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FAQ & Online Chats
Answers to the most common questions
Frequently asked questions cover general topics regarding curriculum, teaching style, student life, and career support. Here you’ll find the specifics of application procedures and requirements, making a visit, interviews, and financial considerations.
You’ll also find transcripts of some past online chats we’ve had with prospective applicants. Of course, we’d prefer to answer your questions directly. Register for an on-campus information event, participate in an online chat, or attend one of our community-hosted events around the world, and bring your questions!
What are the MFin requirements?
Requirements for the MFin include required courses, restricted and general electives, a proseminar, an ethics seminar, and an optional master's thesis. The MFin program easily meets the Institute‘s requirement of a minimum of 66 units of graduate-level credit, including at least 42 H-level units.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The program takes approximately one year to complete. Students spend the Summer plus two academic terms (Fall and Spring) in residence, and graduate in June. MIT undergraduates who have already taken 15.401 and 15.402 will need just nine months (Fall and Spring terms) to complete the program requirements.
Would the Summer session occupy the full Summer term?
The Summer term is an intensive program that begins in early July and ends in late August.
What happens in the summer for MIT undergraduates who have already completed 15.401 and 15.402?
These students will be encouraged to take finance jobs or internships during the summer to gain practical experience.
Why not offer a degree in financial engineering?
Finance is broader than just financial engineering, which suggests “quants and traders only.” The MFin addresses the broader area of finance.
Is there a possibility for students to attain an internship in their field of interest while taking classes?
Practical training is an important component of a student’s preparation. MFin students are expected, when possible, to take advantage of Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January as an opportunity to gain practical experience in an area of finance. One opportunity for students is to take advantage of our optional Finance Research PracticumTM. During the Finance Research PracticumTM, students spend three months working directly with client teams at companies like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, BlackRock, and Fairhaven Capital. International students must check with the International Students Office (ISO) to ensure compliance with immigration regulations before participating in practical training.
Can students complete the MFin program part-time or via distance learning?
No, the MFin program is full-time only and takes place on the MIT campus.
What’s the difference between the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) program and the MFin program?
There are a number of differences between the CFA program and the MIT Sloan MFin program. First, the CFA program is focused in investment management, whereas the MFin program is broader and prepares students for careers in investment banking, corporate finance, finance-related consulting, risk management, financial technology, trading, central banking, and securities regulation, as well as investment management. Second, the CFA program, while focused on investment management, is a generalist program. That is, the level of depth at which it treats any given topic is determined by the question, “What does an investment professional who is not an expert on this topic need to know about the topic?” The MFin program, while providing this generalist perspective, also goes into considerable depth. Third, the CFA program is a distance learning program, whereas the MFin program is residential. This allows for a more intensive, total immersion experience, including significant peer learning. Finally, the CFA is a professional designation that involves becoming a member of a professional society and all that entails, including subscribing to a code of ethics. The MFin program is a degree program that ends when you graduate; while we encourage alumni to stay connected to the School and to one other, this is not the same as being a member of a professional society.
Does the MIT MFin program accept transfer students from another MFin or MFE program?
The MIT Sloan MFin program does not accept any transfer credits and it is not possible to shorten our program based on work done elsewhere.
Is it possible to write a thesis while enrolled in the MFin program?
Yes, the thesis is optional and fulfills two of the three required general electives. The degree is the same (Master of Finance) for all graduates, whether they choose to write a thesis or not.
Is there rolling admissions for the MFin program?
The MFin program does not have rolling admissions. Applications will be received by the January 5, 2015 deadline.
How do I apply to the MFin program?
The online application for enrollment in summer 2015 will be available here in late summer 2014. See the application deadline as well as the decision release date. Application instructions are up-to-date and available online here.
Who can apply to the MFin program?
Applicants will need to earn an undergraduate degree before enrolling in the program. MIT undergraduates who enroll in the MFin as a fifth-year student will be permitted to receive both the SB and the MFin degrees together if preferred, but all undergraduate requirements must be completed prior to enrolling formally in the MFin program.
Do I need an undergraduate degree in a particular field in order to apply?
No. We receive applications from economics, management, science, engineering, and mathematics majors, as well as other disciplines.
Do I need work experience in order to apply?
