5/2/09

As i noticed that many top US universities do not offer master degree in Finance, instead, they have plenty of PhD or MBA. Is there a ranking for Master of Finance (MSF/MFin) NOT financial engineer or quantitative finance...
So far i know good schools like Princeton and some UK schools (LSE, LBS, Ox, Cam)and some 2nd tier schools (BC, Rochester, Vanderbilt, Florida, Imperial, UCL...) offer such program, which schools offer better programs? how's the quality of those programs offered by 2nd tier schools compared with 1st tier (Princeton, LSE...)ones'
I know the job market is awful, but just wanna know how do industry/professionals' view towards this kind of Master degree in Finance (MFin/MSF)? according to Prin, their grads got good job placement, how about 2nd tier school students? still have a shot to land a good job?

All ideas appreciated, thanks!

Comments (55)

Best Response
8/25/09

BC has an investment management track I do believe. As far as rankings go you have to really split schools apart from a MFin and a MSF. Also, what area of the country you want to work in will really influence your choice of school.

MSF Programs US:

Vanderbilt
BC
U of Illinois - UC
USF/UF (If you want to work in the south)
Villanova ( NYC/Philly)
Washington
Purdue
U of Rochester

MFin US:

MIT
Princeton
CMU

I don't know anyone going into AM from Villanova. Mostly IB, but we have a lot of exposure to a variety of industry professionals. PM if you would like.

Accepted.com
5/2/09

Princeton is actually pretty quantitative. it's meant as a general finance degree but I'm not sure you could really avoid taking any quantiative courses. Look at their students resumes- all quantiative backgrounds (meaning at least multivar calc, linear algebra and basic prob/stat).

Also, as someone pointed out earlier, past placement pre-recession might not be a good indicator of current prospects.

Florida is more like fourth-tier. replace that with johns hopkins program.

5/2/09

thanks Philosopher,
i'm not saying definitely avoid quantitative courses, as an ex-engineering student, maths is not very hard for me (calculus, maths I,II, prob/stat, pde, lin alg, regression method...). Just because i wanna learn more about general finance rather than programming/modeling again(i did programming before, but not interest in). I understand that many maths/computing subjects in MSF/Mfin, i just really wanna know those good master programs of general finance study.

5/2/09

To be honest, I think the distinction between MFin and MFE (financial engineering) is getting really blurry these days. Modern finance theory builds itself upon a lot of rigorous mathematics, and you're bound to see some of it one way or the other. I mean, how do you even define 'general finance'?

If you're looking for a general introduction to business, I think MBA is still the way to go.

5/2/09

Vanderbilt MS Finance program has both quantitative and corporate finance track..
http://owen.vanderbilt.edu/vanderbilt/Programs/msf...

i feel the later is the type of course u r looking for..however the current job scenario is very bad but according to their website,students from both the tracks have been placed in good positions..
http://owen.vanderbilt.edu/vanderbilt/Programs/msf...

has anyone heard about Illinois Institute of technology's MSF..it also has many tracks..any idea how is it..?
however I agree that MBA is still the way to go...

5/2/09

im currently a student in princeton's mfin.

the core curriculum is fairly quantitative though not too bad- 2 courses on investments/corp finance, 2 courses on statistical methods, and 2 classes on financial economics (asset pricing). i think you can get by with just a background of linear algebra and probability. from there you can choose electives to your liking. i majored in econ and minored in math and have done fine.

other programs like princeton in the us are MIT, vanderbilt, BU, and JHU.

most students arent looking for quant roles though there are certainly a few. i think most people decided to come here because they wanted to focus solely on finance and are comfortable approaching things from a quantitative angle.

the program has had 100% placement every year in its existence. I would expect similar results this year while most programs are struggling (I know CMU has only placed around 50%).

i should warn you the program is extremely competitive to get in- 7% admission last year and 4% this year.

In reply to bblop
5/2/09
bcbunker1:

im currently a student in princeton's mfin.

the core curriculum is fairly quantitative though not too bad- 2 courses on investments/corp finance, 2 courses on statistical methods, and 2 classes on financial economics (asset pricing). i think you can get by with just a background of linear algebra and probability. from there you can choose electives to your liking. i majored in econ and minored in math and have done fine.

other programs like princeton in the us are MIT, vanderbilt, BU, and JHU.

most students arent looking for quant roles though there are certainly a few. i think most people decided to come here because they wanted to focus solely on finance and are comfortable approaching things from a quantitative angle.

the program has had 100% placement every year in its existence. I would expect similar results this year while most programs are struggling (I know CMU has only placed around 50%).

i should warn you the program is extremely competitive to get in- 7% admission last year and 4% this year.

bcbunker1, just curious what are your credentials? Thinking about the Mfin program at Princeton and I want to see the 'typical' stats required to get in.....

