Rafael Ferreira

Rafael Ferreira
Class Year
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Areas of Interest
Financial Economics
Previous Education
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

What brought you to business school? Why did you choose Columbia?

The MS in Financial Economics at Columbia Business School is a unique program that allows students to take two years of heavy PhD classes in finance and economics. This is what mainly brought me to Columbia — I wanted to have an intense academic experience but still be able to benefit from a business school environment, which provides plenty of networking opportunities and personal/professional growth.

What has been your favorite part of the MS experience so far?

My favorite part of the MS program was the connection we had with academia. We got to meet the biggest names in finance and economics research, attend multiple seminars, and witness how research works on the frontiers of human knowledge. This meant that we are exposed to a wide set of topics, mostly quantitative, which prepared students for many different types of careers (and not just limited to finance). For example, I had full-time offers after the master’s program to work for different financial institutions in different positions, like quantitative trading and mergers and acquisitions — but also received full time offers from big technology companies to work in data science and machine learning. The heavy academic training that the MSFE provides is one of its biggest strengths, and the wide breadth of different career paths students end up taking is a demonstration of that.

What is it like going to business school in New York City?

NYC is the financial capital of the world and being able to study and live here is an invaluable asset. I had the chance to visit many different banks and quantitative hedge funds and the opportunity to work part time in an internship with Morgan Stanley during the program. In addition, we had many guest speakers in our classes that worked in the industry and could bring hands-on insights to the class. I am certain that very few schools around the world can offer similar opportunities.

Favorite faculty or courses so far?

I really enjoyed the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence classes (which helped me get a part-time position at Morgan Stanley and a full-time position at Google) and Asset Pricing Theory. They were deep, challenging classes and extremely useful in the job industry. With regards to our faculty, I find Columbia Business School students to be really privileged to have such world-class finance faculty and practitioners. 

How has the expertise of your professors impacted your learning?

Your experience with the professors is one of the things that define your academic experience as a student at Columbia. The faculty is composed of world-class professors with both academic and professional experience, and to be mentored by such people is a privilege of few. To have such strong faculty and selectivity in the student admissions process enables high-quality discussions during class and plenty of opportunities to work directly with professors on their projects.

What do you want to do next? How has Columbia uniquely prepared you for your future? 

Columbia has prepared me to face any academic challenges that might come my way and has taught me the importance of networking as a professional. I have met incredible people who will definitely become future leaders in their fields, worked with outstanding professors on academic and professional projects, and had the opportunity to have hands-on experience in one of the biggest investment banks in the world — all in a timeframe of two years. I find this to be a truly unique mix of opportunities and would recommend the program to any person interested in immersing themselves in a heavily quantitative and mathematical program, in an intense city like NYC.