“After eight years in software, I started to think about what I really wanted to do. . . . Finance was my biggest hobby.”
Suggested Background Work and Self-Assessment
Suggested Mathematical Background
Listed below is an outline of mathematical background that we think is desirable to have in order to be successful in the most challenging of courses in the program.
Linear algebra: Basic topics, including: matrix/vector notation, operations on matrices and vectors, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, quadratic forms, systems of linear equations.
Calculus: Multivariable differentiation and integration, series expansions, function approximation and maximization.
Probability: Sample spaces and random variables, common distributions and densities, moments of distributions, conditional probability and Bayes’ theorem, law of large numbers, central limit theorem, joint distributions, covariance, correlation, stochastic independence.
Stochastic Processes: Random walks, Bernoulli trials, Markov processes, basic properties of linear time series models, continuous-time processes, Ito’s lemma.
Statistics/Econometrics: Parameter estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis tests, linear regression models, ordinary least squares, likelihood principle.
Computer literacy: Basic programming experience and readiness to learn new tools and features; for example, familiarity with programming in Matlab, Python, Java, or C++. Basic experience with Microsoft Office business tools, especially use of Excel for data analysis and presentation.
To assess the adequacy of your mathematical background, please use the following self-assessment test. If you experience difficulties in any particular area, we strongly recommend that you strengthen your skills through self-study or formal coursework prior to enrolling in the MFin program.
Students without this background will enroll in 15.S24 - Fundamentals of Financial Mathematics, which provides an overview of fundamental mathematics essential for the study of modern finance: linear algebra, probability, stochastic processes, statistics, optimization, and programming in Matlab.
MIT OpenCourseWare provides access to many resources that may be helpful, including lecture videos, lecture notes, problem sets, exams, and solutions.
18.02: Multivariable Calculus (as taught in Fall 2007)*
- Lectures 1-4: some vector and matrix properties.
- Lectures 8-13: partial derivatives, Lagrange multipliers
18.05: Introduction to Probability and Statistics
18.06: Linear Algebra (as taught in 2010)*
6.041: Probabilistic Systems Analysis and Applied Probability (as taught in 2010)*
6.041x: Introduction to Probability - The Science of Uncertainty
“The assistant to the CEO was like our host mom while we were there. She arranged our housing for us, she took us out to her friend’s game farm, and we got driven around in 4x4s. She was just wonderful to meet, and we developed a personal as well as professional relationship with her.”
“It was really rewarding that they wanted to know what we thought. We left there being fairly certain that they will do some of the things that we suggested.”
“The concept behind enterprise architecture is that you have all these machines, you have all these business processes, you have all these people doing things, how do you make sure they all come together and achieve business objectives that make you more competitive.”
“At MIT Sloan you have a lot of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship. Especially in a place like Kampala where you have a lot of development, entrepreneurship can be very exciting.”
“I love being in a place that is such a nexus of people and ideas — people coming to learn something new and to define themselves. Being a part of that process is a real honor and a real gift.”
“I knew about American business, but not enough about what’s really become a global economy. … You can read about it all you want, but there’s no substitute for being there and seeing the context and seeing how completely different these [other countries] are.”
"The relationships that we forged helped us to turn out a better project. We were able to test our hypotheses with the people that we spoke with every single day. And really, I think the friendships that you develop really propel the work that you’re doing."
“We’re very interdisciplinary. Among the faculty in the group are an economist, a political scientist, a sociologist, and an industrial relations specialist. We’ve always made a big effort to be open to a variety of perspectives, but also to go beyond being open to them, to want to bring them in, because it makes for a richer environment.”
“Because of the diversity of our backgrounds, when we hit the ground in Tanzania it almost was a natural play where different people assume different roles.”
“We are very much an action-learning environment. The way to learn leadership is not only through reading cases, not only through learning theory — in fact we don’t want people to regurgitate the theory. We want people to take theory and to live it, use it.”
“One of the reasons I came to Sloan was because I wanted to be at a top MBA institution worldwide. But I also wanted access to working with the latest innovations and the highest technology that was coming out of the MIT labs.”
"The classroom itself is filled with so much collective brain power . . . it's obvious that I'm caught up in a room full of 124 of the brightest, most curious people from around the world."
“The conditions in the neighborhoods we were visiting were different than what we realized before getting there. Beyond that, what was surprising was that there weren’t surprises!”
“These companies are really excited to work with MIT students.They reach out to the community to set up these projects and are great to work with. They give us access to all their resources and are very open to us.”
“You could talk about watershed management and conservation of energy all you want. But until you put numbers to it and financial analysis to it, you’re not going to get much done. I came to business school to speak that language, speak with people in terms of numbers, financial numbers so that I can get projects done.”
“We’ve always made a big effort to be interdisciplinary and to be open to a variety of perspectives, but also to go beyond being open to them, to want to bring them in, because it makes for a richer environment.”