5/3/09

Princeton's Mfin is one of the most competitive..bcbunker1,I am also curious as to what are ur credentials..do you have a lot of finance or quant experience.?

5/3/09

tough to give average stats because a lot of the students are not from america. but i would say this:

3.8+ from top university
800 quantitative GRE score
2-3 years work experience (though some have just a couple internships)
top grades in quantitative classes
half have graduate degrees already

5/3/09
In reply to bblop
5/3/09
bcbunker1:

tough to give average stats because a lot of the students are not from america. but i would say this:

3.8+ from top university
800 quantitative GRE score
2-3 years work experience (though some have just a couple internships)
top grades in quantitative classes
half have graduate degrees already

Damn....Is it the case that most Mfin programs require significant work experience before entering? Or is Princeton's the exception?

I was under the impression that most ppl go directly from undergrad into Mfin--or atleast that its more common than going directly from undergrad to MBA.

5/3/09

Princeton officially doesn't require work experience but of course most people do have some experience like bcbunker said. Some places require work experience like Cambridge, LBS and Boston College. Johns Hopkins MSF program isn't that great. Spoke to a career counselor at the program and apparently the placements aren't as top notch as I expected them to be. They do place well with Booz though. The placements are perhaps a little better than programs at Florida, Illinois etc. I've done quite a bit of research on M.fin programs and you have to be at a really good school in addition to being very good at networking to land a good spot. A major reason for that is because most of the positions you will be recruited for are FT positions of which there are very few to begin with. You really can't do SA stints through your MSF program (if you are applying to a different school, and not the program at the school you currently in) for two reasons; 1) it's too late to apply through the program since you won't find out about acceptance until Feb/March, 2) some schools start in the summer. In the good days, when there were more FT positions available, it was a lot easier to get in through MSF programs. Now it's getting more difficult. That said, it will buy you time, and hopefully markets will recover enough to open up more FT spots. For those interested in less quant based finance programs, the UK schools are a better choice, since you might pursue something like a Masters in Financial Economics. It's best however, if you are deciding on such a program to do some math courses, at least up to multivariate calculus or Linear Algebra and some basic stats courses.

5/3/09

i agree with everything indian-banker says except that at princeton you are required to have a SA position after your first year. not sure about other programs.

you can learn more about the princeton program here: http://www.princeton.edu/bcf/graduate/faq/
and jobs taken here: http://www.princeton.edu/bcf/graduate/placement/
and student backgrounds: http://www.princeton.edu/bcf/graduate/recruiting/l...

Also feel free to PM me with any questions.

5/3/09

I just looked at the Princeton MSF resume book and some of these guys have a lot of work experience. I saw some candidates with MBAs and Phds as well. Some of the guys were even MDs/Assoc. Directors with BB banks. Pretty impressive.

In reply to indian-banker
5/4/09
indian-banker:

I just looked at the Princeton MSF resume book and some of these guys have a lot of work experience. I saw some candidates with MBAs and Phds as well. Some of the guys were even MDs/Assoc. Directors with BB banks. Pretty impressive.

Yeah, I've noticed this too.

Why in the world would you get a master's if you already have an MBA, a phd, or in some cases, another master's. This makes little sense to me.

5/4/09

pressure is building . . . . . .
just dunt understand those PhDs go back for Master degree ??? easier to find a job in the Street?

Accepted.com
5/7/09

wanted to share the latest official admission statistics.....

For 2009, we received 591 applications and offered admission to 24 applicants (4%), with 19 enrolling (80%).

5/8/09

Haha. Thx man, I think I'll cross that one off my list.

In reply to ReadLine
5/8/09
Philosopher:

Florida is more like fourth-tier. replace that with johns hopkins program.

From what I remember, they had very good BB and other IB placement for their 2008 class.

6/14/09

I just graduated from an MSF program listed above. I had a few years of expereince, but that is not usually the case. Most students are fresh out of UG. GMATs tend to be high - as far as I know, scores for all of the programs above have 700 avg gmats.

6/16/09

Hi everybody !
I m looking for a good MSF which is not a Financial Engineering program but still with a good level.
I have problems finding rankings on this because most of the top ones are Financial Engineering and as I m not a Math BA or an Engineer my Mathematical background wont be good enough...

Here is my profile:
3.7 GPA BA in Finance
1 year full time experience with a big Investment Bank
710 gmat
good records on portfolio management

I m gonna apply for sure to Princeton but seeing their acceptance rate, I d rather have some other options...

