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MS Application chances? (Data Science and Statistics)


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Hello, I've heard many differing things about M.S in Statistics and Data Science. Anywhere from the fact that I'd be needing to take Real Analysis to "they'll accept anyone with deep pockets and a pulse"

I would like to list my profile and would hope that I could get some information.

Profile: Canadian Citizen - Average Canadian University. It'd be equivalent to a state school. Heavy grade deflation, D to C averages in most math courses. 

Coursework: Calc 1(A), Calc 2(A), Calc 3(B+), Elementary Probability (B+), Regression Analysis(A), Extended Proofs (A), Linear Algebra (A), Intro to Stats (A)  Math GPA: 3.67 (Weird with Canadian Grading counting an A as a 3.8 and an A+ as a 4.0 and a B+ as 3.3. Not sure how it's translated)

I will be taking Mathematical Statistics and Stochastic Processes this semester, but that might be a little bit too late for this application cycle.  

GRE Scores: 169Q/166V/5.5 AWA

LOR: Seemingly average, I'll get decent letters from most of my profs saying that I was a diligent but I didn't do any research.  

I was wondering about my chances into some of these schools. Thank you

1.) Stanford M.S Statistics (Know it's prob a massive reach)
2.) Harvard Data Science (Always wanted to be rejected by harvard)
3.) Berkeley M.A Statistics 
4.) UMichigan - Data Science and Statistics
5.) UWashington Statistics and Data Science
6.) UCLA Applied Statistics
7.) UofT M.S Statistics 
8.) UBC Statistics
9.) UVirginia Data Science and Statistics
10.) Columbia M.A Statistics and M.S Data Science
11.) Duke M.S Statistics

I do have a decent chance of getting into some of the universities on the list right? 

 

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All the master's programs you listed are unfunded except for UBC. That said, the bar is not very high and you will get into many of them. Stanford and Harvard may be tough because of their general prestige but they are not impossible. UBC statistics is unlikely but you definitely have a shot at its Master of Data Science program.

Edited by Casorati
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I did not contacted any profs from UBC but was still admitted as an international student. The same goes to waterloo. UofT on the other hand is entirely different. I graduated from UofT undergrad and did pretty well on courses from UofT stats department, did research with prof from stats department but was still rejected. I don't know if explicitly asking my prof to "secure me a spot" would make any difference but I simply asked for a reference, which was not enough on hindsight. So it goes with many people including someone who managed to get into phd program at Princeton. The (unofficial) consensus is that the quota for internationals is very very limited. In fact, most international people I know are not able to gain admission to that program. Waterloo and UBC are very good otoh. I got admission from both, except that stipend from UBC is on the low end if I recall correctly.  

Edited by DanielWarlock
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Is it really that easy to get into those programs as long as I'm willing to pay out of pocket. I find that pretty surprising tbh. Is that really the case? 

Once again, I don't know anything about actually applying to master's programs.

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11 hours ago, Skudlight said:

Is it really that easy to get into those programs as long as I'm willing to pay out of pocket. I find that pretty surprising tbh. Is that really the case? 

Once again, I don't know anything about actually applying to master's programs.

There are some standards but those for PhDs are markedly higher, and you'll find that master's students vary greatly in terms of mathematical background. Yours will likely be towards the deeper end of the spectrum. There are many successful masters applicants (usually domestic) at very prestigious departments who possess only the minimum background (Calc I-III, Linear Algebra).

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15 hours ago, Skudlight said:

Is it really that easy to get into those programs as long as I'm willing to pay out of pocket. I find that pretty surprising tbh. Is that really the case? 

Once again, I don't know anything about actually applying to master's programs.

US masters at prestigious schools can be harder to get into than funded masters such as those in Canada. I was accepted into UBC and Waterloo but was rejected at Chicago and Stanford--both are self-funded programs. The reason for this is simple: most graduates from these schools manage to land jobs in highly prestigious firms such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Citadel, Goldman Sachs. The school itself provides lots of opportunities in the form of alumni and career fairs.  Some even find full time jobs in the same group that hires PhDs and working on exactly the same stuff (stuff that one may consider "fun")!