While some applicants may have several years of experience, this is not a requirement for admission. On average, our students have 0–2 years of work experience.
Can an MBA student transfer to the MFin program and vice versa?
No, the student must submit a separate application and must be accepted into the program.
Are some parts of the application weighted more than others?
No single factor is more important than any other. An area of weakness — for example, a low GMAT or GRE score — may be successfully offset by strengths in other areas.
Will the Admissions Committee expedite my application if it is submitted before the application deadline?
The Admissions Committee will begin reviewing all applications immediately after the application deadlines. Unfortunately, we are not able to conduct any application reviews prior to the application deadlines.
Is an interview required?
Interviews are by invitation only and are conducted in person. All students accepted into our program will be interviewed. An invitation to interview thus signals that your application has reached an advanced stage of consideration, but does not guarantee admission. Arrangements and detailed information will be provided if an interview request is extended to you. Please note: Skype interviews are strictly for extenuating circumstances and requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We strongly recommend applicants follow our in-person interview policy.
What percentage of the pool gets an interview invitation?
There is not set number, but for the class entering in July 2014, we interviewed approximately one-third of the applicant pool.
Can you tell me my chances for admission?
We are not able to assess your suitability for the program without first seeing a completed application.
How many applications were received last year, and how large is the class?
For the class entering in July 2014, we received 1,569 applications for approximately 120 spots.
Is it possible to waive the application fee?
We will waive the application fee only for US citizens coming directly from US universities.
Can the TOEFL requirement be waived?
A TOEFL score is NOT required.
Can I apply to the MFin program if I already have another master’s degree (e.g., an MBA)?
Yes, you may apply, but we suggest you use the optional/supplemental portion of the application to explain why our MFin program makes sense for you at this time.
Is it possible to waive the GMAT/GRE for any reason (e.g., already having a PhD)?
No, all applicants are required to submit valid test scores for either the GMAT or the GRE.
Can an MFin student start in the fall semester?
No, all students must start in the summer semester, unless they are MIT undergraduates who have already completed 15.401 and 15.402.
What is the MFin tuition charge?
The 12 month, 2014-2015 academic year tuition will be $75,250. This includes the student activities fee. You may view the tuition and other estimated expenses here.
Are Research Assistantships (RA) or Teaching Assistantships (TA) available to MFin students?
Students enrolled in the MFin program are expected to be self-funded. Although the MFin program does not offer RA or TA positions, our students are welcome to seek and apply for RA or TA opportunities that may exist in other programs or departments across MIT.
Are fellowships or scholarships available to MFin students?
The MFin program offers a limited number of fellowships. Also, each year, the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School invites programs to submit nominations for a limited number of fellowships. When our students meet the required criteria, we are eager to nominate them. Typically, these fellowships are extremely competitive, so you should not plan on this as a support mechanism.
The Legatum Center at MIT administers a competitive fellowship program for incoming and current MIT graduate students, across all academic and professional disciplines, who demonstrate the potential to create innovative, sustainable, for-profit enterprises that promote prosperity in low-income countries and who are committed to implementing their business plans upon graduation.
The application deadline is typically in early February. For information, please visit http://legatum.mit.edu/fellowship.
What is the MFin class size at MIT Sloan?
The class of 2014 is composed of 127 students.
What is the difference between the MFin program and a finance-focused MBA from MIT Sloan?
MFin students tend to be more specialized in their careers, while MBA students may have more varied experience as well as tend to pursue careers in strategy. MBA students also have a longer program, so an internship is a part of their experience. However, MFin students are able to use both MIT Sloan and MIT career resource centers, a huge bonus for MFin students.
Where can I view the class profile?
The class profile can be found here. This contains all of the statistics we have for our current class.
How busy is the program’s schedule? What time of day are classes?
It is quite busy, as it is only a one-year program, and balancing job searching with academics can become overwhelming. Classes generally run between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
What are the classes like? Are they individually driven or team based?
The curriculum is team driven, in homework, projects, and case studies. The midterms and exams, however, are individual.
Is there a reason the average age of an MFin student is much younger than for the MBA program?
Younger students tend to apply to the MFin program, and older students with a little more work experience tend to apply to the MBA program.
What’s the MFin curriculum like? Is the curriculum more quantitative oriented?
