One year ago, the words ‘Masters in Mathematical Finance’ flashed on my screen as I combed through the vast amount of graduate programs geared towards students with quantitative backgrounds. It felt like every day I woke up I had a new idea about how I was going to use my highly theoretical degree in math to study something with more tangible application and direct relevance to my life. Financial Engineering was an ideal medium by which I could use mathematical modeling and data analysis in the dynamic and exciting context of financial markets. By the end of October, I had taken the GRE, secured letters of recommendation, and submitted my application. Before I knew it, I had submitted my letter of intent and paid my deposit.
My undergraduate school located in Spokane, Washington was nestled in a suburban neighborhood with about 2,200 undergrad students. Suddenly, I was signing up for something much larger, much more fast paced, and much more unknown to me.
Fast-forward several months to the middle of August. I found myself sitting in a Math refresher course where the humidity made my skin instantly sticky as I sat in a room with several other students anticipating the storm that everyone said would hit us and hit us hard. My emotional radar hit several extremes for those first few days: excitement, fear, anxiety, anticipation, happiness, homesickness, you name it! This time provided an excellent transition period with a nice balance of sitting in class, meeting classmates, and most of all, having free afternoons to find footing in such a lively city.
It has been about two months in Boston and school is in full swing. We have been through the math refresher course, were sufficiently oriented and welcomed during orientation week, had a few days to prepare for the beginning of the semester, and now are just on the verge of panic mode as we persevere through difficult problem sets, attempt to identify our career goals, and anticipate midterms. However, the amount of personal, professional, and academic learning that has taken place just in this brief time is absolutely incredible. We have built relationships with faculty, forged friendships with classmates, gained exposure to the industry, and probably had a few “Why on Earth did I sign up for this program?” moments. From what we’ve been told, we are right on schedule! We are fortunate to have a cohort of second year Math Finance students who are willing to advise, guide, shed wisdom, and empathize.
The opportunities that come with the Boston University Mathematical Finance degree are vast – even more than I was aware! Weekly emails signal to us important deadlines, networking opportunities, alternative lectures, and social events. There is a prestige that comes with the Boston University SMG and I am so grateful to someday be apart of the network of BU professionals. The relationships I have formed with classmates and professors are rich and will reap many benefits. Learning alongside classmates who have different intuitions and thought processes encourage different ways of approaching similar problems. There is nothing more inspiring than walking into a classroom that is led by some of the brightest minds in the industry, is unified by the passion to learn math, and that requires us to wrestle with theory and application.
If these next 17 months are anything like the first few months, I know I am setting myself up for personal, professional, and academic development and success.
Annika is using an academic background of mathematics and a passion for financial markets to leverage career opportunities in quantitative portfolio management or risk management. Annika enjoys cooking new food, drinking coffee, running, exploring Boston, and playing Sudoku.