So by paying somewhere around 100K intuition, you land a job that pays all tuition back in the very first year and 500K+ a year in 5 years and potentially much more in the long run. And you can form relationship with people who will "take off" in potentially highly distinguished careers, which could turn into a resource if you care to exploit it in some way (e.g. marriage, comradeship). No need to say, these type of "elite" master programs, albeit self-funded, have values beyond education, coming with boat load of life-changing opportunities for especially international students including visa.  As a result, they are intensely competitive. 

I think programs like Stanford MS, Princeton OFRE MFin can be even more competitive than a majority of PhD programs (definitely outside of top 20 range). This will be controversial on this site but I still believe in this firmly. But again, the caveat is that these programs do NOT warrant a good job for an inexperienced and incapable person: you need to still perform superbly on your interviews and most likely obtain a large portion of such ability on your own (e.g. leetcode, side-projects) as opposed to just taking classes offered by the program. People who go to place like Harvard (for example) can end up in entirely different situations--for some, the degree just does not make a big difference before and after. 

Edited by DanielWarlock
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1 minute ago, DanielWarlock said:

US masters at prestigious schools can be harder to get into than funded masters such as those in Canada. I was accepted into UBC and Waterloo but was rejected at Chicago and Stanford--both are self-funded programs. I think programs like Stanford MS, Princeton OFRE MFin can be even more competitive than a majority of PhD programs (definitely outside of top 20 range).

This is simply not true. You can't extrapolate your experiences to others. I personally know people who got into master's program at Berkeley/Chicago but didn't get into funded master's at Toronto/Waterloo.

Edited by Casorati
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Just now, Casorati said:

This is simply not true. You can't extrapolate your experiences to others. I personally know people who got into master's program at Berkeley/Chicago but didn't get into funded master's at Toronto/Waterloo.

It depends on the program. Some Canada programs require networking beforehand. If you just apply out of blue, you get rejected 100%. Can you give specific situation of your "counterexample"? Are those same programs OP mentioned because I applied to the programs OP mentioned. 

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14 minutes ago, Casorati said:

This is simply not true. You can't extrapolate your experiences to others. I personally know people who got into master's program at Berkeley/Chicago but didn't get into funded master's at Toronto/Waterloo.

I get downvoted for a million times here for saying some elite master programs are very competitive. The dogmatic opinion on this site is that master programs are easy to get into, often described as much much easier than most phd programs. But it is simply not true. The aim of my previous post is to explain why. Also note that most posters here are direct biostats/stats phd applicants so it makes sense there is a bias. 

I also want to add that elite master programs like Stanford tend to be very competitive is a fact that bolstered by their admission stats. Not everyone wants to do or dead set on PhD. Some are very solid candidates for PhD but choose not to--this is paraphrasing from Stanford MS's own application guide. 

Edited by DanielWarlock
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It might be the case that there are a few Masters programs that are very competitive, like the ones that DanielWarlock mentioned (Harvard, Stanford, Princeton OFRE, and this may possibly be the case too with other small MS programs like Yale's). However, I am not sure that this is true in general. I think competitive Masters admissions is the exception rather than the rule. Even at 'elite' schools such as Columbia and University of Chicago, it does not seem to be very difficult to be admitted to Masters program in Stat.

A *lot* of Masters programs in Statistics and Biostatistics will admit anyone who has a reasonable undergrad GPA and GRE Q score, and who meets the minimum math requirements.

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2 hours ago, DanielWarlock said:

It depends on the program. Some Canada programs require networking beforehand. If you just apply out of blue, you get rejected 100%. Can you give specific situation of your "counterexample"? Are those same programs OP mentioned because I applied to the programs OP mentioned. 

We are not talking about networking here and which statistics program requires networking beforehand? My friends applied to MFE and statistics master's at Berkeley/Chicago/Cornell and ended up getting into most of them. However, they got rejected from funded master's at Toronto and Waterloo.

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1 hour ago, Casorati said:

We are not talking about networking here and which statistics program requires networking beforehand? My friends applied to MFE and statistics master's at Berkeley/Chicago/Cornell and ended up getting into most of them. However, they got rejected from funded master's at Toronto and Waterloo.