There is flexibility in the curriculum, and you may choose what kind of courses you want to take. However, there are several required courses — including 15.450 Analytics of Finance which is rigorous in quantitative skills — think Stochastic calculus, financial econometrics, and simulation all in one semester. But you can choose your own path in regard to courses — for example, a more corporate finance path, a more capital markets path, etc. General electives can be selected from MIT Sloan, such as, Econ, Math, and EECS, and there is an opportunity to take non-MFin courses from many other MIT departments. Some students even take courses at Harvard. Only the summer courses (15.415 Finance Theory and 15.516 Accounting) are restricted to MFins. Other courses are open to MBAs, PhDs, MSMS students, and MIT undergrads, so there are opportunities to get to know students from across a spectrum of programs.
Is it possible to do an internship during the program?
The format of the program does not allow for a traditional internship. However, we now offer the optional Finance Research PracticumTM. The Finance Research PracticumTM is a team-based approach to real industry problems/projects defined by practicum sponsors. Some teams spend the month at the sponsor site.
Do MFin students have SIP and IAP?
SIP (Sloan Innovation Period) is held one week in October and one week in March. MFin students currently do not have a Fall SIP requirement, but many have opted to participate in the Asia Finance Trek. In the Spring, MFins have a mandatory three-day ethics session; the other two days are currently free. IAP (Independent Activities Period) is MIT-wide and occurs during the entire month of January. MFins are free to do what they wish during IAP — Finance Research PracticumTM, travel, job search, etc. There are many optional, fun non-credit activities, sessions, lectures, and workshops held across campus. MFins are welcome, but not required, to participate in any of these.
Are scholarships available to MFin students?
We have a small amount of scholarship funding available. All applicants are considered, and funds are typically offered to the strongest candidates.
How many classes are there in a week?
You can typically customize the number of classes between four and six. Each class is two lectures and a recitation.
What advantage do you believe the MIT MFin program has over other top MFin programs?
The brand name of the Institute is extremely strong, particularly around the world. Unlike other MFin programs, we have consciously designed the MFin to be a great foundation study for the pillars of modern finance — so you can take a wonderful breadth of finance courses, but also tour the whole MIT campus for depth in technical areas you may want. It’s essentially broader than a finance engineering degree, but gives you the capacity to go deep if need be.
What if my transcript is not in English?
You must have your transcript translated by an official translating service, and we will require both the original and translated versions.
Can I submit my application even though I have not yet received the Analytical Writing Assessment score for my GMAT?
Yes, you may submit the application without an AWA score; however, this could delay our decision on your application.
Is there a minimum GPA?
There is no minimum GPA. A low GPA can be offset by excellence in another area, such as the GMAT.
Should the essays follow a particular structure? How strict are the word limits?
No, we do not have a desired essay format. The structure is up to you; however, we do ask that you stick to the word limit and specifically answer the questions that we ask. While we will not eliminate your application if your essay is a few words over, please keep in mind that the Admissions Committee may not read anything past the extent of the word limit.
How do I submit letters of recommendation?
You will provide the recommenders’ contact information on the online application, and then your recommenders will submit their recommendations online.
Should recommendations be in a question-answer format, or should they be in letter format?
We prefer the question-answer format only because we require that the recommender answer all of the questions that we ask. If the recommender thinks the recommendation would be better suited to a letter format, then that is fine, too, so long as all of the questions are covered.
Is there a minimum GMAT or GRE? How are multiple test scores considered?
There are no minimums for applying to the MFin program in any category. We just ask that you please self-report your highest score only.
I have a very low score. Should I still apply?
Please understand that our selection process is holistic; all applications are reviewed as a whole, so it’s important that you make each piece as strong as possible. Because of this, it is possible to offset a low GMAT, GPA, etc., by succeeding in some other area. Also, whom we select depends on the pool for the given year because we are looking to enroll the most qualified and diverse class based on that pool. Given all of that, it is not possible for us to offer admissions advice based on one piece of data, such as your GPA or test score or something else.
What is the application procedure for re-applicants?
Re-applicants must submit a new application every year. There is no difference in the application process for re-applicants as opposed to first-time applicants.
Can you provide feedback on my previous application?
Each year we receive more applications than places in the class. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources within our staff to give individual application feedback, even if the applicant expresses a desire in re-applying for a future year.
