with more than 50,000 community members, newsletter subscribers, and social networking followers since its start in 2006.) 

In 2017, the first full year after Carr took the helm, the program jumped a full three spots, from 16 in 2016 to 13. The following year it climbed another spot and then in 2019 leaped into the top-10 at number nine. A new decade saw FRE perch at number eight in 2021, and in the latest 2022 rankings (released in mid-November of 2021), NYU Tandon appeared at number seven — its highest spot yet, and tied with NYU Courant's math finance program, which Carr previously led.

Carr — a highly regarded researcher who is ranked fourth in the world by Google Scholar in Financial Engineering citations, third in Quantitative Finance, second in Derivatives, and first in Volatility — credits some of that impressive trajectory to Sara (Tomeo) DeLusant, a former Morgan Stanley colleague who joined FRE in early 2017 as Career Placement Director, a vital role given that one of the Department’s primary goals is training professionals who are well-equipped for a changing financial workforce, and much of the rankings methodology relies on employment statistics. This year, more than three-quarters of FRE grads had received job offers by the time they earned their degrees, and three months after graduation, almost all had secured good jobs, with an average starting salary of more than $90,184.

“In addition to Sara, there are many others who have contributed to our solid performance,” says Carr, whose name and department are among the most searched on the NYU Tandon website. “Professors Barry Blecherman, David Shimko, and Agnes Tourin each function as a metaphoric right hand for me, not only teaching but advising, running our online boot camp, and overseeing our admissions process; our industry-savvy adjuncts bring a wealth of real-world experience to their classrooms; and our dedicated staff members play an enormous role in keeping the entire operation running smoothly.”  

“These latest rankings  — and the upward trend they represent — affirm the high caliber of the work being done by everyone in the Department of Finance and Risk Engineering,” said Jelena Kovačević, dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “We like to say that at Tandon we’re educating unconventional engineers, those unafraid to break down the usual notions of what engineers can do and how they should think. Our FRE grads meet that definition: they’re pushing the boundaries in their field, which is becoming increasingly reliant on machine learning and algorithmic ability, and shaping the future of the entire financial industry.” 

Statistics and numbers

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