Hope you could help me:-)

7/15/09

another school that has a MSF in 1 year following undergrad...not a bad name either...

Smokey, this is not 'Nam, this is bowling. There are rules.

8/6/09

what about the MSF program with Rochester? and Denver?
my friends chose those two schools based on some sort of MSF ranking. but i doubt whether the ranking really works well in terms of placements.

8/13/09

I just graduated from an MSF program listed above. I had a few years of expereince, but that is not usually the case. Most students are fresh out of UG. GMATs tend to be high - as far as I know, scores for all of the programs above have 700 avg gmats.Conveyancing solicitors

8/25/09

Vanderbilt is supposed to have a pretty solid program. I have a buddy there and he really enjoys it.

8/25/09

Yeah definitely work your way down the prestige list (while making sure they also rank up there). I'd try to also find out which schools do well when students apply for internship/ft position and has the strongest alumni network.

Good luck!!

8/25/09

villanova? seriously? didn't know they were a good school for business.....

In reply to bblop
8/25/09
bcbunker1:

should add boston university master in investment management

I will definitely check that out. It sounds like it's really closely related to my interests.

Seems like there's only a few programs worth attending. I'm starting to wonder if the CFA is probably better than the MSF in many cases (for someone with my interests)?

8/25/09

Bostony University? are you serious? this school sucks. They are about as non target as you can get go for the CFA instead which holds MUCH more weight than a degree from BU.

KICKIN ASS AND TAKING NAMES

8/25/09
8/25/09

Does it make sense to go back to undergrad after you've already been to grad school for a degree? Let's say someone received a masters degree in another field and wanted to work in finance, so they were considering going back to grad school and getting an MSF. Then they find out that it only makes sense if they go to a top school, and assume they didn't get admitted. Would it then make more sense to get a bachelors degree in finance as opposed to a masters degree? Or does it always make more sense to get another masters degree instead of another bachelors degree?

8/25/09

Interesting idea, but I think it would send off some red flags. So your basically asking if it would be a good idea to go back to undergrad, but at a target and just hide the fact that you already have an undergraduate degree at a "lesser" school. Honestly, your effort would be better spent networking, CFA, MSF, just working, whatever.

Your not going to be able to transfer credits since that would automatically alert the school to your previous bachelors so you would have to do 4 years all over again. Think of all the opportunity cost associated with this. I mean you already have a masters degree. Assuming it is in something you can get a job in you would at least make 50-60K plus 401(k), etc. That's 200K in opp cost right there not counting school costs or the possibility that you might not get a front office position right away anyway.

Your best bet would be to try for a target MBA or if you don't have work experience a MSF. Just my .02 cents.

In reply to TNA
8/25/09
AnthonyD1982:

Interesting idea, but I think it would send off some red flags. So your basically asking if it would be a good idea to go back to undergrad, but at a target and just hide the fact that you already have an undergraduate degree at a "lesser" school.

No, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that I'm considering another degree that is more relevant to my future career. However, people on here say that most MSF programs aren't worth the money, so I'm asking, is this also true of undergrad programs? I'm not talking about hiding anything, what I'm talking about is how to break into an industry that I haven't exactly prepared for at this point. I asked if an MSF was a good option, and it sounds like it's not (unless you go to one of a couple programs). So, if all I'm trying to do is learn some finance, maybe it makes sense to just get a bachelors degree.

8/25/09

anybody have any idea about the Illinois Institute of Technology's MSF program? It has several tracks suck as corporate finance ,investment management and even financial engineering.
http://www.stuart.iit.edu/graduateprograms/ms/fina...

I am considering between UIUC and Illinnois institute of Tech's MSF but feel the IIT will have a location advantage being right in chicago

8/25/09

Don't know about IIT, but I think the UIUC is a solid program.

8/25/09

I would just like to second that BC has a great program. I know people currenty enrolled. For a school that isn't a recruiting target for most investment banks and elite finance jobs, it is still very well respected and would likely improve your career prospects.

CompBanker

8/25/09

Follow up to what CompBanker said about BC. The MSF program there is a night time program so you can continue to work and network while going to school and having access to their alumni base as well as recruiting, etc. BC has a really strong presence in Boston also for anyone interested in working in bean town.

8/25/09

http://www.bus.lsu.edu/academics/finance/faculty/d...

I was looking at this list of schools again, and is it just me, or are most of these schools not that great? As far as I can tell, there's a few really good schools on that list, but aside from that, most of these schools seem to have very little presence as academic institutions. It's weird, because it seems like there's no in-between, it's like 80%-90% of the schools seem really weak with the rest being really solid institutions (so solid, that the programs are probably really hard to get into). Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I've been thinking about MSF programs again lately, and it just seems hard to justify attending most of these schools, because I can't imagine them having very solid placements. What do you guys think? If I'm wrong, please don't hold back.