In your experience, what is the most important thing that a current student applicant should be aware of?
In general, you should have a passion for finance and a strong motivation for the industry; some students are experienced in the industry, some show learning ability through coursework, while some show leadership in past experiences. When you apply for the program, try to impress the committee with what you can bring to the program — why you think this is the one program that can lead you to achieve your career goal.
What types of questions are asked during the interview?
Interviews are composed of behavior and résumé questions — be prepared to be asked about past teamwork experience and how you handle real-life situations, provide specific examples, and show your passion for the program and your goals.
If I tell you about my background, could you let me know my chances of getting admitted?
Unfortunately, we can’t predict your chances of admittance based on one data point without knowing the entire competition for that particular cycle.
Who reads the applications?
First, the applications are read by the Admissions Committee and the Director of Admissions, and then by the Faculty Committee.
Is it best to have a recommendation letter from someone who knows you better even if they aren’t your direct supervisor?
We hope that one of the letters of recommendation will be from a direct supervisor. If this isn’t possible and you choose to get someone else at the firm, then you will need to explain the absence of the supervisor’s recommendation in the optional/supplemental portion of the application.
One of my recommenders doesn’t speak or write in English. Is it okay if she composes the letter in a foreign language and I translate it into English?
We’d like someone other than the applicant to translate the letter of recommendation; perhaps the recommender has a secretary or an assistant who could help.
Can my recommenders submit their letters of recommendation after the application deadline?
Everything from you and the recommenders needs to be submitted by the deadline.
What kind of “major” background does the program prefer? Does the program prefer applicants with working experience?
We accept candidates from a diversity of backgrounds, such as business and commerce, math, science, engineering, humanities, economics, etc. On average, our students have 0–2 years of work experience. About 50 percent of our students come directly from undergraduate schools, but those students will typically have completed an internship during their undergraduate study.
Is an internship considered working experience?
Yes, an internship is considered to be professional work experience and will be considered in your application.
Are there any required courses students have to take in order to be admitted?
We do not have any required courses that students have to take to be admitted to the program, but many students have found it helpful to have taken calculus, statistics, linear algebra, and probability.
Do you think having a master’s degree in another area before applying to the MFin program is a plus?
We consider all aspects of your application when reviewing your candidacy. If you have already earned a master’s degree, we’d be curious to see what type of study you pursued and what what post-graduate goals you have planned.
How many people from the Admissions Committee will make the final decision?
We have a variety of members from the Admissions Committee and from our Faculty Committee who weigh in on each admissions decision.
Are summer classes required? Is there any way I can waive the two classes?
The summer courses are required, and you cannot transfer courses. The only way to waive them would be if you were an MIT student and took those courses while you were a student here.
Does the interview guarantee admission?
The interview does not guarantee admission, but it does mean your application has advanced to the next stage. Every admitted student will have received an interview prior to being admitted, but not every interviewed student will be admitted.
What percent of interviewed applicants are admitted?
For the MFin Class of 2015, approximately one-third of interviewed applicants were admitted.
Are there networking events available during the Fall term? Are these exclusive to MFin students, or do they cater to MIT Sloan as a whole?
Yes, the majority of networking events are in the fall— our recruiting partners typically dictate who gets to attend. It’s usually split between Intern presentations (first-year MBAs) and full-time presentations (second-year MBAs and MFin students).
A large amount of recruiting is done early in the year. How can the MFin program prepare me for recruiting if I haven't had enough academic experience at that time?
The Career Development Office provides you with the necessary resources (i.e., network, cover letter, résumé, interview workshops, etc.). Networking and alumni connections here are simply the best. You get to work with MBA students, Sloan Fellows, and MSMS students, and learn from them as well. Also, you will have access to the MIT Sloan alumni network, many of whom are very involved in the recruiting process.
Does the lack of an internship period in the program make it difficult to find jobs? How will international students be placed? Does this make recruiting difficult?
It is beneficial to have a financial internship on your record, so it is advisable to seek one before enrolling in the MFin program. However, even though a formal internship is not part of the program, typically students are able to find a suitable job through a combination of displaying a real passion for finance, having a clear explanation of how they can contribute to their employer, and a diligent approach to their job search throughout the year.