Certain funded masters or phd programs in Canada explicitly ask you to contact advisor before application, because funded means mandatory research. The program wants you to have a match with faculty before they take you. See for example uoft mathematics phd or MASc (if I recall correctly). Sometimes this is not written explicitly on the website but is assumed. You still didn't specify which funded master programs at UofT and waterloo your friends applied to so it is hard for me to judge the truth. That said, I do feel Berkeley is easier to get into compared to Chicago (I'm specifically referring to the statistics master not mfe, mfe at chicago is much easier) and certainly not comparable to Stanford statistics or Princeton ofre (btw I got in berkeley as well). I don't know about Cornell but I assume it could be easier as well.  Such schools including columbia as the prof has metioned are a sort of "grey" area between the most elite and the your run of mill "cashcowy" master programs.

Edited by DanielWarlock
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7 minutes ago, DanielWarlock said:

Certain funded masters or phd programs in Canada explicitly ask you to contact advisor before application, because funded means mandatory research. The program wants you to have a match with faculty before they take you. See for example uoft mathematics phd or MASc (if I recall correctly). Sometimes this is not written explicitly on the website but is assumed. You still didn't specify which funded master programs at UofT and waterloo your friends applied to so it is hard for me to judge the truth. That said, I do feel Berkeley is easier to get into compared to Chicago (I'm specifically referring to the statistics master not mfe, mfe at chicago is much easier) and certainly not comparable to Stanford statistics or Princeton ofre (btw I got in berkeley as well). I don't know about Cornell but I assume it could be easier as well.  Such schools including columbia as the prof has metioned are a sort of "grey" area between the most elite and the your run of mill "cashcowy" master programs.

Toronto MMF/Stat, Waterloo MQF/Stat and even McMaster stat.

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Just now, Casorati said:

Toronto MMF/Stat, Waterloo MQF/Stat and even McMaster stat.

I'm very familiar with those programs. I know most people on MMF admission and worked with several people from MQF. First of all, MMF and MQF are both unfunded and has zero research component. They are very competitive because they are well-connected in industry and can guarantee 100% you will find a high paying job in finance after graduate.

Your friends didn't get in because it is very hard for to get into MMF with no connection. If you don't know anyone on the committee or have already worked with Canadian banks such as RBC, scotia, or pension funds such as CPP OTPP, there is practically no chance. The reason is because many applications from uoft or waterloo like myself, who did internship with Canadian banks or funds, do already have such experiences and know people on the admission personally. MMF and MQF mostly concerns risk management and the circle is pretty small. There is no way you apply from a foreign country like US and get in over someone who had Canadian work experience. GPA requirement is also quite high, like 3.9+ is typical among a cohort.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, DanielWarlock said:

I'm very familiar with those programs. I know most people on MMF admission and worked with several people from MQF. First of all, MMF and MQF are both unfunded and has zero research component. They are very competitive because they are well-connected in industry and can guarantee 100% you will find a high paying job in finance after graduate.

Your friends didn't get in because it is very hard for to get into MMF with no connection. If you don't know anyone on the committee or have already worked with Canadian banks such as RBC, scotia, or pension funds such as CPP OTPP, there is practically no chance. The reason is because many applications from uoft or waterloo like myself, who did internship with Canadian banks or funds, do already have such experiences and know people on the admission personally. MMF and MQF mostly concerns risk management and the circle is pretty small. There is no way you apply from a foreign country like US and get in over someone who had Canadian work experience. GPA requirement is also quite high, like 3.9+ is typical among a cohort.

 

 

MMF and MQF both have an internship so you pay much less than master's in the US. Those programs, along with top funded statistics programs in Canada are indeed more competitive than most master's programs in the US outside top 5.

Edited by Casorati
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8 minutes ago, Casorati said:

MMF and MQF both have an internship so you pay much less than master's in the US. Those programs, along with top funded statistics programs in Canada are indeed more competitive than most master's programs in the US outside top 5.

Unlike place like Stanford, these programs mainly concern how well you are connected with Toronto risk management community, particularly your internship records. If you do not have necessary connection and experiences, they are indeed quite tough with just gpa and research projects. 

Regarding internship pay, it is very true, and apply to most technical master programs in US also. If someone does not follow up with a phd like myself, a master turns out to be a pretty sweet deal that pays back within a year or two. Of course this is conditional on that you have initial fund to pay tuition. 

Edited by DanielWarlock
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