8/25/09

I think for the most part you are correct. To echo what pussinboots said, there are very few programs worth attending:

[email protected]:
Princeton
MIT
UoFlorida
Washington University in ST. Louis
Vanderbilt
Villanova

This is pretty much it for the US. But then again, it depends on what your goals are post-MSF. Not everyone is looking to break into BB IB or MBB consulting. People attending the other program will get jobs, just not the elite jobs people on this forum are looking for.

As a side note, you are correct about these schools being difficult to get into. For the schools listed above, the class profile will typically be 3.5+ GPA and 700+ GMAT (with >80%ile in Quant). The exception to this rule is Villanova, with a class profile of 3.5 avg. GPA and 620 avg. GMAT. Not to say that Villanova is a breeze to get into (those stats are nothing to laugh at) but it will be easier than the other schools listed above. Also, I think UoFlorida has good placement but I have heard that it is better to go to that program if you did undergrad there. From what I know they have this weird system where professors nominate students for interviews with companies.

In reply to nelly0
8/25/09
nelly0:

But then again, it depends on what your goals are post-MSF. Not everyone is looking to break into BB IB or MBB consulting. People attending the other program will get jobs, just not the elite jobs people on this forum are looking for.

Honestly, I have much more modest goals (at least compared to the folks on this forum). I really just want to be in AM, but am totally satisfied if it's on a small scale at a less-prestigious place, as long as it's actively managed. I really just want to be managing portfolios (probably fixed income in case that influences the advice). If I could eventually make a couple hundred grand managing money, I'd be pretty satisfied, and it doesn't matter much to me whether it's at a mutual fund, hedge fund, insurance company, college endowment, etc. I'm not necessarily shooting for being a top-notch portfolio manager at Fidelity. Don't get me wrong, that would be an awesome job, it's just that I'd be very satisfied with AM on a much smaller scale. If I did go into IB, it'd only be as a resume builder and for the exit opps, and I'd be trying to get into AM as soon as possible.

nelly0:

As a side note, you are correct about these schools being difficult to get into. For the schools listed above, the class profile will typically be 3.5+ GPA and 700+ GMAT (with >80%ile in Quant). The exception to this rule is Villanova, with a class profile of 3.5 avg. GPA and 620 avg. GMAT.

If you have those stats, do you think the chances of getting in are pretty high? I have ~3.75, majored in econ, minored in math, and scored in the top 10% on the quant section of the GRE.

8/25/09

Those Villanova stats are pretty old. The average GMAT is closer to 650.

Princeton is the best and hardest to get into, it is also very quantitative. I think MFE is a more accurate description. A person on the board goes there (BCbunker I believe). I would ask him.

MIT is very new, but I am sure that it will develop into something great. It is also very expensive. I would say in a couple years it will be #2 for sure. Ill leave it in the MSF category, but I think it will tilt towards MFE (this is MIT after all).

BC
VANDY
VILLANOVA

Those 3 compete with each other. They typically all go to recruiting events together, commonly compared and have similar cross admits. I would call both semi targets with a strong local presence. Each program has its specialty and differences. BC is great for their PT MSF and BC is well represented in NYC. Villanova has its cohort program along with a slate of practitioner seminars. Vandy has a solid MBA program and well respected in the south. I think out of the 3 Villanova's MSF might be the one with a more academic leaning (by academic I mean PhD, the MSF historically was a pre PhD degree, it is now moving away from this and becoming more industry).

Let me add WUSTL. They have a great program which I honestly do not know too much about. (Anyone who goes there please PM me). Their MBA is well respected which will benefit the MSF crowd. I would look at them also.

The other schools are regional plays. I am sure they all have fine offerings. You will be working closely with the top finance professors and will really have the opportunity to increase your understanding of finance and have another shot at recruiting.

Now we must also add the Masters category: Other

UVA has the masters in commerce. The admission requirements are specific so a lot of people do not fit for that program. Duke has their MMS which gives you a great name, but let me say this. I have enough trouble telling people what a MSF is. I cannot imagine what telling someone what a masters in management studies is. It is pretty expensive also. A bunch of other schools have different masters offerings. I can't recount them all.