How do students from outside the U.S. find jobs? Is recruiting difficult for them?
It can be challenging for international students to find full-time employment, in that is is often not possible for international students to work in the United States and companies from outside the U.S. find it difficult to travel here just to recruit. That said, many of our recruiters are interested in the best and brightest candidates they can find, regardless of their country of origin. It's also worth remembering that while the majority of our students are from outside the U.S., the majority of them are successful in finding jobs here. For instance, although less than 30% of the Class of 2013 were U.S. citizens/permanent residents, over 70% of the Class secured a job in the U.S.
If I am interested in a very quantitative job, would MIT Sloan’s MFin program not be appropriate for me? Should I opt for a quantitatively driven financial engineering program instead?
That is not the case at all. A great number of students come to the MFin program wanting to target quantitative job roles, and they have all found plenty of courses to meet their needs. Keep in mind that in addition to the classes offered specifically by MIT Sloan, students are also entitled to enroll in any class at MIT, including the other graduate departments, such as engineering, computing, mathematics, statistics, etc.
Did all the MFin students who were seeking employment find a job?
87.6 percent of the Class of 2013 seeking employment had secured an offer by October 2013 (when typical benchmarking takes place). Roles included positions in sales & trading, 'classic' international business development, quantitative finance, traditional corporate finance roles, and financial leadership programs.
What are the typical salary ranges I can expect after leaving the MFin program?
Salary is extremely dependent on experience. Analyst-level roles typically are compensated in the $60K–$80K range, while associate-level roles typically pay $100K or more. But remember, recruiters typically expect at least 3–5 years of experience in the workplace before they will consider candidates for this level.
What percentages of the class went into which fields, post-graduation?
The top fields for the Class of 2013 were in the following areas: about 34 percent went into investment management, 22 percent investment banking, 22 percent consulting, and 22 percent other finance. For additional details, please see the most recent MFin Employment Report.
Do any of your MFin students seek employment outside of the pure-play finance fields?
Yes, we do have students who seek and secure roles outside of pure-play finance. Management consulting typically leads the way for non-finance roles, and we have also seen students secure jobs in the public policy and business development fields.
What are the career prospects for MFin graduates as opposed to MBA graduates?
This framework has proved useful for other students in the past: If you plan to execute a major career transition, then the MBA may be more suitable, because you may need to secure a work internship in your new industry to gain experience and ensure it is the right fit. However, if you have a tighter focus on your career and relevant skills and experience for a specific finance role that you are anticipating, then the MFin may be more suitable.
Do employers that come to campus look to recruit for analyst-level jobs or associate-equivalent level jobs?
As an MFin student, you have access to two distinct sources of Campus Recruiting: the main MIT campus and the business school here at MIT Sloan. Analyst roles predominate at the MIT side of the house — Associate roles here at the business school. You are welcome to apply to both. Your fellow MBA business school students will also be applying for the Associate roles here at MIT Sloan — so typically the MFins with three plus years of experience do well in applying for Associate roles at the business school. Finally, some employers will actually post specifically for MFins, outline the job description, but leave the title as TBD, depending on your experience.
How many career fairs do you have each year? Are they for MFin students only, or are they all MIT Sloan students?
At MIT, there are several career fairs on campus. The fall career fair on the main campus is the largest and is open to all MIT students. I's a typical "trade fair" or career fair, with lots of booths and over 300 firms. Main campus also has small specialized career fairs (e.g. European career fair, non-technology spring career fair) in the spring. There is also a career fair here at MIT Sloan in the spring, but it's very different. This one is for MIT Sloan students only, and firms are only allowed to come if they have a specific role they are looking to fill. They can interview for that role in the afternoon, so it's a much smaller affair and typically involves 20-25 companies.
If I were to concentrate in financial engineering, what level of expertise would I be able to achieve?
Our MFin program is positioned more to cover the breadth of finance, rather than to be laser focused on financial engineering. Students who have targeted quant roles like that have always found more than enough hard-core courses at MIT Sloan and at the broader MIT campus, and have been successful in finding roles like this upon graduation.
What distinguishes the MFin from an MBA career-wise?
