The Perfect Quant Degree
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May 20, 2015, 11:50 AM
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This has been bouncing around the race-realist corner of the Twittersphere.  The claim is that it's a list of the 2015 M.A. degrees in Statistics awarded by Columbia University.

The point is that of the 93 names listed, only 7½ are not obviously East Asian.  (The name “Hock” could be an Anglicization of a Chinese name in one of the southern dialects.)  There are 10 persons named Chen and 17 named Lee/Li.

One never knows if this kind of thing is fake or not.  I was at dinner last night with a couple of Columbia academics, and asked them about it, but they did not know.  Quite possibly someone’s having us on here.

The list must anyway be incomplete: It’s in alphabetic order by surname, and ends with Liu.

It wouldn’t be very surprising to learn that the list is genuine.  The web page for the program makes it clear this is a perfect quant degree:

With an emphasis on fundamental business applications and how to employ emerging technology for big data analysis, Columbia’s M.A. program provides students with advanced knowledge of statistics. Students improve their command of statistical theory and applications and are trained to produce sophisticated statistical analysis. Additionally, students study with Columbia University faculty members who are leaders in the fields of statistical methods research, financial mathematics, and econometrics. Graduates may also use the master’s degree as a foundation for further study in a doctoral program.
Career-choice-wise, there’s nothing more East Asian than being a quant.  At the investment bank I used to work for, the elevator to the quant floor of the building was known as the Orient Express.

Still, you have to wonder what our universities think they’re doing.  For really useful, good-career qualifications like that, shouldn’t we give priority to our own people rather than foreigners?

Also—and if, again, this is genuine—it throws an interesting new light on the racial-discrimination lawsuit by Asian-American groups against Harvard University.

One more point:  Why is a qualification in advanced statistics called a Master of Arts?  I know statistics; I used to teach statistics; it’s not an art, it’s a science.