MSF for IB will get you in as an analyst. Princeton is the exception to this rule. Outside of IB I have found people to look at the MSF = MBA. So if you want to work for the govt, F500, Commercial/Corporate Banking, etc the MSF might be a good option. It is only 1 year, you learn what you love, get that bump up in pay and title and save the MBA for later. I know for a fact that if you want to work for the govt, they look at graduate degrees the same so you will come in making more money at a higher grade with the MSF.

In reply to TNA
8/25/09
AnthonyD1982:

The other schools are regional plays. I am sure they all have fine offerings. You will be working closely with the top finance professors and will really have the opportunity to increase your understanding of finance and have another shot at recruiting.

So you guys think some of the weaker schools will still have good regional opportunities? I think it'd be awesome to work in California, but am not really considering any of the CA MSF programs because most of those schools don't sound that great. Or I thought about UT-Dallas and Seattle U, but I seriously question the placement of these programs. If I could get a solid regional job, then I'd definitely consider them because the tuition is significantly cheaper.

AnthonyD1982:

I know for a fact that if you want to work for the govt, they look at graduate degrees the same so you will come in making more money at a higher grade with the MSF.

Are there any gov't jobs that are good preparation for the finance industry? I wouldn't mind working for the gov't for a few years, but I definitely want to get into the private sector as soon as possible (preferably AM, and potentially just fixed income)?

8/25/09

A lot of the schools on that list are just offering a masters because it is another way to generate some money. Take Syracuse for example ( I went there so I know the MSF program pretty well ). I think like 1 person takes the MSF just for the MSF. Most people take it while getting the MBA. In order to get a SU MSF you just take 11 MBA finance classes. Basically the bullshit way to offer a MSF. I have a feeling that many of these schools are doing it this way.

Also, a lot of schools have their MSF class almost entirely made up of the schools UG class. Personally, I think it benefits students and the program if the class is made up of people from other schools. I know Villanova is approx 75% non Villanova students.

If you want to work in Cali and save the MBA for later then pick a Cali school. Any of the more well known MSF programs wont really help in California. I would do an AM search and see what firms you want to work for and who they hire from and see if you can find an MSF there.

8/25/09

I just wanted to add to what AnthonyD said. If you want to work in California, go to school there. You may want to consider the Claremont Mckenna program. It has been mentioned a few times on this forum but I don't know much about it. The only thing I know is it is in California and has decent/good placement in SF/LA.

8/25/09

I was just wondering about MSF online about Northeastern? Would this be something good for someone who does not want to quit his job for two years? Or would this be bad and i would be better served to go full time at another school?

8/25/09

Don't do an online MSF. Not worth it. Save your money and do an MBA.

In reply to TNA
8/25/09

Is an MBA better then a MSF? I see you got an MSF and i am looking to go into Trading.

8/25/09

They are very different degrees. I think trading is one of those things you dont need a masters for, that being said a masters can help. I would recommend a MFin or a masters in computational finance (CMU) over a traditional MSF. I think that might give you a better chance at getting into trading.

MBA is good for rebranding and networking. MSF's aren't offered at every top university where as an MBA is. If you have work experience I would recommend you go for the MBA. MSF is ideal for 1 or less WE.

In reply to TNA
8/25/09
TNA:

BC has an investment management track I do believe. As far as rankings go you have to really split schools apart from a MFin and a MSF. Also, what area of the country you want to work in will really influence your choice of school.

MSF Programs US:

Vanderbilt
BC
U of Illinois - UC
USF/UF (If you want to work in the south)
Villanova ( NYC/Philly)
Washington
Purdue
U of Rochester

MFin US:

MIT
Princeton
CMU

I don't know anyone going into AM from Villanova. Mostly IB, but we have a lot of exposure to a variety of industry professionals. PM if you would like.

Does anyone know anything about the placement of USF. I could not find placement on their MSF site. Thanks.

In reply to TNA
8/25/09
TNA:

BC has an investment management track I do believe. As far as rankings go you have to really split schools apart from a MFin and a MSF. Also, what area of the country you want to work in will really influence your choice of school.

MSF Programs US:

Vanderbilt
BC
U of Illinois - UC
USF/UF (If you want to work in the south)
Villanova ( NYC/Philly)
Washington
Purdue
U of Rochester

MFin US:

MIT
Princeton
CMU

I don't know anyone going into AM from Villanova. Mostly IB, but we have a lot of exposure to a variety of industry professionals. PM if you would like.

Does anyone know anything about the placement of USF. I could not find placement on their MSF site. Thanks.

8/25/09

MSF in Uni of Buffalo - Does any body know anything about the placements here. I want t become an Analyst ( Equity/ Fixed) or venture out in research. Would Buffalo offer right jobs ?

In reply to Mohit03
8/25/09

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8/25/09
8/25/09
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