From a career perspective, employers will have a greater expectation of your depth of technical expertise with respect to the concepts of modern finance, since MFin students typically take twice as many of the finance courses as their MBA peers. MFin students are perhaps showing a greater commitment to learning about the tools of finance, as opposed to learning about the tools of management in an MBA. The difference in degrees is important, but the level of work experience of each individual candidate is a huge factor, too.
Does MIT Sloan encourage alumni mentors to help students in finding jobs? How does career services encourage the communication between alumni and current MFin students?
We certainly do urge our students to connect with both MIT and Sloan alumni, but we do not formally connect them. We provide a database by which students can research alumni and connect themselves. This aligns with our broader career philosophy around teaching students how to get a job — both now and for the rest of their careers.
If I am a strategy consultant who wants to pursue a more finance-oriented career, how could the MFin program help me rebrand myself to international business development (IBD) firms?
First, there is the academic component. The MFin program will give you finance, accounting and leadership skills to build your toolkit. The you can leverage established relationships between MIT Sloan and firms in this sector and by reaching out to alumni/ae.
When does the recruiting process start for MFin students?
Recruiting season starts in September, and for many students the process continues all the way through to graduation. A couple of points to consider: here at the Career Development Office, we work very hard to share a program of 12–16 career-based workshops during the summer, after you have arrived, to help you best prepare for recruiting. In addition, we also share several career development and research resources online even before you arrive on campus, to help you tighten your career focus. Still, it is a very intensive process combining job search and study—one that requires a strong work ethic and good time management skills to be successful.
Do MFin students get job offers in the spring or in the fall? Is the spring career fair only looking for a small number of people since most have already found jobs?
It ranges, but over 50 percent of MFin students actually get their offer after January 1. In fairness, the career fair is not the major source of jobs. Most students secure their jobs on the basis of their own networking, reaching out and making connections with contacts in their target sector, and being very persistent in continuing this network until they impress a firm enough with their passion for their target role. On-campus interviews certainly yield jobs, but students are encouraged to be prepared for many months of networking to generate a market for their own labor services.
If I am planning for a complete career change, which program would you recommend?
The MFin is an effective way to kick-start your career in the finance industry. The MBA is an ideal way to enhance your management skills and advance your career.
I'm an accounting student and am interested in the Corporate Finance track. Is there anyone here currently tailoring their studies in this track? What is the typical career path for current graduates?
We have had some students with accounting backgrounds, but it depends on your interests. We’ve seen students leverage their understanding of the connectivity of the different financial statements to secure international business development roles. Depending on your experience and if you have helped firms improve their financial margins and performance, this can be a great skill set for private equity.
I am considering the career path of going to international business development (IBD) following the MFin program, spending three to five years, and then making a leap to private equity (PE). In the long term, I hope to go to venture capital (VC). Do you think this is a feasible plan or are there better alternatives to realize my long-term goal?
IBD is probably the best first step if you really want PE, but both of these are very tough careers to secure—still if you make it, you may not want to pursue VC. VC funds typically like people with deeper industry background, since they are growing small companies, while PE shops do more financial re-engineering.
Is there an internship option in January?
In January, you have a Finance Research PracticumTM option. It is somewhat similar to an internship where teams of four students fulfill an academic project while working hand in hand with companies (many times on-site), solving real and rigorous problems agreed upon by the professors.
What career management activities are offered at MIT Sloan?
We have a deep offering of career programs to help you. We start in the summer with Career Core through July and August. We run sessions on building and writing a strong résumé and cover letter, working on your career story, studying interview and networking techniques, and doing mock company presentations. In the fall, we ramp up our mock interviews and our individual advising sessions. We also work with faculty and Clubs to put on events like Capital Markets Day.
What experiences do you look for from applicants with engineering backgrounds? Would work experience add value to an application?
About 18 percent of our students in the class of 2014 have come from an engineering background. The one thing we look for in all of our applicants is an interest and passion for finance. That can be through academic courses or professional endeavors.
My research experience is mostly mathematical. I do not have work experience, but I really enjoy analyzing complex datasets. What do you suggest?
We do have students coming into the program with primarily research backgrounds (and limited professional experience), and we feel the program can be a very good fit for someone with your credentials. In the end, it really depends on what you want to get out of the program and the kind of position you are looking to get at the end of the program. Many companies value strong researchers.
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